1 . Saksham-2018
- ‘Saksham 2018’, a one-month long people-centric mega campaign of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been launched on 16th January in an inaugural function held in Delhi.
- Saksham (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav) is an annual flagship event of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) with active involvement of the Oil & Gas PSUs along with other stakeholders like State Governments, for creating focused attention on fuel conservation through people centric activities and to sensitize the masses about the conservation and efficient use of petroleum products leading to better health and environment.
2 . Govt. to revisit Malimath report
A 2003 report of a Committee on reforms in the criminal justice system that recommended admissibility of confessions made before a police officer as evidence in a court of law is being revisited by the Centre.
The Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System, or the Justice Malimath Committee, was constituted by the Home Ministry in 2000 . It was headed by Justice V.S. Malimath, former Chief Justice of the Karnataka and Kerala High Courts.
About Malimath Committee Report
The Malimath panel had made 158 recommendations but these were never implemented .The Committee also suggested constituting a National Judicial Commission and amending Article 124 to make impeachment of judges less difficult.
3 . ‘Pasuvula Panduga’
‘Pasuvula Panduga’, considered a traditional cattle festival, is observed every year during Kanuma (i.e., the third day of the Sankranthi festival), to appease gods for protecting and enhancing cattle wealth in the Arepalli Rangampet village located 16 km north-west of Tirupati.
About the event
Before the commencement of the event, cattle are colourfully decorated with a slate-like object fastened between their horns. The animals are then forced to run through a narrow path leading into the fields, flanked by villagers on the either side. The objective of the sport is to snatch the slate-like object.
Rules of the sport
The rules of the sport are simple. All you have to do is snatch the slate fastened between the horns of the animal as it runs through the serpentine path. Sometimes money ranging between Rs.10,000 and 50,000 is also tied to the slates and the winner takes it all. Other slates attract pre-decided prizes from the organisers.
Though the villagers claim the sport is not brutal, veterinary experts say that the cattle are subjected to severe trauma.The festival came under a cloud during the last couple of years after the ‘Jallikattu’ in Tamil Nadu came under the judicial scanner. This festival is considered a milder version of the overtly ferocious ‘Jallikattu’.
Different from ‘Jallikattu’
Unlike in Tamil Nadu, where native bulls of higher breed are exclusively reared, trained and deployed for the fight, the poor folks of Rangampet use domesticated cows and oxen meant for ploughing fields. The scrawny local youth, who too do not get any special training in bull-taming, run along with the bulls and seize the prize money tied to the horns, which is preserved at home both as a sign of pride and prosperity.
4 . Centre ends Haj subsidy
- Haj pilgrims will no longer receive any subsidy this year onwards, with the government saying the decision is part of its agenda of empowerment of minorities .
- A policy to withdraw the Haj subsidy had been drafted in light of a 2012 Supreme Court order asking the Centre to abolish it gradually by 2022.
- The government will offer air and waterways option for the pilgrims as cost will go up.The cut in funds meant for subsidy will be used for educational empowerment and welfare of girls from minority communities.
- The policy aims at rationalising distribution of the Haj quota between the Haj Committee of India and private tour operators in the ratio of 70:30 for the next five years. It also stresses on breaking the cartel of contractors with a transparent bidding process.
- The highest number of pilgrims are likely to go for Haj pilgrimage in 2018, after Saudi Arabia hiked India’s pilgrim quota by 5,000 earlier this year. Now, a total of 1.75 lakh Indian citizens can go for Haj.
- Around 1,300 women from India will make the annual pilgrimage without a “Mehram” (unmarriageable male kin) after Riyadh relaxed norms and allowed a group of at least four women over the age of 45 to go on Haj unchaperoned.
5 .Specialised weather forecasts soon by IMD
- Soon, specialised weather forecasts could help take preventive measures against the spread of infectious diseases, plan power generation and also operation of train services.
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is coordinating with various government agencies for providing tailor-made weather forecasts for different sectors.
In the next few years, the IMD plans to widen its wings in several spheres of weather services. Following a memorandum of understanding with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the department has already started providing climate information feed for health service on an experimental basis. The specialised weather forecast for four days would predict the possibility of the spread of diseases, including malaria and dengue, in a particular region based on the temperature and humidity conditions there.
Weather plays an important role in the operation of trains as it can damage tracks and electric equipment powering the train. The IMD is also providing weather information such as wind speed to the Indian Railways on a pilot basis.
Power generation is another sector where weather prediction would help plan ahead for power distribution. Following an agreement with the Power System Operation Corporation, the IMD has proposed to develop a demand forecast based on various parameters, including wind, temperature, humidity and onset of sea breeze. Various energy sources like thermal and wind could be operated according to the demand and weather conditions.