Daily Prelims Notes 7 January 2023
- January 7, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
7 January 2023
Table Of Contents
- Climate atlas finds summers, winters in India to get warmer, Kharif season to see more rainfall
- Dedicated financial bonds can help capture economic value of cloud forests in 25 countries: Report
- Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals: Ecological connectivity
- Covishield immune responses against COVID-19 variants higher than Covaxin
- India sends all-women team for UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan
- Sagol Kangjei: The ancient polo of Manipur
- Tribals step up demand to ‘free’ Parasnath hills from Jains
- Remote work helped during COVID: ILO report
- Centre will adhere to timelines fixed by SC for judicial appointments: A-G
- RBI unveils plans to raise ₹16,000 crore via Sovereign Green Bonds
- Supreme Court thwarts eviction from Railway land in Haldwani
- UGC unveils draft norms to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India
- House panel seeks details of rental housing scheme
- Village Defence Committee
- GDP is expected to grow 7 percent: NSO
- Summers and winters in India have become warmer over the last three decades and are projected to become warmer as the effects of climate impact become more pronounced. The rainfall during the Kharif season — June to October — is also expected to increase, finds a study.
- Climate Atlas of India: District-Level Analysis of Historical and Projected Climate Change Scenarios by the Bengaluru-based think tank Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).
- It assessed the changes in the observed and future climate.
- The think tank looked at climate variability at the district level for 723 districts in 28 states in India, excluding Union territories.
Findings of the study:
- It presented historical trends in summer (March to May) maximum and winter (December to February) minimum temperatures from 1990—2019.
- It also analysed Kharif’s (June to September) season rainfall during the period.
- It also showed future trends in temperature, rainfall, and extreme events for the future (2021—2050) as changes compared to the historical period for two climate scenarios.
- The temperature in all districts showed an increase in both summer maximum and winter minimum temperatures from 1990 to 2019.
- A warming of up to 0.5 degrees Celsius was recorded in 70 per cent of the districts for the maximum summer temperature.
- Severe heatwaves or days with temperature departure from the normal have also increased and are expected to rise further.
- A higher warming of 0.5℃—0.9℃ was recorded in the districts of the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and the northeastern states.
- The winter minimum temperature increased by 0.5℃ in all districts.
- The warming in the northern states was higher compared to the southern states.
- The Kharif season rainfall is projected to increase relative to the historical period by 25 per cent–35 per cent in 2 per cent of the districts and 15 per cent—25 per cent in 18 per cent of the districts.
- It is expected to go up 10 per cent-15 per cent in 35 per cent of districts and less than 10 per cent for the rest.
India and the climate change:
- India is the 13th most vulnerable country to climate change. Since more than 60 per cent of its agriculture is rainfed and it hosts 33 per cent of the world’s poor, climate change will have significant impacts on the food and nutritional security.
- These maps are showing the effect of climate change on various regions of India.
Subject : Geography
- A report titled Cloud Forest Assets Financing a Valuable Nature-Based Solution released by Earth Security, a global nature-based asset management advisory firm.
- Cloud forests are the forests that are on top of the tropical mountains.
- Cloud forests, also called Montane rainforests, are vegetation of tropical mountainous regions in which the rainfall is often heavy and persistent condensation occurs because of cooling of moisture-laden air currents deflected upward by the mountains.
- These forests occupy a limited area and are under great threat and their hydrological function is of existential value to millions of people living downstream.
- Just 25 countries hold 90 per cent of the world’s cloud forests that capture moisture from the air, providing fresh and clean water to people and industries below.
- Countries build hydroelectric power plant which uses water from these forests.
Countries having cloud forests:
- These twenty-five countries are Indonesia, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Cameroon, Bolivia, China, Laos, Kenya, Malaysia, Angola, Uganda, Madagascar, Philippines, Gabon, Vietnam, Republic of Congo and Myanmar.
Cloud forest bond:
- The bond will provide these governments with financial actors like philanthropy, public finance and private investment to capture the economic value of the ecosystem services of the cloud forests.
- Such a tool will encourage carbon storage and provide funding to set up sovereign-level carbon finance schemes as well as payments for ecosystem services.
- The Cloud Forest Bonds will allow the developing countries to improve their debt position and fund the creation of new, long-term income streams from services provided by nature.
- These bonds can be in the form of new bond issuances, debt-swaps and results-based financing instruments, which are matched to the circumstances of each of the twenty-five countries.
Subject : Environment
What is Ecological Connectivity?
- Definition: Ecological Connectivity is the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth.
- Ecological connectivity is an essential part of nature. It is necessary for the functionality of ecosystems, is key for the survival of wild animals and plant species and is crucial to ensuring genetic diversity and adapting to climate change across all biomes and spatial scales.
Why Is Ecological Connectivity Important?
- It is an important planning tool for governments to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to achieve economic, development and environmental goals.
- Connectivity conservation (maintaining, enhancing or restoring connectivity) is a direct response to the destruction and fragmentation of vegetation, habitats and loss of Earth’s species.
Ecological connectivity in the IPBES assessment:
- The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2019 revealed that maintaining and designing connectivity are essential for the functioning of many ecological systems and processes and highlighted how mainstreaming connectivity into economic growth and development is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
- Report findings:
- Only 9.3-11.7 per cent of protected areas are estimated to be adequately connected;
- Protected areas coverage of species distribution remains insufficient. For example, just 9 per cent of migratory bird species are adequately covered by protected areas across all stages of their annual cycle;
- The conservation status of migratory species and the ecological connectivity and resilience of their habitats are worsening;
- Protected area management strategies would be more effective if they took greater consideration of spatial and functional connectivity, among other factors.
Ecological connectivity and Sustainable development goals:
|Relation to ecological connectivity
|One of the major cause of habitat distruction.
The planning and deployment of infrastructures need to consider their ecological footprints by maintaining the connections among the different elements of the landscape.
|The connectivity of urban green spaces promotes their ecological functionality and the ecosystem services associated with it.
|Connectivity supports ecosystems and species that underpin agricultural productivity, fisheries and other natural resources that provide for food, livelihoods and economic benefits.
|Connectivity improves the capacity of ecosystems to adapt to climate change -the distribution of species is expected to change due to global warming: if species are able to move and follow more favourable climates and shifting habitats, they can better adapt to climate change.
|Considering connectivity among marine protected areas is key to avoid inconsistencies in management across and beyond national jurisdictions and is a key feature to maintain biodiversity persistence.
|When defining conservation strategies, connectivity is key for the identification and planning of networks of protected areas or other area-based management tools but also for assessing the functional need for ecological corridors connecting different sites.
Ecological connectivity and Multilateral environmental agreements(MEAs):
|1. Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
|In the CMS context, the concept of ecological connectivity also includes:
|2. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
|In the context of the CBD, ecological connectivity is relevant for the achievement of all three CBD objectives:
|3. Ramsar Convention on Wetland
|In the context of Ramsar, ecological connectivity includes:
|4. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
|In the context of the UNCCD, ecological connectivity includes:
|5. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
|In the context of the UNFCCC, ecological connectivity includes:
|6. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
|In the context of the UNESCO, ecological connectivity includes:
Migratory Species and Connectivity:
- Connectivity is key for the identification and planning of the spatial structure of networks of sites (protected areas and other sites) managed for conservation purposes which support this functional need.
- The Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023 calls for taking a migration system approach into conservation strategies which give holistic attention not only to populations, species and habitats, but to the entire span of migration routes and the functioning of the migration process.
- Mission: To promote actions to ensure the favourable conservation status of migratory species and their habitats, and to ensure the ecological integrity, connectivity and resilience of migration systems.
- Target 9: International and regional action and cooperation between States for the conservation and effective management of migratory species fully reflects a migration systems approach, in which all States sharing responsibility for the species concerned engage in such actions in a concerted way.
- Target 10: All critical habitats and sites for migratory species are identified and included in area-based conservation measures so as to maintain their quality, integrity, resilience and functioning in accordance with the implementation of Aichi Target 11, supported where necessary by environmentally sensitive land-use planning and landscape management on a wider scale.
Connectivity in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- COP13 endorsed the Gandhinagar Declaration on CMS and The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which outlines the CMS Priorities for the framework and reflected the key messages resulted from the COP13 High-Level Segment being focused on the importance of connectivity for the post-2020 framework.
Connectivity in Other Relevant Processes and Events:
- Beyond the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, connectivity is also being addressed in various other processes and events:
- 7th session of the plenary of IPBES (2019)
- United Nations High level summit on Biodiversity (2020)
- IUCN world conservation congress (2021)
- UNFCCC CoP26 (2021)
- 75th session of UNGA (2021)
Connectivity and Ecosystem Restoration:
- An improvement of the ecological continuum is needed in order to mitigate the effect of change in land use and climate change.
- The UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2020-2030 brings attention to scaling up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity.
- Ecological Connectivity and Ecosystem Restoration are interdependent: retaining or reinstating connectivity is crucial to securing healthy, resilient and sustainable ecosystems while restoring degraded habitat is a key management tool for improving connectivity in the landscape.
Subject : Science and Technology
- Neutralising antibody responses against COVID-19 variants of concern (VoC) are higher in Covishield recipients than those who took Covaxin, according to a new study.
About the study:
- The study titled: Interim results from comparison of immune responses elicited by an inactivated and a vectored SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in seronegative and seropositive participants in India”, the study was published as a preprint on medRxiV.
- Seropositive individuals (those who were already infected and had recovered from Covid before the first dose of vaccination) showed a higher response compared to seronegative individuals.
- Covishield elicited immune responses of a higher magnitude and breadth than Covaxin in both Covid seronegative individuals and seropositive individuals.
- While after the first and second dose of Covishield, concentration of antibodies increased in seronegative individuals by 2.1 and 7.6 fold, Covaxin did not attain such high levels of antibodies.
- A large population has developed hybrid immunity.
Constituents and Action:
Constituents and Action:
Subject :International relations
Context: India is deploying an all-women contingent in Sudan’s Abeyi region as part of its peacekeeping missions under the aegis of the United Nations. It will be India’s largest single unit of female soldiers in a UN mission since 2007. The Army team comprises two officers and 25 other ranks
United Nation Peacekeeping Mission:
- United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948.
- U.N. Peacekeeping mission is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support, and aims to assist host countries to transition from situations of conflict to peace.
- It provides security, political, and peace building support to countries under conflicts. It helps countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
- They are guided by three basic principles:
- Consent of the parties
- Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate.
- Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the UN Security Council.
- Member states contribute their manpower for Peacekeeping forces on a voluntary basis.
- The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States. Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.
- Responsibilities of U.N. military personnel
- Protecting civilians and other U.N. personnel
- Monitoring disputed borders
- Observing peace processes in post-conflict areas
- Providing security in conflict zones
- Providing security during elections
- Assisting in-country military personnel with training and support
- Assisting ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements
- The UN Peacekeeping Force won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.
- They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets
- Qualified military officers from U.N. member states are recruited to serve as individual staff officers, military observers, or as part of units from an individual troop-contributing country, by the United Nations Office of Military Affairs.
India’s Contribution to UN Peacekeeping Mission:
- Over 200,000 Indians have served in 49 U.N. Peacekeeping missions since 1948. Currently, 5,581 Indians are part of various U.N. Peacekeeping missions.
- In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a U.N. Peacekeeping mission.
- As of October 31, 2022, India is the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions with 5887 troops and personnel deployed across 12 missions, after Bangladesh (7,017).
Subject : History
Context: Part of Home Minister Amit Shah’s programme in Manipur on Friday was the inauguration of a 122-foot-tall statue of a polo player astride a Manipur Pony in Imphal, a project that has been in the works for several years now.
About Sagol Kangjei:
- Modern-day polo originated within the small northeast Indian state of Manipur in 3100 BC, where it was played as sagol kangjei (sagol means pony and kangjei is a game of sticks).
- Polo in Manipur isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life and an integral part of the state’s culture. The Manipuris have had a close relationship with the ponies since time immemorial.
- Manipur has polo not just among the mortals but also has Marjing, who is considered the God of polo and features a pony as his carrier. Moreover, the Lai-Haraoba festival of the state depicts the life and times of Khori-phaba, the polo-playing god of sports.
- Sagol Kangjei was never a game of the kings in Manipur; it was a king of the games played by ordinary people.
- Unfortunately, unplanned land-use and urbanization during the last half a century have robbed the Manipur pony of its natural habitat and the polo teams of their playing grounds. It’s become exorbitantly expensive to maintain a polo team and increasingly difficult to seek out a suitable ground to play regular matches.
- The origins of polo in Manipur are associated mythologically with Marjing, the God of the Chenglei tribe, to whom a structure similar to the ancient polo stick along and a ball are still offered in worship.
Subject : Geography
Context: Jain demand met over Jharkhand hill shrine, tribal bodies ask what about us
- Parasnath Hill is revered as “Marang Buru” (supreme deity or literally the great mountain), specially for the people of Santhal community and have a “right to practise” their religious rituals
- Tribal leaders said the decision has taken a “toll on their religious freedom” as there will be no meat or liquor consumption within ‘10 km radius’ of the Hill, which is against their tradition of performing animal sacrifice as a religious ritual.
- Tribal community have proof of land records.
- People of Jain community go around the hills offering prayers, many without much clothes, but it has never offended our community.
- Short-time work and work-sharing measures or other forms of job retention helped to reduce the volume of work and save jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, said a report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
- The report, titled Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World, said flexible working hours enabled individuals as well as companies, enterprises and industries to collectively reduce the hours of work, a trend already generated before the crisis.
- The crisis also created the possibility of increasing the hours of work for new economic bottleneck areas, such as in the healthcare or pharmaceutical industries.
- The report looked at the working hours and working time arrangements and the effects of both on business performance and employees’ work-life balance.
- It found that a substantial portion of the global workforce are working either long or short hours when compared to a standard eight-hour day/40 hour working week.
International Labor Organization
- It is the only tripartite United Nation (UN) agency.
- It brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States (India is a member), to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
- Received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.
- Established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations.
- Became the first affiliated specialized agency of the UN in 1946.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
- Important Reports : Global Wage Report, Social Dialogue Report, World Social Protection Report, World Employment and Social Outlook : Trends, etc.
Eight Core Conventions of the ILO
- Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
- Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
- Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
- Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
- Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
- Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
- Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)
- Note: India has not ratified Convention No 98 and 87.
- The Attorney-General of India has told the Supreme Court that the Union government will adhere to the timelines fixed by the court to process recommendations for judicial appointments.
- The court had earlier said that the government was intentionally delaying the appointments on Collegium recommendations as it was upset with the striking down of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) law in 2015.
- Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul remarked that the government must not be guided by political affiliations, personal philosophy and cases in which an individual had appeared as a lawyer while considering names for judgeships.
- The Supreme Court’s judgement in 2021 had put in place a timeline of a maximum of 18 weeks for the government to process the names forwarded to the Union Law Ministry by the High Courts and send the names to the Supreme Court Collegium for final assent.
- However, about 104 names recommended by various High Courts are pending with the government.
Attorney General (AG) of India
- The Attorney General (AG) of India is a part of the Union Executive. AG is the highest law officer in the country.
- Article 76 of the Constitution provides for the office of AG of India.
- Appointment and Eligibility: AG is appointed by the President on the advice of the government.
- S/he must be a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, i.e. s/he must be a citizen of India and must have been a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years or an eminent jurist, in the opinion of the President.
- Term of the Office: Not fixed by the Constitution.
- Removal: Procedures and grounds for the removal of AG are not stated in the Constitution. S/he holds office during the pleasure of the President (may be removed by the President at any time).
- Duties and Functions:
- To give advice to the Government of India (GoI) upon such legal matters, which are referred to her/him by the President.
- To perform such other duties of a legal character that are assigned to her/him by the President.
- To appear on behalf of the GoI in all cases in the Supreme Court or in any case in any High Court in which the GoI is concerned.
- To represent the GoI in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 (Power of the President to consult the Supreme Court) of the Constitution.
- To discharge the functions conferred on her/him by the Constitution or any other law.
- Rights and Limitations:
- S/he has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament or their joint sitting and any committee of the Parliament of which s/he may be named a member, but without a right to vote.
- S/he enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.
- S/he does not fall in the category of government servants. S/he is not debarred from private legal practice.
- However, s/he should not advise or hold a brief against the GoI.
- Solicitor General of India and Additional Solicitor General of India assist the AG in fulfillment of the official responsibilities.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that the maiden Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) would be issued in two tranches for an aggregate amount of Rs 16,000 crore.
- The RBI will auction 5-year and 10-year green bonds worth Rs 4,000 crore each on 25 January and on 9 February.
- The proceeds will be utilised for funding public sector projects seeking to reduce carbon emissions.
- Green bonds are issued by companies, countries and multilateral organisations to exclusively fund projects that have positive environmental or climate benefits and provide investors with fixed income payments.
- The projects can include renewable energy, clean transportation and green buildings, among others.
- Example of Green Bonds:
- The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds and issued $14.4 billion of green bonds between 2008 and 2020.
- These funds have been used to support 111 projects around the world, largely in renewable energy and efficiency (33%), clean transportation (27%), and agriculture and land use (15%).
- By the end of 2020, 24 national governments had issued Sovereign Green, Social and Sustainability bonds totalling a cumulative $111 billion.
India’s Sovereign Green Bonds Framework:
- First announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, the proceeds of these green bonds will be issued for mobilising resources for green infrastructure.
- Under the framework, the Finance Ministry will, every year, inform the RBI about spending on green projects for which the funds raised through these bonds will be used.
- The government has decided to issue Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) on January 25 , which is of 5 and 10 years tenor and ₹4,000 crore each.
- This will be followed up by another tranche of SGrB issuance of 5 and 10 years tenor for ₹4,000 crore each on February 9.
- Overall, Government will mobilise Rs 16,000 crore through the issuance of green bonds in the current fiscal ending March 2023.
Features of the SGrBs:
- Issuance Method
- SGrBs will be issued through Uniform Price Auction (a public sale in which a fixed number of similar things are sold at the same price).
- Eligibility for Repurchase Transactions (Repo)
- SGrBs will be eligible for Repurchase Transactions (Repo).
- SGrBs will also be reckoned as eligible investment for Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) purpose.
- SGrBs will be eligible for trading in the secondary market.
- Investment by Non-residents
- SGrBs will be designated as specified securities under the ‘Fully Accessible Route’ for investment in Government Securities by non-residents.
- Eligible Projects:
- All eligible green expenditures will include public expenditure undertaken by the government in the form of investment, subsidies, grants-in-aid, or tax foregone (or a combination of all or some of these) or select operational expenditures.
- R&D expenditures in public sector projects that help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy and enable country to meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also included in the framework.
- The eligible expenditures will be limited to government expenditures that occurred maximum 12 months prior to issuance of the green bonds.
- Sectors not included
- Nuclear power generation, landfill projects, alcohol/weapons/tobacco/gaming/palm oil industries and hydropower plants larger than 25 MW have been excluded from the framework.
- Where will the proceeds go?
- The framework sets forth the obligations of the Government of India as a green bond issuer.
- The proceeds from the green bonds issuance will be deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) in line with the regular treasury policy, and then funds from the CFI will be made available for the eligible green projects.
- Implementing Agency:
- The Ministry of Finance has constituted a Green Finance Working Committee (GFWC) including members from relevant ministries and chaired by the Chief Economic Advisor.
- The GFWC will meet at least twice a year to support the Ministry of Finance with selection and evaluation of projects and other work related to the Framework.
- The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying railway land in Haldwani district within a week.
- Avocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the various affected families, said over 5,000 families were affected. Proceedings against them pertaining to the Public Premises Act were still on.
Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act
- Government of India has to evict unauthorized occupants from Government accommodations under the provisions of PPE Act, 1971.
- However, the eviction proceedings take unusually long time, thereby reducing the availability of Government accommodations to new incumbents.
- Under the existing PPE Act,1971 as amended by PPE Amendment Act, 2019, the eviction proceeding take around 5 to 7 weeks’ time. However, it takes much longer, even years, to evict unauthorized occupants.
Highlights of the Amendment
- The Bill amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. The Act provides for the eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises in certain cases.
- Notice for eviction:
- The Bill adds a provision laying down the procedure for eviction from residential accommodation. It requires an estate officer (an officer of the central government) to issue a written notice to a person if he is in unauthorised occupation .
- The notice will require the person to show cause of why an eviction order should not be made against him, within three working days.
- The written notice must be fixed to a conspicuous part of the accommodation, in a prescribed manner.
- Order of eviction:
- After considering the cause shown, and making any other inquiries, the estate officer will make an order for eviction. If the person fails to comply with the order, the estate officer may evict such person from the residential accommodation, and take possession of it. For this purpose, the estate officer may also use such force as necessary.
- Payment of damages: If the person in unauthorised occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order passed by the estate officer in court, he will be required to pay damages for every month of such occupation.
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced draft norms for facilitating foreign universities and educational institutions to set up campuses in India which allow them autonomy in decision making.
- The final norms will be notified by the end of the month after feedback from all stakeholders.
Draft Norms announced by the UGC
- University Grants commission chief M Jagadesh Kumar has stated draft regulations for foreign universities setting up campuses in India.
The draft includes the following guidelines –
- A foreign university with a rank among the top 500 global rankings or a foreign educational institution of repute in home jurisdiction can apply to the UGC to set up a campus in India.
- Application Process
- The application will be considered by a standing committee appointed by the UGC which will submit its recommendations within 45 days after examining the institution’s credibility.
- Subsequently, within 45 days, the UGC may grant in-principle approval to the foreign institution to set up campuses in India within two years.
- The initial approval will be for 10 years, which can be extended.
- Reasonable Fees
- Such a campus can evolve its own admission process and criteria to admit domestic and foreign students.
- It will also have autonomy to decide its fee structure, and will face no caps that are imposed on Indian institutions.
- The fee should be “reasonable and transparent”.
- Mode of Teaching
- It will also have autonomy to recruit faculty and staff from India and abroad.
- The courses to be offered cannot be in online and open and distance learning mode.
- The qualifications awarded to the students in the Indian campus should have equivalence with those awarded by the institutions in their country of origin.
- Fund Management
- Foreign universities will be allowed to repatriate funds to parent campuses.
- Cross-border movement of funds and maintenance of Foreign Currency Accounts, mode of payments, remittance, repatriation, and sale of proceeds, if any, will be as per the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999 and its Rules.
Need for allowing Foreign Universities to set-up Campuses in India
- The UGC chief pointed out that in 2022 over 4.5 lakh Indian students went abroad to study, leading to outflow of estimated $28-30 billion.
- Allowing foreign universities to set-up campuses in India will also ensure that all our students — there are around 40 million pursuing higher education — have access to global quality education.
- The ideal of setting up foreign universities’ campuses in India is also mentioned in the National Education Policy 2020.
University Grants Commission:
- The University Grants Commission of India is a statutory body under the provisions of UGC Act, 1956.
- It is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education.
- It provides recognition to universities in India, and disburses funds to such recognized universities and college.
- Nodal Ministry: Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education.
Context: A Parliamentary panel has asked the government to clarify how many of the 66 proposals received under the Affordable Rental Housing Scheme launched for the urban poor, especially migrant workers, during the COVID-19 pandemic have been approved by their respective local urban bodies.
Affordable Rental Housing Scheme
- AHRC is a sub-scheme under PM Awas Yojana – Urban.
- Under the scheme, existing vacant government-funded housing complexes will be converted in ARHCs through Concession Agreements for 25 years.
- The concessionaire will make the complexes livable by repair/retrofit and maintenance of rooms and filling up infrastructure gaps like water, sewer/ septage, sanitation, road etc.
- States/UTs will select concessionaire through transparent bidding.
- Complexes will revert to ULB after 25 years to restart next cycle like earlier or run on their own.
Beneficiaries of the scheme
- A large part of the workforce in manufacturing industries, service providers in hospitality, health, domestic/commercial establishments, and construction or other sectors, labourers, students etc. who come from rural areas or small towns seeking better opportunities will be the target beneficiary under ARHCs.
Significance of AHRC
- Usually, these migrants live in slums, informal/ unauthorized colonies or peri-urban areas to save rental charges.
- They spend a lot of time on roads by walking/ cycling to workplaces, risking their lives to cut on the expenses.
- ARHCs will create a new ecosystem in urban areas making housing available at affordable rent close to the place of work.
- Investment under ARHCs is expected to create new job opportunities.
- ARHCs will cut down unnecessary travel, congestion and pollution.
- Recently Lt Governor Manoj Sinha assured the Jammu and Kashmir people that they would get a Village Defence Committee (VDC).
- People in Jammu and Kashmir are demanding that in the background of increasing militant attacks, they must be provided weapons to take on attackers.
Village Defence Committee (VDC):
- The VDCs were first formed in the erstwhile Doda district (now Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts) in mid 1990s as a force multiplier against militant attacks. T
- Then Jammu and Kashmir administration decided to provide residents of remote hilly villages with weapons and give them arms training to defend themselves.
- The then Jammu and Kashmir administrations had decided to provide residents of remote hilly villages with weapons and give them arms training to defend their people and village.
- The VDCs have now been renamed as the ‘Village Defence Guards (VDG)’.
- It is set up in vulnerable areas of J&K and was approved by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Like a VDC member, each VDG will be provided with a gun and 100 rounds of ammunition.
- It is a group of civilians provided with guns and ammunition to tackle militants in case of attack until the arrival of security forces.
- The persons leading the VDGs will be paid Rs 4,500 per month by the government, while others will get Rs 4,000 each.
- The VDGs will function under the direction of the SP/SSP of the district concerned.
- Composition of VDCs
- A minimum of 10-15 ex-servicemen, ex-policemen and able-bodied local youth were enrolled in each VDC voluntarily.
- The VDCs also faced allegations of human rights violations and other crimes, including murder, rape and extortion.
- Aided by good performance of the agriculture and services sectors, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow 7 per cent in financial year 2022-23, according to the first advance estimates of national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
- This marks the first official government estimate for economic growth ahead of the upcoming Union Budget for 2023-24.
First Advance Estimates of GDP:
- The FAE, first introduced in 2016-17, are typically published at the end of the first week of January.
- They are the “first” official estimates of how GDP is expected to grow in that financial year.
- Apart from it, they are also the “advance” estimates because they are published long before the financial year (April to March) is over.
- The FAE is published soon after the end of the third quarter or Q3 (October, November, December).
- However, they do not include the formal Q3 GDP data, which is published at the end of February as part of the Second Advance Estimates (SAE).
- The main significance of FAE lies in the fact that they are the GDP estimates that the Union Finance Ministry uses to decide the next financial year’s budget allocations.
- From the Budget-making perspective, it is important to estimate the nominal GDP — both absolute level and its growth rate.
- This will further help in calculating Real GDP and inflation.
- The difference between the real and nominal GDP shows the levels of inflation in the year.Real GDP = Nominal GDP — Inflation Rate.
- Calculation of FAE
- According to the MoSPI, the approach for compiling the Advance Estimates is based on the Benchmark-Indicator method.
- According to this, the estimates available for the previous year (2020-21 in this case) are extrapolated using relevant indicators reflecting the performance of sectors.
- The MoSPI extrapolates sector-wise estimates using indicators such as previous data of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), sale of commercial vehicles data, etc.