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27 Dec, 2020

49 Min Read

PM: DDC polls a new chapter in democracy

GS-II : Indian Polity J&K issue

PM: DDC polls a new chapter in Democracy

  • Prime Minister on Saturday praised the Jammu and Kashmir administration for the “peaceful and successful” conduct of the maiden District Development Council (DDC) elections and said the people of the Union Territory had written a new chapter in India’s democracy by participating in large numbers.
  • “The completion of DDC polls puts in place a three­tier Panchayati Raj system, fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s Gram Swarajya Dream.
  • Referring to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Modi said, “Vajpayee would always talk of Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat. We are following the mantra today.”

What are the District Development Councils (DDCs)?

  • The Central government has amended Jammu and Kashmir’s Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, to establish District Development Councils (DDCs) in all districts in the union territory.
  • This is the first time such councils have been established in the country.
  • According to the amendment, every district in J&K will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies to elect members of the body in the maiden DDC elections to be held later this year.
  • Officials added the move was the final step in the implementation of the 73rd Amendment, which envisages the Gram Sabha as the foundation of the Panchayat Raj system and empowers Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.
  • Top government sources said the move has been made keeping in mind the upcoming DDC elections. Officials said the central government’s move to establish DDCs is aimed at enhancing grassroots-level democracy across J&K.
  • For each district there shall be a District Development Council, having jurisdiction over the entire district excluding such portions of the district as are included in a Municipality or Municipal Corporation constituted under any law for the time being in force,” states the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Fourth Order, 2020.

For complete news on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019: click here

Source: TH

The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

The Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020

UPSC GS-PAPER-2 GOVERNANCE – Article -21 & 25 related issue

Context: Highly important to study secularism. MP Government initiated the war against LOVE JIHAD which many groups of people considered the dilution of fundamental rights and freedom of conscience. Article-21 is in the debate which permits RIGHT TO MARRIAGE.

The Madhya Pradesh government has recently passed an ordinance to deal with unlawful religious conversions, which are in opposition of various judgements of the Supreme Court.

What it is?

  • It provides for a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of 1 lakh for conversion through “marriage or by any other fraudulent means”.
  • The Bill, in some ways, is similar to the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, notified in Uttar Pradesh last month, which too provides for a maximum punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment for “fraudulent conversions”, even for the sake of marriage.
  • Offences under the proposed law would be cognisable and non­bailable.
  • The Bill seeks to replace the Religious Freedom Act of 1968.
  • “The new legislation will prohibit religious conversion or such efforts by misrepresentation, allurement, force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any other fraudulent means.
  • Abetment and conspiracy for religious conversion will also be prohibited under it.
  • Any marriage solemnized in violation of the proposed law would be considered null and void.
  • Those willing to convert would need to apply to the district administration 60 days in advance.
  • The religious leaders facilitating the conversion would also have to inform about it 60 days in advance.
  • Violation of these provisions would attract a jail term of three to five years and a fine of 50,000.

Mass conversions

  • In cases of religious conversion of members of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and minors, a provision has been made for imprisonment of two to 10 years and 50,000 fine.
  • There is provision of three to 10 years of imprisonment and fine of 50,000 in cases of marriage carried out by hiding religion, misrepresentation or impersonation.

Source: TH

Jal Jeevan adds 1 lakh water connections daily

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

Jal Jeevan adds 1 lakh water connections daily

Context: UPSC GS Paper III: Water Resources, Government Schemes (PT-Mains)

  • Since its launch in August 2019, the Centre’s ambitious flagship scheme Jal Jeevan Mission ( JJM), which in partnership with the States seeks to ensure that every rural household of the country gets assured drinking water supply by 2024, has achieved 32.3% coverage of tap connections in rural India.
  • The Modi government is almost replicating the implementation of its flagship scheme of building toilets in the first term in providing tap water connections to every rural household in the country in its second term. In its first term from 2014 to 2019, the Centre reportedly built over 11 crore toilets in the country.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), 2019

  • It envisages supply of 55 litres water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024. It focuses on integrated demand and supply side management of water at the local level.
  • Creation of local infratructure as mandatory elements like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and reuse of household water to be undertaken.
  • The mission is based on a community approach to water and includes Information, Education and Communication as a key components mission.
  • JJM looks to create a Jal Andolan to make water everyone's priority.
  • Funding: It is a Centrally Sponsored Schemes. 50:50 for States; 90:10 for Him and NE and 100% for UTs.
  • Operational guidelines: 4-level structure
    1. National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) at the Central level
    2. State Water and Sanitation Mission (SWSM) at the State level
    3. District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) at the District level
    4. Village Water Sanitation Committee (VWSC) at Village level
  • Every village will prepare Village Action Plan which will have 3 components:
    1. Water source and its maintenance;
    2. Water supply and
    3. Grey water management.
  • The ministry will roll out the Government’s ambitious plan (‘Nal se Jal’ scheme under jal jiven plan) to provide piped water connection to every household in India by 2024.

Atal Bhujal Yojana, 2020

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme to improve groundwater management through community participation.
  • Funding pattern is 50:50 between India and World Bank.
  • Outlay is of Rs. 6000 crore. Implemented over 5 years i.e. 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • Ministry of Jal Shakti is adopting a mix of top down and bottom up approach to identify groundwater stressed blocks in 8350 Gram Panchayats in 7 States (not all India) = UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • It will focus on participatory groundwater management, behavioral change in areas where groundwater is low.
  • We should go for Crop diversification. Promote micro-irrigation.
  • It has 2 components:
    1. Institutional strengthening and capacity building component and
    2. Incentive component for incentivizing States.
  • ABY envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as the formation of ‘Water User Associations’, monitoring and disseminating ground water data, water budgeting, preparation & implementation of Gram-panchayat-wise water security plans and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities related to sustainable groundwater management.

Source: TH

Britain and EU release the text of Post Brexit Trade Deal

GS-II : International Relations Britain

Britain and EU release the full text of post­Brexit trade deal

  • Britain and the European Union on Saturday published the full text of the post­Brexit trade agreement aimed at governing their relationship when the U.K. definitively leaves the blocs single market in just five days’ time.
  • The document, which is more than 1,200 pages long, lays out detail on trade, law enforcement and dispute settlement among other arrangements between Britain and the EU after the U.K. leaves the single market and customs union on December 31.
  • To ratify the deal, Britain’s Parliament has been recalled to sit on December 30. U.K.’s main opposition Labour Party said its MPs would back it.
  • In Brussels, the European Commission has proposed the agreement be applied on a provisional basis until 28 February.
  • The European Parliament will be asked for its consent to the deal in 2021 and for the process to be concluded the Council, which brings together the executives of all 27 member states, must adopt the decision.
  • The EU has offered Britain unprecedented tariff­ and quota­free access to its single market of 450 million consumers.
  • But it has in return secured London's commitment to respect its always evolving rules in some areas such as environmental protection, labour regulation and tax, aiming to avoid Britain undercutting companies inside the bloc.
  • The U.K. has also signed up to guarantee that it will not abuse state aid to firms to seek an unfair advantage.

To read a full analysis on the Brexit and Brexit Trade Deal: Click here

Source: TH

Nanomicelles: using nanoparticles for cancer treatment

GS-III : S&T Nano Technology

Nanomicelles: using nanoparticles for cancer treatment

Context: GS Paper III S&T Nanotechnology (PT-Mains-Essay)

  • With the advance in nanotechnology, researchers across the globe have been exploring how to use nanoparticles for efficient drug delivery.
  • Similar to nanoshells and nanovesicles, nanomicelles are extremely small structures and have been noted as an emerging platform in targeted therapy.
  • Nanomicelles are globe­like structures with a hydrophilic outer shell and a hydrophobic interior.
  • This dual property makes them a perfect carrier for delivering drug molecules.
  • Now a multi­disciplinary, multi­institutional team has created a nanomicelle that can be used to deliver a drug named docetaxel, which is commonly used to treat various cancers including breast, colon and lung cancer.
  • The nanomicelles are less than 100nm in size and are stable at room temperature.
  • Once injected intravenously these nanomicelles can easily escape the circulation and enter the solid tumours where the blood vessels are found to be leaky.
  • These leaky blood vessels are absent in healthy organs. “Chemical conjugation would render the phospholipid­docetaxel prodrug to be silent in the circulation and healthy organs.
  • But once it enters the cancer cells, the enzymes will cleave the bond to activate the drug and kill the cancer cells

Source: TH

New species of sun rose found in the Eastern Ghats

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Flora

New species of the sun rose found in the Eastern Ghats

  • Botanists have discovered a new species of the wild sun rose from the Eastern Ghats in India.
  • The new species, named Portulaca laljii, discovered in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh has unique features such as a tuberous root, no hair in its leaf axils, a reddish pink flower, prolate­shaped fruits, and copper brown seeds without lustre.
  • These morphological features distinguish the species from other species of genus Portulaca.

Source: University zone

How do conifers keep their green needles over the boreal winter?

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Vegetation

How do conifers keep their green needles over the boreal winter?

  • During boreal winter most trees shed their leaves. However, conifers such as Christmas trees keep their green needles intact.
  • Scientists believe that a phenomenon called sustained quenching offers photoprotection and enables their survival, but its precise molecular and physiological mechanisms are not understood.
  • Researchers have now found that the photosynthetic apparatus is wired in a special way which allows pine needles to stay green all year long.
  • In winter, green chlorophyll molecules harness light energy, but that energy cannot be used in the photosynthetic machinery as very low-temperature halts most biochemical reactions.
  • However, in early spring, even as temperatures are low, there is plenty of sunlight. The excess light energy can damage the photosynthetic machinery’s proteins.
  • Under normal conditions, the two photosystems, the two functional units where light energy is absorbed and converted into chemical energy, are kept apart from each other to prevent a shortcut and allow efficient photosynthesis.
  • According to a study published in Nature Communications, a team of researchers found that in winter, the two photosystems are brought in physical contact with each other through reorganization of the structure of the thylakoid membrane, where the two photosystems are located.
  • Photosystem II donates energy directly to photosystem I and this short­cut mode protect the green chlorophyll and the needles when conditions become harsh.

Source: Science Daily

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