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Daily Current affairs 30 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

One nation, one ration card 

11

2

Only 20% of Nirbhaya Fund has been used by States 

09

3

NASA’s PUNCH mission

15

4

Cosmic waves discovery could unlock the mysteries of space

20

5

Shrines on a stole  

Mag (09)

 

Title

1. One nation, one ration card  (The Hindu, Page 11)     

Syllabus

Mains: GS Paper II Issues Relating to poverty and hunger.

Theme

Public Distribution System 

Highlights

The objective of National Food Security Act, 2013 is to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

 

Key features:

The Act provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds of the population.

 

The eligible persons will be entitled to receive 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.

 

The existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households, which constitute the poorest of the poor, will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.

 

The Act also has a special focus on the nutritional support to women and children. Besides meal to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, such women will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.

 

Children upto 14 years of age will be entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional standards.

 

In case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals, the beneficiaries will receive food security allowance.

 

The Act also contains provisions for setting up of grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels.

 

Separate provisions have also been made in the Act for ensuring transparency and accountability.

 

Limitation of NFSA:

  1. High fiscal burden in the form of subsidy cost 

  2. Government will have to keep large stock of food grains but FCI storage capacity is insufficient.

  3. Government may have to import food grain during drought years which would lead to additional current account deficit.(CAD)

  4. An Adult needs ~14kg food grain. While NFSA gives only 5 kg per person to Priority households- cruel joke and marketing gimmick.

  5. It focuses only on cereals. Not on pulses (protein), edible oil (fat), fruits, vegetables (for vitamin) and milk- to combat malnutrition.

  6. Malnutrition has its connections with lack of sanitation and medical facilities in rural areas. NFSA alone is insufficient.

  7. identifying households eligible for this scheme is a big challenge

 

The ‘One nation, one ration card’ scheme, which will allow portability of food security benefits, will be available across the country from July 1, 2020. This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country if their ration cards are linked to Aadhaar.

All the States have been given one more year to use point-of-sale (PoS) machines in the ration shops and implement the scheme. 

Already, more than 85% of people covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) have their cards linked to Aadhaar.

While Aadhaar linkage is not necessary to access the NFSA benefits in a beneficiary’s local ration shop closest to her home address, it will be necessary to access the portability scheme.

In a bid to reduce nutrition deficiencies among beneficiaries, the Centre would roll out a pilot project in 15 districts to fortify rice with iron, folic acid and vitamins A and B12. It would be available in ration shops from November.

 

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Title

2. Only 20% of Nirbhaya Fund has been used by States until 2018 (The Hindu, Page 09)     

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper II  Polity and Governance 

Theme

 Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre

Highlights

Government of India set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women in the country. 

  • It was set up by the UPA-II in the aftermath of the gang rape of a paramedical student in a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012 with an initial corpus of Rs1,000 crore. 

  • The Fund supports schemes for safety of women, and over the past six years it has swelled to Rs 3,600 crore through allocation in the Finance Budgets.

  • Though the Fund was instituted in 2013, its disbursement gathered pace only from 2015.

  • The key schemes under which the States have been allocated money include Emergency Response Support System, Central Victim Compensation Fund, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, One Stop Scheme, Mahila Police Volunteer, and Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme.

  • The top five States ranked in terms of utilisation of money across various schemes under the Nirbhaya Fund were Chandigarh (59.83%), Mizoram (56.32%), Uttarakhand (51.68%), Andhra Pradesh (43.23%) and Nagaland (38.17%). However, the government data shows more money was utilised by Chandigarh than what was allocated to it under Central Victim Compensation Fund as well as Women Helpline Scheme.

  • The worst five States include Manipur, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep – which didn’t spend even a single penny – and were followed by West Bengal (0.76%) and Delhi (0.84%).

 

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Title

3. Indian scientist to be Co-I for NASA’s PUNCH mission (The Hindu Page 15)   

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper III – Science & technology

Theme

Space

Highlights

NASA has selected Texas-based Southwest Research Institute to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.

The Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere, or PUNCH, mission will focus directly on the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, and how it generates the solar wind. Composed of four suitcase-sized satellites, PUNCH will:-

  • Image and track the solar wind as it leaves the Sun. 

  • Track coronal mass ejections – large eruptions of solar material that can drive large space weather events near Earth – to better understand their evolution 

  • Develop new techniques for predicting such eruptions.

These observations will enhance national and international research by other NASA missions such as Parker Solar Probe, and the upcoming ESA (European Space Agency)/NASA Solar Orbiter, due to launch in 2020.  PUNCH will be able to image, in real time, the structures in the solar atmosphere that these missions encounter by blocking out the bright light of the Sun and examining the much fainter atmosphere. The mission is expected to be launched in 2022.

 Focus would be on the polar regions of the Sun. 

The team also plans to observe the Sun using joint observations from PUNCH and Indian mission Aditya, which is underway and is expected to be launched in 2020.

Together, these missions will investigate how the star we live with drives radiation in space. 


 

Title

4. Cosmic waves discovery could unlock the mysteries of space (The Hindu Page 20)   

Syllabus 

Mains: GS III – Science & technology

Theme

Space

Highlights

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)

They flash for only a micro-instant but can emit as much energy in a milli-second as the Sun does in 10,000 years. These FRBs compose of cosmic radio waves. 

First Fast Radio Burst was detected in 2007. Since then about 85 such bursts have been recorded. Most of the FRBs have been ‘one-offs’ but a small fraction have been ‘repeaters’ that recur at the same spot in the sky.

Previously scientists had been able to track the source of a Fast Radio Burst which was of the repeater class. (FRB 121102)

However, the present discovery is traces the source of ‘one-off’ FRB. It has been named as FRB 180924)

The source of FRBs has been a matter of debate among the astronomers. However, an Australian team of researchers have for the first time determined the precise source of a powerful FRB.  The Australian team used the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (AKSAP), a network of 36 radio telescopes in Western Australia. 

The Source lies of the present FRB (FRB 180924) lies on the outskirts of a big galaxy which lies about 3.6 billion light years from Earth. The galaxy is about 1,000 times more massive, and is forming stars much less actively, than the source of previously tracked FRB.

FRB 121102 lies near the centre of its home galaxy, the region where a supermassive blackhole likely lurks. 

These differences are important because they show that FRBs can come from a huge range of types of galaxies and environments. They don’t need very special conditions to occur. 

Most credible model of bursts, built to explain the repeater, suggests they are produced by young magnetars (highly magnetised neutron stars). These magnetars are preferentially formed in tiny dwarf galaxies, like that of the FRB 121102.  

Other significance of this is that it will help scientists to study the gas lies between galaxies. The gas that lies between galaxies is very difficult to study because it doesn’t glow. But the amount of gas FRBs travel through is encoded in the bursts signals. FRB’s 180924’s home galaxy has relatively little gas, so the bulk of the burst’s encoded information was therefore imparted by gas in the intergalactic medium. Thus, FRBs can be used as clean probes of intergalactic medium and open up a new window on the nearly invisible cosmic web.


 

 

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Title

5.  Shrines on a stole  (The Hindu magazine Page 09)   

Syllabus 

Mains: GS I –History & Culture

Theme

Handicrafts

Highlights

AJRAKH

  • Ajrakh is a millennia old hand-block printing craft originating from the region of Gujarat that celebrates hand block printing with natural dyes. 

  • The entire production of the products includes both vegetable dyes and mineral dyes. Indigo is a key dye.

  • The Ajrakh is an integral part of Sindhi culture. Over the years, Ajrakh have become a symbol of the Sindhi culture and traditions.

  • Ajrakh is a block-printed textile that is resist-dyed using natural dyes including indigo. It is made by Khatris community in Kutch, Gujarat and is distinguished by its color- blue with red - and its complex geometric & floral patterns. 

  • It takes skill & patience to make Ajrakh. 

  • There are between 14-16 different stages of dyeing & printing, which take 14-21 days to complete. 

  • The resulting cloth is soft against the skin and jewel-like in appearance, pleasing to touch & appealing to the eye.

There are fourteen stages in Ajrakh printing.

1. The cloth is washed in water to remove any finish applied in the mill or workshop. If the cloth has a heavy finish on it, steam treatment may be required. The cloth is then put to soak overnight in a solution of castor oil, soda ash and camel dung. This is known as saaj. The following day, the cloth is spread out to dry in the sun. When it is semi-dry, it is returned to the solution. Saaj and the drying stage are repeated 7-9 times until the cloth foams when rubbed. It’s then washed in plain water.

2. The cloth is dyed in a cold solution of myrobalan (the powdered nut of the harde tree). This stage is known as kasanu. The cloth is then calendered, after which it is laid flat to dry in the hot sun. If the cloth is to be printed on both sides, it is turned over as it dries to ensure it is thoroughly ‘sun dried’ on both sides. The myrobalan powder that precipitates after the drying is brushed off the cloth.

3. A resist of lime and gum arabic is printed onto the cloth to define the outline of the design. This is known as rekh.

4. Rekh resist printing is applied to both sides of the cloth.

5. A paste is made by fermenting scrap iron (from horseshoes, etc), jaggery (raw cane sugar) and besan (gram flour). This mixture is left to ferment, which takes about a week in the hot season and two weeks during the cold season; a yellowish scum on the surface of the mixture indicates that it is ready for use. The liquid, or ‘iron water’ is drained off and added to tamarind seed powder. The iron and tamarind solution is thoroughly mixed, and then boiled for one hour. The resulting ‘iron paste’ is printed on to the cloth (kat) the colour is black.

6. Tamarind seed powder is mixed with alum (aluminium sulphate) and then boiled for one hour to produce a printing paste for the red areas of the design. A small amount of a fugitive dye is added to this in order to aid registration when used for printing. Traditionally, geru (red clay) was used but a non-toxic chemical dye is now more commonly used. The printing of the alum paste is known as kan.

7. A paste of alum, millet flour, red clay and gum arabic is printed on the cloth where there are large areas of red in the design. A resist of lime and gum arabic is also printed at this time; this combined stage is known as gach. Sawdust is sprinkled on to the printed areas to protect the design from smudging. After gach printing, the cloth is left to dry naturally for several days. The paste used for gach printing is made from local clay which is filtered through muslin, millet flour and alum. The millet flour is boiled, red clay and alum are added, and the paste is then filtered to achieve the required consistency for printing.

8. The cloth is dyed in indigo (bodaw). In order to make an indigo vat, natural indigo, sagikhar (a salt), lime, casiatora (the seed from kuwada plant) and water are mixed in a clay vessel, plastic barrel or concrete vat. The dye bath is left to ferment for about one month; sometimes jaggery is added to this to aid fermentation. It is ready to use when the colour of the solution is yellowish (best quality) or greenish (medium quality). A faster alternative to the above is to make a solution of natural indigo, caustic soda and hydrosulphate, which becomes ready to use in just one or two days.

9. The cloth is washed in running water and laid flat to dry in the sun. This stage is known as vichharnu.

10. The cloth is boiled in a solution of tamarix (from the dhawri tree) and either madder root powder or al root powder and is then washed and sun-dried. For some ajrakh, alizarin (synthetic madder) may be used, in which case the cloth is boiled in a solution of alizarin and tamarix powder. In all cases, the cloth is washed in plain water after dyeing and dried flat in the sun. At this stage (rang), the red and black areas of the design develop and the resist areas are revealed as white.

11. Gach (alum printing – see 7) is repeated. The cloth is left for several days after this. This stage is known as minakari. (The word, from Persian, refers to enameling. However, in Kachchhi—the dialect of Sindhi spoken in the Kutch region of Gujarat—it means ‘double work’.)

12. The second indigo dyeing (bodaw) takes place and the cloth is sun-dried.

13. The cloth is washed in running water and laid flat to dry in the sun (vichharnu).

14. Rang stage (stage 10) is repeated.

 

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