Sao Joao festival
GS Paper 1: Art & Culture
Prelims exam level: Sao Joao festival
Mains exam Level: Not Much
As in every monsoon, Catholics in Goa celebrate Sao Joao, the feast of St John the Baptist.
What is Sao Joao?
• In Goa, Catholics celebrate all the feasts of the Roman Catholic Church, which include the feast of St John the Baptist (John the Baptist because he had baptised Jesus Christ on the river Jordan).
• Sao Joao is an occasion for the family and the villagers to get to know their newly wed daughters’ husbands a little better.
• The festival also includes playing the traditional gumott (percussion instrument), a boat festival, servings of feni, and a place of pride for new sons-in-law.
• The festivities also include revellers wearing the Kopel, the crown of fruits, flowers and leaves, parading in villages.
• Full-throated renditions of Konkani songs written for the occasion are accompanied by traditional musical instruments like the gumott and cansaim (cymbal).
National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS)
GS Paper 2: Government schemes & policies
Prelims exam level: NMMS
Mains exam Level: MGNREGA and related issues
Why in News
Peoples Action For Employment Guarantee (PAEG) says that The Union Rural Development Ministry must withdraw its order to discontinue manual attendance as it’s is a violation of the NREGA law.
What is National Mobile Monitoring Software?
• National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) App was launched by the Minister of Rural Development in 2021.
• This app is aimed at bringing more transparency and ensures proper monitoring of the schemes.
• The NMMS App permits taking real time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGA worksites along with geo-tagged photograph.
• The app helps in increasing citizen oversight of the programme.
• The National Mobile Monitoring App is applicable for the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA workers for all the States/ Union Territories.
Issues with NMMS App
• Peoples Action For Employment Guarantee says rule that mandates recording attendance on a mobile app is a violation of the NREGA law
• Sociological issues with the app including discouraging the women from being the supervisors or NREGA mates.
• The availability of muster roll only digitally limits the access as Section 15 – schedule 1 lays down rules about the muster rolls, clearly says that the muster roll must be accessible to the workers on demand all days during all working hours.
• The app specifies that it is mandatory for workers to upload two time stamped photos within a pre-determined time window designed by the app. “This is in direct contravention of Section 3 of the Act which clearly states that workers are entitled to their wages under MGNREGA on the basis of work completed by them that is on a piece rate basis.
• The app discourages the women from being mates which fundamentally undermines the Ministry’s own repeated push towards encouraging women workers as NREGA mates. “Having a smartphone is now mandatory for mates to record attendance on the NMMS. However, as you appreciate, many women from poorer households, a large fraction of whom belong to SC/ST households, do not have access to smartphones.
• The app has been designed completely in English and there is no technical help provided to redress several problems that the users face.
What is MGNREGA?
• The MGNREGA stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005.
• This is labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘Right to Work’.
• The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Features of the scheme
• MGNREGA is unique in not only ensuring at least 100 days of employment to the willing unskilled workers, but also in ensuring an enforceable commitment on the implementing machinery i.e., the State Governments, and providing a bargaining power to the labourers.
• The failure of provision for employment within 15 days of the receipt of job application from a prospective household will result in the payment of unemployment allowance to the job seekers.
• Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.
• Employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.
GS Paper 3: Policy for export import
Prelims exam Level: Direct fact
Mains exam Level: Policy for export import
Why in news
The Prime Minister launched the NIRYAT portal, which will dedicatedly deal with the import and export analysis of India.
About NIRYAT PORTAL
● NIRYAT or the National Import-Export Record for Yearly Analysis of Trade, has been launched by the government to provide important real-time data to all stakeholders.
● NIRYAT has been pegged as a one-stop platform for stakeholders for easy access to critical information related to India’s foreign trade by the Centre.
● NIRYAT portal represents aspirations of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
● It will bring positive changes in the field of trade and commerce, especially for MSMEs.
● From this portal, important information related to more than 30 commodity groups exported to more than 200 countries of the world will be available.
● In the coming time, information related to district-wise exports will also be available on this. This will also strengthen the efforts to develop the districts as important centers of exports.
● This will facilitate further strengthening of India’s financial sector in line with the 3Ts of Trade, Tourism and Technology.
National Logistics Excellence Awards
GS Paper 3: Trade promotion
Prelims exam Level: Direct fact related to awarding ministry and winners
Mains exam Level: Measure to reduce cost of supply chain, overall trade promotion and ease of doing business.
Why in news
The Government of India hosted its first-ever National Logistics Excellence Awards in New Delhi, and announced the winners in different categories.
About National Logistics Excellence Awards
● The ‘National Logistics Excellence Awards’ will spotlight change makers driving innovation and transformation in the logistics sector in the face of many challenges, such as third-party logistics players/service providers or user industries.
● With 169 entries and 12 categories for awards in its first edition, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries undertook a year-long process of identifying, categorising, and selecting qualified applications.
Its key objectives are as follows:
● Catalyse systematic transformation of the Indian logistics sector by shining the spotlight on best practices in logistics.
● Highlight the initiatives and achievements of top performers and create a repository for dissemination of best practices that can become benchmarks for the rest of the industry.
● Acknowledge the extraordinary measures organisations have taken to address the vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
● To encourage the industry to work with the government to bring down the logistics cost from 12-14% to 7-8% as prevailing in the developed countries.
● The availability of cost-effective logistics is critical for growth of the Industries and Indian Economy.
Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) Index
● The Logistic Ease Across Different States (LEADS) index was launched in 2018. It was developed by the Commerce and Industry Ministry. The index ranks states in terms of logistical support to promote goods trade.
● First edition of the report, LEADS 2018, focused on export-import trade. It assessed the efficiency of the logistics ecosystem across the state and UT. LEADS 2019 covered international as well as domestic trade. The third edition LEADS 2021 has analysed the domestic and EXIM logistics ecosystem across the states.
● The overall index is based on twenty-one indicators including seventeen perception indicators and four objective indicators.
● In the 2021 edition, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab emerged as best performing states with respect to mobility of goods and efficiency of the logistics chain.
○ Within the North Eastern States and Himalayan Region, Jammu and Kashmir is the top ranker followed by Sikkim and Meghalaya.
○ Delhi stands at the top rank among Other UTs.
○ Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand have witnessed a remarkable improvement in their ranks compared to 2019 LEADS ranking and have emerged as the top improvers.
Build resilience against recurring floods
GS Paper 3: Disaster Management
Prelims exam level: Brahmaputra, Barak and their tributaries.
Mains exam Level: Disaster management
Why in News
The Northeastern states are facing the fury of the Brahmaputra, Barak and their tributaries. Nearly 100 people have lost their lives in the rain-induced landslides and floods that have engulfed 30 of Assam’s 35 districts.
The lacking from the governments’ side
• The Centre and state government have commenced relief operations but the raging rivers have hobbled these activities.
• Assam Chief Minister has reportedly said that once the waters recede, the government will find a permanent solution to the state’s flood problem.
• Similar statements have been made before, by the previous governments also. But words have rarely been matched by action.
Issue with current walled structures
• For more than half a century, Assam has relied on embankments to stave off the swelling rivers during the monsoons.
• A growing body of literature shows that these walled structures — most of them have not been repaired for decades — are ill-equipped to tackle floods, especially at a time when climate change is complicating the state’s hydrology.
• Assam’s flood management data shows that it needs to take such studies seriously.
• Last year, the state’s water resources minister informed the Assam assembly that close to 1,300 cases of embankment breaches have been recorded since 2000.
o Reports of the state’s Disaster Management Authority show that the problem has intensified in recent times.
• Floods ripped apart nearly 200 embankments in 2020. This year, they have destroyed nearly 300 such structures.
View of Parliamentary standing Committee
• A report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources last year advised the state government to strengthen flood protection structures, address soil erosion and de-silt rivers.
• But these measures continue to be on the to-do list of the Assam government. In fact, the state’s flood management outlay has come down in the past two years.
Rainfall in Assam
• Assam has received nearly twice its average June rainfall in the first three weeks of the month.
• The state’s rainfall for March-May was 62 per cent more than the normal average.
• Destruction of natural wetlands and outmoded sewer systems in the state’s cities — including in Guwahati, have made these urban centres susceptible to water logging.
• Waterbody restoration and sewer system overhaul might take time. Meanwhile, the state government would do well to build people’s resistance to the elements in cities, towns and villages.
• Such measures include putting flood warning systems in place and shifting people and livestock to safer locations. The state’s annual suffering must end.
Place in News
Prelims exam level: Snake island, Black sea
Mains exam Level: Not Much
Why in News
Ukraine has said it has caused “significant losses” to the Russian military in airstrikes on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, in the Black Sea.
The Snake Island
• Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake or Serpent Island, is a small piece of rock less than 700 metres from end to end, that has been described as being “X-shaped”.
• It is located 35 km from the coast in the Black Sea, to the east of the mouth of the Danube and roughly southwest of the port city of Odessa.
• The island, which has been known since ancient times belongs to Ukraine.
The Black Sea
• The famed water body bound by Ukraine to the north and northwest, Russia and Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west, which links to the Sea of Marmara through the Bosphorus and has traditionally been Russia’s warm water gateway to Europe.