189 TRIBAL COLONIES IN KERALA STILL LACK INTERNET ACCESS
Why in news?
- Though Kerala was the first State in the country to declare the right to Internet a basic right, as many as 189 Adivasi ooru (tribal colonies) spread over 12 districts in the State still have no access to Internet and mobile connection.
Issues faced by the tribals
- The lack of access affects the prospects of over 5,000 tribal students in these colonies.
- Idukki has the highest number of tribal colonies cut off digitally from the mainland — 75 colonies, accommodating over 2,000 tribal students. Kannur comes second with 1,140 students.
Efforts to install internet towers
- The department had sought the Forest Department’s permission to set up towers in tribal colonies situated inside the forest under the provisions of the Forest Rights Act.
- Internet and mobile connection in these colonies would be made available under a Union Cabinet-approved project that aims at providing 4G mobile services in remote areas.
- Community study rooms set up in various parts of the State provided facilities for students to use the Internet. However, students from remote digitally cut-off colonies seldom make use of such facilities.
- The previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had declared Internet connection a basic right when the ₹1,548-crore Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON).
- The project aimed at providing free Internet access to 20 lakh below the poverty line (BPL) families in the State and providing Internet connection at a nominal rate to the public — was launched in 2019 and the first phase of the project was commissioned in June 2023.
- The Kerala High Court had earlier held that the right to have access to the Internet is part of the fundamental right to education as well as the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
GS PAPER – II
ICSSR TO DEVELOP INDIANISED RESEARCH METHODOLOGY TOOLS
Why in news?
- The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) will soon announce the results of the research award proposals it had invited to study the impact of various schemes and public policy initiatives of the Union government.
About the research award
- About 500 researchers will get funding for the studies based on fieldwork focused on a specific geographical region.
- ICSSR has a mandate to carry out primary data-driven empirical research on the social and economic impact of the policies of the government.
- The ICSSR also plans to develop “Indianised research methodology tools” to study the country’s social and economic changes.
- Under the scheme, there are two types of studies. Collaborative studies with institutions [₹30 lakh for six months] and individual studies [₹6 lakh for six months] by encouraging researchers from peripheral areas and underprivileged institutions.
- About 500 proposals will be selected by an expert committee.
- The specific research outcome is to recommend the government about the direction in which these schemes are moving and to inform the people about these policies.
List of schemes included
- The schemes and policy initiatives for empirical research include the PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Awas Yojana, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana, PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Year of Millet 2023, Ayushman Bharat, Jan Aushadhi Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Make-in-India, PM Gati Shakti, New Education Policy 2020, Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, and the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 among others.
GS PAPER – III
ECUADOR REJECTS OIL DRILLING IN THE AMAZON
Why in news?
- In a historic decision, Ecuadorians voted against the oil drilling of a protected area in the Amazon that’s home to two uncontacted tribes and serves as a biodiversity hotspot.
Results of the poll
- Around six in ten Ecuadorians rejected the oil exploration in Block 44, situated within Yasuni National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.
- The outcome represents a significant blow to Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, who advocated for oil drilling, asserting that its revenues are crucial to the country’s economy.
- As a result of the vote, state oil company Petroecuador will be required to dismantle its operations in the coming months.
Yasuni National Park
- In 1989, Yasuni was designated a world biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO.
- Encompassing a surface area of over 1 million hectares, it boasts 610 species of birds, 139 species of amphibians, and 121 species of reptiles. At least three species are endemic.
- The area is inhabited by the Tagaeri and Taromenani, who live in self-isolation.
- The Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve is a Humid Tropical Rain Forest located in the Amazon region of Ecuador.
- Established in 1979, the Yasuní National Park is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.
- Yasuni National Park is home to 40% of Ecuador’s crude oil reserves – in the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields.