Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 08 July 2019
Researchers studying MGNREGS disputes arguments made in
Researchers and activists studying Mahatma Gandhi National
Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) data have disputed the argument
made in the Economic Survey for 2018-19 on the positive causal impact of
Aadhaar-linked payments (ALP) on the scheme.
The Survey used the rural jobs scheme as a case study to show
the benefits of the use of technology in improving targeting and efficiency in
welfare schemes. One of the strongest pieces of evidence cited dealt with
timeliness: the percentage of wage payments generated within 15 days improved
from 27% in 2014-15 to more than 90% by 2018-19.
RakshitaSwamy, a member of the People’s Action for Employment
Guarantee, said the state verified the work done and the muster roll and
generated a fund transfer order, and in the next stage, money was credited into
the worker’s bank account. Aadhaar could play a role only in the latter stage.
Another area of contention is the Survey’s comparison of MGNREGS
performance in drought-affected and regular districts before and after the
introduction of the ALP. In supply and demand for work as well as in worker
attendance, the scheme’s performance in drought-hit areas improved.
Rajendran Narayanan, Assistant Professor, AzimPremji University,
noted that around the same time that Aadhaar was introduced to the MGNREGS, a
Supreme Court ruling mandated special measures for the scheme in
drought-affected areas. Governments issued orders to comply with the ruling,
leading to interventions influencing the situation at the same time as Aadhaar.
Centre asks Urban local bodies to monitor rainwater harvesting
The Centre has asked all Urban Local Bodies across the
country to set up a cell each for effective monitoring of Rain Water
Harvesting and revival of at least one water body in their areas.
In its Guidelines for urban water conservation, Union Housing
and Urban Affairs Ministry said the cell should monitor the extent of
groundwater extraction and groundwater aquifer recharge.
This information should be displayed at prominent locations for
public awareness. The guidelines have been issued as part of the first phase of
Jal Shakti Abhiyan which began on 1st of this month and will continue till 15th
of September this year.
In his recent Mann Ki Baat programme, Prime Minister
NarendraNarendraModi pitched for the conservation of rainwater, saying there is
a pressing need to make it a mass movement.
Child rights activists disappointed over allocation to child
The outlay for children in the Union Budget has shown a
marginal increase of 0.05%, going up from 3.24% in the last fiscal to 3.29%
in the current fiscal with a grant of Rs. 91,644.29 crore.
The share is less than the low share of 5% that the National
Plan of Action for Children, 2016, has recommended, notes the HAQ Centre for
A detailed analysis of the budgetary grant carried out by Child
Rights and You for four thematic areas of child rights, including education,
health, development and child protection, shows that the first two categories
have registered a decline while the money allocated for the ambitious plan for
nutritional development may be insufficient.
The share of education has increased marginally to 68.54% from
68.2%, but has declined by more than 10 percentage points from 79.02% in
2015-16. These include schemes such as SamagraShiksha, National Programme of Mid
Day Meal in Schools and NavodayaVidyalayaSamiti.
Health-related financial allocation as a share of the child
health budget has shown a decline of 0.39% — from 3.9% last fiscal to 3.51%.
The Anganwadi services and the PoshanAbhiyan (Nutrion Mission)
are among the most important government programmes aimed at reducing stunting,
under-weight, anaemia and low birth weight. While the former has registered an
increase of 19% and the latter of 14% in this latest Budget announcement,
experts have argued it is inadequate.
Centre asks sugar mills to focus on ethanol production
Union Minister NitinGadkari has said that surplus production
of sugar is a big problem and suggested the sugar mills to focus on
producing ethanol instead of sugar.
He said, currently sugar production in the country is surplus
and there is no profitability in increasing the production of sugar.MrGadkari
said, there is a future in ethanol, so sugar mills should focus on manufacturing
ethanol instead of sugar.
He was speaking at the 'Sugar Conference 2020', organised by
Maharashtra State Co-op Bank Ltd in Pune on Sunday.MrGadkari said the Centre has
come out with a transparent policy related to ethanol and the Petroleum Ministry
is also ready to buy it.
Speaking on this occasion, Maharashtra Chief Minister
DevendraFadnavis said the state government is committed to stand by the sugar
mills and will extend all the possible support.
Mr Fadnavis said in obtaining the permissions for ethanol
production units, the state government is in the process of starting a single
US calls on Germany to send troops to Syria
The United States today called upon Germany to send ground
troops to northern Syria, pushing Berlin to ramp up its military involvement
in the fight against the Islamic State group as Washington looks to withdraw
from the region.
US Special representative on Syria,James Jeffrey told German
media that they want ground troops from Germany to partly replace US soldiers in
the area as part of the anti-IS coalition. Jeffrey, who was visiting Berlin for
Syria talks, added that he expects an answer this month.
Last year US President Donald Trump declared victory against IS
and ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria.
But a small number have remained in northeastern Syria, an area
not controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and Washington is
pushing for increased military support from other members of the international
coalition against IS.
Greek conservatives inch towards landslide win in elections
Greece’s conservative New Democracy party is on course for a
crushing victory against leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Sunday’s
general election and will return to power after more than four years in the
Opposition, exit polls showed on Sunday.
A combined survey by Greece’s main TV stations showed New
Democracy, headed by KyriakosMitsotakis, son of a former Prime Minister, leading
Mr.Tsipras’sSyriza party by an average of 40% percent to 28.5
If these results are confirmed, the 51-year-old Harvard graduate
and former McKinsey consultant Mitsotakis will have a majority of up to 167
lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament.
Mr.Tsipras’s party will have up to 82 seats, the polls showed.
The final number will depend on how smaller parties fare. They need at least 3%
of the vote to enter Parliament.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Nepal goes for innovative methods to dispose off Everest trash
In a bid to save Mount Everest from trash, Nepal conducted a
month-long cleaning campaign and collected around 10,000 kg of rubbish from
For the mega clean-up drive, government and non-government
agencies, along with a dedicated Sherpa team, not only brought the litter down
but also removed four dead bodies from the roof of the world, Xinhua news agency
reported on Sunday.
Instead of sending the solid waste straight to the landfill near
Kathmandy, the items were segregated, processed and recycled as raw materials
for various products.
Besides recycling the waste, a team is also working with
municipalities, hospitals, hotels and different offices to maximise value from
waste by recycling, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and by
creating green jobs.
To make the campaign more effective, the company suggested
authorities to set up an initial processing unit in the mountain area itself, so
that waste can be segregated immediately and easily managed.
These products, which range from 350 Nepalese rupees to 2,000
Nepalese rupees ($3 to $18), are bacteria free as they are sterilized. These
glass items have also been a means of livelihood for local women who shape them
into trendy designs.
Hima Das wins gold in Kutno athletics meet
Star Indian sprinter Hima Das won her second international
gold in women's 200m with a top finish at the Kutno Athletics Meet in Poland
Hima clocked 23.97 seconds to clinch the gold while VK Vismaya
bagged the silver in 24.06 seconds. This was Hima's second competitive 200m race
of the year.
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