Current Affairs (4th February 2021)
Granted Rs 8,000 crore
- According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), the 15th Finance Commission has recommended a grant of Rs 8,000 crore to incubate eight new cities.
- Unless India has planned cities, it will all be outgrowth cities. And outgrowth is an inefficient use of the city.
- 2011 Census had categorised 2 per cent of India as urban, but only 26 per cent of that as statutory towns.
- This gap of 5 per cent of urbanised India is living in either census towns or in outgrowth towns.
Overall funding for ULBs:
- For cities with more than a million people, roughly Rs 38,000 crore will be distributed based on performance of improvements in air quality, drinking water, sanitation, and solid waste management.
- For cities with less than 1 million people, roughly Rs 83,000 crore will be distributed in a similar manner.
- The Finance Commission has also allotted Rs 450 crore to a “shared municipal services” fund where the ministry will help smaller urban bodies with their back-end work such as database maintenance.
- The ministry made 86 clusters of the smallest urban local bodies (ULBs) which they can help service from afar.
- The Commission’s overall funds for ULB saw a 78 per cent increase over last year – from Rs 87,000 crore to Rs 1.6 lakh crore. Of this, a little over Rs 1.2 lakh crore has been allocated directly to ULBs.
- Cities will receive funding only when their annual accounts are put in public domain.
- Also, if a state’s GDP increases, then the city’s property tax should increase by a similar proportion.
- Even as a state’s GDP is increasing, the ULBs are becoming that much weaker. So this condition has been added.
- In the budget for MoHUA, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY), to provide housing for all, was allocated Rs 8,000 crore in 2020-21, but spent Rs 21,000 crore.
- Continuing the same trend, the allocation in this year’s Budget is Rs 8,000 crore, leading industry experts to deduce that the mission will again have to resort to extra-budgetary resources to finance the bulk of the mission.
Chauri Chaura Centenary Celebrations
- Prime Minister of India will inaugurate the Chauri Chaura Centenary Celebrations at Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on 4th February 2021.
- The day marks 100 years of the ‘Chauri Chaura’ incident, a landmark event in the country’s fight for independence.
- DATE: 4 February 1922
- PLACE: Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Province (modern Uttar Pradesh) in British India
- In this, a large group of protesters participating in the Non-cooperation movement, clashed with police who opened fire.
- In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants.
- The incident led to the death of three civilians and 22 policemen.
- Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non-co-operation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.
- Gandhi felt that people had not learnt or fully understood the method of non-violence.
- A violent movement could be easily suppressed by the colonial regime who would make the incidents of violence an excuse for using the armed might of the State against the protestors.
- Agriculture Ministry, Petroleum Ministry, Animal Husbandry Ministry, Jal Shakti Ministry and Ministry of State for Jal Shakti jointly launched a unified web portal for monitoring the progress of GOBARDHAN activities across the nation.
- Gobardhan is an important component of Swachh Bharat Mission Phase-2 for organic solid waste management.
- At the rural level, earlier there was no way of proper disposal of cattle dung waste, but after the introduction of Gobardhan programme, people will be able to provide proper disposal of dung and achieve the goal of ODF Plus.
- Gobardhan pilot project will prove to be an important and useful step in cleanliness. Through this farmers will be able to get wealth from waste in a true sense.
- Apart from making the country ODF Plus, through the important scheme of Gobardhan, India will get ethanol, bio-diesel and compressed bio-fuel in the coming years.
- The launch of unified portal of Gobardhan will further strengthen the rural economy through a convergent approach for various Biogas projects models and initiatives.
- ODF Plus goal outlined in the Phase 2 of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin ) will depend on the performance of Gobardhan scheme to a great extent as it will not only effectively address the solid waste management challenge but will increase livelihood opportunities, and household earnings of farmers and people living in rural areas.
- The country has attained the status of Open Defecation Free, ODF and now it is moving towards ODF Plus. Gobardhan programme will prove to be a milestone for a Clean India.
- Gobardhan scheme aims at supporting villages effectively to manage their cattle dung and other organic waste.
- Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation will work with all the other stakeholders to implement Gobardhan, a unified approach across village.
New START treaty
- United States has extended the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear arms control treaty with Russia for five years.
- BY announcing the move, US said it made the world safer. An unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all.
- The treaty had been set to lapse on 5 February, as the Trump administration had refused to approve the extension. Now the pact has been extended to 5th February 2026.
- The treaty, which first went into effect in 2011, limits the United States and Russia to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads each and imposes restrictions on the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.
- New START has replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which terminated when New START entered into force.
- It is a successor to the START framework of 1991.
Indian Ocean Region Defence Ministers’ Conclave
- India will host Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers’ Conclave on the sidelines of Aero India 2021. The broad theme of the conclave is ‘Enhanced Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean’.
- The conclave is an initiative to promote dialogue in an institutional, economic and cooperative environment that can foster the development of peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.
- It will also address Information-sharing towards increased maritime domain awareness, maritime surveillance and co-operation, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Marine Pollution Response activities, Development of technologies and capabilities for harnessing marine resources.
- The conclave is being organised in the backdrop of growing Chinese military assertiveness in the IOR.
- The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India’s strategic interests.
- China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.
- In sync with the national security doctrine, the Indian Navy has significantly increased its deployment of warships, submarines and other assets in the IOR. It is in an attempt to send across a message to China.
- Sri Lanka backed out of an agreement with India and Japan to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port.
- This is the second instance of Sri Lanka reversing an agreement on a large infrastructure project involving Japan, after the government scrapped the $1.5 billion, Japan-funded Light Rail Transit system in 2020.
- In 2019, Sri Lanka, Japan and India had signed an agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port.
- But recent move has sparked alarm in India and Japan.
- While the ECT, which is in its first stage and awaits upgrade, has a 450-metre-long quay wall and water depth of 18 metres, equipping it to accommodate large vessels, the West Container Terminal (WCT) exists merely as a proposal, with no infrastructure yet.
IMPORTANCE OF ECT:
- The ECT is adjacent to the Colombo International Container Terminal, which is a joint venture between China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited and the Ports Authority, with the Chinese company holding an 85% stake.
- Over 70% of the trans-shipment business at the strategically located ECT comes from India.
- India and China’s competing geopolitical interests in the island are well known, but India-backed projects have often seen more vocal protests.
- The controversy over the destruction of ancient monuments around the 11th century Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar amid a State-sponsored redevelopment drive, spiralled with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) complaining that irreparable damage had been done to the temple and ancient shrines around it.
- The Odisha government’s Ekamra Kshetra beautification project is aimed at creating space adjoining the Lingaraj Temple to accommodate around two lakh devotees expected to visit the temple for the festival of Shivaratri.
- At Bhubaneswar, Odisha is an 11th-century temple.
- It is a symbol of Kalinga style architecture.
- Lingaraj Temple was built by the King Jajati Keshari, who belonged to Soma Vansh.
- The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.