1)Revision of Civil Services Examination :-
The Union Public Service Commission has so far constituted following committees for review of different aspects of Civil Services Examination including the language issues:-
i) Kothari Committee
ii) Satish Chandra Committee
iii) Y.K. Alagh Committee
iv) Anandakrishnan Committee
v) Bhattacharya Committee S.K. Khanna Committee
vii) Nigavekar Committee
viii) Purushottam Agarwal Committee.
ix) Baswan Committee.
Except for the Baswan Committee, which is yet to submit its report, all other Committees have since submitted their reports and in none of these reports, any recommendation has been made for revising the Civil Services to set questions in all the languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution.
The Central Government has constituted an Expert Committee under chairmanship of Shri B. S. Baswan, vide Notice dated 12.8.2015 to examine the various issues connected with the Civil Services Examination. The Committee has been asked to submit its report within 06 months of its constitution.
2)Initiative to promote use of Construction & Demolition waste :-
As part of ongoing efforts under Swachh Bharat Mission, the Union Government has now permitted substantially enhanced use of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste in construction.
In consultation with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the Ministry of Urban Development has decided to allow use of C&D Waste to the extent of 20% of coarse and fine aggregates, known as ‘bajri’ in construction of load bearing items and up to 100% for non-load bearing purposes.
The new provision allowing use of C&D Waste is expected to significantly help in reuse of such waste since more than 100 lakh metric tones of C&D Waste is being generated per year in urban areas, making its disposal in a safe and sanitary manner, a major challenge.
With growing urbanization, a shortage of 14,000 crore tones of construction aggregates in housing and road construction sector is estimated in coming years. Reuse of C&D Waste under new provisions can to certain extent address this shortage.
3)Ground Water Level in the Country :-
As per the latest assessment (Year-2011) of Dynamic Ground Water Resources, carried out jointly by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and the State Governments, out of 6607 assessment units (Blocks/ Mandals/ Talukas/ Firkas/ Districts) in the Country, 1071 units falling in 16 States and 2 UTs have been categorized as ‘Over-Exploited’. In addition¸ 217 assessment units are ‘Critical’ and 697 Semi-Critical on the basis of declining ground water level and stage of ground water development.
What the report says:-
- Rainfall is the main source of annual replenishable ground water resource.
Most part of India receives rainfall mainly during South West monsoon.
- Major part of the country including Northern, Central and Eastern India receives annual normal rainfall between 75 and 150 cm. Highest rainfall of more than 250 cm is received in the North Eastern States and along West Coast in the Konkan region whereas western Rajasthan receives about 15 cm of rainfall in an year.
- In north western part in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Western Uttar
Pradesh where though replenishable resources is abundant but there have
been indiscriminate withdrawals of ground water leading to overexploitation.
- In western part of the country, particularly in Rajasthan, Gujarat
where due to arid climate, ground water recharge itself is less leading to
stress on the resource and in peninsular India like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu where due to poor aquifer properties, ground water
availability is less.
- Sustainable development and efficient management of water is an increasingly complex challenge in India. Increasing population, growing urbanisation and rapid industrialisation combined with the need for raising agricultural production generates competing claims for water.
- Ground water has an important role in meeting the water requirements of agriculture,
industrial and domestic sectors in India. About 85 percent of India’s rural domestic water requirements, 50 percent of its urban water requirements and more than 50 percent of its irrigation requirements are being met from ground water resources.
- Most of rainfall (about 75%) occurs during a short span of four Monsoon months (June to September) resulting into eight relatively dry months.This leave India with a small span of time for ground water recharge.
- Rainy day is defined as a day when rainfall recorded is at least 2.5 mm.
Several reports by organizations such as World Bank, United Nations International Children`s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Food & Agriculture Organization(FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) etc have mentioned about ground water related issues and challenges in the Country, and suggested a number of measures like:-
- increase in water tariffs in urban settings
- optimizing crop water requirements
- conjunctive use of surface and ground water in specific areas
- ground water recharge to manage over-exploitation of ground water
What the Government has done :–
- National Water Policy (2012) has been formulated by Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR which, inter-alia, advocates rain water harvesting and conservation of water and highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through direct use of rainfall.
- CGWB carried out Aquifer Mapping and Management programme .Under this program, about 8.89 lakh sq.km prioritized water stressed areas has been taken up with an aim to delineate aquifer disposition and their characterization along with quantification and for preparation of aquifer/ area specific ground water management plans.
- As per Schedule-I of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the water conservation and water harvesting structures to augment ground water constitute a special focus area for MGNREGA works and about 2/3rd of the expenditure is directly related to construction of water harvesting structures.
- CGWB has prepared a conceptual document entitled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India” during 2013, involving ground water scientists/experts. The Master Plan envisages construction of 1.11 crore rain water harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the Country to harness 85 BCM (Billion Cubic Metre) of water. The augmented ground water resources will enhance the availability of water for drinking, domestic, industrial and irrigation purpose.
- CGWB has been organizing mass awareness programmes in the Country to promote rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water.
India faces scarcity of water.One of the reasons why even though India has an ample amount of shale gas , yet it has not been realized because , shale gas extraction requires abundant water .Moreover, many water bodies in India are polluted or degraded due to misuse or abuse.With growing population , ground water plays a critical role in ensuring safe drinking water for majority of population.Also, states like Punjab , Haryana etc have relied heavily on ground water for agricultural purposes, which ultimately led to salinization of the land and rendering the land unfit for agriculture.In this aspect ground water management becomes essential – water abundant area should be aware on how to use the ground water judiciously which requires awareness campaign and water deficit areas need – rainwater harvesting and necessary construction to do ground water recharge – not only by the government itself but also by each and individual house and this needs both – awareness campaign and a helping hand on the “know-how” by government of India.
3)ISRO launches 6 Singapore satellites:-
- The Indian Space Research Organisation recently put Singapore’s first commercial earth-observation satellite in space through a launch on the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).
- As such , the payloads are not important from examination point of view , unless the satellite is going to do what no other satellite did.
The important part is :-
- ANTRIX is the commercial wing of ISRO
- This a very good initiative on part of ISRO.By selling it’s capability , it is essentially becoming self-reliant as long as financing is concerned and reducing the burden on the Govt. of India.
- If other wings of government can commercialize their capability , which , of course does not have national security issues and after following necessary protocols , it would be a game changer for the various government organizations.
- For eg- DRDO is doing it , however , we are still an arms importing country than exporting one.(Selling arms – ethical or unethical is a different question altogether , but as long as the arms trade exists – India should evolve capacity to sell it )
- This makes immense sense as long as India is concerned , the reason is simple – the cost involved is proportionally small and this can be the single most important selling factor for Indian organizations.
- There are organization around the world and they can deliver what India can deliver , however , the only difference is the cost.Hence , in this regard , India has to first establish credibility in the particular capability, have world-class infrastructure and a cost – effective regime ; which can make it attractive.
- One can argue that , other countries such as China can also offer the same to the world, however India’s profile is different in global arena ( thanks to our leaders) and hence , India has been a destination of high-end technology .It is undoubtedly clear that China is world’s manufacturing hub , however India is world’s service hub and it has to go from strength to strength.
- As a NASSCOM chief put it very candidly in an interview :- “ Indian poor will prefer to learn computer than assemble an i-phone “– so to say the social affinity for high-end technology is almost a part of Indian culture and psyche.This needs promotion.However, this does not mean that , we don’t need manufacturing – it is the only sector that can transform lives of million and get them out of agriculture.
4)World Bank loan for Swachh Bharat:-
- World Bank has approved a $1.5-billion loan for a support operation project of Swachh Bharat, a sanitation campaign launched by the Union government.
- World Bank data show that of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation worldwide, over 750 million live in India, 80% of them in rural areas.
- More than 500 million of India’s rural population continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.
- One in every 10 deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show low-income households bear the brunt of poor sanitation.
- World Bank will also provide a $25-million technical assistance for building the capacity of select State governments.
5)Google CEO – Sundar Pichai advocates for Project Loon Connectivity in INDIA.
Read more regarding Project Loon here :- Click Here
Questions of the Day(150-200 words)
- Do you think India should sell arms ? Don’t you think it would hurt India as a peace-loving nation in global arena.
- Write the development of Indian space technology in brief.
- Do we need foreign fund ? After all, we have to pay in rupee for the works under Swachh Bharat – why just can’t we mint more money and give it rather than getting loan from world bank and paying interest ? How does it makes sense ?