Current Affairs 29th March

Co-WIN upgraded, 1 cr. can register for jab daily #GS3 #SnT

The Co-WIN platform, for COVID-19 vaccination registration, has been ramped up to accept one crore registrations and record vaccination of 50 lakh persons daily, said R.S. Sharma, Chairman, Empowered Group on COVID-19 vaccination .

Mr. Sharma said the system has been geared up to accommodate the registration rush and vaccination load anticipated from April 1, when vaccination will be offered to everyone above 45. The system on Sunday showed over 6 crore registration.

“Upgrading the system is a continuous process and with the increase in load, the system has been acclimatised to take on the load that is expected. We have seen the trends so far and the number of people seeking the vaccine has grown. The system is operating at four levels — the one that is open to public (for registration), the verification level, platform management (open to hospitals giving the vaccine) and the certificate generation.

Stating that this “100% government-run” system is equipped to offer privacy, Mr. Sharma, however, admitted that there were reports of errors in registration from several parts of the country.

‘Only basic details’

“During self-registration and spot registration we are seeking only three basic information — name, gender and the year of birth. We expect that this will be provided correctly by the beneficiaries.

Mr. Sharma added that currently Co-WIN does not schedule the second dose vaccination appointment automatically and beneficiaries are to schedule this as per the recommended gap between the two doses.

62, 714 cases

India registered 62,714 new cases and 312 deaths in the 24 hours till 8 a.m on Sunday. This is the highest daily death toll since December 25, when 336 deaths were reported. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — accounted for 81.46% of the new cases.

Centre mulls unique ID for all plots of land by March 2022 #GS3 #Economy

The Centre plans to issue a 14-digit identification number to every plot of land in the country within a year. It will subsequently integrate its land records database with revenue court records and bank records, as well as Aadhaar numbers on a voluntary basis, according to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report submitted to the Lok Sabha last week.

The Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) scheme has been launched in 10 States this year and will be rolled out across the country by March 2022, the Department of Land Resources told the Standing Committee on Rural Development.

An official, who did not wish to be named, described it as “the Aadhaar for land” — a number that would uniquely identify every surveyed parcel of land and prevent land fraud, especially in rural India, where land records are outdated and disputed.

The identification will be based on the longitude and latitude of the land parcel, and is dependent on detailed surveys and geo-referenced cadastral maps, according to a presentation by the Department in September 2020.

This is the next step in the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP), which began in 2008 and has been extended several times as its scope grew. It’s due to come to an end next week, but the Department has proposed a further extension to 2023-24, to complete its original targets as well as expand its ambit with a slew of new schemes.

“This Department has taken new initiatives under the programme like NGDRS [or the National Generic Document Registration System], ULPIN, linking of court to land records, integration [of] consent based Aadhaar number with land records etc. which necessitated its further extension beyond 2020-21 till 2023-24,” the Department told the parliamentary panel.

In 10 States

“Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) is proposed to be rolled out in 10 States during FY 2020-21 and by 2021-22 in the entire country,” it added.

The Department’s presentation to the parliamentary panel listed the proposed cost for some of the new initiatives. Linking Aadhaar with land records through ULPIN would cost Rs. 3 per record, it said, while seeding and authentication of landowner Aadhaar data would cost Rs. 5 each. It added that the integration of the Aadhaar numbers with the land record database would be done on a voluntary basis.


Creating a modern land record room in every district would cost Rs. 50 lakh per district, while the integration of land records with the Revenue Court Management System would cost Rs. 270 crore. It also added that DILRMP’s next phase would include “linkage of land record database with banks”.

Service deliveries

“These components will enhance the service deliveries to the citizen of the country and will also function as inputs to the schemes of the other sectors like Agriculture, Finance Disaster Management etc,” the Department told the panel, adding that ULPIN has been recommended by the Sectoral Group of Secretaries.

NRC-excluded to get rejection slips #GS2 #Governance

The Centre has told the Assam government that “rejection slips” to those excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in 2019 should be issued immediately.

More than 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the final register that took five years to be compiled and cost Rs. 1,220 crore.

The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to Assam Home Secretary S.R. Bhuyan on March 23 that the supplementary list of exclusions and inclusions were published on August 31, 2019 on the directions of the Supreme Court. “However, the process of issuing rejection slips to those excluded from the NRC is yet to start.”

The MHA had earlier said that “non-inclusion of a person’s name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner” as they would be given adequate opportunity to present their case before the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs).

The time limit to appeal before the FTs, the quasi-judicial bodies unique to Assam, has been increased from 60 to 120 days. Assam is the only State where an NRC was compiled under the supervision of the top court.

“In a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Union Home Secretary on February 22, 2020 it was decided that the rejection slip for the cases which are correct may be issued to the persons left out of the supplementary list of inclusion and exclusion immediately and cases where mismatch in results recorded in hard copy and entered in computer has been found by the SCNR [State coordinator, National Registration] may be referred to the concerned deputy commissioners for clarifications.

The State Coordinator of the NRC is a secretary rank officer of the Assam government who assists the RGI.

Several meetings

The letter added that the NRC coordination committee has been insisting since its meetings held on January 30, 2020 and July 2, 2020 to complete the activities under the approved budget of Rs. 1,602 crore.

The letter mentions that the State coordinator of the NRC in the July 2 meeting had mentioned that rejection slips would be issued by the end of December 2020.

The BJP-ruled Assam government has rejected the NRC in its current form and demanded re-verification of 30% of names included in the NRC in areas bordering Bangladesh and 10% in remaining State. The Assembly election is under way in Assam and the results are to be announced on May 2.

According to Article 6 of the Constitution, the cut-off date for migration to India from Pakistan is July 19, 1948 whereas according to the 1985 accord, in Assam, that borders Bangladesh, it is March 24, 1971.

In the letter, the joint director asked the Assam government to assess the software used for managing the register and discontinue the ones not required. The letter said the State government’s requirement of Rs. 3.22 crore per month for the upkeep of records appeared to be “too high”. It also asked to discontinue the additional staff.

27 migratory birds found dead at wildlife sanctuary in Himachal #GS3 #Environment

As many as 27 migratory birds have been reported dead on account of avian influenza in the Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary area of Himachal Pradesh since March 25, setting off alarm bells and forcing authorities to shut down the sanctuary.

Archana Sharma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife), told The Hindu on Sunday that 14 migratory birds, mostly bar-headed geese, were found dead at the sanctuary on March 25. “Another 12 birds were found dead over the next two days.

We have sent the samples to the Regional Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar. Any confirmation about the presence of avian flu could be ascertained only after the reports come,” she said.

“At this time of the year, migratory birds are on their way back to their breeding grounds in central Asia. Some of them may be infected because immunity levels are low as they are coming from different wetlands. We are assuming that it could be avian influenza — H5N1 or H5N8 — but until the reports come nothing can be confirmed,” she said.

“As a precautionary measure, we have closed the sanctuary area for now. The wildlife wing of the Forest department is working actively to monitor the situation and field staff have been directed to maintain strict vigil and active surveillance on the situation,” added Ms. Sharma.

Earlier in January this year, avian influenza (H5N1) led to the death of over 5,000 migratory birds in the Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary area in Kangra district of the State.

India attends Myanmar parade #GS2 #IR

Amid the crackdown by the military on protesters in Myanmar following the February 1 coup, India is one of the countries that attended the Armed Forces Day parade on March 27, it has been learnt.

“As the norm, the Defence Attache at the Embassy would attend the parade. It is so as diplomatic ties are still on with Myanmar.

There was no official response from the government. According to Nikkei Asia, eight countries — Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand — sent representatives for the annual parade. On Sunday, the defence chiefs of 12 countries, including Australia, the U.K. and the U.S., condemned the “use of lethal force against unarmed people” in what was reported as the bloodiest day since the coup.