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16 Aug, 2019

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Women Transforming India Awards

GS-I :

Women Transforming India Awards


To create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and highlight the various efforts made by Government in the biofuel sector.


This year the theme of World Biofuel Day is “Production of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO)”.

Biofuels have the benefits of reduction of import dependence, cleaner environment, additional income to farmers and employment generation.

The biofuel programme also compliments the Government of India’s initiatives for Make in India, Swachh Bharat and increasing farmers' income. A number of initiatives have been undertaken to increase the production and blending of biofuels since 2014.

In India, the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying which adversely affects the health due to the formation of polar compounds during frying. These polar compounds are associated with diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and liver diseases among others.

UCO is either not discarded at all or disposed off in an environmentally hazardous manner choking drains and sewerage systems.

The National Policy on Biofuels, released by the Government of India in 2018, envisages the production of biofuel from UCO.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is implementing a strategy to divert UCO from the food value chain and curb current illegal usage.

The benefits of transformation of UCO will help bring health benefits as there would be no recycling of the UCO, employment generation, infrastructural investment in rural areas & cleaner environment with a reduced carbon footprint.

To facilitate the production of Biodiesel from UCO, the Oil Marketing Companies shall float an Expression of Interest (EOI) for procurement of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil across 100 cities.

The purpose of inviting this EOI is to encourage the applicants to set up Biodiesel producing plants from Used Cooking Oil (UCO), and processing plants and further utilise the existing potential of UCO-based Bio-diesel in India.

Source: The Hindu

Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs


GS-II : Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs


  • Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has sought a consensus on a Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs. This has been a longstanding concern — progress has been slow and uneven.
  • A Code of Conduct for members of Rajya Sabha has been in force since 2005; there is no such code for Lok Sabha.


  1. The Code of conduct for high constitutional functionaries and representatives of the people have been discussed for a long. A code for Union ministers was adopted in 1964, and state governments were advised to adopt it as well.
  2. A conference of Chief Justices in 1999 resolved to adopt a code of conduct for judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts — this 15-point ‘Re-instatement of Values in Judicial Life’ recommended that serving judges should maintain an air of “aloofness” in their official and personal lives.
  3. In the case of MPs, the first step was the constitution of Parliamentary Standing Committees on Ethics in both Houses. The Committee in Rajya Sabha was inaugurated by Chairman K R Narayanan on May 30, 1997 “to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the Members and to examine the cases referred to it with reference to ethical and other misconduct of Members”.

Why do We Need a Code of Conduct For Politicians?

  • Elections in India are often remembered for personal attacks, snide remarks and hate speeches made at the expense of taking political discourse to its nadir.
  • In a bid to assert their superiority over the rest, some political leaders go overboard and blur the line between public and private lives. Some even threaten voters with dire consequences if they are not voted to power.
  • Therefore, to ensure civility in political speeches and expressions, establishing code of conduct for politicians is mandatory.

In short, Code of Conduct for Politicians is needed mainly because of the following reasons:

  1. The politicians representing their constituencies in the Parliament have time and again brought ill-repute to the institution with their incivility.
  2. Creating ruckus in Parliament; making unacceptable remarks and disrupting the House proceedings are some of the major allegations they face.
  3. The tenure of some of the politicians is also fraught with severe charges of impropriety.
  4. It has been long since a parliamentary panel had recommended a 14-point code of conduct that somewhat outlines what’s expected from politicians.

Key recommendations:

  1. Prohibit MPs from misusing the power and immunities they get.
  2. An MP should avoid conflict between a private and a public interest.
  3. No parliamentarian should be allowed to vote on those questions in the House, in which he/she has a vested interest.
  4. Amend the Constitution to ensure a minimum of 110 days of sitting in a legislature having more than 100 members, and 90-50 days of sitting in Houses with less than 100 members depending on the size of the State involved.
  5. The filing by legislators of a statement of income, assets and liabilities, and an indication of changes in these figures over time.
  6. Punishment of members by admonition, reprimand, censure or withdrawal from the House in case of violations or breach of the code of conduct.
  7. Automatic suspension from the House of any member involved in offences of grave misconduct.

Need of the hour:

  • There’s a lot more than the Election Commission ought to do to make it difficult for errant politicians. Its responsibility doesn’t end with the filing of an FIR against a candidate who is violating the code of conduct. It should direct political parties to withdraw such candidates.
  • Stronger actions such as derecognizing political parties and other powers need to be exercised for the larger interest of the democracy.


A code of conduct for legislators is absolutely essential at this point of time, when coalition Governments mean increasing and more intense activity within the walls of the legislatures.

Source: The Hindu

Shimla Agreement


GS-II: Shimla Agreement


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Referring to the Simla Agreement, which was signed by India and Pakistan in 1972, Guterres said the “final status of J&K is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”.

What is Simla Agreement and why was it signed?

The Simla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 2 July 1972, following a full-blown war between India and Pakistan in 1971.

The Simla Agreement was “much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war (i.e. to bring about withdrawals of troops and an exchange of PoWs).” It was a comprehensive blue print for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.

Under the Simla Agreement both countries undertook to abjure conflict and confrontation which had marred relations in the past, and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.

The two countries not only agreed to put an end to “conflict and confrontation” but also work for the “promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the sub-continent, so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources and energies to the pressing talk of advancing the welfare of their peoples.”

How was this to be achieved?

  • In order to achieve this objective, both governments agreed that the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations would govern bilateral relations and differences would be resolved by “peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.”
  • Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the two sides had agreed that the line of control “resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971, shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this Line.”
  • Both governments had also agreed that their respective Heads would meet again at a “mutually convenient time in the future the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and arrangements for the establishment of durable peace and normalization of relations, including the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.”

India had three primary objectives at Shimla:

  1. First, a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue or, failing that, an agreement that would constrain Pakistan from involving third parties in discussions about the future of Kashmir.
  2. Second, it was hoped that the Agreement would allow for a new beginning in relations with Pakistan based upon Pakistan’s acceptance of the new balance of power.
  3. Third, it left open the possibility of achieving both these objectives without pushing Pakistan to the wall and creating a revanchist anti-India regime.

Source: The Hindu

SBM 2.0 focussed on ODF sustainability:Govt


GS-II: SBM 2.0 focussed on ODF sustainability: Govt


Nearly 93.1% of rural Indian households have access to toilets and 96.5% of these toilets are in constant usage, according to the second edition of NARSS in 2018-19.

SBM 2.0

  1. Sustaining investment on ODF.
  2. Faecal sludge management dedicated programme, which will ensure that each district will have FSTP (faecal sludge treatment plant).
  3. Plastic waste management by creating material recovery facility and plastic treatment and management facility in each gram panchayat.
  4. Solid and liquid waste management support to villages for safe disposal of solid and liquid waste.
  5. Investing funds for behaviour change through IEC (Information, Education and Communication) ­exercise, training masons to promote retrofitting of toilets and panchayat pradhans to sustain ODF status.

Way ahead

  • The government should make a paradigm shift from IEC to BCC – behaviour change communication approach.
  • While IEC collects information on the use of toilets, BCC talks about underlying factors of why they are not using the toilets and tries to address them through behavioural science.

Source: Indian Express

‘Uber for tractors’: Government to launch app to aid farmers.


GS-III: ‘Uber for tractors’: Government to launch the app to aid farmers


A laser-guided land leveller uses technology to accurately flatten a field in a fraction of the time than an oxen-powered scraper. But such Hitech levellers cost at least ?3 lakh and is beyond the reach of the average small farmer.A new app described as “Uber for tractors” offers a solution.


  • Farmers save precious groundwater and increase productivity by 10 to 15%.
  • Provide farmers to have affordable access to cutting-edge technology.
  • There are now more than 38,000 custom hiring centres (CHCs) across the country, which rent out 2.5 lakh pieces of farm equipment every year. The app connects farmers with these CHCs.
  • The app will also create an invaluable database for policy-makers, who can track the use and cost of equipment.

Source: The Hindu

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