GS PAPER I NEWS
Glacial Lake Atlas of Ganga River Basin
Why in News
The Secretary of Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation recently released the Glacial Lake Atlas of Ganga Basin in a virtual event.
- The present glacial lake atlas is based on the inventoried glacial lakes in part of Ganga River basin from its origin to foothills of Himalayas. The study portion of Ganga River basin covers part of India and transboundary region.
- The Secretary of Department of Space & Chairman also launched the National Hydrology Project – Bhuvan portal of National Remote Sensing Centre.
- The National Hydrology Project or NHP– Bhuvan Portal is a repository of information on the initiatives undertaken by NRSC under NHP with a facility to download the reports and knowledge products being developed by NRSC.
- In the present study, glacial lakes with water spread area greater than 0.25 ha have been mapped using Resourcesat-2 (RS-2) Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor-IV (LISS-IV) satellite data using visual interpretation techniques.
- Based on its process of lake formation, location, and type of damming material, glacial lakes are identified in nine different types, majorly grouped into four categories.
Significance of Glacial Atlas
- In the context of climate change impact analysis, the atlas can be used as reference data for carrying out change analysis, both with respect to historical and future time periods.
- The atlas also provides authentic database for regular or periodic monitoring changes in spatial extent (expansion/shrinkage), and formation of new lakes.
- The atlas can also be used in conjunction with glacier information for their retreat and climate impact studies.
- Central and State Disaster Management Authorities can make use of the atlas for disaster mitigation planning and related program.
National Hydrology Project (NHP)
- National Hydrology Project (NHP) is a centrally sponsored scheme with 100% grant to Implementing agencies on pan India basis, was implemented in 2016.
- It aiming:
- Improving the extent, reliability and accessibility of water resources information;
- To strengthen the capacity of targeted water resource management institutions in India.
- Under the NHP, a Nationwide Repository of Water Resources data – NWIC has also been established.
- It carried out hydrological studies using satellite data and geospatial techniques. As a part of the responsibilities entrusted to NRSC under NHP, detailed glacial lake inventory, prioritization for Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) risk, and simulation of GLOF for selected lakes have been taken up for all the catchments of Indian Himalayan Rivers.
- Under this activity, an updated inventory of glacial lakes using high resolution satellite data was prepared for the Indus River basin and published in December 2020, and currently an updated inventory of glacial lakes has been prepared for the Ganga River basin.
GS PAPER II
One Nation, One Ration Card
Why in News
The Supreme Court has directed all states and UTs to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card system.
One Nation, One Ration Card
- The ONORC scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidized ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
- Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, about 81 crore persons are entitled to buy subsidized foodgrain — rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg, and coarse grains at Re 1/kg — from their designated Fair Price Shops (FPS) of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
- To promote this reform in the archaic Public Distribution System (PDS), the government has provided incentives to states.
- The Centre had even set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states during the Covid-19 pandemic 2020.
- At least 17 states, which implemented the ONORC reform, were allowed to borrow an additional Rs 37,600 crores in 2020-21.
- It is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS).
- The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at fair price shops.
- The system runs with the support of two portals —Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) (impds.nic.in) and Annavitran (annavitran.nic.in), which host all the relevant data.
Process under One Nation One Ration Card
- When a ration card holder goes to a fair price shop, he or she identifies himself or herself through biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real time with details on the Annavitaran portal.
- Once the ration card details are verified, the dealer hands out the beneficiary’s entitlements.
- While the Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions, inter-district and intra-district, the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.
Factors led to the launch of ONORC
- ONORC was launched in August, 2019. Work on ration card portability, however, had begun in April 2018 itself, with the launch of the IM-PDS. The idea was to reform the PDS, which has been historically marred by inefficiency and leakages.
- ONORC was initially launched as an inter-state pilot. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of migrant workers to return to their villages last year, a need was felt to expedite the rollout.
- As part of its Covid economic relief package, the government announced the national rollout of ONORC in all states and Union Territories by March 2021.
Current scenario of scheme
- Till date, 32 states and Union Territories have joined the ONORC, covering about 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries.
- Four states are yet to join the scheme — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal.
- According to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, about 1.35 crore portability transactions every month are being recorded under ONORC on an average.
GS PAPER II
Report on Not-for-Profit Hospital Model
Why in News
Recently, NITI Aayog released a comprehensive study on the not-for-profit hospital model in the country, to close the information gap on such institutions and facilitating robust policymaking in this area.
- There has been relatively low investment in the expansion of the health sector in the private domain.
- The study provides insights into the operation model of not-for-profit hospitals. It presents research-based findings on such hospitals—categorized under ownership and premise of service—and makes subsequent comparisons with private hospitals and health schemes of the Union government.
- NITI Aayog has been extensively studying the private-sector healthcare-delivery landscape in the country.
- While there exists adequate information on for-profit healthcare providers and institutions, there is a dearth of reliable and structured information on their not-for-profit counterparts, known for their tireless service in making quality healthcare accessible and affordable to everyone.
- The not-for-profit hospital sector provides not only curative but also preventive healthcare. It links healthcare with social reform, community engagement, and education.
- It uses government resources and grants to provide cost-effective healthcare to people without being concerned about profits. However, over the years, this sector has remained understudied.
- The study discusses in detail the cost-containment strategies implemented by not-for-profit hospitals. It seeks to understand the challenges that burden the operations of these institutions and hinder their growth.
- The report proposes short- and long-term policy interventions—such as developing criteria to identify these hospitals, ranking them through a performance index, and promoting top hospitals for practising philanthropy, among others.
- It also highlights the need to use the expertise of these hospitals in managing human resources with limited finance in remote areas.
GS PAPER II
Atmanirbhar Krishi app
Why in News
Recently, the central government launched “Atmanirbhar Krishi App” to provide farmers with actionable agricultural insights and early weather alerts.
- The Atmanirbhar Krishi app was created to equip farmers with actionable agricultural insights and early weather alerts.
- Data related to soil type, soil health, moisture, weather, and water table were aggregated and analysed to generate personalized insights related to crop selection, fertilizers requirements, and water needs for each farmer at the farm-holding level.
- The app was envisioned in 5 stages:
- Data aggregation;
- Building centralized insights;
- Enable local expertise (KVK) supported interactions and insights;
- Deriving Machine Learning inferences;
- Continuous improvement.
- With the Atmanirbhar Krishi app of the KisanMitr initiative, farmers will have in their hands, evidence-based information generated by our research organisations like IMD, ISRO, ICAR, and CGWA.
- The government considered the connectivity issues in the remote areas of the country, the app has been designed to work on minimal bandwidth.
Salient features of the app
- The data has been made comprehensible for farmers by simplifying the language. The app is also available in 12 languages.
- The Android and Windows versions of the app are available on Google Play Store and are free of cost for farmers, start-ups, KVKs, SHGs, or NGOs to use.
- Considering the connectivity issues in the remote areas of the country, the app has been designed to work on minimal bandwidth.
- The app does not collect any inputs from the farmer. It relies on the geo-location of the farm to provide relevant data.
GS PAPER III
National Statistics Day
Why in News
India observes National Statistics Day on the birth anniversary of PC Mahalanobis every year on 28th June, often referred to as the ‘father of Indian statistics’.
- Due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) celebrated Statistics Day, 2021 in virtual mode.
- The theme selected for the “Statistics Day” 2021 was Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – 2 (End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture).
- During the event, the winners of the National awards instituted by the Ministry were announced and they were felicitated virtually. Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis National Award in Official Statistics-2021 for the lifetime achievements was conferred upon Dr. R. B. Barman, Former Chairman, National Statistical Commission.
- Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis National Award in the category of in-service Official Statistician above 45 years of age, was conferred upon Dr. Sitabhra Sinha, Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.
- Prof. C.R. Rao National Award in Statistics for Young Statisticians-2021 was given to Dr. Kiranmoy Das, Associate Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.
- The winners of ‘On the Spot Essay Writing Competition’ for Post-Graduate Students on the subject relevant to Statistics as organized by the Ministry at All India level were also felicitated during the event virtually.
- Further, as a part of celebrations of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, an initiative of the Government, Ministry also released Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – National Indicator Framework (NIF)-Version 3.1, NIF Progress Report 2021, and Data Snapshot on SDGs’ NIF Progress Report 2021.
National Statistics Day
- The birth anniversary of PC Mahalanobis is observed as National Statistics Day. He referred to as the ‘father of Indian statistics’.
- PC Mahalanobis was born on June 29, 1893 in Kolkata, West Bengal.
- He was a key member of the first Planning Commission of independent India and a Padma Vibhushan awardee.
- The first National Statistics Day was observed on June 29, 2006. The day is dedicated to statistics in daily life and creating awareness among people on how statistics helps in framing policies.
- The key contribution of PC Mahalanobis is known as “Mahalanobis distance’’. The formula is used to find the distance between a point and a distribution, based on measurements in multiple dimensions. It is widely used in the field of cluster analysis and classification.
PC Mahalanobis and immense contribution
- With the objective of providing comprehensive socio-economic statistics, PC Mahalanobis had established the National Sample Survey in 1950.
- He had also set up the Central Statistical Organization to coordinate statistical activities in the country.
- A few of his major works include, the introduction of techniques for conducting large-scale sample surveys.
- He is credited with calculating acreages and crop yields by using random sampling methods.
- PC Mahalanobis had also devised a statistical method, which could be used to compare the socio-economic situation of different groups of people.
- PC Mahalanobis was a pioneer in applying statistics to planning for flood control.
Sustainable Development Goals
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
- The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
- They are included in a UN Resolution called the 2030 Agenda. The SDGs were developed in the Post-2015 Development Agenda as the future global development framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals which ended in 2015.
- The 17 SDGs are: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
GS PAPER III
Enforcing Contracts Portal
Why in News
On 28th June, 2021, “Enforcing Contracts Portal” was inaugurated by Secretary (Justice) at the Department of Justice, Delhi in the presence of senior officers of the Department of Justice.
- The Doing Business Report of World Bank Group benchmarks business regulations across 191 economies of the world.
- Within this, the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) index is a ranking system which is an indication of an economy’s position relative to that of other economies across 11 areas of business regulation.
- The “Enforcing Contracts” indicator is one such essential area that measures time and cost to resolve a standardized commercial dispute as well as a series of good practices in the judiciary.
- Currently, only the cities of Delhi and Mumbaiare under the purview of the Ease of Doing Business survey by World Bank.
- Kolkata and Bengaluru are likely to be included in the Doing Business Report in future.
- Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice act as the nodal department. It has been monitoring an array of legislative and policy reforms to strengthen the “Enforcing Contracts” regime for Ease of Doing Business in India in coordination with e-Committee, Supreme Court of India and the High Courts of Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Karnataka.
- In close collaboration with all of them, Department of Justice has been aggressively pursuing various reform measures to create an effective, efficient, transparent and robust ‘Contract Enforcement Regime’.
- The portal is envisioned to be a comprehensive source of information pertaining to the legislative and policy reforms being undertaken on the “Enforcing Contracts” parameters.
- It includes the latest data related to the functioning and disposal of commercial cases in the Dedicated Commercial Courts of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
- The new portal also hosts online reporting by all High Courts regarding the Mediation and Arbitration centres annexed to the Commercial Courts in order to monitor and promote institutional mediation & arbitration by way of Pre-institution Mediation and Settlement (PIMS) of commercial cases.
- PIMS has been introduced with the aim of reducing pendency of cases and to promote mediation as a viable dispute resolution alternative in commercial cases.
Ease of Doing Business (EoDB)
- The Doing Business project, launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.
- By gathering and analysing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time, Doing Business encourages economies to compete towards more efficient regulation; offers measurable benchmarks for reform; and serves as a resource for academics, journalists, private sector researchers and others interested in the business climate of each economy.
- In addition, Doing Business offers detailed subnational studies, which exhaustively cover business regulation and reform in different cities and regions within a nation.
- These studies provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas.
- Selected cities can compare their business regulations with other cities in the economy or region and with the 190 economies that Doing Business has ranked.
- The first Doing Business study, published in 2003, covered 5 indicator sets and 133 economies.
- This year’s study covers 11 indicator sets and 190 economies. Ten of these areas—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency—are included in the ease of doing business score and ease of doing business ranking.