VIZHINJAM INTERNATIONAL SEAPORT
What is the Vizhinjam International Seaport Project?
- The Vizhinjam International seaport project is being built by Adani Ports and SEZ Private Limited on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) model.
- The Kerala government gave 500 acres of land.
- The DBFOT deal is for 40 years with provisions extending for 20 years.
Why India needs a container transshipment port?
- India has 13 major ports.
- However, the country lacks a landside mega-port and terminal infrastructure to deal with ultra-large container ships.
- 75 per cent of India’s transshipment cargo is handled at ports outside India, mainly Colombo, Singapore.
- Developing a port into a Transshipment Hub will accrue significant benefits such as forex savings, foreign direct investment, increased economic activity at other Indian Ports, development of related logistics infrastructure, employment generation, improved operation/logistics efficiencies and increase in revenue share.
- A deepwater container transshipment port can attract a large share of the container transshipment traffic which is now being diverted to Colombo, Singapore and Dubai.
- It can also ensure India’s economic development and open up immense job opportunities.
What are the features of the Vizhinjam port?
- Vizhinjam port would be India’s first international deepwater transshipment port.
- It is at a natural depth of more than 18 meters, scalable up to 20 meters, which is crucial to get large vessels and mother ships.
- It is designed to cater to container transshipment, multi-purpose, and break-bulk cargo.
- The port is located ten nautical miles from the international shipping route.
- Other features include minimal littoral drift along the coast and virtually no requirement for any maintenance dredging.
- The port is expected to compete with Colombo, Singapore, and Dubai for winning trans-shipment traffic. The cost of movement of containers to and from foreign destinations is likely to come down.
- The project is expected to generate 5,000 direct job opportunities, apart from giving a boost to an industrial corridor and cruise tourism. Vizhinjam port offers large-scale automation for quick turnaround of vessels with state-of-the-art infrastructure to handle
Megamax container ships.
T.N. – SAFEST STATE
- Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police (DGP) said Tamil Nadu is one of the safest States, with the lowest crime rate, in the country.
- 5 offences per lakh population are against women in India (national average).
- The Tamil Nadu average is 22.4.
- There were fewer murders in 2023 than in previous years.
FOREIGN CONTRIBUTION REGULATION ACT (FCRA)
Why is in news?
- The Ayodhya Ram temple trust, known as the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra said that it has received a licence to accept foreign donations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
About Foreign Contribution Regulation Act
- FCRA was enacted during the Emergency in 1976.
- The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations.
Amendment to FCRA:
- It was amended in 2010.
- It sought to “consolidate the law” on utilisation of foreign funds, and “to prohibit” their use for “any activities detrimental to national interest”.
- The law was amended again in 2020.
- It gave the government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and utilisation of foreign funds by NGOs.
The FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be:
- registered under the Act
- To open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi
- To utilize those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act.
- FCRA registrations are granted to individuals or associations that have definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, and social programmes.
MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICES (MSP)
Why is in news?
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has increased the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for all Rabi crops.
About Minimum Support Prices (MSP):
- The Minimum Support Price (MSP) is the price at which the government purchases crops for the farmers, to insure farmers against any sharp fall in farm prices.
- It is announced by the Government on the basis of the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), at the beginning of the sowing season.
- The CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices) recommends MSP for 22 mandated crops.
- Twenty-two crops covered under MSP are Paddy, Bajra, Jowar, Maize, Arhar, Ragi, Moong, Groundnut-in-shell, Urad, Soyabean, Nigerseed, Sunflower, Sesamum, Cotton, Barley, Wheat, Gram, Rapeseed/Mustardseed, Masur (lentil), Jute, Copra and Safflower.
- The mandated crops contain 14 Kharif crops, 6 Rabi crops, and two other commercial crops.
OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES (OBCs)
- The Minister for Backward Classes Welfare in Andhra Pradesh said on Wednesday (October 18) that the state will begin a backward classes census.
Who are the Other Backward Classes (OBCs)?
- The expression ‘OBC’ was coined to denote backward/ marginalised communities and castes that were not Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs).
- Affirmative action for OBCs is mandated by Article 15(4) of the Constitution.
- Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
- Article 16(4) allows the state to make “any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class.
Two OBC Commissions
FIRST OBC COMMISSION:
- The panelwas constituted by Jawaharlal Nehru’s government on January 29, 1953.
- It was headed by Kaka Kalelkar.
- It submitted its report on March 30, 1955.
- The commission adopted the following criteria to identify socially and educationally backward classes.
- Low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society;
- Lack of general educational advancement among the major section of the caste/ community;
- Inadequate or no representation in government service; and
- Inadequate representation in trade, commerce and industry.
- It prepared a list of 2,399 backward castes or communities in the country, categorised 837 of them as “most backward”.
SECOND OBC COMMISSION:
- It was headed by B P Mandal.
- It was appointed in 1979 by Morarji Desai’s Janata government.
- The implementation was announced only in 1990 by the government of V P Singh.
- The Mandal Commission identified 3,743 castes and communities as OBCs.
- It recommended 27% reservation in government jobs and admissions to all government-run scientific, technical, and professional institutions.
- No subcategories were recognised within the 27% OBC quota.
Subcategorisation of OBCs
The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment asked the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to examine the matter of subcategorisation of OBCs in the central list.
- A new commission for subcategorisation of OBCs was constituted under Justice G Rohini.
- The Rohini Commission submitted its report on July 31, 2023.
FREEDOM ON THE NET REPORT 2023
- The report titled ‘Freedom on the Net 2023: The Repressive Power of Artificial Intelligence’ was released recently.
- The global Internet freedom has declined for the 13th consecutive year.
- The environment for human rights online has deteriorated in 29 countries.
- There are only 20 countries registering net gains.
- Moreover, in 41 countries, individuals were assaulted or killed due to their online statements.
- Iceland has the best climate for internet freedom.
- China, for the ninth straight year, ranked as the world’s worst environment for Internet freedom.
- Myanmar is the world’s second most repressive for online freedom.
- India has moderate level of digital freedom.
- India has incorporated AI-based censorship into its legal framework, impacting freedom of expression and criticism of the ruling party.
- The report warns about adverse repercussions for Indian democracy due to the expanding censorship regime.
- Udangudi ‘Panangarupatti has been given Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- The palm jaggery preparation procedure in this area is traditional till date without inclusion of any additional modern strategies.
- The karupatti prepared from the palm sap from the region around Udangudi in Tiruchendur taluk in Thoothukudi district has some uniqueness.
- This is due to presence of red sand dune soil found in the region.
- Triple super phosphate and phosphoric acid are used in many other areas.
- But no such chemical additives are used in Udangudi Panangkarupatti.