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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

11 Jun, 2021

63 Min Read

Atlantic Charter after 80 years

GS-I : World History U.S.A

Atlantic Charter after 80 years

What is Atlantic Charter?

  • The Atlantic Charter was a joint declaration issued during World War II (1939-45) by the United States and Great Britain that set out a vision for the postwar world. It was announced on August 14, 1941.
  • Among its major points were a nation’s right to choose its own government, the easing of trade restrictions and a plea for postwar disarmament.
  • The document is considered one of the first key steps toward the establishment of the United Nations in 1945.

The Atlantic Charter included 8 common principles:

  • Among them, the United States and Britain agreed not to seek territorial gains from the war, and they opposed any territorial changes made against the wishes of the people concerned.
  • The two countries also agreed to support the restoration of self-government to those nations who had lost it during the war.
  • Additionally, the Atlantic Charter stated that people should have the right to choose their own form of government.
  • Other principles included access for all nations to raw materials needed for economic prosperity and an easing of trade restrictions.
  • The document also called for international cooperation to secure improved living and working conditions for all; freedom of the seas; and for all countries to abandon the use of force.

US – UK signed Atlantic Charter

  • President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain signed a new version of the 80-year-old “Atlantic Charter”, using their first meeting to redefine the Western alliance and accentuate what they said was a growing divide between battered democracies and their autocratic rivals, led by Russia and China.
  • The two leaders unveiled the new charter as they sought to focus the world’s attention on emerging threats from cyberattacks, the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended the global economy, and climate change, using language about reinforcing NATO and international institutions that Biden hoped would make clear that the Trump era of America First was over.
  • But the two men also continued to grapple with old-world challenges, including Biden’s private admonishment of the prime minister against taking actions that could inflame sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.
  • The new charter, a 604-word declaration, was an effort to stake out a grand vision for global relationships in the 21st century, just as the original, first drafted by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a declaration of a Western commitment to democracy and territorial integrity just months before the United States entered World War II.
  • In a direct rebuke of Russia and China, the new agreement calls on Western allies to “oppose interference through disinformation or other malign influences, including in elections.”
  • It ranks the threats to democratic nations in a technological era: “We affirm our shared responsibility for maintaining our collective security and international stability and resilience against the full spectrum of modern threats, including cyber threats.”
  • And it vows that “as long as there are nuclear weapons, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. Our NATO Allies and partners will always be able to count on us, even as they continue to strengthen their own national forces.”
  • The new charter explicitly calls for both countries to adhere to “the rules-based international order,” a phrase that Trump and his aides sought, unsuccessfully, to banish from previous statements by Western leaders, convinced that it represented a globalist threat to Trump’s America First agenda at home.
  • Public health experts applauded Biden’s announcement. If earlier donations had been little more than Band-Aids on an enormous global vaccine deficit, the 500 million doses were more in keeping with the scale of the challenge, they said.
  • Negotiations over the arrangements, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, have grown increasingly contentious, with Britain threatening to pull the plug on the deal unless Brussels makes concessions.

Source: TH

UNDP urges to replicate Aspirational Districts programme of India

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government Schemes & Programmes

UNDP urges to replicate the Aspirational Districts programme in India

  • Aspirational Districts are those districts in India, that are affected by poor socio-economic indicators.
  • It has a vision of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas. It was launched in 2018.
  • The 117 districts were identified from 28 states, at least one from each state.
  • At the Government of India level, the programme is anchored by NITI Aayog. In addition, individual Ministries have assumed responsibility to drive the progress of districts.
  • The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts.
  • ADP is based on 49 indicators from the 5 identified thematic areas, which focus closely on improving people’s Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure.
  • With States as the main drivers, ADP seeks to focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
  • The broad contours of the programme are:
  1. Convergence (of Central & State Schemes) which brings together the horizontal and vertical tiers of the government.
  2. Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors) which enables impactful partnerships between government, market and civil society.
  3. Competition among districts driven by a spirit of the mass movement, it fosters accountability on district governments.
  • The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) is one of the largest experiments on outcomes-focused governance in the world.
  • It focuses on becoming the best district in the State and then the best in the country.
  • It includes District Action Plans and the convergence of Central State efforts.
  • Champions of Change is the Aspirational Dist Dashboard for real-time data and ranking.

What is the news?

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India has lauded the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) as ‘a very successful model of local area development that ‘should serve as a best practice for several other countries where regional disparities in development status persist for many reasons.
  • The report said due to concerted efforts made under the ADP, previously neglected districts, including those in remote locations and those affected by Left Wing Extremism, ‘have experienced more growth and development in the last three years than ever before. Notwithstanding some speedbumps in its journey, the APD ‘has been immensely successful in propelling development among the backward districts.
  • UNDP’s analysis across the 5 key sectors of the ADP—health and nutrition; education; agriculture and water resources; basic infrastructure; and skill development and financial inclusion—found that the programme has acted as a catalyst for expediting development in these districts.
  • A comparison between the Aspirational Districts and their counterparts found that ADs have outperformed non-ADs.
  • Across the sectors of health and nutrition and financial inclusion, the report found that 9.6% more home deliveries are attended by a skilled birth attendant; 5.8% more pregnant women with severe anaemia are treated; 4.8% more children diagnosed with diarrhoea are treated; 4.5% more pregnant women register for antenatal care within their first trimester; 406 and 847 more enrolments, and 1580 more accounts opened per 1 lakh population under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantra Suraksha Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, respectively.
  • UNDP also recommends the ‘Malaria Mukt Bastar Abhiyaan’ in Bijapur and Dantewada, which has reduced malaria incidences in these districts by 71% and 54%, respectively, as one of the ‘best practices found in Aspirational Districts.
  • The report also appreciated the delta rankings provided on the programme’s Champions of Change dashboard.
  • The competitive and dynamic culture fostered by it has successfully pushed several low-performing districts (as per baseline rankings) to improve their standing in the past three years. Simdega (Jharkhand), Chandauli (Uttar Pradesh), Sonbhadra (Uttar Pradesh) and Rajgarh (Madhya Pradesh) were found to have progressed the most since the beginning of the programme.
  • The report recommends several initiatives undertaken under the programme as best practices. Noteworthy among them is GoalMart, an e-commerce portal launched by Assam’s Goalpara district administration ‘to promote rural, ethnic and agrarian products of the district in the national and global markets. The initiative has been particularly helpful during the Covid-19 lockdown as it released farmers and retailers from the clutches of brick-and-mortar shops. Goalpara’s black rice is a favourite on this portal—and it has also proven to be highly profitable to the farmers. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district decided to experiment with the cultivation of black rice, due to its high demand in global markets and good profit margins. The project was a success and high-quality black rice is now being exported to Australia and New Zealand.
  • As regards challenges and suggestions, the report said some stakeholders highlighted the need to revise a few indicators that are close to being saturated or met by most districts, such as ‘electrification of households’ as an indicator of basic infrastructure. It was also found that while on average, the districts have seen an increase in resilience and decrease in vulnerabilities, the least-improved districts have witnessed an increase in vulnerabilities, which requires a special focus on the sectors in which these districts have underperformed.
  • The report said ADP is ‘aligned to the principle of “leave no one behind”—the vital core of the SDGs. Political commitment at the highest level has resulted in the rapid success of the programme’.

Conclusion

Overall, the report has appreciated the positive impact of the programme and stressed the need to ensure ‘that the focus on development is encouraged further, and momentum gained so far in expediting growth is maintained. Based on the findings of the evaluation, it is recommended that the success of the programme be scaled up and replicated for other sectors and districts.

Source: PIB

Maharashtra govt. clears action plan to protect heritage trees

GS-II : Government policies and interventions State related legislation

Maharashtra govt. clears action plan to protect heritage trees

  • The State will also bring about amendments in the Maharashtra (Urban Area) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act.
  • It passed an action plan to protect and preserve trees older than 50 years in urban areas by terming them heritage trees.
  • The plan includes the
  1. Concept of heritage tree and plan of action for conservation;
  2. Method to define age of the tree;
  3. Compensatory plantation;
  4. Rules to be followed before hacking trees;
  5. Formation of the Maharashtra Tree Authority;
  6. Structure of the local tree authority and their duties;
  7. Tree census;
  8. Fixing land of tree plantation;
  9. Transplantation of trees; and
  10. Tree cess and fine to be charged.
  • As per the plan, trees older than 50 will be termed heritage trees. The Environment and Climate Change Department will issue guidelines in consultation with the State Forest Department based on the existing methods.
  • Compensatory plantation will include planting the number of trees equivalent to the age of trees to be cut. The saplings need to be six to eight feet in height while planting and they will undergo geo-tagging within seven years of the caring period. The option of monetary compensation has also been given, instead of the compensatory plantation.
  • A State-level Tree Authority will be formed to protect and preserve heritage trees.
  1. The authority will hear applications seeking permission to cut 200 or more trees that are five or more years old.
  2. The local tree authorities will come under this body.
  3. Tree experts will be part of the local tree authorities.
  4. These bodies will ensure that the tree census is conducted after every five years.
  5. They will also be in charge of counting heritage trees, ensuring their preservation, keeping tabs on tree plantation, pruning and caring of trees, and ensuring that 33% of government land is used for tree plantation.
  • The State authority will issue directions for the use of tree cess. The fine amount cannot be more than ? 1 lakh per tree in case of violations.

Source: TH

Agriculture Mechanization in India

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

Agriculture Mechanization in India

Why is Agriculture Mechanisation important?

  • Agricultural Mechanization plays a vital role in optimizing the use of land, water energy resources, manpower and other inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc to maximize the productivity of the available cultivable area and make agriculture a more profitable and attractive profession for rural youth.
  • Agricultural Mechanization is one of the key drivers for the sustainable development of the agriculture sector.
  • Sustainable Agriculture mechanization growth will require appropriate and precision agricultural machinery adequately supported by the latest technology.

Sub mission on Agriculture Mechanization

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched a Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) in 2014-15 with the objectives of increasing the reach of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers and to the regions & difficult area where farm power availability is low.
  • To boost up mechanization in the agriculture sector improved agricultural implements and machinery are essential inputs for modern agriculture that enhance the productivity of crops besides reducing human drudgery and cost of cultivation.
  • Mechanization also helps in improving the utilization efficiency of other inputs therefore considered to be one of the most important segments of the agriculture sector to boost the income of farmers and growth of the agricultural economy.
  • For strengthening of agricultural mechanization in the country and to bring more inclusiveness Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) has been introduced with the main objectives of are
  1. To promote ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ and ‘Hi-tech Hubs of High-Value Machines’
  2. To offset the adverse economies of scale arising due to small and fragmented landholding and high cost of individual ownership;
  3. Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration and capacity building activities and
  4. ensuring performance testing and certification of agricultural machines at designated testing centres located all over the country.
  • To empower the farmers through Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) scheme, Government of India has released funds for various activities of Farm Mechanization like Establishment of Custom Hiring Centres, Farm Machinery Bank, High-tech Hubs and distribution of various agricultural machinery etc to different states.

Source: PIB

CHIME Telescope

GS-III : S&T International S&T initiative

CHIME Telescope

  • Scientists with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Collaboration, who include researchers at the Pune-based Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), have assembled the largest collection of fast radio bursts (FRBs) in the telescope’s first FRB catalogue.
  • While catching sight of an FRB is considered a rare thing in the field of radio astronomy, prior to the CHIME project, radio astronomers had only caught sight of around 140 bursts in their scopes since the first FRB was spotted in 2007.

What is CHIME?

  • CHIME is an interferometric radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, Canada.
  • It consists of four antennas consisting of 100 x 20-meter cylindrical parabolic reflectors with 1024 dual-polarization radio receivers suspended on support above them.
  • The telescope receives radio signals each day from half of the sky as the Earth rotates.
  • While most radio astronomy is done by swiveling a large dish to focus light from different parts of the sky, CHIME stares, motionless, at the sky, and focuses incoming signals using a correlator.
  • This is a powerful digital signal processor that can work through huge amounts of data, at a rate of about seven terrabytes per second, equivalent to a few percent of the world’s Internet traffic.

What are Fast Radio Bursts?

  • FRBs are oddly bright flashes of light, registering in the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum, which blaze for a few milliseconds before vanishing without a trace.
  • These brief and mysterious beacons have been spotted in various and distant parts of the universe, as well as in our own galaxy.
  • Their origins are unknown and their appearance is highly unpredictable.
  • But the advent of the CHIME project — a large stationary radio telescope in British Columbia, Canada — has been a game changer and has nearly quadrupled the number of fast radio bursts discovered to date.
  • With more observations, astronomers hope soon to pin down the extreme origins of these curiously bright signals.
  • The telescope has detected a whopping 535 new fast radio bursts in its first year of operation itself, between 2018 and 2019.
  • When the scientists mapped their locations, they found the bursts were evenly distributed in space, seeming to arise from any and all parts of the sky.
  • From the FRBs that CHIME was able to detect, the scientists calculated that bright fast radio bursts occur at a rate of about 800 per day across the entire sky — the most precise estimate of FRBs overall rate to date.

Source: TH

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