The Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019
- The government has introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 Autonomous Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the NE region.
- The Bill is introduced in the wake of protests in the region following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha.
- The Finance Commission will be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to them.
- The Autonomous Councils now depend on grants from Central ministries and the State government for specific projects.
- The proposed amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grassroot level.
- The village councils will be empowered to prepare plans for economic development and social justice including those related to agriculture, land improvement, implementation of land reforms, minor irrigation, water management, animal husbandry, rural electrification, small scale industries and social forestry.
- At least one-third of the seats will be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura after the amendment is approved.
- The amendment will impact one crore tribal people in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS)
- The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS), will be hosted by India.
- CMS is an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Program.
- The Conference of Parties (COP) is the decision-making organ of this convention.
- Migratory species are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc
- It is also referred to as the Bonn Convention.
- It provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
- Under this convention, migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I.
- India has been a Party to the CMS since 1983.
- India is temporary home to several migratory animals and birds.
- The important among these include Amur Falcons, Bar headed Gheese, Black necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpbacked Whales, etc.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)
- To allay some misgivings of the distress, one of the announcements in the Budget speech was that vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of ₹ 6,000 per year.
- This cash transfer scheme has been called Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
- The Ministry of Agriculture has written to State governments to prepare a database of all eligible beneficiaries along with their Aadhaar numbers, and update land records “expeditiously”.
- The letter further states that changes in land records after February 1, 2019 shall not be considered for this scheme.
Asiatic Lion Conservation Project
- The MoEFCC has launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with an aim to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
- The project will be funded from the Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) with the contributing ratio being 60:40 of Central and State share.
- The conservation of Asiatic Lions has always been a priority of Government of India.
- The Ministry in the past has supported Asiatic Lion in Gujarat by including it in list of 21 critically endangered species under the species recovery component of CSS-DWH.
- The foundation stone for Sela Tunnel Project was laid recently.
- The Sela Pass is called as Se La, as La means Pass.
- It is the high-altitude mountain pass located in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It has an elevation of 4170 m (13,700 ft) connects the Buddhist city of Tawang Town to Tezpur and Guwahati.
- It is the main road connecting Tawang with the rest of India.
- The Sela Lake also known as Paradise Lake is located near to the pass.
- It is usually open throughout the year unless landslides or snow require the pass to be shut down temporarily.
Asiatic Lions conservation in India
- Asiatic lions that once ranged from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in Eastern India were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss.
- A single population of less than 50 lions persisted in the Gir forests of Gujarat by late 1890’s.
- IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
- With timely and stringent protection offered by the State Government and the Center Government, Asiatic lions have increased to the current population of over 500 numbers.
- The last census in the year 2015 showed the population of 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network of 1648.79 sq. km. that includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, Protected Forests, and Unclassed Forests.
- Tazkiras are genealogies and short biographies.
- It is essentially a collection of life stories or biographies put together on a theme.
- The tazkira or “reminiscences” genre is a very old one in Persian literature.
- The musicians’ tazkiras were a new thing in the late 18th century, especially during the Mughal period in Medieval India.
- These tazkiras offers insights into the music, politics and society of the dying Mughal Empire.
- The minutest details obtained from it are the information about new cultural centers and patrons who supported the musicians.
SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018
- The report is a useful comparative account of how well different States and Union Territories have performed so far in their efforts to achieve these goals.
- However, it has not been possible to establish suitable indicators for three of the 17 goals, including climate action (SDG-13).
- This is on account of either lack of identification of appropriate indicators or of the inability to compare different States.
- On the whole, 62 indicators representing 14 goals have been identified based on their measurability across States over time.
- A progress performance assessment has been made towards targets set by the Government of India, or the UN SDGs target for 2030, or the average of the three best-performing States.
- For reasons of comparability, all these indicators are normalised.
Small Grants Program (SGP)
- Small Grants Program (SGP) is implemented by UNDP on behalf of the GEF (Global Environment Facility) partnership.
- SGP provides financial and technical support to communities and Civil Society Organizations to meet the overall objective of global environmental benefits secured through community-based initiatives and actions.
- Through a decentralized, national-level delivery mechanism, SGP finances community-led initiatives to address global environmental issues.
- The Program is specifically designed to mobilize bottom-up actions by empowering local civil society organizations, and poor and vulnerable communities, including women and Indigenous Peoples.
Cultural Heritage Youth Leadership Programme
- The Nodal Agency for the programme is Ministry of Culture
- The scheme CHYLP aims to enrich awareness of Indian culture and heritage amongst the youth in order to promote, understand and develop fondness for India’s rich cultural heritage, with a view to develop appropriate leadership qualities amongst youth.
- The focus of the programme was is on less privileged children residing in backward areas by interacting with them in vernacular languages for their better understanding.
- The programme was given to Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), an autonomous organization working under the purview of Ministry of Culture.
- Shark Bay is the World Heritage-listed marine ecosystem situated in Australia.
- Since 2011 it has been devastated by extreme temperatures, when a brutal marine heatwave struck off Western Australia.
- According to World Heritage Advisory Committee Shark Bay is classifiedas the highest category of vulnerability to future climate change.
- Shark Bay hosts the world’s most extensive population of Stromatolites – stump-shaped colonies of microbes that date back billions of years.
Indian Council of Historical Research
- The ICHR is an autonomous body of the HRD Ministry, which had been established by an Administrative Order of the then Ministry of Education.
- The body has provided financial assistance to the historians and direction to the research scholars in their multifarious topics of historical research through established historians and scholars of the country.
- ICHR disburses funds for carrying out research to Indian as well as foreign scholars on their applications for fellowships, grants, and symposia.
- Nirbhaya Fund is an rupee 10 billion corpus announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget.
- This fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India.
- Nirbhaya (fearless) was the pseudonym given to the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim to hide her actual identity.
- The non-lapsable corpus fund was instituted following gang-grape of a girl in Delhi in 2012 which triggered a nation-wide outrage and protests.
- The Fund is administered by Department of Economic Affairs of the finance ministry.
- Rs 200 crore funds has been sanctioned as one-time grant for Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF) Scheme for compensating women victims of acid attacks, rape, trafficking, etc.