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Food Security and Aadhar Issues

CONTEXT:

  • The Supreme Court recently asked the Centre to respond to allegations made in a PIL by a that 3 crore ration cards have been cancelled in the country.

KEY DETAILS:

  • 3 crore ration cards have been cancelled in the country because of the insistence on Aadhaar linkage and biometric authentication.

  • It has resulted in the denial of foodgrains to poor citizens, which in turn has caused starvation deaths including that of the petitioner’s 11-year-old daughter.

  • Poor Internet in remote areas was also flagged as an issue.

Lokniti-CSDS Survey findings- National Election Study

  • National Election Study (NES) during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Lokniti-CSDS had asked electors whether they had ever been denied foodgrains due to non-possession/production of an Aadhaar ID.

  • It found out that 28% or over one in four households had indeed experienced such a situation.

  • While in percentage terms this may not seem all that high a figure to some, in absolute terms it would be huge.

  • Biometric authentication: Ever since Aadhaar-based biometric authentication was introduced in PDS, then issues of people’s fingerprints, iris scanners of not getting confirmed by the e-PoS device at the ration shops.

    • And a poor Internet connection forcing people to spend on another trip to the shop.  

Rural vs urban in the states:

  • Contrary to the notion that seeding and authentication problems are occurring mostly in remote areas, data indicates that they are nearly of the same magnitude in villages and towns/cities.

  • Rural areas: While 28% of respondents belonging to ration card-holding households in rural areas were refused ration due to Aadhaar-related issues at some point.

  • Urban areas: It was 27%.

    • Some big cities were slightly better off, however.

  • Poorest worst affected: In both rural and urban areas, the poorest were worst affected – 39% of households with a monthly income below Rs 2,000 said they were at some point denied PDS ration due to Aadhaar problems.

Hindi heartland v. Other States:

  • Hindi heartland: The most striking difference was noticed when we disaggregated the responses by a grouping of Hindi-speaking heartland states vis-à-vis the rest.

  • ‘Bimaru’ states-In the Hindi belt — Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand, states once described as ‘Bimaru’ states — as many as 40% of RC-holding households reported a denial of ration due to Aadhaar issues.

    • Compared to 20% households in the rest of the country.

  • Issues of biometric authentication: Problem may be less due to non-possession of Aadhaar and more due to biometric authentication and server issues.

    • As respondents from 95% of RC-holding h  ouseholds in the ‘Bimaru’ belt did report having Aadhaar.

  • State wise: Rajasthan, 36%; in Chhattisgarh, 39%; in MP and Jharkhand, over 40%; and in Bihar, particularly high at 56%.

  • Denial of PDS grains: The fact that one-fourth households did at some point not get ration they were entitled to because of the Aadhaar compulsion is a serious matter.

SOURCE: Indian Express

ARIES facility for Aditya-L1

CONTEXT:

  • The Indian programme to study the Sun and the region between the Sun and the Earth from space – Aditya-L1 – is due to be launched next year.

  • ARIES facility will provide ground support centre to monitor and coordinate the work on its various payloads.

Aditya-L1 and ARIES facility:

  • The Indian programme to study the Sun and the region between the Sun and the Earth from space – Aditya-L1 – is due to be launched next year.

  • Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar mission to study the Sun’s corona, solar emissions, solar winds.

  • It will carry seven payloads which have been developed by various institutions across the country.

  • Once the mission is launched, there will be a need for a ground support centre to be provided  by the ARIES facility.

  • ARIES facility known as Aryabhata Research Institute for observational Sciences, is situated near Nainital.  

  • With about four to five personnel, this centre will come up at Haldawani, where ARIES is setting up a data centre also.

Aim of ARIES Facility:

  • To perform analysis over scientific data obtained from Aditya-L1.

  • The total number of guest users will be from a few tens to a few hundreds.

  • A time allocation committee comprising senior and expert scientists will evaluate proposals based on their merit and feasibility to decide the priority.

Aditya-L1 Support Centre:

  • It will provide training through regular workshops for the guest users.

  • Apart from this, it will provide ready-to-use Python and Java apps for the satellite data and demos and handouts to facilitate the guest users.

  • CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona (CIISCO):

    • An ARIES team has recently developed an algorithm to study the accelerating solar eruptions in the lower corona called CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona (in short, CIISCO), where CME stands for coronal mass ejection.

  • The centre will also provide source code for advanced data analysis. For example, it will provide the source code for CIISCO to detect accelerating CMEs in the solar atmosphere.

  • The group has also developed several advanced image processing algorithms to detect fine-scale structures in the solar atmosphere.

ARIES Facility:

  • Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is a leading research institute in Nainital, Uttarakhand.

  • It sspecializes in Astronomy, Solar Physics, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences.

  • It is an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

  • The institute is situated at Manora Peak (1,951 m (6,401 ft)), about 9 km from Nainital, a popular hill station.

Aditya-L1

  • It is India’s first solar mission.

  • It will be launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

  • The space-based observatory will have seven payloads (instruments) on board.

  • Aim: To study the Sun’s corona, solar emissions, solar winds and flares, and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), and will carry out round-the-clock imaging of the Sun.

Objectives:

  • Study the sun’s outer most layers, the corona and the chromospheres.

  • Collect data about coronal mass ejection, which will also yield information for space weather prediction.

Significance of the mission:

  • It be immensely helpful in discriminating between different models for the origin of solar storms.

Position of the satellite:

  • Aditya- L1 satellite will be placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the sun-earth system.

SOURCE: The Hindu

Rewaconodon indicus-Cynodonts-20-million-year-old rat-like creatures

CONTEXT:

  • The Tiki Formation in Madhya Pradesh, a treasure trove of vertebrate fossils, has now yielded a new species and two genera of cynodonts, small rat-like animals that lived about 220 million years ago.