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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | PDF Download

Date: 30 April 2019
  • It is being implemented by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in consultation with Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoW&CD), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY), respective Municipal & Police Commissioners of cities and civil society organizations.
  • Initially it was launched in 8 cities, which include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Lucknow was first city in country to clear the project in In November 2018.
  • It was approved with total cost of Rs.194.44 crore under Nirbhaya Fund Scheme (by empowered Committee of officers for Nirbhaya funds). It is implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) with Centre and State sharing fund in 60:40 ratio.
  • A troubled present with chaotic past with all kinds of rules
  • US’s war on terror and Afghanistan with its troops
  • Trump’s failed 2017 policy
  • Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and a tough task of negotiating exit for America
  • Taliban’s strong position and US’s conditions
  • US not establishing peace but managing its exit
  • A weak Afghanistan’s democratic setup & ineffective government
  • US backed NUG in 2014 and delayed 2019 elections
  • Constitutional and electoral reforms
  • Abandoned NUG and Russian involvement with china on the table with khalilzad
  • Pakistan at centrestage and its leverage
  • US war ends with exit but chaos remains and less hope with existing set up
  • Last decade was about improvement in trade at LoC after CBMs
  • Since 18th april suspension of trade due to weapons, narcos & fake currency issues
  • Trade value reached at 6500 crore with 19% growth
  • Freight revenue of 66.50 cr. For J&K
  • 1.6 lakh jobs to people
  • Operational and policy level deficiencies render the trade vulnerable to misconceptions and malpractices
  • Issues, coupled with a number of infrastructural issues such as a nonfunctional weighbridge, lack of CCTV cameras and truck scanners, and an absence of regular communication channels
  • Cross-LoC trade is an intra-Jammu and Kashmir trade, in the form of barter of goods on a reciprocal basis. Started on October 21, 2008, the trade has been conducted through a standard operating procedure (SOP) mutually agreed by New Delhi and Islamabad. The SOP enlists the 21 categories of items to be traded on zero tariffs. LoC trade takes place four days a week, wherein traders are allowed to exchange 70 trucks per day. The trade-in (import) and trade-out (export) goods have to be balanced to zero for each trading firm within a period of three months.
  • What is the way out?
  • Streamlining LoC trade would require both infrastructural and policy level interventions. First, a revision in the SOP is required to highlight the trader re-registration process; we need clarity on the ‘rules of origin’ of goods; tradeable commodities need to be identified that will benefit the local economy of Jammu and Kashmir, and further eight-digit HS (harmonised system) codes must be assigned to ensure clarity on the items. The SOP must also specify the modality of movement of trucks across the LoC as well as clarity on filing of GST/other local taxes. A token system on a first-come-first-serve basis should be explored. This will check the misuse of trade registration number in the roster system.
  • Second, digitisation of the TFCs must take place to make the process of record keeping easy, transparent and accessible to various regulatory agencies. Third, the digitised TFCs should be enabled with a ‘trader notification system’ for timely reminders to achieve zero barter balance for continuation of trade.
  • Fourth, in case of non-compliance, a strict ‘trader de-listing policy’ needs to be put in place wherein any trader with a negative balance in barter for more than the designated time period can be suspended from conducting trade. Fifth, regular meetings must also be held between the trade facilitation officers of both sides of the LoC to ensure co-ordination of such activities and exchange of the list of suspended/banned traders.
  • Finally, infrastructure upgradation such as installation of truck scanners, functional CCTV cameras for security, and calibration of weighbridges, are essential to check the inflow of banned items, narcotics and weapons.
  • The gains made by India and Pakistan through initiation of cross-LoC trade and travel have manifested themselves in the form of recent talks of opening the Sharda Peeth corridor in PoK as another CBM. An important lesson is to be learnt here, optics and rhetoric aside, is that the sustenance of a CBM requires regular policy and operational-level interventions.
  • Stunting has lifelong consequences on human capital, poverty & equality
  • According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4, India has unacceptably high levels of stunting, despite marginal improvement over the years
  • In 2015-16, 38.4% of children below five years were stunted and 35.8% were underweight.
  • India ranks 158 out of 195 countries on the human capital index.
  • Lack of investment in health and education leads to slower economic growth. The World Bank says, “A 1% loss in adult height due to childhood stunting is associated with a 1.4% loss in economic productivity”.
  • Since 53.1% of women were anaemic in 2015-16, this will have lasting effects on their future pregnancies and children. The situation further worsens when infants are fed inadequate diets.
  • Ambitious goals
  • The aim of the National Nutrition Strategy of 2017 is to achieve a malnutrition-free India by 2022. The plan is to reduce stunting prevalence in children (0-3 years) by about three percentage points per year by 2022 from NFHS-4 levels, and achieve a one-third reduction in anaemia in children, adolescents and women of reproductive age.
  • This is an ambitious goal, especially given that the decadal decline in stunting from 48% in 2006 to 38.4% in 2016 is only one percentage point a year. This promise calls for serious alignment among line ministries, convergence of nutrition programmes, and stringent monitoring of the progress made in achieving these goals.
  • In terms of geographical regions, Bihar (48%), Uttar Pradesh (46%) and Jharkhand (45%) have very high rates of stunting, while States with the lowest rates include Kerala, and Goa (20%).
  • The data available on stunting tell us where to concentrate future programmes. Stunting prevalence tends to increase with age and peaks at 18-23 months.
  • Timely nutritional interventions of breastfeeding, ageappropriate complementary feeding, full immunisation, and Vitamin A supplementation have been proven effective in improving outcomes in children.
  • However, data show that only 41.6% children are breastfed within one hour of birth, 54.9% are exclusively breastfed for six months, 42.7% are provided timely complementary foods, and only 9.6% children below two years receive an adequate diet.
  • India must improve in these areas. Vitamin A deficiency can increase infections like measles and diarrhoeal diseases.
  • About 40% of children don’t get full immunization and Vitamin A supplementation. They must be provided these for disease prevention.
  • Looking at this data, it is imperative to push for convergence of health and nutrition programmes right from pregnancy until the child reaches five years of age. This is doable. India must adopt a multi-pronged approach in bringing about socio-behavioural change. What is really needed is effective monitoring and implementation of programmes to address malnutrition.
  • There will be use of the Smart Cities program to launch the NCAP in the 43 smart cities falling in the list of the 102 non-attainment cities.
  • The NCAP is envisaged to be dynamic and will continue to evolve based on the additional scientific and technical information as they emerge.
  • The NCAP will be institutionalized by respective ministries and will be organized through inter-sectoral groups, which include, Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, NITI Aayog, CPCB, experts from the industry, academia, and civil society. The program will partner with multilateral and bilateral international organizations, and philanthropic foundations and leading technical institutions to achieve its outcomes.
  • The tentative national level target of 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.

GRSE to build anti-submarine craft for Navy

  • NEW DELHIThe Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday signed a contract with Kolkata based defence shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) for the construction of eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts (ASWSWCs) at a cost of ₹6,311 crore.
  • “The first ship is to be delivered within 42 months from the contract signing date and subsequent balance ships delivery schedule will be two ships per year. The project completion time is 84 months from today,” the MoD said in a statement.

Full-scale surveillance

  • The Navy had issued the Request For Proposal (RFP) for design, construction and supply of the eight ASWSWCs to Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) shipyards and private shipyards in April 2014, in which GRSE emerged as the successful bidder.
  • These ships, displacing 750 tonnes, have a complement of 57 personnel and can reach speed of 25 knots. They are capable of full-scale sub-surface surveillance of coastal waters and coordinated ASW operations with aircraft.
  • These can also be deployed for search and rescue by day and night in coastal areas. In their secondary role, these will be capable to prosecute intruding aircraft, and lay mines in the sea bed, the statement added.

24 students score perfect 100 in JEE Main

  • The wait is over for more than 11.4 lakh students who attempted the JEE Main this year.
  • The National Testing Agency has released the results for the April edition of the examination, and declared a common rank list cut-off of 89.75 percentile for eligibility for the JEE Advanced 2019 examination.
  • Overall, 24 students scored 100 percentile, with four students each from Telangana and Rajasthan achieving the perfect score. Students can check their scores as well as the final answer keys at jeemain.nic.in
  • This was the first time that JEE was was held twice, in January and in April. Of the 11.47 lakh students, 6.08 lakh appeared in both. Of those, a little over half actually did better in their first attempt. For economically weaker sections, the cut-off is an NTA score of 78.21; for Other Backward Classes, it is 74.31; for Scheduled Castes, it is 54.01; and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 44.33.