Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 12 Apr, 2021

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“Shaphari Scheme” – Centre to Certify Shrimp Farms

What is the News? 

Marine Products Export Development Authority(MPEDA) launches a certification scheme for aquaculture called the “Shaphari Scheme”.

About Shaphari Scheme:

  • Shaphari is a Sanskrit word that means the superior quality of fishery products suitable for human consumption.
  • Purpose: It is an Antibiotics free Certification Scheme. It certifies hatcheries and farms for the production of antibiotic-free shrimp products. By doing that, it aims to:
    1. enhance the consumer confidence,
    2. meet international standards
    3. promote hassle-free export
  • The entire certification process will be online to minimize human errors and ensure higher credibility and transparency.
  • Based on: The scheme is based on the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s technical guidelines on aquaculture certification.
  • Components: The scheme will have two components:
    1. Certifying hatcheries for the quality of their seeds and
    2. Separately approving shrimp farms that adopt the requisite good practices.
  • Significance: The certification of fish hatcheries under the Shaphari Scheme will help farmers easily identify good quality seed producers. Those who successfully clear multiple audits of their operations shall receive a certificate for a period of two years.

Why was this Scheme launched?

  • India is the second-largest fish producer in the world.
  • Fish Sector provides employment to 14 million people in harvesting, processing packaging, and distribution.
  • Frozen shrimp is the largest exported item from India. It constitutes 50.58% in quantity and 73.2% in terms of total U.S. dollar earnings from the sector during 2019-20.
  • India exported frozen shrimp worth almost $5 billion in 2019-20 to the U.S. and China — its biggest buyers.
  • Major Producing States: Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu are the major shrimp producing States.
  • However, a combination of factors had hurt export volumes in recent months including container shortages and incidents of seafood consignments being rejected because of food safety concerns. Hence, the scheme was launched.

Source: The Hindu


“Dolphin Census” Registers Increase in Numbers of Dolphins

What is the News?

The Odisha State Forest and Environment Department released the final data on the dolphin census. The census covers almost the entire coast of Odisha.

What are the Key Findings of the Dolphin Census?

  • Number of Dolphins: The number of dolphins increased by 311 in Odisha taking the total number up to 544 Dolphins. In the 2020 census, there were a total of 233 dolphins in the Odisha state.
  • Dolphin Species: Census recorded three species of Dolphins: Irrawaddy, bottle-nose, and humpback dolphins.
  • Irrawaddy Dolphins: The population of Irrawaddy dolphins jumps from 146 in 2020 to 162 this year. These Dolphins mostly reside in Chilika lake. Apart from Chilika, 39 Irrawaddy dolphins also sighted in the Rajnagar mangrove division.
    • The rise in the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Chilika is due to the eviction of illegal fish enclosures.
  • Humpback Dolphins: The highest growth is observed in the case of humpback dolphins. In 2021, their population increased to 281.
  • Bottlenose Dolphin: The number of bottle-nose dolphins increases from 23 in 2020 to 54 in 2021.

About Irrawaddy Dolphins:

  • Irrawaddy Dolphins(Orcaella Brevirostris) are oceanic dolphins. Thus, It resides in brackish water near coasts, river mouths, and estuaries in South and Southeast Asia.
  • Features: They have a bulging forehead and short beak. Further, They pop out their head out of the water to breathe.
  • Habitat: It extends from the Bay of Bengal to New Guinea and the Philippines.
  • Rivers: They reside in three rivers namely The Irrawaddy (Myanmar), the Mahakam (Indonesian Borneo), and the Mekong.
  • Population: As per estimations, there are less than 7500 Irrawaddy Dolphins in the world. More than 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins have been reported from Bangladesh.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered

About Humpback Dolphin:

  • Humpback dolphins stay in relatively shallow nearshore waters throughout their range. It includes most of the coastlines in Australia, Africa, and Asia.
  • Species: There are four species of humpback dolphins with very little overlap between their ranges:
    • Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (IUCN Status: Vulnerable)
    • Indian Ocean humpback dolphin(IUCN Status: Endangered)
    • Atlantic humpback dolphin(IUCN Status: Critically Endangered)
    • Australian humpback dolphin(IUCN Status:  Vulnerable)

About Bottlenose Dolphin:

  • Further, Bottlenose dolphins are the most common members of the family of oceanic dolphins.
  • Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide. Thus, they are found everywhere except for the Arctic and Antarctic Circle regions.
  • Species: Following are three species of Bottlenose dolphins:
    • Common bottlenose dolphin (IUCN Status: Least Concern)
    • Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (IUCN Status: Near Threatened)
    • Burrunan dolphin (IUCN Status: Yet to be categorised).

Source: The Hindu


Education Minister Presents AICTE “Lilavati Awards” 2020

What is the News?

Union Minister of Education has presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment to the winners.

About Lilavati Awards:

  • Lilavati Award is an initiative of the All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE). It aims to recognise efforts by AICTE-approved institutions to treat women with equality and fairness.
  • Named after: The award has got its name after the 12th-century book called “Lilavati”. The Mathematician Bhaskara II wrote this book.
  • Objective: To create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development, natural resources, and rights among women.
  • Areas Covered: Women’s health, self-defence, sanitation, literacy, entrepreneurship, and legal awareness.
  • Theme: Women Empowerment
  • Prize: In each sub-category, the top three winners will receive award certificates as well as prize money.
    • The first prize winner will get Rs. 1 lakh, the second winner will get Rs. 75,000 and the third winner will get Rs. 50,000.
  • Significance: The award ensures the participation of women and enables them to hold higher positions in educational institutions.

Source: PIB


“DIKSHA Platform” -Visually challenged struggle with e-textbooks

What is the News? 

As per a study by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Visually impaired students can’t access more than half of NCERT material on DIKSHA platform.

About the study:

  • The study conducted a systematic review of the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing(DIKSHA) portal. The platform is a national platform for school education.
  • Purpose: It analyzed how much the DIKSHA portal is Accessible for Students with Visual Disabilities.

What are the key findings? The assessment of inaccessibility conducted on two fronts:

Inaccessibility of the DIKSHA platform:

  • The DIKSHA web platform has a variety of accessibility issues. That makes it difficult for visual disabilities persons to independently navigate it to search and access the content they are looking for.

Inaccessibility of the resources on the DIKSHA platform:

  • NCERTs: All chapters sampled from NCERT e-textbooks uploaded in an appropriate etext format. However, only 36.4% were completely accessible and 54.5% had inaccessible elements and 9.1% were completely inaccessible.
  • SCERTs:
    • Of the 21 SCERT chapters sampled for Tamil Nadu, 90.5% were totally inaccessible. Only one of the sampled chapters was totally accessible using a screen reader.
    • Out of the 22 SCERTs chapters sampled for Telangana, none were totally inaccessible. However, 95.5% were partially inaccessible, and only one chapter was totally accessible.
  • Subject wise Inaccessibility: Mathematics chapters had the highest number of inaccessible learning activities at 80%. It was followed by English, Science, and Geography chapters.
About DIKSHA Platform:
  • DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) is a national platform for teachers to excel in school education.
  • Launched by: It is an initiative of the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT), Ministry of Education.
  • Purpose: The DIKSHA platform offers engaging learning material, relevant to the prescribed school curriculum, to teachers, students, and parents.
  • Significance: DIKSHA made it possible amid Corona Pandemic, for all states and Union Territories, to enable learning and education at home through innovative state programs.

Source: The Hindu


People are Free to Choose Religion: Supreme Court

What is the News?

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to the Centre to ban black magic, superstition, and deceitful religious conversion.

What was the case?

  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking to control black magic, superstition & mass religious conversion of SC/STs. The petition also mentions the religious conversions through intimidation, threats & gifts.
  • The plea argued that such forceful religious conversions by use of black magic are common throughout the country.
  • These incidents are against Articles 14 (right to equality), 21(right to life), and 25 (right to religious freedom). Also, they are against the principles of secularism(part of the basic structure of the Constitution).
  • The plea also said that the Centre and States obligated under Article 46 to protect the SC/ST community from social injustice and other forms of exploitation.
  • The petitioner also referred to the 1977 Stanislaus vs State of Madhya Pradesh and Others case.
    • In this case, the Supreme Court Constitution bench explained the “word ‘propagate’ used in Article (25). The court held that it means transmitting or spreading information from person to person or from place to place.
    • Further, the court also held that the Article does not grant the right to convert another person to one’s own religion.
What has the Supreme Court said?
  • The Supreme Court refused to entertain the petition. It observed that there is no reason why a person above 18 can’t choose his religion.
  • The Court observed that the fundamental right under Article 25 provides people to freely profess, practise and propagate religion. It is subject to public order, morality and health.
  • Further, the court said that the Religious faith is a part of the fundamental right to privacy. Hence, every person is the final judge of their own choice of religion. Courts cannot sit in the judgment of a person’s choice of religion or a life partner.

Note: In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India(2017), the Supreme Court ruled that Fundamental Right to Privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty. Thus, it comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

Source: The Hindu


“Lab on Wheels Programme” For Education Equality

What is the News? 

Delhi Education Minister inaugurates Delhi Technological University(DTU) Lab on Wheels programme.

About Lab on Wheels Programme:

  • The Programme aims to impart education in the fields of Mathematics and Science. Especially to the students from marginalised and poor economic backgrounds. The programme aims to stimulate their interests in these subjects while pursuing higher education.
  • In the end, the programme becomes mutually beneficial, if some of these students decide to take admission in DTU once they finish schooling.
Key Features of the programme:
  • Under the Lab on Wheels, Delhi Technological University students will travel in a bus across Delhi. Also, they will teach government school students and underprivileged children.
  • The bus will comprise 16 computers, two televisions, one 3D printer, one laptop, cameras and one printer. It will also be Wi-Fi enabled with 100% power back up and fully air-conditioned.
  • The Lab on Wheels programme will cover some important things. Such as basic computer training for students, regular classwork for Class 10 and 12 students, and 3D printing training.

Source: Indian Express

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