1.e-Gram Swaraj Portal

Why in News?
  • Ministry of Panchayati Raj has recently released a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) regarding e-Gram Swaraj. The application was launched on the National Panchayati Raj Day (April 24).
Objective:
  • To bring in better transparency and strengthening of the e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) across the country through decentralized planning, progress reporting and work-based accounting.
Usage of the Portal:
  • It will assist in enhancing the credibility of Panchayats which would induce greater devolution of funds to PRIs.
  • It will help in establishing a strong financial system by integrating the PRIA Soft and Public Financial Management System (PFMS).
  • The PRIA Soft is the Online Payment Module whereby Gram Panchayats are carrying out online payments to the vendors and service providers.
  • The main objective of introducing such a module is to have a sound financial management system in the Panchayats leading to their greater credibility and image.
  • These endeavours are also congruent to that of Digital India Programme which is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

2.District Mineral Foundation

Context:
  • Recently, a report by non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found that two key mining districts, Keonjhar in Odisha and Anuppur in Madhya Pradesh (MP), have opened creches for the children of their inhabitants by using the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds.
About:
  • The mining districts through the creches are attempting to target malnutrition among pre-Anganwadi children through local engagement.
  • Creches are being executed through an expert local non-profit that looks at community participation, particularly recruiting local women as creche workers.
  • Their focus is on meeting the dietary requirement of children between 0-3 years. Both districts are also working on monitoring the nutritional gains made by the children in cheches as Evidence for the Intervention.
About District Mineral Foundation:
  • It is a trust set up as a non-profit body under the Ministry of Mines through the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, (MMDRA) 2015.
  • Its objective is to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining related operations in those districts affected by the mining works.
  • Its 60% of the fund is utilised for high priority areas such as drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people and environment conservation.
  • Its 40% of the fund is utilised for physical infrastructure, irrigation, energy and watershed development.
  • Its manner of operation comes under the jurisdiction of the relevant State Government.
  • It is expected to implement the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), launched on 17 September 2015 for the welfare of mining areas and affected population
About Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY):
  • It is meant to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).
  • To implement various developmental and welfare programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes of State and Central Government.
  • To minimize the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
  • To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in Mining Areas.

3.Exercise Pitch Black

Why in News:
  • Australia has informed India recently that the exercise Pitch Black 2020, scheduled to be held from 27thJuly to 14th August has been cancelled due to the Covid-19.
About:
  • The Pitch Black is a biennial three-week multilateral air combat training exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Its last edition was held in 2018.
  • It ensures that the training and integration of forces that occur during this exercise directly supports the Air Force’s ability to conduct operations.
  • Australia and India are committed to working together to enhance maritime cooperation and have had AUSINDEX since 2015.
Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement:
  • It was signed in September 2014 which came into force in November 2015. The deal ensures that Uranium mining companies of Australia can supply uranium to India for civil use.
  • It also ensures that any future bilateral trade in other nuclear-related material or items for civil use will also be protected.
  • Consular Cooperation: India and Australia signed the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and the Extradition Treaty in June 2008, which has been ratified by both the Governments, and has come into force since January 2011

4.SVAMITVA Scheme

Why in News?
  • The Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj issued guidelines regarding the SVAMITVA scheme, a new initiative of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Highlights:
  • SVAMITVA scheme, a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Departments, State Revenue Departments and Survey of India, aims to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India, engaging the latest Drone Surveying technology, for demarcating the inhabited land in rural areas.
  • The program is currently being implemented in six states – Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  • Under this, mapping of rural housing land can be done using the latest survey methods and drones.
  • This scheme will help in streamlining planning and revenue collection in rural areas and ensuring clarity on property rights.
  • The scheme will also enable the creation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans Engaging Drone Surveying Technology.
  • The aim of this scheme is to provide people in the rural areas with the right to document their residential properties so that they can use their property for economic purposes.

5.Giant Herbivores in Arctic to Fight Climate Change

Why in News?
  • A team of scientists has come up with a bizarre plan to fill the Arctic with hordes of Grazing animals like reindeer and bison. The idea is to keep the permafrost frozen by trampling it under the weight of these hordes. Climate change and its harmful impact on the Arctic is not unknown. However, the idea of fighting climate change or global warming with hordes of grazing animals is something unheard of before.
Highlights:
  • As per the team of scientists, this trick alone could save 80 percent of the Arctic’s permafrost until the year 2100. The sounding reason behind this lies in the equation between the snow and the soil.
  • In the Arctic, the snow that falls on the ground starts acting as a layer of insulation between the soil and the frigid air above it.
  • The idea is that restoring large herds of animals to the Arctic landscape could help protect permafrost, a carbon-rich layer of permanently frozen soil stretching across much of the tundra.
  • As temperatures rise in the rapidly warming Arctic, large swaths of permafrost are beginning to heat up and melt, releasing climate-warming carbon emissions in the process.
  • Due to worsening climate change, that insulation results in the soil’s temperature to rise. Beyond a point, this temperature rise eventually results in the permafrost beginning to thaw.
  • The study mentions that large herbivores like bisons and reindeers disperse the snow insulation as they walk around. In addition, these animals also help stamp down and compact the soil beneath them.
  • There are, however, still doubts on the feasibility of the study. A simple question that renders it impractical is the scale at which it would have to be applied to attain any significant results.
  • The increasing climate change is headed towards tipping the Earth to a point of no return. The impact can be seen at almost every point on the planet.
  • The arctic, for instance, was recently found with a 1 million square kilometre wide hole in the Ozone layer. Usually, such occurrences were limited to the South Pole.
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