PM Matsay Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

In Context

  • Recently, the 2nd anniversary of PMMSY has been celebrated.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

  • About:
    • It is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country with an estimated investment of ?20,050 crore for its implementation during 2020-21 to 2024-25 as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat package.
  • Ministry: 
    • Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying 
  • Aims: 
    • To bring about a blue revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India.
    • To double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10% and the generation of gainful employment opportunities in the sector.
  • Implementation:
  • It is implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely
    • Central Sector Scheme: The project cost will be borne by the Central government. The entire project/unit cost will be funded by the Government of India (GoI) (i.e., 100% GoI Funding).
    • Centrally Sponsored Scheme: All the sub-components/activities will be implemented by the States/UTs and the cost will be shared between Centre and State.
      • North Eastern & Himalayan States: 90% Central share and 10% State share.
      • Other States: 60% Central share and 40% State share.
  • A well-structured implementation framework would be established for the effective planning and implementation of PMMSY.
  • For optimal outcomes, ‘Cluster or area-based approach’ would be followed with requisite forward and backward linkages and end to end solutions.
  • Approach:
    •  ‘Cluster or Area based approaches and many new interventions such as fishing vessel insurance, Aquaculture in saline/alkaline areas, Sagar Mitras, FFPOs, Nucleus Breeding Centres, etc.
  • Achievements: 
    • From 2019–20 to 2021–2022, the Fisheries sector had an incredible growth of 14.3%.
    • Fish production has increased from 141.64 lakh tonnes in 2019-20 to 161.87 lakh tonnes (provisional) in 2021-22.
    • The sector achieved all-time high exports of 13.64 lakh tonnes, reaching Rs 57,587 crores (USD 7.76 billion), topped by shrimp exports.

Status of Fisheries Sector

  • The fisheries sector has been recognized as a powerful income and employment generator as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries and is a source of cheap and nutritious food, at the same time it is an instrument of livelihood for a large section of the economically backward population of the country. 
  • Fishery sector occupies an important place in the socio-economic development of the country.
  • India is the 3rd largest fish producing and 2nd largest aquaculture nation in the world after China. 
  • The Blue Revolution in India demonstrated the importance of the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. 
  • The sector is considered as a sunrise sector and is poised to play a significant role in the Indian economy in near future. 

Eco Sensitive Zone

In News

  • Recently, Supreme Court quashed a plea against Gadgil, Kasturirangan reports.

More about the news

  • PIL:
    • Public interest litigation (PIL) had challenged the Madhav Gadgil and K Kasturirangan Committees demarcating an area of 56,825 square kilometres spread across six states as the Western Ghats Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
      • The six states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
    • The petitioner had pleaded to the apex court to not implement the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecologically Expert Panel (Gadgil Committee Report) and the High-Level Working Group (Kasturirangan Committee Report).
  • The Madhav Gadgil Report:
    • The Madhav Gadgil Report had classified the whole of the Western Ghats, spread across six states and covering 44 districts and 142 talukas, as an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
  • The Kasturirangan Committee:
    • The Kasturirangan Committee had reduced the ESZ to 37 percent of the total area, covering about 60,000 sq km. It had recommended that 123 revenue villages be demarcated as ESA.
      • Need for formation of Kasturirangan Committee:
        • None of the six concerned states agreed with the recommendations of the Gadgil Committee, which submitted its report in August 2011.
        • In August 2012, then Environment Minister constituted a High-Level Working Group on Western Ghats under Kasturirangan to “examine” the Gadgil Committee report in a “holistic and multidisciplinary fashion in the light of responses received” from states, central ministries and others.
  • Oommen V Oommen Report:
    • To solve the conflict, Oommen Chandy, the former Chief Minister of Kerala in 2014 set up an expert committee to study the loopholes of the previous two committees. 
      • According to the new committee, recommendations were made to the government to implement changes in clauses of the Environmentally Fragile Land (EFL) in the Western Ghats, stating the lapses occurring in determining the EFL areas.
      • Oommen V Oommen Report had recommended that plantations and inhabited areas in the Western Ghats be kept out of the ESA.
      • The petition had pushed for the implementation of the 2014 report.
  • Union Environment Ministry Draft notification of 2014:
    • Notified a total of 56,825 sq. km in the Western Ghats as ESA instead of the original 59,940 sq. km recommended by the Kasturirangan Committee.

Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ)

  • The Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) are areas in India notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), GoI around Protected Areas, National Park and Wildlife sanctuaries
  • Range:
    • All identified areas around Protected Areas and wildlife corridors to be declared as ecologically fragile under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (National Wildlife Action Plan, 2002-2016).
    • Eco-sensitive Zone could go up to 10 Kms around Protected Areas
    • In cases where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are even beyond 10 Kms width. 
    • Further, Eco-sensitive zones may not be uniform all around and it could be variable in width and extent.
  • Prohibited activities: 
    • Activities like industries that cause pollution Commercial mining, saw mills, establishment of major hydroelectric projects (HEP), commercial use of wood, Tourism, discharge of effluents or any solid waste or production of hazardous substances are all prohibited.
  • Regulated activities:
    • Activities like felling of trees, establishment of hotels and resorts, commercial use of natural water, erection of electrical cables, drastic change of agriculture system, e.g. adoption of heavy technology, pesticides etc., widening of roads.
  • Permitted activities:
    • Activities like ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, use of renewable energy sources, adoption of green technology for all activities are permitted.

Significance of Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ)

  • Conservation:
    • ESZs help in in-situ conservation, which deals with conservation of an endangered species in its natural habitat. 
      • For example, the conservation of the One-horned Rhino of Kaziranga National Park, Assam.
    • They minimize forest depletion and man-animal conflict
  • Buffer zone:
    • The protected areas are based on the core and buffer model of management, through which local area communities are also protected and benefitted.
    • ESZs are created as “shock absorbers” for the protected areas, to minimize the negative impact on the “fragile ecosystems” by certain human activities taking place nearby. 
    • These areas are meant to act as a transition zone from areas requiring higher protection to those requiring lesser protection.
  • Mitigating climate change:
    • Biodiversity and climate change are interconnected. Creation of SEZs may help in reducing the rise in temperature.
  • Significance of Recent Judgement:
    • It can lead to more sustainable development.
    • Tribal rights will also be protected with the recent judgement i.e., their culture, diversity etc will be preserved.
Protected Areas of IndiaProtected areas are those in which human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. The definition that has been widely accepted across regional and global frameworks has been provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its categorization guidelines for protected areas. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organisations involved. The term “protected area” also includes:Marine Protected Areas, the boundaries of which will include some area of ocean, and Transboundary Protected Areas that overlap multiple countries which remove the borders inside the area for conservation and economic purposes. 

Why India Needs to Urgently Invest in its Patent Ecosystem?

In News

  • Recently the report “Why India Needs to Urgently Invest in its Patent Ecosystem?” was released by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

Report Highlights

  • About:
    • The report underlines the significance of a robust patent system for a knowledge economy and for the promotion of technological innovations
  • Share of Indians in filing patent applications:
    • It highlights the rising share of residents in the total number of patent applications filed in India, which has more than doubled during the last decade
      • The Economic Survey 2022-23, for instance, highlighted the rising share of Indian residents in patent applications.
    • For the first time, the number of patent applications by residents has surpassed that of foreign applications during the last quarter of the financial year 2021-22. 
    • Interestingly, the number of abandoned patent applications also increased at an astonishing rate during this period.
  • Concern:
    • A major concern expressed in the EAC-PM report is the long pendency of processing patent applications in India. 
  • Report recommendations:
    • Report has recommended several measures to reduce the pendency issue. 
    • Increasing the efficiency of processing patent applications will certainly improve the patent ecosystem in the country. 
    • At the same time, we need to investigate the patent ecosystem more closely to connect the dots so that appropriate measures are adopted to improve the patent ecosystem, keeping in view the national innovation ecosystem.
Role of higher education sector of India in PatentingRise in the share:The higher education sector of India is rising in prominence in the research and development spending and patenting landscape of India. The share of this sector in the gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) has increased from 5% in 2013 to 7% in 2018, as UNESCO’s data on science, technology and innovation shows. Industry and academia collaboration mismatch:The growing prominence of this sector in patenting activity indicates the priority it attaches to commercially significant technological innovations. When the higher education sector is increasingly focusing on the development component of R&D, it is also expected that the collaboration between industry and academia will also increase in the area of R&D. But the reverse is true in the case of India.GII’s indicators:The Global Innovation Index (GII) is prepared based on the score that each country gets under 80 indicators — industry-academia collaboration is one. India’s score for this indicator has declined over the last few years, from 47.8 in 2015 to 42.7 in 2021. Consequently, India’s ranking in this indicator in the GII declined from 48 to 65 during this period. However, improvements in some other indicators have resulted in India’s overall ranking in the GII improving from 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2021.

Issues around patenting in India 

  • Abandoned patent applications:
    • The latest Annual Report (2019-20) of the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, Trademarks and Geographical Indications (CGPDTM) shows that the number of abandoned patent applications are rising.
    • The share of such abandoned patents in the total number of patent applications soared from 13.6% in 2010-11 to 48% in 2019-20.
    • Possible reasons:
      • Applicants are not confident about their applications passing scrutiny and, therefore, do not pursue their applications. 
      • It may also be possible, especially in the case of innovations with short-life spans, that the long pendency discourages applicants from following up on their applications. 
  • Filing of patent applications:
    • Since the adoption of the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2016, a lot of emphasis has been attached to the filing of patent applications. 
    • It is worth examining if perverse incentives have been created in the process, which encourage the filing of patent applications even when the innovator knows that their claims will not pass scrutiny. 
    • If that is the case, eliminating such perverse incentives itself will add to improving the patent ecosystem of India.
Indian Patent RegimeMeaning: A patent is an exclusive set of rights granted for an invention, which may be a product or process that provides a new way of doing something or offers a new technical solution to a problem.Indian patents are governed by the Indian Patent Act of 1970. Under the act, patents are granted if the invention fulfils the following criteria:It should be novelIt should have inventive step/s or it must be non-obviousIt should be capable of Industrial applicationIt should not attract the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of the Patents Act 1970.India has gradually aligned itself with international regimes pertaining to intellectual property rights.It became a party to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement following its membership to the World Trade Organisation on January 1, 1995.It amended its internal patent laws to comply with TRIPS, most notably in 2005, when it introduced pharmaceutical product patents into the legislation.The original Indian Patents Act did not grant patent protection to pharmaceutical products to ensure that medicines were available to the masses at a low price.India is also a signatory to several IPR related conventions including:The Berne Convention which governs copyright,The Budapest Treaty,The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial PropertyThe Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) all of which govern various patent-related matters.

Way Ahead

  • As the patent system is a critical aspect of the national innovation ecosystem, investing in the patent ecosystem will help in strengthening the innovation capability of India. 
  • The right interventions should be made for the promotion of the quality of patent applications and collaboration between academia and industry.

Delisting of Inactive Political Parties

In News

  • Recently, the Election Commission ordered the delisting of 86 registered unrecognised political parties it found to be “non-existent” and declared 253 others “inactive”.

Key Findings

  • Reason given for delisting: 
    • These 253 parties have been declared inactive, as they have not responded to the letter/notice delivered to them and have not contested a single election either to the General Assembly of a State or the Parliament Election 2014 and 2019. 
  • Impact: 
    • The parties that have been declared inactive would not be eligible to avail benefits under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, which allows parties to apply for a common symbol for its candidates.
    • It is pertinent to note that privilege of a common symbol is given to registered unrecognised political parties (RUPP) based on an undertaking to put up at least five per cent of the total candidates with regard to said Legislative Assembly election of a State. 

Political Party

  • It is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. 
  • They agree on some policies and programmes for society to promote the collective good.
  • Since there can be different views on what is good for all parties, try to persuade people why their policies are better than others. 
  • They seek to implement these policies by winning popular support through elections
  • Conditions for recognising as a state or national party
    • For becoming a state party:
      • Must secure six per cent of the votes during the Assembly elections and two Assembly seats; or
      • Six per cent of votes in the LS from the state and an MP from the state; or three per cent of total Assembly seats or three seats (whichever is greater); or
      • One MP from every 25 Lok Sabha seats or eight per cent of total votes in the state during the Lok Sabha election from the state or the Assembly polls.
    • For becoming a National Party:
      • If Party is treated as a recognised political party in four or more states.
      • Get at least six per cent votes in four states in addition to four Lok Sabha seats.
      • It won at least two per cent seats in the LS (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members).

How are political parties registered in India?

  • Registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. 
  • Deadline of application submission: 
    • A party seeking registration under the said section with the Commission has to apply to the Commission within 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Commission in the exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. 
  • Demand draft: 
  • The application must be accompanied by a demand draft for Rs10,000. It also needs to include a printed copy of the memorandum, rules and regulations or constitution of the Party. 
  • Specific provision: 
    • There should be a specific provision in the Constitution/rules and regulations/memorandum of the party regarding organizational elections at different levels and the periodicity of such elections and terms of office of the office-bearers of the party.
  •  Electoral rolls: 
    • It also needs to have the latest electoral rolls in respect of at least 100 members of the party to show that they are registered electors. 
  • Affidavit Duty:
    • The application would also need an affidavit duly signed by the President or General Secretary of the party and sworn before a First-Class. Magistrate/Oath Commissioner)/ Notary Public to the effect that no member of the party is a member of any other political party registered with the Commission.
  • Publishing the proposed Name of the party: 
    • As per existing guidelines, the applicant association is inter-alia asked to publish the proposed Name of the party in two national daily newspapers and two local daily newspapers, on two days for submitting objections, if any, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within 30 days from such publication. 
    •  The notice for publication is also displayed on the website of the Election Commission.

Criteria for Deregistration

  • A party can only be de-registered –
    • If its registration was obtained by fraud; 
    • if it is declared illegal by the Central Government; or 
    • if a party amends its internal Constitution and notifies the ECI that it can no longer abide by the Indian Constitution.

Why is registering with the EC important?

  • The candidates set up by a political party registered with the Election Commission of India will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates. 
  • Further, registered political parties, in course of time, can get recognition as `State Party’ or National Party’ subject to the fulfilment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, as amended from time to time. 
    • If a party is recognised as a State Party, it is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State of States in which it is so recognised.
    • if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India. 
  • Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled to two sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
About Election Commission India (ECI)It was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950.It is an autonomous constitutional body responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, State Legislative Councils and the offices of the President and Vice President of the country.It is not concerned with the elections to panchayats and municipalities in the states.For this, the Constitution of India provides for a separate State Election commission

Unemployment in India

In News

  • Recently, the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) released data stating that India’s unemployment rate in August 2022 rose to 8.3%.

Key Findings

  • Highest Unemployment Rate: 
    • This is the highest unemployment rate in the past 12 months. In August 2021, the unemployment rate was 8.35%.
  • Unemployment rate in rural and urban areas:
    • In August, urban unemployment was 9.6% and rural was 7.7%. 
    • Only in two months — February and June — has the rural unemployment rate been higher than the urban unemployment rate.
  • State-wise unemployment rates:
    • There is a significant variance in the unemployment rate across states. 
    • Haryana, J&K and Rajasthan have the highest levels of unemployment rate — each with over 30% of the unemployment rate.
    • In sharp contrast, there are many states with remarkably low unemployment rates as well. 
    • Chhattisgarh has an unemployment rate of just 0.4%. 
    • Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Meghalaya — all have unemployment rates well below 3%.
  • Reasons for High Unemployment rate
    • Since the unemployment rate is essentially a ratio between the total unemployed and the total labour force, it can go up whenever the number of unemployed increases more than the increase in the total labour force. 
    • while the labour force increased by 4 million, the economy instead of creating new jobs, actually shed 2.6 million existing jobs.
    • In August while the total number of unemployed went up by 6.6 million, the labour force only went up by 4 million. Hence the spike in the unemployment rate.

Unemployment Rate

  • About: 
    • The unemployment rate is essentially the percentage of working-age people (15 years and above) who are demanding work but not able to get a job. Both aspects of the definition are important. 
  • Calculation: 
    • It is calculated by looking at all the people of the working age who are demanding work and then finding out what percentage of them are unable to land a job. That percentage is the unemployment rate.
    • Unemployment rate = [Total unemployed / Total Labour Force]
    • In other words, unemployment rates are expressed as a percentage of the labour force, not the total population.
  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): 
    • The underlying size of the labour force — that is, the percentage of working-age people demanding work — itself varies over time and is measured by the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR).

Challenges/Impacts of Jobless growth 

  • For Working women: 
    • Between 2010 and 2020, the number of working women in India dropped to 19% from 26%, according to data compiled by the World Bank. 
    • CMIE estimated that female labour force participation plummeted to 9% by 2022.
  • Affects Demographic Dividend: 
    • A growing reserve of frustrated, unemployed youth threatens to turn India’s demographic dividend of having a young population into a curse. 
  • Declining Agriculture Employment: 
    • The proportion of Indians employed in agriculture had been falling for decades, but this process flattened some years ago and was reversed by the covid crisis.
    • Those who move out of farming mostly find themselves in low-paying construction work and informal services.
  • Skill shortages:
    • India’s economic growth has been largely services led, with a small pool of skills at the upper end, given a glaring failure in mass education.
    • India presents a paradox of skill shortages while being labour surplus.
    • Trucks are idle because of the shortage of drivers. The steel industry needs more metallurgists. 
    • The healthcare sector is short of nurses and technicians. 
    • The construction sector needs civil engineers, hi-tech welders, bricklayers, and so on. 

Way Ahead

  • It is the government’s responsibility to take initiative and create adequate roles for unemployed people within the main economy.
  • Government support for enhancing infrastructure is particularly essential for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Employment Generation Schemes/ Programmes of Government of IndiaAtma Nirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) It was launched with effect from 1st October, 2020 as part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat package 3.0 to incentivize  employers for creation of new employment along with social security benefits and restoration of loss of employment during Covid-19 pandemic.Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)It was launched with effect from 1.4.2016 to incentivise employers for creation of new employment. The beneficiaries registered upto 31st March, 2019 will continue to receive the benefit for 3 years from the date of registration under the scheme i.e. upto 31st March, 2022National Career Service (NCS) ProjectProject for transformation of the National Employment Service to provide a variety of career related services like job matching, career counselling, vocational guidance, information on skill development courses, apprenticeship, internships etcMahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)MGNREGA is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (PMGKRA):It is a 125-day Abhiyan launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 20th June, 2020 with a mission to address the issues of returnee migrant workers and similarly affected rural population by Covid-19 pandemic through a multi- pronged strategy of providing immediate employment & livelihood opportunities to the distressed, to saturate the villages with public infrastructure and creation of livelihood assets to boost the income generation activities and enhance long term livelihood opportunities by giving focus on 25 works in 116 selected districts across 6 States with a resource envelope of Rs 50,000 crore.Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)It was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India in June 2011. Aided in part through investment support by the World Bank, the Mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services. Pt. DeenDayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushlya Yojana (DDU-GKY)The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) announced the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) Antyodaya Diwas, on 25th September 2014. DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth. The website link for the scheme isPM- SVANidhi SchemePrime Minister Street Vendor’s  AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVAN idhi) Scheme since June 01, 2020 to provide collateral free working capital loan to Street Vendors, vending in urban areas, to resume their businesses which were adversely affectedduetoCOVID-19inducedlock-down. Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY)It is a scheme launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on April 8, 2015 for providing loans up to 10 lakhs to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises. These loans are classified as MUDRA loans under PMMY. These loans are given by Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks, MFIs and NBFCs.Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) implemented by National Skill Development Corporation.Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) SchemeRecently, Finance Minister has announced an outlay of INR 1.97 Lakh Crores for the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes across 13 key sectors, to create national manufacturing champions and generate employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker

In Context

  • The recently-released Malayalam film Pathonpatham Noottandu (‘Nineteenth Century’) is based on the life of Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker.

Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker

  • About: 
    • He was a social reformer from the Ezhava community in Kerala who lived in the 19th century.
    • He was born into a well-off family of merchants in Kerala’s Alappuzha district.
    • He was given the title of ‘Panicker’ by the then-king of Travancore in 1869.
  • Social Reforms:
    • He challenged the domination of upper castes or ‘Savarnas’ and brought about changes in the lives of both men and women.
    • Some of his most significant contributions were in protesting for the rights of women belonging to Kerala’s backward communities. 
    • In 1858, he led the Achippudava Samaram strike at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha. 
      • This strike aimed to earn women belonging to oppressed groups the right to wear a lower garment that extended beyond the knees. 
      • In 1859, this was extended into the Ethappu Samaram, the struggle for the right to wear an upper body cloth by women belonging to backward castes.
    • In 1860, he led the Mukkuthi Samaram at Pandalam in the Pathanamthitta district, for the rights of lower-caste women to wear ‘mukkuthi’ or nose-ring, and other gold ornaments. 
    • These struggles played an important role in challenging the social order and in raising the dignity of women belonging to the lower strata of society in public life.
  • Apart from issues related to women, Panicker also led the first-ever strike by agricultural labourers in Kerala, the Karshaka Thozhilali Samaram, which was successful.
  • Other Contributions
    • He  is also credited with building two temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, in which members of all castes and religions were allowed entry.
    • He also established the first Kathakali Yogam (area-based schools for the classical dance form Kathakali) for the Ezhava community in 1861, which led to a Kathakali performance by Ezhavas and other backward communities, another first for them.
    •  He was also a master of Kalaripayattu, the traditional martial arts practised in Kerala, which is also considered the oldest of its kind in India.
  • First martyr of the Kerala Renaissance
    • Panicker was murdered by a group of upper-caste men in 1874 at the age of 49. This makes him the ‘first martyr’ of the Kerala renaissance.
    • In 2005, the Kerala government inaugurated the Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker Research Foundation and Cultural Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

SATAT Initiative

In News 

  • The Indian Biogas Association has recommended setting up testing labs in all States in the next two years to achieve the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) target, which aims to establish 5,000 compressed biogas (CBG) plants by 2025.

About ‘SATAT’ 

  • ‘SATAT’ (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme on Compressed Biogas (CBG) was launched in 2018. 
  • Under the SATAT scheme, entrepreneurs shall set up CBG plants, produce & supply CBG to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for sale as automotive & industrial fuels.
  • Aim: To produce compressed biogas (CBG) from Waste and Biomass sources like agricultural residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and sewage treatment plant waste and make CBG available in the market for use as a green fuel.
    • The Bio-Gas is purified to remove hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), and water vapor and compressed as Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG), which has methane (CH4) content of more than 90%.


In News 

  • Recently, the Ministry of Finance defended the windfall tax imposed by the Centre on domestic crude oil producers, saying that it was not an ad hoc move but was done after full consultation with the industry.

About Windfall tax

  • It was introduced in 2022.
  • Windfall taxes are designed to tax the profits a company derives from an external, sometimes unprecedented event— for instance, the energy price-rise as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • These are profits that cannot be attributed to something the firm actively did, like an investment strategy or an expansion of business.
  •  The United States Congressional Research Service (CRS) defines a windfall as an “unearned, unanticipated gain in income through no additional effort or expense”.
  • Objectives: 
    • The introduction of the windfall tax as a way to rein in the “phenomenal profits” made by some oil refiners who chose to export fuel to reap the benefits of skyrocketing global prices while affecting domestic supplies.
  • Global Scenario: Besides India, a wave of countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany have either already imposed a windfall profit tax on super normal profits of energy companies or are contemplating doing so.

Natural Rubber (NR) Plantation

In News 

  • The price of natural rubber (NR) has crashed to a 16-month low of ?150 per kg (RSS grade 4) in the Indian market.
    • The current fall in prices is attributed primarily to a weak Chinese demand and the European energy crisis, along with high inflation and an import glut, among other things

About Natural Rubber 

  • It is a commercial plantation crop from the tree species, Hevea brasiliensis .
  • It is grown in tropical humid climatic conditions. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and India are the major NR producers globally.
  • The Indian rubber industry is characterised by the co-existence of a well-established rubber production sector and a fast-growing rubber products manufacturing and consuming sector. 
  • India is currently the world’s fifth largest producer of natural rubber while it also remains the second biggest consumer of the material globally. (About 40% of India’s total natural rubber consumption is currently met through imports)
  • A latest report by the Rubber Board has projected the natural rubber production and consumption in India during 2022-23 as 8,50,000 tonnes and 12,90,000 tonnes respectively. 


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