Noting that those keeping the size of their families small
are practising a form of patriotism, Prime Minister NarendraModi, in his
Independence Day speech on Thursday, set off speculation that a renewed
governmental push for population control may be in the offing, as in the
States such as Assam.
A total of 35 private member Bills regarding population control
have been introduced in Parliament since Independence, with the Congress MPs
contributing the largest number.
Going beyond educational and mass awareness programme on
population control or policy interventions has always been a touchy issue,
following incidents of coercive sterilisation, even forced vasectomies, during
the Emergency between 1975 and 1977.
Manu Gaur heads Taxab, which works on population issues, and his
Responsible Parenting Bill, 2019, was the model for Mr.Balyan’s Bill. He
acknowledges that there is a mental block, but says population control should
not run aground overs fears of forced sterilisation.
The Assam government has barred (from a set cut-off) all those
with more than two children from government jobs and made rules preventing such
parents from contesting elections to the local bodies and other positions.
The significance of Mr.Modi flagging the issue from the ramparts
of the Red Fort has not been lost on anyone, and there is a feeling that a more
interventionist move on population control is probably on the anvil.
Centre to go for mass campaign against single use plastic
Union Minister PrakashJavadekar on Thursday announced that a
massive campaign will be launched to make India free of single-use plastic.
Mr.Javadekar made this announcement at Sau Paulo in Brazil,
after Prime Minister NarendraModi in his Independence Day speech urged people to
shun single-use plastic and go in for jute and cloth bags. Mr.Javadekar is in
charge of the Environment Ministry.
In this regard, a series of meetings will be held with all
stakeholders, including State governments, to chalk out a concrete plan to make
it a people’s campaign, Mr.Javadekar was quoted in an official statement issued
by the Environment Ministry in New Delhi in the national capital.
Talking about Mr.Modi’s speech, Mr.Javadekar said the Prime
Minister had laid out the vision for the next five years and highlighted the
first 75 days of the present government, which, according to him, were highly
productive with historic decisions on the triple talaq and Article 370 of the
“Prime Minister in his speech has laid a roadmap for five years.
I am sure under his dynamic leadership, India would become a 5-trillion dollar
economy sooner than later,” the statement said quoting Mr.Javadekar, who is in
Brazil to attend the ministerial meetings of the BRICS and BASIC countries.
With Indian farmers facing post harvest losses amounting to
a whopping ₹93,000 crore, a slew of agritech start-ups are now trying to
bridge that gap with demand driven cold chains, warehouse monitoring
solutions and market linkages that can significantly boost farmer income.
According to a new study from Information technology industry
body NASSCOM, these efforts to create supply chain efficiency are the focus of
more than 50% of India’s booming agritech industry, which has received 300% more
funding in the first half of 2019 than in the whole of 2018.
In its report “Agritech In India: Emerging Trends in 2019”
released this week, NASSCOM noted that India is home to more than 450 startups
in the agriculture technology sector, of the global total of about 3,100.
With regards to funding, the start-ups received 10 times more
money in 2017-18 than in 2013-14. Over the same period, funding for global
start-ups only doubled.
Corporates and investors are playing a vital role with over $200
million in the last 18 months coming for B2B start-ups, with technology
innovations that are aimed directly at the farmer.
“India’s agriculture sector is advancing steadily towards its
digital transformation and the start-up ecosystem is playing a critical role
here, bringing innovation and disruption in much-needed areas,” says NASSCOM
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will meet on
August 16 morning to discuss Kashmir (India’s abrogation of Article 370),
Poland’s mission to the UN confirmed . The Presidency of the UNSC is
currently with Poland.
Consultations are a way for Security Council members to
informally take up an issue and the “closed” refers to the fact that the
consultation is not open to the public and no record of statements is kept. The
format also precludes Pakistan from participating, a diplomat said.
Earlier this week, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.N.,
MaleehaLodhi had handed over a letter from the country’s Foreign Minister, Shah
MahmoodQureshi to the UNSC President and Polish Ambassador to the U.N., Joanna
Wronecka, requesting that the Council take up the issue.
Diplomats in New Delhi have pointed out that China’s push to
bring back Kashmir to the UNSC shows that Beijing remains committed to its ties
with Pakistan. Diplomats said the presentation of the Indian case by External
Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar earlier this week has not influenced Beijing’s
A former Indian representative to the U.N. said the body will
have to first address how it can take up Kashmir under the “India-Pakistan
Subjects”, which was relevant till 1971 but is known to have lapsed after U.N.
recognised the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan.
Minute microplastic particles have been detected in the
Arctic and the Alps, carried by the wind and later washed out in the snow,
according to a study that called for urgent research to assess the health
risks of inhalation.
Every year, several million tonnes of plastic litter course
through rivers and out to the oceans, where they are gradually broken down into
smaller fragments through the motion of waves and the ultraviolet light of the
The new study, conducted by scientists at Germany’s Alfred
Wegener Institute and Switzerland’s Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research,
found that microplastic particles can be transported tremendous distances
through the atmosphere.
Ms. Bergmann and her colleagues used an infrared imaging
technique to analyse samples collected between 2015 and 2017 from floating ice
in the Fram Strait off Greenland, visiting five floes by helicopters or
The team’s hypothesis for airborne transportation builds on past
research conducted on pollen, where experts confirmed that pollen from near the
equator ends up in the Arctic.