‘Largest zoo’ in Jamnagar
- Reliance Industries Ltd will build the world’s largest zoo which will come up on 280 acres of land near Reliance’s refinery at Moti Khavdi near Jamnagar.
- It will house 100 different species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
- The wildlife to be displayed at the zoo will be from across India, Africa and South America.
- The zoo will be opened to the public within two years if there are no other delays.
Protection of Mahanadi floodplain
- The National Green Tribunal has constituted a high level committee to identify floodplain zones of the Mahanadi — Odisha’s largest river — in wake of State government reclaiming 424 acres of land from the river for development projects.
- Mahanadi riverbed was slated to be affected by setting up of a Medical College and other permanent constructions in the floodplain of the river.
- There is a need to prevent irreversible damage to the riverine ecology by enforcing the applicable rules, if any.
- The tribunal has directed the committee to consider the issue and laid down norms so as to ensure that the proposal of the State for construction of the medical college and river front development takes place in accordance with law, without damage to the floodplains of the rivers.
Laying the foundation for faster growth
- The year 2020 is the first economic crisis that has been triggered by a noneconomic factor that is pandemic COVID-19, which has literally brought the economy to a halt.
- The major step taken in this light was lockdown, which have impacted the economy severely.
Performance in 2020-21
- In Q1, the economy declined by 23.9%; it declined by 7.5% in Q2, when the relaxations were eased.
- Reductions in the first half of GDP at 2011-12 prices in 2020-21 as compared to the first half of 2019-20 is Rs. 11,15,879 crore which is 7.66% of the 2019-20 GDP.
- There are many indicators such as collection of Goods and Services Tax (GST), improved output of coal, steel and cement and positive growth in manufacturing in October 2020 which point to better performance of the private sector.
- Of course, some segments of the economy such as the hospitality sector will take time to recover.
- Thus on the whole, it looks that the setback to the economy can be limited to minus 6% to minus 7%. Of course, this is a substantial improvement over the forecasts of some agencies such as the International Monetary Fund which had estimated the economy to decline by 10.3%.
What to expect in 2021-22?
- It is important to remember that if only if the Indian economy grows at 8% in 2021-22 will we be compensating for the decline in 2020-21.
- With this strong growth, Indian economy will only be back to where it was at the end of 2019-20. The two years taken together cancel each other.
- This should be possible if by that time restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 are withdrawn and the nation goes back to a normal state.
- Some sectors can act as lead sectors or engines of growth. This is where increased government capital expenditures become relevant.
- The private sector seems to be revising its future prospects and many new issues in the capital market have met with good response. The global environment for trade and growth is an uncertain factor.
- Vaccines may ultimately provide a solution, this may take time.
- However, much of Indian’s growth must rest on domestic factors. Growth must not only be consumption driven but also investment driven. It is the latter which in a developing economy can sustain growth over a long period.
- Three major elements in the policy are: a reduction in interest rate through changes in policy rate; providing liquidity through various measures, and regulatory changes such as moratorium. There has been a substantial injection of liquidity into the system and inflation may remain high.
- Government capital expenditures should be speeded up from now on so that the contraction in the current fiscal year as a whole can be reduced.
- A detailed investment plan of the government and public sector enterprises must be drawn up and presented as part of the coming Budget.
Growth and investment
- Corporate tax rate changes may help in augmenting investment.
- The National Infrastructure Pipeline is a good initiative.
- Reforms are important in the context of rapid development. Recent controversies over reforms have shown that timing, sequencing and consensus building are equally important. Labour reforms, for example, are best introduced when the economy is on the upswing.
- Many have cherished the idea of India reaching the status of a $5 trillion economy by 2025. But increasingly the idea is becoming a more distant goal. The Indian economy in 2019 was at around $2.7 trillion. To achieve the level of $5 trillion, we need to grow continuously at 9% for six years from now.
- That is the challenge before the economy. Jobs and employment will come from growth. They are not independent of growth.
Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Bill, 2020
- It proposes punishment in cases of false complaints and acts of providing false information regarding sexual and other offences against women with the intention to humiliate, extort and defame.
- in cases where “the characteristic of the offence is heinous in nature and where adequate conclusive evidence is there and the circumstances warrant exemplary punishment”, the offence shall be punishable with death. However, it does not define what cases would qualify as being “heinous in nature”, thus leaving it open to the interpretation of courts.
- Investigation should be completed within 15 days, the trial in 30 days and the appeal in 45 days, even if well intentioned, will only result in improper investigation and trial.
- The Bill seeks to introduce Section 354E (Harassment of Women by any mode of communication) into the IPC, aiming to punish intimidation of women through social media and electronic platforms.
First rehabilitation centre for monkeys in Telangana
- The first rescue and rehabilitation centre for monkeys in Telangana was inaugurated at Gandi Ramanna Haritavanam near Chincholi village in Nirmal district where they would be operated on for birth control and would be released into the forests again after the rehabilitation period.
- It is the second such facility for the primates in the country.
- The rehabilitation centre for the monkeys was also the first such facility in south India.
- The other facility in the country was in Himachal Pradesh.
Coastal radar network
- India’s efforts are in advanced stages to set up coastal radar stations in Indian Ocean littoral states like Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh to further expand the coastal radar chain network which will enable real time monitoring of the high seas for threats.
- Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka have already been integrated into the country’s coastal radar chain network.
- The Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), Gurugram, is the nodal agency for maritime data fusion.
- As part of information exchange regarding traffic on the high seas, the Navy concludes white shipping agreements with 36 countries and three multilateral constructs. So far agreements have been concluded with 22 countries and one multilateral construct. Of these, 17 agreements and the one multilateral construct have been operationalised.
- Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFCIOR) which promotes Maritime Domain Awareness, three more International Liaison Officers (ILO) are expected to join soon.
- The ILOs from France, Japan and the U.S. have joined the centre.
Early Health Warning System
- The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is developing an ‘Early Health Warning System’ which is expected to forecast the possibility of disease outbreaks in the country and this would give local authorities ample time to prepare.
- The model is currently in development — based on the relationship between weather changes and incidence — is expected to predict outbreaks of vector-borne diseases like malaria and diarrhoea, subsequently, it is likely to monitor non-communicable diseases as well.
- It predicts the likelihood of heat-related diseases as well as diseases such as cholera.
- There are certain diseases where weather patterns play a crucial role like malaria, for which particular temperatures and rainfall patterns can approximately predict whether an area is likely to have an outbreak with fairly reasonable accuracy.
Social Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine (SEHAT) in J&K
- Prime Minister will launch Social Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine (SEHAT), a health scheme, in Jammu and Kashmir on 26 December 2020 to reach the one crore population that was not covered previously under the Ayushman Bharat programme in UT.
- Around 30 lakh people in the UT were covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. With the launch of this scheme, J&K will be among the first in the country to achieve Universal Health Coverage.