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Most of the institutional architecture of Indian federalism is focused on relations between the Union government and the states, and there is far less space to settle inter-state frictions
A rejuvenated Inter-State Council will thus have an important role to play in the coming years
- Especially since its members are the political leaders of their respective states
- The council is as yet just a discussion group, but it should have a greater say in federal coordination in the future
- The GST council has an innovative voting structure, with the Union government having a third of the vote while the states share the rest equally, irrespective of the size of their population or economy
- That is one option for a more empowered Inter-State Council
Need of a regular meeting schedule
- As of now, the harsh reality is that the Inter-State Council has had just 12 meetings since it was set up in 1990
- There was a gap of a decade between the 10th meeting in 2006 and the 11th meeting in 2016, and the council met again in November 2017
- If the Inter-State Council is to emerge as the key institution to manage inter-state frictions, it first needs to have a regular meeting schedule
- The council also has to have a permanent secretariat which will ensure that the periodic meetings are more fruitful
The National Council on Nutrition (NCN) has unanimously rejected Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) Maneka Gandhi’s proposal to replace ready-to-eat food as take-home dry rations with energy-dense nutrient packets which could be mixed with food for anganwadi beneficiaries.
The Chairman [Nutrition Council] drew attention to the PMO’s decision in this regard and the need for continuance of the existing practice of hot cooked meals for children (3-6 years) age group and take-home rations (THR) for children (6 months-3 years) and pregnant women and lactating mothers as decided by the State governments in conformity with the National Foods Security Act, 2013, and the Supplementary Nutrition Rules, 2017.
While the Minister is in favour of factory-made and energy-dense nutrient packets, which can be delivered by postmen, officials in her Ministry proposed food items such as dalia(broken wheat) and khichdi (rice and lentil stew) prepared with local ingredients and sourced from self-help groups.
Council also agreed to involve mothers of Anganwadi beneficiaries for preparation of meals to ensure quality and encourage jan bhagidari(public participation).
As part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme, Anganwadi beneficiaries between the age of six months and three years as well as pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to take-home rations, which includes wheat, soya and sugar.
Contribution of the CSIR
- CSIR Laboratories have been developing and providing technology focused at the unmet need and the cutting edge knowledge base and human resource on the other for socio-economic development in the country
- The CSIR S&T domains range from environment to health and drinking water, from food, housing, energy to specialty chemicals and petrochemicals, glass and ceramics to mining, metals and minerals, medicinal plants, leather to machinery, instrumentation and strategic sectors
- It is also contributing for the Missions such as Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat, Samarth Bharat, Make in India, Innovate for India, Startup India and Skill India
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
- The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was established by the Government of India in 1942 is an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India
- It runs thirty-eight laboratories and thirty-nine field stations or extension centres throughout the nation, with a collective staff of over 12,000 scientists and scientific and technical personnel
- Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860
- The research and development activities of CSIR include aerospace engineering, structural engineering, ocean sciences, life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environmental science
Researchers have warned of a “troubling” accumulation of microplastics in sea ice floating in the Arctic ocean, a major potential source of water pollution as global warming melts the sheets of frozen water.
- The discovery suggests microplastics are now ubiquitous within the surface waters of the world’s ocean. Sea ice grows from the freezing of seawater directly underneath the existing ice, thus incorporating floating microplastics as it grows downward.
- This means the plastics were present as the ice was growing, and drifting, in the Arctic Ocean. Of particular concern was the particles’ small size. Some were only 11 micrometres across — about a sixth the diameter of a human hair, the team said. A micrometre is a millionth of a metre.
- This means they could easily be ingested by Arctic micro-organisms such as small crustaceans on which fish feed.No-one can say for certain how harmful these tiny plastic particles are for marine life, or ultimately also for human beings. On current trends, warns the UN, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.
- Other studies have recently warned that humans are ingesting microplastics in shellfish, tap water and bottled water. The health risks remain unclear.
For an “informal summit”, the Wuhan meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to cover much ground over the two days — in terms of public appearances and in the two statements issued.
Both sides addressed measures to better balance the ballooning trade deficit of about $52 billion (of about $84 billion bilateral trade), mostly by encouraging agricultural and pharmaceutical exports to China.
they attempted to reduce the heat over unresolved issues and so-called “irritants” in the relationship, such as China’s block on India’s NSG membership bid or the UN’s terror designation for Pakistan-based groups, and India’s opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative or its use of the Tibet issue. For this, existing mechanisms of dialogue will be strengthened, not allowing broader bilateral movement to be hit.
Despite hundreds of years of engaging each other, the two neighbours have been to war only once; since the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility was signed in 1993, neither side has fired a weapon along the 3,500-km boundary, which is largely undemarcated.
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