1 . Mahaparinirvan Diwas of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
- The nation today(6th Dec) paid homage to ‘Bharat Ratna’ Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on his 62nd Mahaparinirvan Diwas.
About Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
- Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar or Dr. BR Ambedkar was born in April 14, 1891, is popularly known as Baba Saheb, the principal architect of the Indian Constitution, was also a jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired several social movements later.
- Dr. BR Ambedkar, who campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits), was the first law minister of independent India.
- Dr. Ambedkar was a prolific student, obtained doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the London School of Economics.
- In 1990, the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, was posthumously conferred upon Dr. Ambedkar.
- Taking a vow of ridding untouchability and inhuman injustice, he rebelled against Manu, Ancient India’s lawmaker, the supporter of the caste system, and dethroned him.
- Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s role is important in constitutionalising India, evident first in his witness to the 1919 Southborough Committee on Franchise, followed by his intervention in the 1930 Round Table Conference in London, where he defended compensatory discrimination for the untouchables in opposition to Mahatma Gandhi.
2 . Minimum Import Price on pepper imposed
- The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has approved the proposal of the Spices Board for fixing the CIF value of Rs.500/-per kg as Minimum Import Price for pepper to protect the interests of pepper growers.
- In recent times, decline in the domestic pepper price due to cheaper import of pepper from other origins has been a major concern among pepper growers. Pepper prices have gone down by nearly 35 per cent in one year and have resulted in a lot of hardship for pepper growers.
- Since most of the pepper-producing countries are in the ASEAN region, there have also been apprehensions of pepper from these countries, being routed through Sri Lanka taking advantage of lower duty under SAFTA and ISLFTA, for availing concessional import duty.
- Farmers’ associations have demanded taking of stringent measures including fixing of Minimum Import Price (MIP) for pepper to prevent cheaper imports of pepper into the country from other origins.
- Fixing of Minimum Import Price will help in improving the domestic price particularly when the harvesting season of pepper is fast approaching.
3 . MGNREGS improving incomes , raising water table
- A concerted effort has been made to make MGNREGS develop sustainable livelihoods while providing wage employment during times of need.
- A Rapid Assessment of Natural Resource Management Component under MGNREGS (on which minimum 60% is spent since 2015) and its impact on Sustainable Livelihoods carried out by the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi (November 2017), was carried over 30 districts in 29 States covering 1160 Households.
- The Study records increase in incomes of households by nearly 11%, increase in cereal productivity by 11.5% and vegetable productivity by 32.3%.
- 78% Households have reported benefitting from increase in water table, ranging from 30% in Muktsar to 95% in Vizianagram.
- 66% Households have also reported benefitting from availability of fodder on account of the water conservation works both in public and private lands of Small and Marginal Farmers.
- The range of water conservation measures, including farm ponds and dugwells, seem to have made a difference to the lives of the poor.
- The improved incomes from livestock have also happened through individual beneficiary schemes of MGNREGS that provide goat, poultry and cattle shed as per need of poor households.
- The livelihood thrust in MGNREGS has been adopted to raise incomes and improve skills for diversification of earning opportunities of poor households.
- On all parameters of transparency, timeliness, asset generation, income augmentation through sustainable livelihoods, MGNREGS has done remarkably well.
- All these have been possible due to governance reforms and use of IT and Space Technology in management of MGNREGS.