National Education Policy(NEP-2020)
•Union Cabinet gave its nod to the new policy recently
•The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
•The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education
•A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft in December 2018, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.
[The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.]
•Public spending on education by states, Centre to be raised to 6% of the GDP.
•Board exams to be easier, redesigned. Exams will test core competencies rather than memorising facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice.[ Semester-wise]
•Four year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry and exit options will be introduced.
•The Phil degree will be abolished.
•It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035, (with an additional 3.5 crore new seats.)
•Universalise the pre-primary education (age range of 3-6 years) by 2025
•Child’s mother tongue will be used as the medium of instruction till class 5.
•National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the class 3 level by 2025.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): Jin Liqun re-elected as the President
•The AIIB is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia.
•Headquartered in Beijing (China), it began operations in January 2016 and has now grown to 103 approved members worldwide.
•AIIB is also significant as the World Bank is continued to be dominated by the USA while Japan has more influence over Asian Development Bank (ADB).
•The President(Chinese) stated that the bank would remain an “apolitical institution” and continue to back projects in India
•It has supported several projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework, but is not formally linked to the plan.
•India was among the AIIB’s 57 founding members in 2016.
•It is also its second-largest shareholder (with 7.62% voting shares) after China (26.06%).
•It has received USD 4.35 billion from the Bank.
UN Human Rights Committee backed protesting peacefully as a fundamental human right
•This statement has come in the backdrop of increasing demonstrations over issues like political rights and racial justice
[UN has reaffirmed that protesting peacefully, online or in person, is a fundamental human right.]
•UN Human Rights Committee is tasked with monitoring how countries implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1976, which under Article 21 guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.
•The Committee’s interpretation will be important guidance for judges in national and regional courts around the world, as it now forms part of what is known as ‘soft law’.
•Indian courts have reiterated that the right to protest is a fundamental right (Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors. case -2012).[State can impose reasonable restrictions]
India Report on Digital Education-2020
•Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched India Report on Digital Education, 2020.
[Note: Recently the MHRD has been renamed as the Ministry of Education]
•Report elaborate the innovative methods adopted by the MHRD, for ensuring accessible and inclusive education to children at home and reducing learning gaps during the Covid-19 pandemic.
•It has initiated many projects to assist teachers, scholars and students in their pursuit of learning like DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, On Air – Shiksha Vani, e-PathShala and telecast through TV channels.
•It also released guidelines on digital education called ‘PRAGYATA’
•Several states have also focussed on the mental well-being of the children e.g Delhi conducted happiness classes.
•MHRD has also launched the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative, which aims to provide psychosocial support to students, family members
•Natesa, a rare sandstone idol from the 9th century (Pratihara Style of Rajasthan) has been retrieved after 22 years by Rajasthan police.
•Natesa icon was smuggled out of the country in 1998.
•The sandstone Natesa figure stands tall at almost 4 ft. in a rare and brilliant depiction of Shiva
•A beautiful depiction of Nandi is shown behind the right leg of the Natesa icon.
High Level of Ammonia in Yamuna River
•Recently, high levels (around 3 ppm) of ammonia in the Yamuna river has been detected in Delhi which led to the disruption of water supply in Delhi.
•As per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water is 0.5 parts per million (ppm)
•Ammonia(NH3) is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.
•Ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in water as it is transformed to oxidised forms of nitrogen. Hence, it also increases Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
•If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm (it would toxic to fishes.)