1. Nehru-Liaquat Pact, 1950
Why in News?
- Home Minister Amit Shah has stated that the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 (CAB) is a historic bill that has created a history which the Nehru-Liaquat Pactcould not do.
- Delhi Pact, also called Nehru-Liaquat Pact, pact made on April 8, 1950, following the escalation of tension between India and Pakistan in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) after economic relations between the two countries had been severed in December 1949.
- An estimated one million people—Hindus from East Pakistan and Muslims from West Bengal—crossed the borders during 1950.
- In spite of the opposition of his colleague Vallabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India, concluded a pact with Liaquat Ali Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, whereby refugees were allowed to return unmolested to dispose of their property, abducted women and looted property were to be returned, forced conversions were unrecognized, and minority rights were confirmed.
- Minority commissions were established to implement these terms, and confidence was in fact restored for a time; however, in the months following the pact, more than a million additional refugees migrated to West Bengal.
- The continuing struggle over Kashmir also strained relations between the two countries.
Why in News?
- State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, has reduced the one-year marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by 10 basis points (bps) to 7.9%.
- The marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI.
- It is an internal benchmark or reference rate for the bank.
- MCLR actually describes the method by which the minimum interest rate for loans is determined by a bank – on the basis of marginal cost or the additional or incremental cost of arranging one more rupee to the prospective borrower.
- The MCLR methodology for fixing interest rates for advances was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India with effect from April 1, 2016.
- This new methodology replaced the base rate system introduced in July 2010.
- In other words, all rupee loans sanctioned and credit limits renewed with effect from April 1, 2016 would be priced with reference to the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) which will be the internal benchmark (means a reference rate determined internally by the bank) for such purposes.
3. National Food Security Act (NFSA)
Why in News?
- The Supreme Court has asked the states for report on National Food Security Act.
- Government of India enacted National Food Security Act (NFSA) in July, 2013 which gives legal entitlement to 67% of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas) to receive highly subsidized food grains.
- Under the Act, food grain is allocated at 5 kg per person per month for priority households category and at 35 kg per family per month for AAY families at a highly subsidized prices of Rs. 1/-, Rs. 2/- and Rs. 3/- per kg for nutri-cereals, wheat and rice respectively.
- Coverage under the Act is based on the population figures of Census, 2011.
- The Act is now being implemented in all 36 States/UTs and covers about 81.35 crore persons.
- The annual allocation of food grain under National Food Security Act and Other Welfare Schemes is about 610 Lakh Metric Tons.
- The objective of the scheme was to identify the poorest households among the BPL category and to provide each of them with the following:
- Total 25 KG of food grains per month at fixed price of RS 2 per KG for Wheat and RS 3 Per KG for Rice.
- Individuals in the following priority groups are entitled to an AAY card, including:
1. landless Agricultural Labourers
2. Marginal Farmers
3. Rural Artisans/craftsmen such as potters and tanners,
4. Slum Dwellers
5. Persons Earning their livelihood on a daily basis in the informal sector such as porters, rickshaw pullers, cobblers.
6. Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons, disabled persons, persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence, and
7. All Primitive Tribal Households.
4. Exercise Hand-in-Hand-2019
Why in News?
- Opening Ceremony of the joint Exercise Hand-In-Hand-2019.
- The eighth edition of the India-China joint training exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand-2019’ commenced at Meghalaya.
- The People’s Liberations Army (PLA) contingent from the Tibet Military Command & an Indian Army contingent comprising of one Infantry company along with supporting staff are participating in the 14 days long joint training exercise.
- Besides counter-terrorism operations, discussions on Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) operations will also be conducted as part of the exercise.
- The exercise was suspended in 2017 amid strained bilateral ties after the Doklam standoff.
- In 2018, the exercise was held in China.
Why in News?
- Recently, the world’s first solar-powered remote survey device that can be installed at any Frog Pond.
About Frog Phone:
- It is developed by a team from various Australian institutions.
- It will allow researchers to dial these devices remotely, and analyze the data later.
- After a call is made to one of the Frog Phones already on a site, the device will take three seconds to receive it.
- During these few seconds, the device’s temperature sensors will get activated and environmental data such as air temperature, water temperature and battery voltage will be sent to the caller’s phone via a text message.
- Because frogs are most active during night, researchers are usually required to make nightly observations in order to monitor them on site.
- It will reduce costs and risks, including the negative impact of human presence on the field site.It also allows for monitoring of local frog populations more frequently than before, which is important because these populations are recognised as indicators of environmental health.
6. Zonal Cultural Centres
Why in News?
- The Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centers to promote inter-state cultural development programmes.
- The mandate of the Ministry of Culture is to protect, preserve and promote various forms of folk art and culture throughout the country.
- To meet this objective, the Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) with headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur.
- These ZCCs engage cultural troupes from different States to participate in the major festivals under the National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP).
- They also organize various cultural festivals and programmes on a regular basis in all the States/UTs of India.
- All the ZCCs along with other organizations under the Ministry of Culture have participated in the Kumbh Mela, 2019 at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.
- The 7 Zonal Cultural Centres with their HQs are given below:
- Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre -Kolkata
- North Central Zone Cultural Centre – Prayagraj
- North East Zone Cultural Centre – Dimapur
- North Zone Cultural Centre – Patiala
- South Central Zone Cultural Centre – Nagpur
- South Zone Cultural Centre – Thanjavur
- West Zone Cultural Centre – Udaipur
7. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
Why in News?
- Recently, Russia is banned from the world’s top sporting event for four years by WADA.
- It said that Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as neutrals, but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.
- It also banned Russia in 2020 Tokyo Olympics next summer and the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, for tampering with doping test.It mentions that participants will have to prove that they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the Manipulation.
- It is established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world.
- It is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.
- It aims at harmonizing anti-doping regulations in all sports and countries.
- It is collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee.
- Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.
- It releases an annual report with regards to doping violations.
About McLaren Report:
- It is the name given to an independent report released in two parts by professor Richard McLaren into allegations and evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
- It was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in May 2016.
- In 2016, Professor Richard McLaren, an independent investigator working on behalf of WADA published a report showing that more than 1,000 Russians athletes in over 30 sports were involved in or benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015.
8. National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme
Why in News?
- The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is implementing the ‘National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme’ (NAQUIM) for aquifer mapping in the country including in areas which have recorded a high depletion of groundwater, in phases.
National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme:
- Aquifer mapping refers to groundwater resource mapping.
- The NAQUIM was launched in 2012, with CGWB as the executing body.
- The Programme aims to cover more than 25 million square kilometres that have been delineated “hydro geologically mappable”.
- Since groundwater is a key component in a number of programmes launched by various Union government ministries, a carefully-crafted convergence of NAQUIM outputs can help in optimising the benefits.
- One of the major objectives of NAQUIM is to Promote Participatory Groundwater Management.
9. Pygmy Hog
Why in News?
- Pygmy Hog has been recently in news due to its dwindling population in the context of Increased Human Interference.
About Pygmy Hog:
- It is the Smallest and the rarest wild pig in the world.
- It is an indicator species of tall wet grasslands
About Status of the species:
- Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 – Schedule 1 (most threatened)
- CITES – Appendix 1
- IUCN Red List 2019: Critically Endangered mammal
- It is one of the most endangered of all mammals (IUCN 2007).
- Tall and wet grasslands of Himalayan foothills.
- Originally undisturbed tall grasslands of Terai region of India, Nepal and Bhutan and Bengal Duar region.Currently viable population of Wild pygmy hog is known to exist only in the Manas National Park, Oran National Park and Sonai-Rupai wildlife sanctuary in Assam.
About Importance of Pygmy Hog:
- It is extremely sensitive to changes in the grassland ecosystem.
- It is a key indicator of health of grassland ecosystem in the Terai region which is crucial for survival of a number of other endangered species such as the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, swamp deer, wild buffalo, Bengal florican etc.
- Loss of habitat due to Agriculture, Livestock grazing, Flooding by irrigation projects, Tree plantation under forestry operations and Encroachment by Human Settlements.
- Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme was launched in 1995 in Assam.
- Multi-pronged approach of captive breeding, re-introducing in the wild and habitat management.
- Reintroduction was done from 2008 in Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary, Orang National Park, and Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary.