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Prelim Bits 26-11-2022 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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November 26, 2022

MGNREGA Review Committee

The Union Rural Development Ministry has formed a panel to revamp the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA).

  • The Central government has constituted a committee to review the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) Scheme.
  • The committee is headed by former Rural Development secretary Amarjeet Sinha.
  • Functions of the Sinha Committee - The committee especially assesses the programme’s efficacy as a poverty alleviation tool.
  • The committee will study the various factors behind demand for MGNREGA work, expenditure trends and inter-State variations, and the composition of work.
  • It will suggest changes in focus and governance structures to make MGNREGA more effective.
  • Criticism on MGNREGS - The scheme lacks in creation of tangible asset and optimal utilization.
  • Poorer sates like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar haven’t been able to utilise the scheme optimally to alleviate poverty, while economically better-off States like Kerala use it as an asset creation tool.
  • Importance of MGNREGS - MGNREGSS acted as a crucial safety net during the COVID pandemic.
  • As emerging from the pandemic, MGNREGS was in high demand in rural areas, amid soaring inflation and limited non-farm job opportunities.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was passed in 2005 and the MGNREGS was launched under this.
  • The demand-driven scheme guarantees 100 days of unskilled work per year for every rural household that wants it.
  • Currently 15.51 crore active workers are enrolled under the scheme.

References

  1. The Hindu - Panel to look into MGNREGA’s efficacy
  2. Deccan Herald - Centre forms panel to revamp MGNREGA

Kutia Kondh Tribe

Millets are largely propelled by a movement built around the Burlang Yatra, a traditional festival of the Kutia Kondh tribe.

  • The Kutia-Kondh is one of the primitive sections of Kondh tribe who lives in hill top and valleys.
  • Population - The Kutia Kondhs are a particularly vulnerable tribal groups found in Kalahandi and Khandhamal districts in Odisha.
  • Belief - The Kondhs worship nature like many other tribal groups in the country.
  • Agriculture - They are mostly dependent on shifting cultivation or slash-and-burn agriculture which the Kondhs call dongar chaas or podu chaas.
  • The major crops cultivated in the shifting cultivation system are minor millets like ragi (finger millet), kosala, kangu with arhar as an intercrop.
  • Settlement - The usual Kutia Kondh settlement have two rows of houses, across a rectangular space facing each other.

NIRMAN (an NGO) and Millet Network of India (MINI - a forum for promotion of millet), started celebrating the Burlang Yatra on a large scale for revival of millets.

Burlang Yatra

  • The Burlang Yatra is a traditional annual festival of the Kutia Kondh tribe in Khandhamal district.

  • During this festival, the community, especially the women, worship and exchange seeds through a celebratory mode of songs and dances at the village level.
  • This event brings together millet farmers to share knowledge and practices, including exchange of Indigenous heirloom seeds.
  • The large scale festival increase the awareness about millets and get rid of the inferiority complex prevailing among young tribals.

The Odisha Government launched Millet Mission in 2017 and also started celebrating Mandia Dibas (Millet Day) on November 10 to popularise the crop.

References

  1. The Hindu - Burlang Yatra, a festival of the Kutia Kondh tribe
  2. Indian Culture - Kutia Kondh

Nuclear-powered Icebreakers

Russia dock launched two nuclear-powered icebreakers Yakutia that will ensure year-round navigation in the Western Arctic.

  • Russia is the only country in the world that builds and operates nuclear-powered icebreakers.
  • The icebreakers enables service and maintain the passage of large tankers and container vessels through the Northern Sea Route that enables a shorter route between Northern Europe and the Far East.
  • Project 22220 - Russia under its ‘Project 22220’ plans to build 6 nuclear-powered icebreakers.
  • Yakutia nuclear icebreaker which was launched into the water will enter service in 2024 and the Chukotka is scheduled for 2026.
  • The 173.3 metre long Yakutia can smash through ice of up to 3 metres.
  • Ural icebreaker has completed sea trails and Rossiya icebreaker will be completed by 2027.
  • Two other icebreakers in the same series, the Arktika and the Sibir, are already in service.
  • Strategic Significance Of Arctic - Due to climate change, shrinking ice cap opens up new sea lanes.
  • The shorter route will fully unlock Russia’s export potential and establish efficient logistics routes, including to Southeast Asia.
  • Vast oil and gas resources lie in Russia's Arctic regions, including a LNG plant on the Yamal Peninsula.

Yamal Peninsula is an Arctic lowland region in north-western Siberia. It is bounded by the Kara Sea, Baydarata Bay and the Gulf of Ob.

References

  1. The Hindu - Russia’s ‘Arctic power’
  2. Hindustan Express – Russia’s nuke icebreakers

Ambition on Melting Ice

18 countries join group bringing special attention to the role of cryosphere loss in global sea-level rise.

  • At COP-27, a broad coalition of 18 governments joined together to create a new high-level group ‘Ambition on Melting Ice on Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources’.
  • The 18 member countries include those in the mountains as well as low-lying areas.
  • The coalition is led by the two polar and mountain nations of Chile and Iceland.
  • Members

amimembers

  • Objective - The melting of the cryosphere due to climate change, is a global threat whose impact will not be restricted to mountain and polar countries.
  • The AMI group aims to ensure impacts of cryosphere loss are understood by political leaders and the public.
  • AMI Declaration - The AMI group signed the Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) Declaration at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the UNFCCC concluded in Egypt.
  • The declaration of the group focuses on the role of cryosphere loss in particular in causing sea-level rise that threatens coastal communities, island nations and low-lying regions.

Melting cryosphere and thermal expansion of sea-water due to global warming are major contributors to sea-level rise.

Cryosphere

  • The Cryosphere (‘cryosphere’ means ‘ice globe’) is a term for the regions of our globe which are covered in ice and snow, either seasonally or year-round.
  • Currently Cryosphere includes around 15% of Earth’s surface, which includes ice sheets, glaciers and snow, permafrost (frozen ground), sea ice, ice shelves, and the two great polar oceans (the Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean).
  • Climate change is happening in the cryosphere faster and more dramatically than anywhere else on earth.

References

  1. Down To Earth - 18 countries join group on cryosphere loss
  2. ICCI – Ambition On Melting Ice

International Electrotechnical Commission

India won the Vice-Presidency of International Electrotechnical Commission during its General Meeting held in San Francisco.

  • India has won the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Vice-Presidency and Strategic Management Board (SMB) chair for the 2023-25 term.
  • The Chair of the SMB is the ex officio Vice-President for the duration of his/her term.
  • The Vice-President is responsible for the standardization work of the IEC.
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), a not-for-profit membership organization was founded in 1906 in London.
  • IEC is an international standard setting body that publishes international Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.
  • Standardisation Management Board (SMB) is an apex governance body of IEC responsible for technical policy matters.

References

  1. Business Standard - India wins vice presidency of IEC
  2. Live Mint -India wins IEC Vice Presidency
  3. International Electrotechnical Commission
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