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20 August, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II One Ration One Card Scheme: A boon for poor migrants
Delimitation of Constituencies in J&K
GS-III No harmful chemicals in PET bottles, finds CSIR study
Panchamirtham’ of Palani temple gets GI tag
RBI issues final norms for regulatory box Economic Issues
GS-II :
One Ration One Card Scheme: A boon for poor migrants

GS-II: One Ration One Card  Scheme: A boon for poor migrants

Context

Recently the government has launched the pilot project for the inter-state portability of ration cards between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and between Maharashtra and Gujarat, as part of its ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme.

What is a ration card?

  • A ration card is issued to the head of the family, depending on the number of members in a family and the financial status of the applicant.
  • It is used by households to get essential food grains at subsidised prices from designated ratio shops (also called fair price shops) under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
  • Over the years, different types of ration cards were issued depending on the level of deprivation.
  • Later, in 2013, when the National Food Security Bill (NFSA) was passed, different ration cards were compressed to just two — priority and Antyodaya (for the most poor).
  • The responsibility of identifying eligible families and issuing ration cards to them rests with the state/UT government.

What is a ration shop?

  • Ration shops can be privately owned or owned by cooperative societies or by the government.
  • Ownership licenses are issued by the concerned state government.
  • Presently, commodities including wheat, sugar, rice and kerosene are being allocated as part of the TPDS.
  • State governments have the discretion to provide additional commodities.

 ‘One Nation, One Ration card’ scheme

  • Since ration cards are issued by state governments, this implied that beneficiaries could procure food grains only from the designated ration shops within the concerned state.
  • If a beneficiary were to shift to another state, he/she would need to apply for a new ration card in the second state. There were other complications.
  • For instance, after marriage, a woman needed to get her name removed from the ration card issued to her parents, and get it added to the ration card issued to her husband’s family.
  • The ONORC scheme attempts to address this gap in TPDS delivery.
  • Essentially, the scheme has been launched keeping in mind the internal migration of our country, since people keep moving to different states in search of better job opportunities and higher standards of living.
  • As per Census 2011, 4.1 crore people were inter-state migrants and 1.4 crore people migrated (inter- and intra-state) for employment.

Good signs of implementation

  • With the ONORC scheme being implemented in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the beneficiary can buy food grains from ration shops located in either of the states.
  • The same is the case with Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • The government hopes to implement the scheme across India by June 1, 2020.
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GS-II :
Delimitation of Constituencies in J&K

GS-II: Delimitation of Constituencies in J&K

News

The Election Commission held internal discussions on the delimitation of constituencies ahead of elections to the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Resizing new constituencies

  • According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the UT of J&K would be increased from 107 to 114.
  • The total population would be divided over the 114 seats to get an average number of electors per constituency.
  • The Act also specifies that delimitation will be based on the 2011 census till 2026.

Delimitation Commission of India

  • The Delimitation commission or Boundary commission of India is a commission established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act.
  • The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
  • The representation from each State is not changed during this exercise. However, the numbers of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.
  • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • The Commission is a independent body whose orders cannot be challenged in any court of law.
  • The orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the respective State Legislative Assemblies. However, modifications are not permitted.
  • Delimitation commissions have been set up four times in the past — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 — under Delimitation Commission Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
  • The most recent delimitation commission was set up on 12 July 2002 after the 2001 census with Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court as its Chairperson.
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GS-III :
No harmful chemicals in PET bottles, finds CSIR study

GS-II: No harmful chemicals in PET bottles, finds CSIR study

Context

  • PET bottles are safe, a comprehensive evaluation by the CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore has determined.
  • For years there’s been a swirling debate internationally on whether PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles, which are the mainstay of plastic bottles, leach harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures.

About PET

  • PET is short for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester.
  • PET is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic that is widely used for packaging foods and beverages, especially convenience-sized soft drinks, juices and water.
  • It is also popular for packaging salad dressings, peanut butter, cooking oils, mouthwash, shampoo, liquid hand soap, window cleaner, even tennis balls.
  • Special grades of PET are used for carry-home food containers and prepared food trays that can be warmed in the oven or microwave.
  • The basic building blocks of PET are ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, which are combined to form a polymer chain.

Toxins are below detection limits (BDL)

  • The CFRTI analysis, commissioned by an industry body, concluded that antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, selenium and zinc “were below” their detection limits (BDL) of 0.001 mg/kg.
  • Along with metals, the scientists also measured terephthalic acid, Isophthalic acid, Ethylene Glycol, BPA (bis-phenol A) and phthalates.
  • Bisphenol-A (a synthetic organic compound and used in the manufacture of PET bottles) was below its detection limit of 0.02 mg/kg.
  • BPA is now phased out after research found a link between the presence of BPA and the disruption of hormone regulation, as well as breast cancer.
  • The CFTRI scientists found that the presence of metals, BPA and pthalates were “below detection limit”.

Compliant with global standards

  • The analysis found that no chemcials breached the EU-specified norms.
  • The reports were also below the EU regulation norms of the “specific migration limit”, which is the maximum amount of a substance that can migrate from a food packaging material or food container into food.

Safe for packaged water

  • The studies further confirmed that antimony does not leach out of PET bottles.
  • These findings further establish that no endocrine disruption happens from the use of PET bottles.
  • The scientists also studied water stored in PET bottles and checked whether it affected the hormone levels of rats and mice.
  • The evaluation found that the experimental male and female rats exhibited comparable blood hormone levels in both cases.
  • This conclusively proved that PET bottles did not cause any Endocrine Disruption activity if used to package water.
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GS-III :
Panchamirtham’ of Palani temple gets GI tag

GS-III: ‘Panchamirtham’ of Palani temple gets GI tag

News

The famous Palani panchamirtham, given as ‘prasadam’ at the Murugan temple at Palani has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been given the GI tag.

About the Panchamirtham

  • It is sweet in taste and one of the main offerings for Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy, the presiding deity of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, situated on Palani Hills.
  • The panchamirtham is a combination of five natural substances — banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom.
  • Dates and diamond sugar candies are added for flavour.
  • The panchamirtham is an ‘abhishega prasadam’ (food that is a religious offering), which is served in a semi-solid state.
  • Not even a single drop of water is added during the preparation of the panchamirtham.
  • This gives it its classic semi-solid consistency and taste. No preservatives or artificial ingredients are used.

What’s special with it?

  • The whole process of producing the panchamirtham is automated. It is doubly ensured that the hygienic aspects are maintained.
  • Devotees who visit the temple are offered the panchamirtham as a prasadam in the hill temple as well as in stalls run by temple administration at Adivaram.
  • It is believed that the panchamirtham cures diseases of devotees.

About the region

  • GI application, the geographical area for production of panchamirtham is Palani town in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu. It lies within latitude of 10.44 ° and longitude of 77.52 °.
  • According to the GI application filed, the Palani panchamirtham is prepared under the guidance given by the CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute) Mysore, a government of India undertaking.
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GS-III : Economic Issues
RBI issues final norms for regulatory box

GS-III: RBI issues final norms for regulatory box

News

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued the final framework for regulatory sandbox in order to enable innovations in the financial technology.

Regulatory Sandbox

  • A regulatory sandbox usually refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled regulatory environment for which regulators may permit certain regulatory relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing.
  • The objective of the sandbox is to foster responsible innovation in financial services, promote efficiency and bring benefit to consumers.
  • It provides a secure environment for fintech firms to experiment with products under supervision of a regulator.
  • It is an infrastructure that helps fintech players live test their products or solutions, before getting the necessary regulatory approvals for a mass launch, saving start-ups time and cost.
  • The concept of a regulatory sandbox or innovation hub for fintech firms was mooted by a committee headed by then RBI executive director Sudarshan Sen.
  • The panel submitted its report in Nov 2017 has called for a regulatory sandbox to help firms experiment with fintech solutions, where the consequences of failure can be contained and reasons for failure analysed.
  • If the product appears to have the potential to be successful, it might be authorised and brought to the broader market more quickly.

What are new RBI norms?

  • RBI will launch the sandbox for entities that meet the criteria of minimum net worth of ?25 lakh as per their latest audited balance sheet.
  • The entity should either be a company incorporated and registered in the country or banks licensed to operate in India.
  • While money transfer services, digital know-your customer, financial inclusion and cyber security products are included, crypto currency, credit registry and credit information have been left out.

Meeting norms on customer privacy, data protection, security and access to payment data, the security of transactions, KYC, anti-money laundering will be mandatory.

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