(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
‘DIFFICULT FOUR’ COUNTRIES
Recently, Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs has published a report proposing a blueprint for Britain’s future foreign policy after Brexit.
- The report groups India on the other side of a new divide in international affairs i.e. between open societies where citizens have the capacity to fight for their rights and those where these rights are denied.
- Along with China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, India is classed as one of the “difficult four” countries.
- It is destined to count among the UK’s “rivals” or “awkward counterparts” as it pursues its global goals.
- The part of the justification for labelling India ‘difficult’ centres on a critique of India’s domestic political developments.
- The report notes how the overt Hindu nationalism of the ruling government is weakening the rights of Muslims and other minority religious groups, leading to a chorus of concern.
- The report also states that:
- India is a reluctant supporter of liberal democracy,
- India is “ambivalent” about human rights abuses within other states, and
- India possesses ‘a long and consistent record of resisting being corralled into a ‘Western camp’.
- It highlights concerns raised by domestic groups as well as the United Nations and other democracy-watchers over a “crackdown on human rights activists and civil society groups” not being actively challenged by the judiciary.
Road Ahead of India to challenge conceptions in the Chatham House report
- The next two years will see India move into a critical period of high-profile international activity, both as an elected member of the UN Security Council and as host of the 2023 G20 Summit.
- India can leverage these positions of influence to centre a more demanding vision of internationalism that disrupts the civilisational and racialised hierarchies that linger from Europe’s imperial era.
- India is always on the list of countries with which a new UK government commits to engage but it should be obvious by now that the idea of a deeper relationship with India always promises more than it can deliver.
Source: Indian Express
MODIFIED SCHEME TO PRODUCE 1G ETHANOL
Recently, the Department of Food & Public Distribution has notified a modified scheme for extending financial assistance for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol.
Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP):
- Aim: It aims at blending ethanol with petrol, thereby bringing it under the category of biofuels and saving millions of dollars by cutting fuel imports and decreasing carbon emissions.
- Target: The target is to achieve 20% blending of ethanol by 2025.
- Ethanol Extraction from Foodgrains:
- In 2018, the Central Government extended the ambit of the EBP programme to extract the fuel from surplus quantities of food grains such as maize, jawar, bajra fruit and vegetable waste.
- Earlier, only excess sugarcane production was allowed to be converted into ethanol for procurement under the programme.
Financial Assistance for Expansion of Ethanol Distillation Capacity: The government will provide interest subvention (on loans) to encourage the funding in this sector.
- To set up distilleries for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such as cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn & sorghum), sugarcane, sugar beet etc.
- To convert molasses (a sugar byproduct) based distilleries to dual feedstock.
- Enhancing Farmers’ Income:
- Facilitate farmers to diversify their crops to cultivate particularly maize/corn which needs less water compared to sugarcane and rice.
- Provide Employment:
- Investment in capacity addition or establishment of new distilleries shall provide new employment opportunities in rural areas.
- Promote Distributed Ethanol Production:
- Bringing new grain based distilleries in the entire country would result in distributed production of ethanol and would save a lot of transportation cost and thus prevent delays in meeting the blending target.
- E20 Fuel: Earlier, the Indian government had invited public comments for introducing adoption of E20 fuel (a blend of 20% ethanol with gasoline).
- Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, 2019: The objective of the scheme is to create an ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and to boost research and development in the 2G Ethanol sector.
- Reduction in GST: The Government has also reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%.
- National Biofuel Policy 2018: The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
Celebrated Indian-American author Ved Mehta, who overcame blindness and became widely known as the 20th century writer most responsible for introducing American readers to India, died in the U.S., with complications from Parkinson’s disease.
- Ved Parkash Mehta (1934 –2021) was an Indian-born writer who lived and worked mainly in the United States.
- He lost his eyesight at the age of three from meningitis. He did not let this challenge to stop him from showcasing his literary prowess to the world.
- He is best known for his 12-volume memoir, which focused on the troubled modern history of India and his early struggles with blindness. His autobiography was published in instalments from 1972 to 2004.
- Mehta brought out 24 books that included volumes of reportage on India, among them Walking the Indian Streets (1960), Portrait of India (1970) and Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles (1977), as well as explorations of philosophy, theology and linguistics.
- He wrote for The New Yorker for many years.
Source : The Hindu
PRADHAN MANTRI KAUSHAL VIKAS YOJANA 3.0
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0, in a bid to empower India’s youth with employable skills by making over 300 skill courses available to them.
- Skill India Mission was launched by the government in 2015 under which the flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is run.
- It aims to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. It aims at vocational training and certification of Indian youth for a better livelihood and respect in the society.
- Launch: India’s largest Skill Certification Scheme – Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) – was launched on 15th July, 2015 (World Youth Skills Day).
- Aim: To encourage and promote skill development in the country by providing free short duration skill training and incentivizing this by providing monetary rewards to youth for skill certification.
- Implementation: PMKVY is implemented by the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) under the guidance of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
- Key Components: Short Term Training, Special Projects, Recognition of Prior Learning, Kaushal & Rozgar Mela, etc.
- Outcome: In 2015-16, 19.85 lakh candidates were trained.
- Coverage: PMKVY 2016-20 (PMKVY 2.0) was launched by scaling up both in terms of Sector and Geography and by greater alignment with other missions of the Government of India like Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat, etc.
- Budget: Rs. 12,000 Crore.
- Implementation Through Two Components:
- Centrally Sponsored Centrally Managed (CSCM): This component was implemented by National Skill Development Corporation. 75% of the PMKVY 2016-20 funds and corresponding physical targets have been allocated under CSCM.
- Centrally Sponsored State Managed (CSSM): This component was implemented by State Governments through State Skill Development Missions (SSDMs). 25% of the PMKVY 2016-20 funds and corresponding physical targets have been allocated under CSSM.
- Outcome: More than 1.2 Crore youth have been trained/oriented through an improved standardized skilling ecosystem in the country under PMKVY 1.0 and PMKVY 2.0.
- Coverage: Launched in 717 districts, 28 States/eight UTs, PMKVY 3.0 is a step towards ‘Atmnanirbhar Bharat’.
- Implementation: It will be implemented in a more decentralized structure with greater responsibilities and support from States/UTs and Districts.
- It envisages training of eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021 with an outlay of Rs. 948.90 crore.
- It will be more trainee- and learner-centric. The focus is on bridging the demand-supply gap by promoting skill development in areas of new-age and Industry 4.0 job roles.
- It will be a propagator of vocational education at an early level for youth to capitalize on industry-linked opportunities.
- By taking the bottom-up approach to training, it will identify job roles that have demand at the local level and skill the youth, linking them to these opportunities (Vocal for Local).
- It will encourage healthy competition between states by making available increased allocation to those states that perform better.
Recently, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has bowed to the venerable Thiruvalluvar on Thiruvalluvar Day.
About Saint Thiruvalluvar
- Thiruvalluvar is an ancient saint born in the BC era.
- The earliest references of the poet are found in the text Tiruvalluva Maalai.
- He is credited and revered by Tamil people for writing a collection of 1330 poem couplets called ‘Thirukkural’.
- It talks about ethics and morality, and is considered to be a guideline to lead a good and righteous life.
- It is widely read and respected by the people of Tamil Nadu irrespective of the faith they belong to.
- Thiruvalluvar Day was first celebrated on May 17 and 18 in 1935 but now it is usually observed either on January 15 or 16 in Tamil Nadu and is a part of Pongal celebrations.
- In the early 16th century, a temple dedicated to Thiruvalluvar was built within the Ekambareswarar temple complex in Mylapore, Chennai.
- In 1976, a temple-memorial called Valluvar Kotam was built in Chennai and houses one of the largest auditoriums in Asia.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal inaugurated the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’.
- The two day ‘Prarambh’, Startup India International Summit began in New Delhi, with members of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries participating in the inaugural event.
- The Summit is being organizing by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, M/o Commerce & Industry, as a follow up of the announcement made by the Prime Minister Modi at the 4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu in August, 2018.
- The Summit is a demonstration of neighbourhood first policy.
- With participation from over 25 countries and more than 200 global speakers, the Summit is the largest Startup India International Summit organized by the Government of India since the launch of the Startup India Initiative in 2016.
Source : PIB