PIB – 10th Nov 2020

The 15th Finance Commission submits its Report for 2021-22 to 2025-26 to the President of India

  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission (XVFC) led by Chairman Sh N K Singh, submitted its Report for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 to the Hon’ble President of India. 
  • As per the terms of reference (ToR), the Commission was mandated to give its recommendations for five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26 by 30 October, 2020. Last year, the Commission had submitted its report containing recommendations for the year 2020-21 which was accepted by the Union Government and tabled in the Parliament on 30 January 2020.
  • The Commission was asked to give its recommendations on many unique and wide-ranging issues in its terms of reference. 
  • Apart from the vertical and horizontal tax devolution, local government grants, disaster management grant, the Commission was also asked to examine and recommend performance incentives for States in many areas like power sector, adoption of DBT, solid waste management etc. 
  • The Commission was also asked to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up and if so how such a mechanism could be operationalised. The Commission has sought to address all its ToRs in this Report to the Union government.
  • The Commission has analysed the finances of each State in great depth and has come up with State-specific considerations to address the key challenges that individual States face.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh Unveils A-Sat Missile Model in DRDO Bhawan

  • A model of Anti Satellite (A-SAT) Missile installed inside the DRDO Bhawan premises was unveiled by Raksha Mantri.    
  • ‘Mission Shakti’ was country’s first ever Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile Test successfully conducted on 27th March 2019 from Dr AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha, where a fast-moving Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was neutralised with pinpoint accuracy. This was a highly complex mission, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision.
  • The successful conduct of Mission Shakti made India the fourth nation in the world with the capability to defend its assets in outer space.

Commission for air quality reviews air quality scenario in National Capital Region and adjoining areas

  • The members of Commission for Air Quality Management(CAQM)in National Capital Region and adjoining Areas met and reviewed the air quality scenario in the region, actions taken by various agencies so far and further steps to be taken for improving the air quality.
  • The Commission noted that future action will necessitate consultation with various stakeholders. However, at this stage the Commission stressed the need to strictly enforce existing laws, rules, guidelines, directions and standard operating procedures to minimize air pollution on an emergency basis.
  • The Commission also felt that active public involvement is critical in the abatement of air pollution and identified the following major immediate measures:
  1. Minimize use of personalized transport to the extent possible.
  2. Restrict travel unless absolutely essential.
  3. Encourage work from home.
  4. Strict enforcement of laws and rules regarding dust control measures including at construction sites.
  5. Strict enforcement to prevent burning of municipal solid waste and biomass.
  6. Intensify water sprinkling particularly in dust prone areas.
  7. Use of anti-smog guns at pollution hotspots specially at construction sites.
  8. Strict implementation of extant rules, Courts and Tribunal orders regarding stubble burning and use of fire crackers.
  9. Seek co-operation from civil society and public spirited citizens to report air pollution incidents on the Sameer App.
  10. Encourage coal using industries in NCR to minimize the use of coal in the coming months.

Demonstration of DRDO Developed Fire Detection and Suppression System (FDSS) for Passenger Buses

  • DRDO’s Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), Delhi has developed the technology, which can detect the fire in passenger compartment in less than 30 sec and then suppresses it in 60 sec thereby reducing the risk to life and property to a significant extent. 
  • The FDSS for passenger compartment comprises a water tank of 80 litre capacity, a 6.8 kg nitrogen cylinder pressurized to 200 bar installed at appropriate location in the bus and a network of tubing with 16 number of atomizers inside the passenger compartment. 
  • The FDSS for the engine comprises an aerosol generator with which the fire suppression could be achieved within 5 sec of the system activation.
  • CFEES has unique competency in the areas of fire risk assessment, fire suppression using different extinguishing mediums, modelling and simulation. They have developed system for Battle tanks, ships and submarines. 
  • The active fire protection system has been developed by CFEES as a defence spin-off technology for providing a solution to the fire incidents in passenger buses. Although the fire threat is present in all the vehicles, the highest concern emanates from special vehicles particularly the school buses and the sleeper coaches for long distance travel. As on date, only the engine fire is regulated for fire safety.

Saffron bowl of India extends to the North East

  • The saffron bowl, which was so far confined to Kashmir, may soon expand to the North East of India. Plants from seeds transported from Kashmir to Sikkim and acclimatized there are now flowering in Yangyang in the Southern part of the North-East state.
  • Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Pampore region, in India, commonly known as Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production, followed by Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtiwar districts. 
  • Saffron has traditionally been associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine. Its medicinal values were considered as part of the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. 
  • As saffron growing was confined to very specific areas in Kashmir, its production remained limited. Though the National Mission on Saffron focused on several measures to improve its farming, the measures were still limited to the specified areas of Kashmir.
  • North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India supported a pilot project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in North East region of India, with the same quality and higher quantity.
  • The Botany and Horticulture department of Sikkim Central University carried out tests to understand the soil and actual pH conditions of Yangyang of Sikkim and found it comparable to saffron growing places of Kashmir. Saffron seeds/corms were purchased and air transported from Kashmir to Yangyang site by the department. One saffron grower was engaged and stationed to look after the complete growing process, along with the faculty of the university.
  • The corms were irrigated during the month of September and October, which ensured timely corm sprouting and good flower yields. The matching of climatic and geographical conditions between Pampore (Kashmir) and Yangyang (Sikkim) led to the successful sample farming of Saffron in Yangyang.
  • The project also focused on post-harvest management and value addition of saffron so that quality saffron drying and efficient post-harvest processing can improve saffron recovery, thereby improving its production.
  • Further, detailed analysis and testing of all parameters, including soil testing, quality, quantity, and possible value addition are planned, for immediate results and extrapolation of the project to other parts of the North East Region along with Micro Food Enterprises.