Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 16, 2021

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“SIPRI Report” – India Remains the 2nd Largest Arms Importer

What is the news?

Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) releases a report titled “Trends in International Arms Transfers Report”. The report presents global trends in arms exports and arms imports.

What are the key findings of the report?

 Report on India:

  • Second Largest Arms Importer: India remains the second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia.
  • Decrease in Arms Imports: However, India’s arms imports have decreased by 33 % between 2011-15 and 2016-20.
    • Reason: The decrease in arms imports is mainly due to complex and lengthy procurement processes. Also, India is attempting to reduce its dependence on Russian arms by diversifying its network of arms suppliers.
  • India’s Arms Imports: India’s top three arms suppliers during 2016-20 were Russia (accounting for 49% of India’s imports), France (18%), and Israel (13%).
    • The US was the 4th largest arms supplier to India. Its imports to India reduced by 46% between 2016-20.
  • India’s Arms Exports: India accounted for 0.2% of the share of global arms exports during 2016-20. It makes the country the world’s 24th largest exporter of major arms. Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius are the top recipients of Indian military hardware.

Other key Findings Globally:

  • The volume of international transfers of major arms in 2016–20 was 0.5% lower than in 2011–15 and 12% higher than in 2006–10.
  • The five largest arms exporters in 2016–20 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany, and China.
  • The five largest arms importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia, and China.
  • The arms import by Pakistan between 2011–15 and 2016–20 decreased by 23%. China accounted for 61% of its imports in 2011–15 and for 74% in 2016–20.

Source: The Hindu

Petition in SC for Protection of “Great Indian Bustard”

What is the News?

The Supreme Court gave several suggestions to protect the Great Indian Bustard in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

What was the case?

  • A petition has been filed in the SC regarding the deaths of the Great Indian bustard(GIB) due to a collision with high voltage power lines.
  • The petitioner asked the court to order the government to make power transmission lines underground.  to avoid collision with GIB.

What has the Supreme Court said?

  • The Supreme Court has asked the Government about the possibility of placing underground, the overhead power cables.
  • The Government replied that only low voltage lines can go underground but not the high voltage ones.
  • Hence, the court has suggested a middle path whereby the low voltage lines can be made underground. For the high voltage transmission lines that can’t be made underground, the court could direct the installation of firefly bird diverters.

Note: Firefly bird diverters are flaps installed on power lines. They work as reflectors for bird species like the GIB. Birds can spot them from a distance of about 50 meters and change their path of flight to avoid collision with power lines.

About Great Indian Bustard:

  • Great Indian Bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world. It inhabits dry grasslands and scrublands on the Indian subcontinent.
  • Habitat: It is endemic to Indian Sub Continent. In India, the population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small population occurs in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered species
    • CITES: Appendix I
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972: Schedule I
  • Threats:
    • Collision/electrocution with power transmission lines,
    • Hunting (still prevalent in Pakistan),
    • Irrigation and farming technology
    • Mining
    • Wind turbines and Solar farms (photovoltaic power stations)
    • Plantation of exotic shrub/tree species in deserts and grasslands in the name of afforestation.

Click Here to Read more about Great Indian Bustard

 Source: The Hindu

KVIC launches “Project REHAB”

What is the News?

Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC) has launched a unique project called Project REHAB (Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees).

About Project REHAB:

  • Under this Project, bee boxes will be used as a fence to prevent the attack of elephants.
  • Aim: The project aims to create “bee-fences” to mitigate Human– elephant conflicts in the country. It will reduce the loss of lives of both, humans and elephants.
  • Where was it launched? It was launched as a pilot project at four places located on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka.
  • Sub Mission: The project has been launched as a sub-mission of KVIC’s National Honey Mission.

National Honey Mission:

  • Launched by: Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC)
  • Aim:
    • To provide sustainable employment and income to rural and urban unemployed youth.
    • To conserve the honeybee habitat and tapping untapped natural resources.
    • Moreover, to promote beekeeping for increasing crop productivity and pollination services avenue for beekeepers and farmers.

Source: PIB

Government launches “Mera Ration Mobile App”

What is the News?

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution launches the ‘Mera Ration’ mobile app.

About Mera Ration Mobile app:

  • Mera Ration Mobile app will facilitate the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ system. It aims to help those ration cardholders who move to new areas for livelihoods.
  • Developed by: Government of India in association with National Informatics Center(NIC).
  • Key Features of the app: The application allows beneficiaries to
    • Find out the nearest fair price shop available according to the location.
    • Users can check details of a) Recent transactions b) Status of the Aadhaar seeding and c) entitlement of the amount of rations available to them.
    • Migrant beneficiaries can also register their migration details through the application. There is also an option for beneficiaries to enter suggestions/feedback.
  • Languages: Presently users get English and Hindi as preferred languages for operating the app. However, the government plans to make the app available to users in 14 different languages.

About One Nation-One Ration Card(ONORC) System:

  • Ministry: Department of Food & Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • Objective: The system envisages inter-state portability of ration cards under National Food Security Act, 2013(NFSA).
  • Features: Under this, NFSA beneficiaries particularly migrant beneficiaries can claim  foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop(FPS) in the country through existing ration cards with biometric/Aadhaar authentication in a seamless manner.
    • The system also allows their family members back home to claim the balance of foodgrains on the same ration card.
  • States covered under this system: At present 32 States/UTs are covered under ONORC and integration of the remaining 4 States/UTs is expected to be completed in the next few months.

Source: PIB

Rajya Sabha Passes “National Institutes of Food Technology Bill, 2019”

What is the news?

Rajya Sabha passed the National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019.

What does the bill provide?

The bill declares two institutes of food technology, entrepreneurship, and management as institutions of national importance. These institutes are:

  • National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Haryana
  • Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Tamil Nadu.

What are Institutions of National Importance?

  • It is an institution that serves as an important player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state.
  • The status is conferred on a premier public higher education institution in India by an act of the Parliament of India.

Benefits of National Importance Tag:

  • These institutes are provided functional autonomy to
    • design and develop courses
    • Award Degrees such as Bachelor of Technology, Master of Technology, and Ph.D.
    • Undertake research activities
  • The institutes would also implement the reservation policy of the Government. It would also undertake special outreach activities for the benefit of concerned stakeholders.
  • The recognition would also enable the institutes to provide world-class teaching and research experience by adopting innovative practices.

Source: The Hindu

“Vacancies in Central institutions” for higher education

What is the News?

The Union Education Minister informed the Lok Sabha about the vacancies in the faculty positions of Central institutions ofor higher education. He mentioned that there is a higher vacancy in the seats reserved for OBCs, Scheduled Castes, and Tribes.

What are the Vacancies in Central institutions of higher education?

  • More than half of the faculty positions reserved for the OBCs in Central institutions of higher education are vacant.
  • Moreover, 40% of those reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Central institutions of higher education also remain unfilled.
  • This situation is prominent in the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). There more than 60% of SC and OBC reserved positions are vacant, while almost 80% of positions reserved for the STs are vacant.

Vacancies in Central institutions at Professor Level:

  • Vacancies in Central institutions for SCs and STs:
    • In Central Universities, vacancies were higher at the level of professors and not the assistant professor level.
    • Of the 709 assistant professor positions reserved for the STs more than 500 have been filled.
    • However, when it comes to professors, only nine of the total 137 have been filled for the ST candidates. This means that 93% of these posts remain vacant.
  • Vacancies in Central institutions for OBCs
    • Similarly, 64% of the 2,206 assistant professor positions reserved for the OBCs have been filled in the Central Universities.
    • However, less than 5% of the 378 professor positions reserved for the OBCs have been filled.

Source: The Hindu



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