After the success of container cargo being shipped from Kolkata to Varanasi earlier this year, Bihar’s capital Patna will be witness to a new landmark in India’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector with 16 TEUs of container cargo (equivalent to 16 truckloads) belonging to food giants PepsiCo India and Emami Agrotech Ltd from Kolkata reaching the city’s Gaighat IWT terminal on river Ganga next week.
Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI) vessel MV RN Tagore sailed from Kolkata’s Garden Reach Jetty today with the PepsiCo and Emami Agrotech products. It will reach the IWT terminal at Patna in 6-7 days after an 815 kms long voyage on river Ganga (National Waterway-1). The cargo will be unloaded at IWAI’s inter-modal terminal at Gaighat in Patna from where onward cargo will be loaded. Earlier, on November 12, 2018, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had received the country’s first IWT containerised cargo that reached Varanasi from Kolkata.
Kolkata-Patna is India’s new IWT origin-destination pair for containerised cargo movement on the National Waterway-1. Plans are at an advanced stage to operationalise Patna-Varanasi sector of NW-1 for container cargo movement. Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.
The Ministry of Shipping is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
The movement will give a fillip to the region’s growth and employment. According to the World Bank economic analysis, of the 1.5 lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities to be created due to interventions under JMVP, 50,000 will be in Bihar alone.
Ministry of Shipping approves aRs 156 crore Freight Village in Varanasi The Freight Village will give a boost to logistics industry in Varanasi.
The Ministry of Shipping has approved the development of aRs 156 crore freight village in Varanasi adjoining the Inland Waterways Terminal on River Ganga. The Varanasi freight village will be developed by the Inland WaterwaysAuthority of India . It will serve as a cargo hub, and a centre for aggregation and value addition. It will also provide support to stimulate development of a professional logistics industry in Varanasi.
A freight village is a designated area where facilities for various modes of transportation, distribution of goods and other logistics are available in a synchronized manner on a large scale.The main function of freight villages is management and utilization of various modes of transport, synergizing them and decongesting the existing mode of transportation. Freight villages are basically cargo aggregators which offer various logistic choices to a shipper/ cargo owner; i.e. choice of rail-road; rail-waterway; road-waterway. The choice is based on the optimal/ lowest logistic cost that can be derived by the shipper/ cargo owner. Delivery and coordination of various freight related activities under one roof ensures ease of doing business and makes it possible to realize high truck capacity due to which economic efficiency and activity of the enterprises on site can be improved.
Post-independence, first three gallantry awards namely the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra were instituted by the Government of India on 26th January, 1950 which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947.
Thereafter, other three gallantry awards i.e. the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III were instituted by the Government of India on 4th January, 1952, which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947. These awards were renamed as the Ashoka Chakra, the Kirti Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra respectively in January, 1967.
These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year - first on the occasion of the Republic Day and then on the occasion of the Independence Day. Order of precedence of these awards is the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.
DESIGN OF THE MEDAL AND RIBBON PARAM VIR CHAKRA Medal: Circular in shape, made of bronze, one and three eighth inches in diameter and shall have embossed on the obverse four replicas of "Indra's Vajra" with the State Emblem embossed in the centre. On its reverse, it shall have embossed “PARAM VIR CHAKRA” both in Hindi and in English with two lotus flowers between the Hindi and the English inscriptions.
Ribbon: Plain purple coloured ribbon. Bar: If any recipient of the Chakra shall again perform such an act of bravery as would have made him or her eligible to receive the Chakra, such further act of bravery shall be recorded by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended, and for every such additional act of bravery, an additional Bar shall be added, and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the "Indra's Vajra" in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
MAHAVIR CHAKRA Medal: Circular in shape and of standard silver, one and three eighth inches in diameter, and shall have embossed on the obverse a five-pointed heraldic star with the points of the star just touching the rim. The star shall have in the centre a domed gilded State Emblem. On the reverse, it shall have embossed “MAHA VIR CHAKRA” both in Hindi and in English with two lotus flowers between the Hindi and the English inscriptions.
Ribbon: The ribbon is of a half-white and half-orange colour. Bar: If any recipient of the Chakra shall again perform such an act of bravery as would have made him or her eligible to receive the Chakra, such further act of bravery shall be recorded by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended, and for every such additional act of bravery, an additional Bar shall be added, and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the Chakra in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
VIR CHAKRA Medal: Circular in shape and of standard silver, one and three eighth inches in diameter, and shall have embossed on the obverse a five-pointed heraldic star with the points of the star just touching the rim. The star shall have in the centre a Chakra and within the Chakra shall be a domed centre piece bearing the gilded State Emblem. On the reverse, it shall have embossed “VIR CHAKRA” both in Hindi and in English with two lotus flowers between the Hindi and the English inscriptions.
Ribbon: The ribbon is of half blue and half orange in colour. Bar: If any recipient of the Chakra shall again perform such an act of bravery as would have made him or her eligible to receive the Chakra, such further act of bravery shall be recorded by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended, and for every such additional act of bravery, an additional Bar shall be added, and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the Chakra in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
ASHOKA CHAKRA Medal: Circular in shape, one and three eighth inches in diameter, with rims on both sides. The medal shall be of gold gild. On the obverse of the medal shall be embossed a replica of Ashoka’s Chakra in the centre, surrounded by a lotus wreath. Along the rim, on the inner side, shall be a pattern of lotus leaves, flowers and buds. On its reverse shall be embossed the words “Ashok Chakra” both in Hindi and English the two versions being separated by two lotus flowers..
Ribbon: Green colour ribbon divided into two equal segments by an orange vertical line. Bar: If a recipient of the Chakra shall again perform such an act of gallantry as would have made him or her eligible to receive the Chakra, such further act of gallantry shall be recognised by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended and, for every subsequent act of gallantry, an additional Bar shall be added and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the Chakra in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
KIRTI CHAKRA Medal: Circular in shape and of standard silver, one and three-eighth inches in diameter, with rims on both sides. On the obverse of the medal shall be embossed a replica of Ashoka’s Chakra in the centre, surrounded by a lotus wreath. Along the rim, on the inner side, shall be a pattern of lotus leaves, flowers and buds. On its reverse shall be embossed the words “KIRTI CHAKRA” both in Hindi and English, the two versions being separated by two lotus flowers.
Ribbon: Green colour ribbon divided into three equal parts by two orange vertical lines. Bar: If a recipient of the Chakra shall again perform such an act of gallantry as would have made him or her eligible to receive the Chakra, such further act of gallantry shall be recognised by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended and, for every subsequent act of gallantry, an additional Bar shall be added and such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every such Bar, a replica of the Chakra in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
SHAURYA CHAKRA Medal: Circular in shape and made of bronze, one and three-eighth inches in diameter, with rims on both sides. On the obverse of the medal shall be embossed a replica of Ashoka’s Chakra in the centre, surrounded by a lotus wreath. Along the rim, on the inner side, shall be a pattern of lotus leaves, flowers and buds. On its reverse shall be embossed the words “SHAURYA CHAKRA” both in Hindi and English, the two versions being separated by two lotus flowers.
Ribbon: Green colour ribbon divided into four equal parts by three vertical lines. Bar: If a recipient of the Chakra shall again perform such an act of gallantry as would have made him or her eligible to receive the Chakra, such further act of gallantry shall be recognised by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended and, for every subsequent act of gallantry, an additional Bar shall be added and such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every such Bar, a replica of the Chakra in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
INVESTITURE CEREMONY Gallantry awards along with some other Defence Distinguished Service awards are conferred to the awardees/Next-of-Kins (NoKs) by the President at the Defence Investiture Ceremony held every year at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. However, the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashoka Chakra are conferred by the President to the awardees/NoKs on the occasion of the Republic Day Parade at the Rajpath.
Need for review: To develop tourism, the RAP regime, in place since 1963, was lifted around August this year from 29 islands, including the North Sentinel. The lifting of the regime proved problematic and the decision had “many pros and cons that needed to be re-looked”. Recently, U.S. citizen John Allen Chau was killed in the North Sentinel Island.
What is Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime? RAP regime was notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963. Under it, foreign nationals are not normally allowed to visit protected or restricted area unless Government is satisfied that there are extra-ordinary reasons to justify their visit.
Every foreigner, except citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in protected or restricted area, is required to obtain special permit from competent authority having power to issue such permits to foreigner, seeking it. Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin are exception and are not allowed to enter such areas.
Background: The issue of witness protection scheme had cropped up earlier when the top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving Asaram Bapu.
During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal had told the top court that the draft scheme, which has now been finalised, would be made into a law “in due course”, but till then the court should direct the states to start implementing it.
Highlights of the draft scheme: The draft witness protection scheme has been finalised in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD). The types of protection measures envisaged under the scheme are to be applied in proportion to the threat and they are not expected to go on for infinite time.
The scheme envisages that there should be safeguards that witnesses and accused do not come face to face during investigation or trial and adequate security measures should be there for the safety of the witnesses. The scheme provides for identity protection and giving a new identity to the witness. The scheme shall extend to the whole of the India except the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
As per the scheme, police escort will be provided to witnesses who are threatened and, if needed, they would be relocated to a safe house. The scheme also says mails and phone calls of the witnesses would be monitored to trace the person threatening them. It said a separate witness protection fund will be created in each state to meet the expenses incurred under the scheme.
Witness deposition complexes will be set up in all district courts by the states and union territories within a year where the witnesses could fearlessly depose against the high and mighty without coming face-to-face with the accused.
It has three categories of witnesses based on the threat perception: Category ‘A’: Where the threat extends to life of witness or his family members and their normal way of living is affected for a substantial period, during investigation/trial or even thereafter.
Category ‘B’: Where the threat extends to safety, reputation or property of the witness or his family members, only during the investigation process or trial.
Category ‘C’: Where the threat is moderate and extends to harassment or intimidation of the witness or his family member’s, reputation or property, during the investigation process.
Significance of the scheme: The witnesses, being eyes and ears of justice, play an important role in bringing perpetrators of crime to justice. The scheme is the first attempt at the national-level to holistically provide for the protection of the witnesses, which will go a long way in eliminating secondary victimization. This scheme attempts at ensuring that witnesses receive appropriate and adequate protection. It also strengthens the criminal justice system in the country and will consequently enhance national security scenario.
Need: Victims and witnesses of serious crimes are particularly at risk when the perpetrator is powerful, influential, or rich and the victims or witnesses belong to a socially or economically marginalised community. Girls and women who report sexual violence are often even more vulnerable and face extreme pressure or direct threats from the accused.
Also, witnesses need to have the confidence to come forward to assist law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities. They need to be assured that they will receive support and protection from intimidation and the harm that criminal groups may seek to inflict upon them in attempts to discourage or punish them from co-operating. Hence, legislative measures to emphasise prohibition against tampering of witnesses have become the imminent and inevitable need of the day.
In 2003, Justice V Malimath Committee on criminal justice system had recommended enacting a separate witness protection law and in 2006, the Law Commission of India, in its 198th report, provided for a draft witness protection law. Besides, countries such as USA, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Canada, Hong Kong and Ireland have witness protection scheme.
Globally, 1.4 million patents were granted in 2017. China’s patent authority led the world in the number of patents granted with 420,144 and was followed by the US with 318,829, according to the WIPO.
Highlights of the report- India related key facts: The number of patents granted by India shot up by 50% in 2017, keeping up a trend of steep increases. The patents granted by India increased from 8,248 in 2016 to 12,387 last year.
Of the patents granted last year, 1,712 went to entities and individuals based in India, and 10,675 to foreigners. While India ranked 10th in the number of patents given last year, no Indian company or university figures in last year’s global list of the top 50 patent applicants.
About WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. It was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.” It has currently 188 member states, administers 26 international treaties, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Non-members are the states of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, South Sudan and Timor-Leste. Palestine has observer status. India is a member of WIPO and party to several treaties administered by WIPO.
Need for review- challenges ahead: There are daunting challenges ahead such as the discovery of new toxic chemicals, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques. There is an increasing threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors such as IS and other terror outfits.
The growing complexity of the global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament.
Despite best efforts, there has been an increase in allegations and incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world such as Malaysia, UK and Northern Ireland, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.
About OPCW: The OPCW is an independent, autonomous international organisation with a working relationship with the United Nations. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
The OPCW Member States share the collective goal of preventing chemistry from ever again being used for warfare, thereby strengthening international security. To this end, the Convention contains four key provisions:
Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW. Monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging. Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats. Fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.
The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits: Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons. The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use. Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity. The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”
Way ahead: The use of these weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances is unjustifiable. The efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all the possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons.
The need of the hour is constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose. This is the only way forward. India remains willing and open for discussions with all States Parties to find ways and means to strengthen the Convention and its effective implementation within the framework of the Convention.
Aim: To communicate messages on importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being. Theme for year 2018: ‘Be the Solution to Soil Pollution’.
Historical background of World Soil Day: An international day to celebrate Soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform.
The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013 the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.
Why December 5 was chosen? The date of 5 December for WSD was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event.
Soil pollution- concerns: These days pollution is a worry – and soil is also affected. Soil pollution is a hidden danger that lurks beneath our feet. 1/3 of our global soils are already degraded. Yet we risk losing more due to this hidden danger. Soil pollution can be invisible and seems far away but everyone, everywhere is affected.
With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. The entity of the problem is still unknown as not certain data are available on a global scale.
Soils have a great potential to filter and buffer contaminants, degrading and attenuating the negative effects of pollutants, but this capacity is finite. Most of the pollutants originate from human activities, such as unsustainable farming practices, industrial activities and mining, untreated urban waste and other non-environmental friendly practices.
As technology evolves, scientists are able to identify previously undetected pollutants, but at the same time these technological improvements lead to new contaminants being released into the environment.
SDGs: In the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12, and 15 have targets which commend direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation in relation to food security.
Need for conservation and protection of soil: Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate. 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil. 95% of our food comes from soil. 33% of our global soils are already degraded.
Way ahead: According to the FAO, it is vital to tackle soil pollution to reduce the risk of food security and human health. By preventing soil pollution, we can also address soil degradation, adapt to climate change and stem rural migration.
India Water Impact Summit: It is an annual event where stakeholders get together to discuss, debate and develop model solutions for some of the biggest water-related problems in the country.
The discussions this year will be on the rejuvenation of the Ganga River Basin. There will be multi-country dialogue on the subject, with showcasing of technological innovations, research, policy frameworks and funding models from India and abroad.
The efforts may take various forms including (but not limited to): data collection (sensors, LIDAR, modelling etc), hydrology, e-flows, agriculture, wastewater and more.
Ganga Financing Forum: The Summit introduced the inaugural Ganga Financing Forum that will bring a number of institutions to a common knowledge, information and partnership platform. The Financing Forum will bring together financial institutions and investors interested in Namami Gange programmes.
Highlights of the study: India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017. The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use.
The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a region of countries ranks third. China’s emissions accounted for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high.
Emissions in the U.S., which has withdrawn from its commitment to the Paris Agreement, account for 15% of the global total, and look set to have grown about 2.5% in 2018 after several years of decline.
Limiting global warming to the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature increase this century to well below 2°C, would need carbon dioxide emissions to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050.
Though coal use contributed to the rise in 2018 from last year, it still remains below its historical high in 2013 but may exceed that if current growth continues.
About Global Carbon Project: The Global Carbon Project was formed in 2001 to help the international science community to establish a common, mutually agreed knowledge base that supports policy debate and action to slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
It is a Global Research Project of Future Earth and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme. It was formed to work with the international science community to establish a common and mutually agreed knowledge base to support policy debate and action to slow down and ultimately stop the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The Global Carbon Project works collaboratively with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the World Climate Programme, the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and Diversitas, under the Earth System Science Partnership.
Soil Health Card Scheme has been taken up for the first time in a comprehensive manner across the country. It is provided to all farmers.
Objective: It is to enable the farmers to apply appropriate recommended dosages of nutrients for crop production and improving soil health and its fertility.
Unique Features: Collecting soil samples at a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in un-irrigated areas. Uniform approach in soil testing adopted for 12 parameters primary nutrients (NPK), secondary nutrient (S); micronutrients (B, Zn, Mn. Fe & Cu); and other (pH, EC & OC) for comprehensiveness. GPS enabled soil sampling to create a systematic database and allow monitoring of changes in the soil health over the years.
Background: National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) will be implemented during 12th Plan to make agriculture more productive, sustainable and climate resilient; to conserve natural resources; to adopt comprehensive soil health management practices; to optimize utilization of water resources; etc. Soil Health Management (SHM) is one of the most significant interventions under NMSA.
Aims of SHM: To promote Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilizers including secondary and micro nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilisers for improving soil health and its productivity; To strengthen soil and fertilizer testing facilities to give soil test based recommendations to farmers for improving soil fertility;
To ensure quality control requirements of fertilizers, bio-fertilizers under Fertiliser Control Order, 1985; To upgrade skill and knowledge of soil testing laboratory staff, extension staff and farmers through training and demonstrations; To promote organic farming practices, etc.
The National Integration Tours are educational and motivational tours for youth of Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern States.
Aim of the National Integration Tour: It aims to provide an insight into the rich heritage of the country as well as various developmental and industry initiatives that are underway. This initiative will expose them to various career options and enable them to interact with renowned personalities.
Background: The National Integration Tour has been initiated as part of the Indian Army’s ongoing outreach programme to foster the spirit of National Integration across the entire swathe of the country.