Daily Current Affairs : 8th September 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Ganga Water Sharing Treaty
  2. PM-SHRI Scheme
  3. Mandatory Requirements for Packaged commodities
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Ganga Water Sharing Treaty 


Context: India and Bangladesh welcomed the establishment of a joint technical committee to study the use of Ganga waters in Bangladesh.

Key highlights

  • Ganga technical committee is one of the several initiatives, including several major connectivity and energy initiatives, that India and Bangladesh have announced.
  •  The leaders welcomed the formation of a joint technical committee to conduct a study for optimum utilization of water received by Bangladesh under the provisions of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, 1996.
  • The Ganga Water Sharing Treaty is a 30-year agreement which is expected to be reviewed or renewed in 2026.
  •  The Indian side raised the “urgent” irrigation-related requirements in Tripura which can be addressed with the waters of the Feni and urged Bangladesh to sign the interim water sharing agreement on the river at the earliest.
  • Leaders of both the nations also reviewed connectivity projects involving railway tracks and rolling stock.

About Ganges Water Sharing Treaty, 1996

  • The comprehensive bilateral treaty was signed by the then Indian Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed on 12 December 1996 in New Delhi.
  • The treaty established a 30-year water-sharing arrangement and recognized Bangladesh’s rights as a lower-level riparian
  • As per the 1996 treaty for sharing the Ganges waters at Farakka , the division is as follows
  • Both nations were able to co-operate in harnessing the water resources
  • The treaty also permits the construction of barrages and irrigation projects in Kushtia and the Gorai-Madhumati River in Bangladesh, draining the south-western districts and thus preserving the environment, natural and economic resources
  • Joint Committee: The treaty provides for the setting up of a committee consisting of representatives nominated by the two Governments in equal numbers following the signing of this Treaty.
  • The Joint Committee shall set up suitable teams at Farakka and Hardinge Bridge to observe and record at Farakka the *525 daily flows below Farakka Barrage, in the Feeder Canal, and at the Navigation Lock, as well as at the Hardinge Bridge.
  • The Joint Committee shall submit to the two Governments all data collected by it and shall also submit a yearly report to both the Governments.

Responsibilities of the Joint Committee

  • It is responsible for implementing the arrangements contained in this Treaty and examining any difficulty arising out of the implementation of the above arrangements and of the operation of Farakka Barrage.
  • Any difference or dispute arising in this regard, if not resolved by the Joint Committee, shall be referred to the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission.
  • If the difference or dispute remains unresolved, it shall be referred to the two Governments
  • Guided by the principles of equity, fairness and no harm to either party, both the Governments agree to conclude water sharing Treaties / Agreements regarding other common rivers.
  • Review: The sharing arrangement under this Treaty shall be reviewed by the two Governments at five years’ interval or earlier, as required by either party and needed adjustments, based on principles of equity, fairness, and no harm to either party made thereto, if necessary.
  • It would be open to either party to seek the first review after two years to assess the impact and working of the sharing arrangement as contained in this Treaty.
The Farakka Barrage It is a dam on the Bhagirathi River located in the Indian state of West Bengal, roughly 10 km (6.2 mi) from the border with Bangladesh. India uses it to control the flow of the Ganges River. The dam was built to divert Ganges River water into the Hooghly River during the dry season, from January to June, to flush out the accumulating silt which in the 1950s and 1960s was a problem at Kolkata Port on the Hooghly River. Bangladesh claimed that its rivers were drying up because of excess drawing of water by India.


2 . PM – SHRI Scheme


Context: The Union Cabinet approved the ‘PM Schools for Rising India’ (PM SHRI) scheme to turn existing government schools into model schools for implementation of the National Education Policy, 2022.

About the Scheme

  • As part of it, up to 14,500 schools in states and union territories would undergo renovations to reflect the major components of the NEP, 2020.
  • The first announcement regarding this scheme was made in June during a NEP conference organized by the Ministry of Education in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar after the plan was discussed with state education ministers.
  • The Union Minister of Education had previously stated that the plan would be advanced after consultation with the states.
    • He added that while there are exemplary schools like Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kendriya Vidyalaya, the PM SHRI will act as “NEP labs”.
  • It will be implemented as a Centrally sponsored scheme with a total project cost of ₹27,360 crore, with the Centre’s share being ₹18,128 crore for the period of five years from 2022-23 to 2026-27 for transforming nearly 14,500 schools across the country.
  • Schools will be selected only if the State government agrees to implement the NEP “in entirety with the Centre laying down commitments for supporting these schools for achieving specified quality parameters” to become PM SHRI schools.
  • These schools will also be “monitored vigorously” to assess their progress in implementing NEP.
  • The PM SHRI scheme will be application-based, which means states will have to identify schools for upgradation under the scheme. Subsequently, schools will be required to self-apply online. The portal will be opened four times a year, once every quarter, for the first two years of the scheme.
  • According to the selection methodology decided by the central government, states and UTs interested in getting included under the scheme will have to first agree to implement the NEP in its entirety.
    • Also, only those schools that meet a certain benchmark will qualify — the qualification criteria will include around 60 parameters from the availability of electricity to toilets.
  • In the third stage, teams of state government officials, KVs, and JNVs will verify the claims made by the applicant school through a physical inspection.\
    • “Maximum two schools (one Elementary & one Secondary/ Senior Secondary) would be selected per block/ ULB…” (urban local body) as per the plan.
    • The final call will be taken by an expert committee.

Where will these schools come up?

  • The list of schools that have been picked for this purpose has not yet been made public by the Center. However, it has also been stated that the PM SHRI schools will “provide mentorship” to other schools nearby.
  • Since this school is sponsored by the Centre, it will bear 60 per cent of the cost of implementation.
  • The remaining 40 per cent will be borne by the state or UT.
  • In Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, the contribution of the Centre can go up to 90 per cent.
  • PM SHRI schools will be an upgrade of existing schools run by the Centre, states, UTs, and local bodies.
    • This essentially means that a PM SHRI school can be an upgraded KV, JNV, or even a school that is run by a state government or a municipal corporation.

Key features of the Scheme

  • The National Education Plan (NEP) envisions a curriculum structure and teaching method organized into foundational, preparatory, intermediate, and secondary levels.
  • Play-based learning will be used in the foundational years (preschool and grades I and II). At the preparatory level (III-V), light textbooks are to be introduced along with some formal classroom teaching. Further, at the medium level, subject teachers will also be introduced (VI-VIII). Arts and sciences as well as other fields will not be clearly separated throughout the secondary stage (IX–XII).
  • The organizations created by PM SHRI would turn into “model schools” and “encapsulate the complete essence of NEP.
  • Schools will use a cutting-edge, transformative, and all-encompassing approach to educating students.
  • A learning-centered, discovery-oriented approach to teaching will be prioritized.
  • Modern infrastructure will also be emphasized, including cutting-edge technology, intelligent classrooms, sports, and more.
  • A school will receive nearly ₹2 crore, and the money will be transferred directly to the school’s account through Direct Benefit Transfer.
    • The principal or the local committee will be given the flexibility to determine the use of 40% of the funds.
  • The PM SHRI scheme also provides a “School Quality Assessment Framework” which will be developed for measuring key performance indicators for carrying out quality evaluation of schools selected from the current academic year.
  • Quality parameters that will be evaluated once a school is selected for the scheme will include
    • Implementation of NEP 2020
    • Student registry for tracking enrolment and learning progress
    • Improvement in learning outcomes of each child to achieve levels above State and national average
    • Linkage of school with higher education institutions and local entrepreneurial ecosystem for mentoring as well as creating “students rooted in the heritage of India, proud of values of Bharat, conscious of duties towards society and responsibilities towards nation-building”


3 . Mandatory Requirements for Packaged Commodities


Context: The Department of Consumer Affairs, Legal Metrology Division has notified a draft amendment to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011. As stated in the notification, the Department of Consumer Affairs Legal Metrology Division has observed that many manufacturers/packagers/importers do not clearly label necessary declarations or prime constituents on the front of packaged commodities, which are deemed essential to be disclosed in order to protect consumer interests.

 What are the mandatory provisions under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011?

  •  It is mandatory under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 to ensure several declarations, such as
    • Name and address of the manufacturer/packer/importer
    • The country of origin
    • The common or generic name of the commodity
    • The net quantity
    • The month and year of manufacture
    • The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and
    • Consumer care information.
  • As a consumer-oriented policy, all prepackaged commodities should also be inspected.
  • As stated in Rule 2(h), the “principal display panel”, in relation to a package, means the total surface area of a package containing the information required in accordance with these rules, namely that all the information should be grouped together and given in one place — the pre-printed information could be grouped together and given in one place and the online information in another place.
  • Additionally, Rule 9(1)(a) provides that the declaration on the package must be legible and prominent.
  • The consumers’ ‘right to be informed’ is violated when important declarations are not prominently displayed on the package.
  • If there is more than one major product, Rule 6(1)(b) states that “the name or number of each product shall be mentioned on the package.”
    • This sub-rule is, however, not applicable to mechanical or electrical commodities.

 What are the proposed amendments?

  •  As many blended food and cosmetic products are sold on the market, the key constituents need to be mentioned on the product packaging. It is common for consumers to assume that brands’ claims are accurate, but such claims are usually misleading.
  • Additionally, the front side of the package must contain the percentage of the composition of the unique selling proposition (USP).
  • As the name suggests, a USP, also known as a unique selling point, is a marketing strategy designed to inform customers about the superiority of one’s own brand or product.
  • Listing the USP of a product on the front of the package without disclosing its composition percentage violates consumer rights.
  • Also, packages displaying key constituents must display a percentage of the content used to make the product. For example, if a brand sells aloe vera moisturizer or almond milk/biscuits, then the maximum percentage of the product should be aloe vera and almond, otherwise, the product name is misleading.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs, Legal Metrology Division has suggested that at least two prime components should be declared on the package’s front side along with the brand name.
    • Currently, manufacturers list the ingredients and nutritional information only on the back of the packaging.
  • The proposed Section 6(1)(ba) states that when a commodity contains more than one constituent, the front side of the package must include a declaration of two or more of the commodities’ prime constituents along with the brand name.
    • This declaration must also include the percentage/quantity of the USPs of the product in the same font size as the declaration of the USPs.
    • However, mechanical or electrical commodities are excluded from this sub-rule.
  • When the new provision is added, consumers will not be misled by the fake claims of manufacturers relating to the content in blended foods and cosmetics.


 4 . Facts for Prelims


Non communicable disease

Context: The member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region  resolved to accelerate progress for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including oral and eye afflictions.

Non-communicable diseases

  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors.
  • The main types of NCD are cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
  • It kills 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
  • Each year, more than 15 million people die from NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • 77% of all NCD deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and diabetes (1.5 million).
  • These four groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.
  • Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from an NCD.
  • Detection, screening and treatment of NCDs, as well as palliative care, are key components of the response to NCDs
  • NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 31.4 million – occur.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

Context: The J&K administration has handed over the twin routes to the Amarnath cave temple in the highly ecologically sensitive locations in south and central Kashmir to the Border Roads Organization (BRO) for maintenance.

About Border Roads Organization (BRO)

  • The Border Roads Organization (BRO) is a road construction executive force in India that provides support to and is now a part of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • BRO develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries. This includes infrastructure operations in 19 states and three union territories (including Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka.
  • BRO is also tasked with maintaining this infrastructure including operations such as snow clearance
  • Mission:
    • To support the armed forces, meet their strategic needs by committed, dedicated and cost-effective development and sustenance of the infrastructure.
    • To achieve international levels of quality excellence and time consciousness in a diversified sphere of construction activity in a cost-effective manner.
    • Optimize potential and expertise through increased involvement in agency, transnational and national development projects.
    • To attain leadership in development, adoption, assimilation and use of state-of-the-art technology.
    • To create the environment for accurate, real time and effective decision making through optimizing use of information technology.
    • Through a focus on core competencies; ensure highest level of skill and proficiency in construction activity.
    • To sustain a sense of values in the Organization that will ensure a high level of self-esteem in each individual and immeasurable synergy in the Organization
    • To help enrich the quality of life of the community and ensure all round growth.

Gases from Coal power plants
Context: The Union Environment Ministry has for the third time extended the deadline by which coal plants must install pollution-control technologies to reduce emissions, drawing criticism from environment and clean-energy activists.

 Emissions from Coal Power plants

  • Several principal emissions result from coal combustion:
    • Sulfur dioxide (SO2), which contributes to acid rain and respiratory illnesses
    • Nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to smog and respiratory illnesses
    • Particulates, which contribute to smog, haze, respiratory illnesses and lung disease
    • Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the primary greenhouse gas produced from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas)
    • Mercury and other heavy metals, which have been linked to both neurological and developmental damage in humans and other animals
    • Fly ash and bottom ash, which are residues created when power plants burn coal
  • In the past, fly ash was released into the air through the smokestack, but laws now require that most emissions of fly ash be captured by pollution control devices.
  • In the United States, fly ash and bottom ash are generally stored near power plants or placed in landfills.


 

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