1 Jul | UPSC Current Affairs: Santhal Hul, NQAS, Shyok River, Saubhagya Scheme, AIPI & More


Santhal Hul

  • News: June 30 marked the 169th anniversary of the Santhal Hul.
  • Overview
  • Revolt Against Imperialism: Led by brothers Sidho, Kanho, Chand, and Bhairav Murmu, along with sisters Phulo and Jhano.
  • Anniversary: June 30 marks the 169th anniversary of the uprising, one of the first peasant revolts against British colonial oppression.
  • Cause and Conflict: The Santhals fought against British colonizers and ‘dikus’ (upper castes, zamindars, darogas, and moneylenders) to protect their economic, cultural, and religious aspects of life.
  • Genesis of the Uprising:
      • Santhal Pargana: In 1832, certain areas were designated as ‘Santhal Pargana’ or ‘Damin-i-Koh’ (present-day Sahibganj, Godda, Dumka, Deoghar, Pakur, and parts of Jamtara in Jharkhand) for Santhals displaced from various regions of the Bengal Presidency.
      • Broken Promises: The Santhals were promised settlement and agriculture but faced land-grabbing and bonded labour practices (kamioti and harwahi).
  • Revolt and Aftermath
      • Leadership: The Murmu brothers, guided by divine inspiration from Thakur Bonga, led around 60,000 Santhals in guerrilla warfare against the East India Company.
      • Duration and Casualties: The conflict lasted almost six months, ending on January 3, 1856, with over 15,000 Santhals killed and 10,000 villages destroyed.
      • Executions: Sidhu was hanged on August 9, 1855, and Kanhu in February 1856. Despite the revolt’s end, its impact was enduring.
  • Legislative Impact: 
      • Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act of 1876 (SPT Act): Enacted to prohibit the transfer of Adivasi lands to non-Adivasis, ensuring Santhals’ rights to self-govern their land.
      • Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 (CNT Act): Resulting from the Birsa Movement, this act allows land transfers within the same caste and certain geographical areas with the District Collector’s approval, restricting the sale of Adivasi and Dalit land while permitting transfers among individuals of the same police station and district.
  • Significance: The Santhal Hul highlighted the resilience of the Santhal community and contributed to legislative measures protecting Adivasi land rights, setting a precedent for future resistance movements.

National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS)

  • News: The Central Government has unveiled three initiatives aimed at improving healthcare quality and streamlining food safety regulations. 
  • Ministry:  Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS): 
      • Launch: NQAS has been implemented for Ayushman Arogya Mandirs (AAM) and Integrated Public Health Laboratories (IPHL) in line with IPHS standards.
      • More than 140,000 sub-centres will now be assessed virtually, reducing the time and resources previously required for physical assessments. 
  • Launch of the IPHS Dashboard for Real-time monitoring of Public Health Facilities:
      • Definition: IPHS Dashboard is a digital platform for real-time monitoring of public health facilities.
      • It provides a comprehensive overview of the assessment and compliance status of public health facilities, including District Hospitals, Community Health Centers, Primary Health Centers, and Ayushman Arogya Mandirs.
      • The dashboard facilitates real-time data collection and analysis through the Open Data Kit (ODK) tool, enabling health officials to conduct thorough assessments, identify gaps, and implement necessary improvements promptly. 
  • Spot Food Licence Initiative: 
      • Definition: The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched the instant issuance of licences and registrations through the Food Safety and Compliance System. 
      • Objective: Instant issuance of licenses and registrations via the pan-India IT platform, Food Safety and Compliance System (FoSCoS).
      • Supplementary Procedure: Adds to the existing procedures under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, 2011.
      • Eligibility: Available for select categories including wholesalers, distributors, retailers, transporters, storage without atmospheric control, cold storage, importers, food vending agencies, direct sellers, and merchant-exporters.
      • Exclusions: Not applicable to high-risk food businesses like those involving milk, meat, and fish.
  • About Ayushman Arogya Mandirs (AAM): 
      • Purpose: Established to provide comprehensive, accessible healthcare services for all citizens.
      • Leadership: Led by Community Health Officers.
      • Primary Healthcare Teams: Trained to manage initial care, triage, and refer patients to appropriate facilities.
      • Impact: Reduces the burden on secondary and tertiary care facilities by providing primary care services closer to the community with adequate referral linkages.
      • Preventive Care: Early identification and management of health issues help prevent disease progression, reducing the need for advanced care.

Read also: Foundation Course For IAS/IPS/UPSC: The Ultimate Guide

Shyok River

  • News:  Five soldiers died after a tank was swept away by strong water currents in the Shyok river during a military training in Ladakh recently.
  • Definition: The Shyok River flows through northern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, India, and into the Pakistan-administered region of Gilgit-Baltistan, where it merges with the Indus River, making it a tributary of the Indus.
  • Name: The Shyok River originates from the Rimo Glacier, a part of the Siachen Glacier system, and derives its name from a Ladakhi term meaning “the river of death.” 
  • Course:
      • Its course is quite peculiar; starting from the Rimo Glacier, it initially flows southeast before encountering the Pangong Range, where it abruptly turns northwest, flowing parallel to its previous path. 
      • After Chalunka, the river transitions from a broad valley into a narrow gorge and ultimately joins the Indus River at Skardu in Pakistan. 

Shyok River

  • Length and Tributaries: 
      • Spanning approximately 550 km (340 miles) in length, the Shyok River is primarily fed by meltwater from numerous glaciers along its route. 
      • It winds through the high-altitude deserts and mountain ranges of Ladakh, with its main right-bank tributary being the Nubra River.


Spring Initiative

  • News: The UN-backed network Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has launched the “Spring” Initiative.
  • Launch: The UN-backed network Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has launched “Spring” during London Climate Action Week.
  • Objective: The initiative aims to halt or reverse nature loss by 2030.
  • Support: Spring is supported by a coalition of 200 investors.
  • Assets Managed: These investors collectively manage $15 trillion in assets.

Saubhagya Scheme

  • News: The Meghalaya Lokayukta issued notices to officials of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited over alleged irregularities in the Saubhagya scheme implementation.
  • Overview:
      • It was launched by the Government of India in October 2017 as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA).
  • Objective:
      • To achieve universal household electrification by providing electricity connections to all un-electrified households in rural areas and all poor households in urban areas.
  • Agency: Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency for the Saubhagya scheme.
  • Budget: The scheme outlay is ₹16,320 crore. 
  • Benefits: 
      • BPL families receive LED bulbs, wire, holders, and switches free of cost.
  • Salient Features: 
      •  Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all un-electrified households in rural areas.
      • Supply Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV)-based standalone systems for remote and inaccessible villages.
      • Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining economically poor un-electrified households in urban areas. 
      • Non-poor urban households are excluded from this scheme.

Saubhagya Scheme

  • Identification of Beneficiaries: 
      • Under Saubhagya, beneficiaries will be identified using the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data.  
  • Payment Structure:
      • The identified poor households will get free electricity connections.  
      • Other households not covered under the SECC, will be provided electricity connections at a cost of Rs 500.  
      • This amount will be collected by the electricity distribution companies in 10 instalments.

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Pench Tiger Reserve

  • News: Buffer zones of the Pench Tiger Reserve will be open for safaris during monsoon, while the core area will be closed for the next three months.
  • Location:
      • The Pench Tiger Reserve is situated in the southern reaches of the Satpura hills, Madhya Pradesh. 
      • It spans the Seoni and Chhindwara districts in Madhya Pradesh, and extends into the Nagpur district in Maharashtra as a separate sanctuary. 
  • Name:
      •  It is named after the Pench River, which flows from north to south through the reserve.
      • Pench tiger reserve was established in 1975.
  • Composition
      • The reserve encompasses the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Pench Mowgli Sanctuary, and a buffer zone. 
      • This area is famously known as the real-life setting of Rudyard Kipling’s classic, “The Jungle Book.”

Pench Tiger Reserve

  • Terrain:
      • The terrain of the Pench Tiger Reserve is characterized by its undulating nature, with small hills and steep slopes dominating the landscape.
  • Vegetation:
      • The diverse topography supports a mosaic of vegetation types, ranging from moist, sheltered valleys to open, dry deciduous forests.
  • Flora
      • The reserve is home to a wide variety of flora, including teak, saag, mahua, and various grasses and shrubs.
  • Fauna
      •  Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur (Indian Bison), wild boar, tiger, leopards, wild dogs, and wolves, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Osprey, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, and White Eyed Buzzard.

Oropouche Fever

  • News:  There are outbreaks of Oropouche fever being reported in the Americas.
  • Overview: 
      • Oropouche Fever is an emerging zoonotic arboviral disease caused by the Oropouche Virus (OROV).
      • OROV is part of the orthobunya virus family with an incubation period of 4 to 8 days.
      • Discovered in Trinidad and Tobago in 1955.
  • Symptoms: 
      • Mimics other viral infections with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, and nausea.
      • Severe cases can lead to meningitis or encephalitis, posing significant health risks.
  • Transmission: 
      • Spread to humans through the bite of an infected midge (small fly) or mosquito.
      • Urbanization, deforestation, and climate change contribute to the proliferation of vectors, increasing transmission risk.
  • Treatment: 
      • No vaccines are available to prevent Oropouche Fever.
      • No specific treatment exists for the disease.
      • Medical care focuses on symptom control and supporting recovery.
  • Zoonotic Arboviral Disease:
      • Arboviral disease is a general term used to describe infections caused by a group of viruses spread to people by the bite of infected arthropods (insects) such as mosquitoes and ticks.
      • Zoonotic diseases are infections that are spread between people and animals. These infections are caused by germs, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.

Rim of The Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise

  • News: Indian multi-role stealth frigate INS Shivalik has reached Pearl Harbour in Hawaii to take part in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.
  • Overview: 
      • The Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, held in Hawaii.
  • Objective: 
      • Enhance interoperability and build trust among the navies of friendly foreign countries.
      • The 2024 exercise runs under the theme “Partners: Integrated and Prepared” until August 1.
  • Leadership and Participation: 
      • Led by the US Navy, with approximately 29 countries participating in the current edition.
  • Phases of the Exercise
      • Harbour Phase (June 27 to July 7, 2024): Includes multiple symposiums, exercise planning discussions, sports competitions, and reciprocal deck visits.
      • Sea Phase (RIMPAC-24): Divided into 3 sub-phases will witness ships undertaking basic and advanced level integration exercises during the first two sub-phases. 
  • Key Activities: 
      • Participation of an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group, submarines, maritime reconnaissance aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely piloted surface ships, and amphibious force landing operations.
      • Joint operations with special forces of multinational navies.
  • Significance: 
      • Provides a unique training opportunity.
      • Fosters and sustains cooperative relationships among participants.
      • Critical for ensuring the safety of sea lanes and the security of the world’s oceans.

Artificial Intelligence Preparedness Index (AIPI)

  • News: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its AI Preparedness Index (AIPI). 
  • Definition:  AI Preparedness Index (AIPI) assesses the level of AI preparedness across 174 countries.
  • Pillars: The rating for each country is given based on the assessment of readiness in four key areas – 
  • digital infrastructure, 
      • human capital and labour market policies, 
      • innovation and economic integration, and 
      • regulation and Ethics.
  • Categorisation: The Index has categorised each country into:
      •  Advanced Economy (AE), 
      • Emerging Market Economy (EM), and 
      • Low-Income Country (LIC). 
  • Findings
      • India Lags Behind: India stands behind some of the Asian peers, including Indonesia, China and Singapore in terms of preparedness to meet the advent of Artificial Intelligence.
        • As per the IMF’ AI Preparedness Index, India recorded 0.49 against 0.52 by Indonesia, 0.64 by China, 0.77 by the US, O.73 by UK and 0.8 by Singapore.
      • Top Scorers: Singapore (0.80), Denmark (0.78), and the United States (0.77) are among the highest-rated AEs, with India categorised as an EM with a 0.49 rating.  

National Statistics Day

  • News:  National Statistics Day is celebrated in India on June 29 every year.
  • Purpose: Celebrated in recognition of Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis’s notable contributions to statistics and economic planning.
  • Objective: To create public awareness about the role and importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation for the country’s development.
  • Annual Celebration: Since 2007, Statistics Day has been celebrated every year with a theme of contemporary national importance.
  • 2024 Theme: “Use of data for decision-making.”
  • Importance of the Theme
      • Data-Driven Decision Making: Essential for making informed decisions in any field.
      • Understanding Statistical Information: Crucial for better understanding of official statistics.
      • Evidence-Based Decision Making: Facilitates the use of accurate data for formulating effective policies and decisions.


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