‘Green-Blue’ policy of Delhi
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is holding public consultations for the preparation of the Master Plan for Delhi 2041, a vision document for the city’s development over the next two decades. The existing Master Plan 2021 will be outdated next year, and the agency wants to notify the new plan by the time that happens.
There are several features in the draft policy but the focus on water bodies and the land around it, which is referred to as the “Green-Blue policy”, promises to give the city a new shape.
What is Green-Blue infrastructure?
- ‘Blue’ infrastructure refers to water bodies like rivers, canals, ponds, wetlands, floodplains, and water treatment facilities; while ‘Green’ stands for trees, lawns, hedgerows, parks, fields, and forests.
- The concept refers to urban planning where water bodies and land are interdependent, and grow with the help of each other while offering environmental and social benefits.
How does DDA plan to go ahead with it?
- Delhi has around 50 big drains (blue areas) managed by different agencies, and due to their poor condition and encroachment, the land around (green areas) has also been affected.
- DDA, along with other agencies, will integrate them and remove all sources of pollution by checking the outfall of untreated wastewater as well as removal of existing pollutants.
- A mix of mechanised and natural systems may be adopted, and dumping of solid wastes in any of these sites will be strictly prohibited by local bodies, through the imposition of penalties.
What will the areas look like after redevelopment?
- Land around these drains, carrying stormwater, will be declared as special buffer projects. A network of connected green spaces would be developed in the form of green mobility circuits of pedestrian and cycling paths. It will be developed along the drains to serve functional as well as leisure trips.
- There is also a plan to develop spaces for yoga, active sports (without formal seating), open air exhibitions, museums and information centres, open air theatres, cycling and walking facilities, arboretums, greenhouses, community vegetable gardens, facilities for boating, restaurants, and other low impact public uses that may be encouraged as part of special projects.
- The nature of use, extent of public access, type of vegetation, suitability for developing water bodies, etc. shall be ascertained on a case-to-case basis through scientific assessments. Thereafter, real estate would be developed along these integrated corridors.
- The biggest challenge here is the multiplicity of agencies. DDA wants to bring together different agencies like Delhi Jal Board, Flood and Irrigation Department, and municipal corporations as stakeholders in the project. It will be a tough task, especially as DDA has no supervisory power over these bodies.
- Secondly, cleaning of water bodies and drains has been a challenge for agencies in Delhi for years now. A report by researchers of IIT-Delhi on 20 major sewer drains and five prominent sites on the River Yamuna found abundant presence of coliform and other pollutants. Only rainwater is supposed to flow in these drains, but the study found sewage waste and even industrial waste in some.
International Literacy Day
The United Nations marks International Literacy Day — “to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies” — on September 8.
What is ‘International Literacy Day’?
- The day aims at raising awareness and reminding people of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.
- The theme for International Literacy Day 2020 is “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”.
- The Literacy Day this year will reflect on the innovative and effective pedagogies that can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond.
- UNESCO proclaimed September 8 as International Literacy Day at its General Conference in 1966, which stated, “The hundreds of millions of illiterate adults still existing in the world, make it essential to change national education policies.”
- It emphasised the need for the real emancipation of the people and added that education systems across the world should provide the training required for children and working adults so that they can learn to read and write.
- Following the UNESCO General conference, the first International Literacy Day was celebrated on September 8, 1967.
- Literacy goals are a key part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Literacy in India –
- In India, as per the last census in 2011, a total of 74.04 per cent are literate, an increase of 9.2 per cent from the last decade (2001-11). The country will take another 50 years to achieve universal literacy, which is 2060, as per UNESCO.
- According to the report ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey – from July 2017 to June 2018, which is based on National Statistical Office (NSO) data, Kerala is the most literate state in the country, with 96.2 per cent literacy, while Andhra Pradesh features at the bottom with a rate of 66.4 per cent.
Govind Swarup, the man who pioneered radio astronomy in India has died recently in Pune following a brief illness. He was 91. Swarup is credited with conceptualising and leading the team that set up the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) and Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT).
Who was Govind Swarup?
- Regarded as the “Father of Indian Radio Astronomy”, Swarup was the founder-director of TIFR – National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune.
- Swarup was born in Thakurwada in Uttar Pradesh in 1929. He completed his master’s degree from Allahabad University in 1950 and went on to pursue his doctoral studies at Stanford University in 1961.
- After completing his doctorate, Swarup contemplated going back to India and discussed these ideas with two colleagues, M R Kundu and T K Menon, who were also working in the US at the time. The idea was to return to India with the aim of developing the field of radio astronomy.
- Swarup returned to India in 1965, and soon joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- Setting up the ORT was no easy task but Swarup was aware of the geographical advantage India enjoyed owing to its proximity to the equator. His clear vision helped set up the 500 metre-long, 30 metre-wide set of dishes in a cylindrical parabolic fashion, covering an area of 15,000 square metre in the lowest cost possible, yet the telescope was the largest at that time.
- The ORT, which was completed in 1970, makes it possible to track celestial objects for 10 hours continuously and is one of the most sensitive telescopes in the world.
- With the experience of ORT, Swarup decided to set up Pune’s GMRT, an array of 30 dish antennas spread across a distance of 25 km, arranged in a ‘Y’ shape at Khodad in Junnar taluka. Since 2002, GMRT has facilitated some novel discoveries in the field of astronomy. Swarup had also guided the upgradation process that the GMRT underwent in recent years.
What are ‘radio waves’?
Radio waves are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like the visible light you are used to seeing with your eyes. The difference in radio waves is that they have a longer wavelength and are lower in frequency than visible light. They also carry less energy. Radio waves are far weaker than light so we need electronic amplifiers to help us boost their signal. Any electromagnetic wave with a wavelength greater than 1 mm is a radio wave.
About ‘radio astronomy’ –
- Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Astronomers around the world use radio telescopes to observe the naturally occurring radiowaves that come from stars, planets, galaxies, clouds of dust, and molecules of gas. Most of us are familiar with visible-light astronomy and what it reveals about these objects. Visible ”light — also known as optical light — is what we see with our eyes, however, visible light doesn’t tell the whole story about an object. To get a complete understanding of a distant quasar or a planet, for example, astronomers study it in as many wavelengths as possible, including the radio range.
Business Reform Action Plan
Union Minister of Finance Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the 4th edition of Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) ranking of states.
The top ten states under State Reform Action Plan 2019 are – Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Gujarat.
About ‘Business Reform Action Plan’ –
- Ranking of States is based on the implementation of Business Reform Action Plan started in the year 2015. Till date, State Rankings have been released for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017-18.
- The Business Reform Action Plan 2018-19 includes 180 reform points covering 12 business regulatory areas such as Access to Information, Single Window System, Labour, Environment, etc.
- The larger objective of attracting investments and increasing Ease of Doing Business in each State was sought to be achieved by introducing an element of healthy competition through a system of ranking states based on their performance in the implementation of Business Reform Action Plan.
- The ranking this time gives full weightage to the feedback from over thirty thousand respondents at the ground level, who gave their opinion about the effectiveness of the reforms.
- State rankings will help attract investments, foster healthy competition and increase Ease of Doing Business in each State.
- The ranking of the states are announced by the Department of Industrial Promotion and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA)
Recently, the 19th meeting of Supreme Court mandated Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) was held.
What is CCRGA?
- As per the directions of the Supreme Court on 13th May, 2015, the Government of India on 6th April, 2016 had set up a three member body consisting of “persons with unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality and who have excelled in their respective fields”, to look into content regulation of government funded advertisements of all media platforms.
- As per directions of the Supreme Court, states are mandated to set up their respective three member committees on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements. Karnataka, Goa, Mizoram and Nagaland States have already constituted state-level Three Member Committees. The State Government of Chhattisgarh has given its consent to the Central Committee to monitor the content of their government advertisements.
- Under the Supreme Court’s guidelines– “the content of Government Advertisement should be relevant to the government’s constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizen’s right and entitlements”.
- The Supreme Court has also observed that –
- Advertisement materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and designed to meet the objectives of the campaign,
- Advertisement materials should be objective and not directed at promoting political interests of ruling party,
- Advertisement Campaigns be justified and undertaken in an efficient and cost-effective manner, and
- Government advertising must comply with legal requirement and financial regulations and procedures.