29 november 2022
Medha Patkar - Anti-Narmada Dam Movement
Why in News?
Medha Patkar, who led the Narmada Bachao Andolan, has become a topic of discussion in the recent Gujarat elections.
The Narmada movement started to protest against height of the dams and for the right to rehabilitate the displaced. This movement also extended to other similar projects. It brought them into direct conflict with the Gujarat government and the government faced many protests for the development of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project.
Sardar Sarovar Dam Project
- The Sardar Sarovar dam project on Narmada river for which Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone on April 5, 1961, had a full reservoir level (FRL) height of 49.08 metres for harnessing the river for irrigation and power generation in the Narmada basin.
- An expert committee recommended a higher dam with FRL 500 ft (152.45m) in 1965.
- The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) was constituted by the Government of India in October 1969, which gave its final award in December 1979. It fixed the FRL at 138.68 meters, as well as the share of the water and hyrdo power between the riparian states — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
- This award was to neither be changed nor reviewed till 2025. The aim of this dam was to provide water for irrigation in at least 15 districts of Gujarat and some parts of Rajasthan and Maharashtra and to share the hydroelectric generated between Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
- The construction of the dam began in 1987, backed by funds from the World Bank. By then, the NBA was already spearheading protests against it. Finally, under immense pressure from anti-dam activists, the World Bank withdrew from the project in 1993. The construction was later halted by the Supreme Court in May 1995.
About Medha Patkar
- 31 year old Medha Patkar left her PhD midway and started Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). Patkar, the daughter of freedom fighter and labour union leader Vasant Khanolkar, was involved in several causes involving generally the “oppressed” and poor.
- In the 1980s, as part of the movement, Patkar organised a 36-day solidarity march from Madhya Pradesh to the Sardar Sarovar Project site. Patkar’s agitation, along with protests by locals, forced the World Bank to set up Morse Commission, an independent review of the project, which is said to have concluded that it violated environmental and resettlement policies.
- Patkar was also part of the movement against land acquisition for a nuclear plant in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.
- In March, 2022, he questioned the Silverline semi-high speed railway core.
Gandhi statue installed at UN Headquarters
Why in News?
Recently, during the presidency of the Security Council by India, it was announced to inaugurate the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the United Nations Headquarters as a gift from India.
For the first time, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be installed at the headquarters of an international body.
2023 has been designated as the 'International Year of Millets'.
About the statue
- The bust, made by renowned Indian sculptor Padma Shree awardee Ram Sutar, who has also designed the 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat.
- The statue will be inaugurated on December 14 during External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the U.N. for India’s presidency of the Council for the month.
- The statue will be placed in the expansive North Lawns of the U.N. headquarters.
- The only other gift from India on display at the U.N. Headquarters is an 11th century black-stone statue of ‘Surya’, the Sun God, donated on July 26, 1982.
- The statue, dating from the late Pala period and which is currently displayed in the Conference Building, was presented as a gift by then Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi to the UN. Then Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar had accepted the sculpture on behalf of the United Nations.
- The Gandhi bust will be inaugurated on the morning of December 14 and the ceremony is expected to be attended by all 15 Security Council members as well as the incoming five new members who will take their seats on the Council beginning January 1, 2023.
- U.N. Secretary General AntonIo Guterres and President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi could also be present on the occasion.
Why the statue of Mahatma Gandhi?
- Mahatma Gandhi's legacy of non-violence and peace is everlasting and the Prime Minister's statement "This is not the era of war" reflects the same legacy and has been widely accepted in the world.
- India had highlighted peacekeeping as one of the priority areas during its presidency of the Council in August, 2021. Apart from this, the member countries were stressed on hosting peacekeeping operations.
Vizhinjam International Port
Why in News?
Recently, fishermen protesting against the Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited attacked a local police station.
This port is established under Adani Group.
Cause of Protest
- This huge cost project is being implemented without making it eco-friendly and without adequately addressing the concerns of the coastal community.
- Vizhinjam International Deep Water Multipurpose Port was to be developed. Under which a separate company was formed - Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL).
- It is registered as a special purpose vehicle (wholly owned by the Government of Kerala) which will act as the implementing agency for the development of a greenfield port at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala.
Importance of the project
- About 95% of India's foreign trade is through sea route. In value terms, it accounts for 70% of foreign trade.
- About 30 per cent of the freight traffic goes through the international shipping route to the south of the Indian peninsula, which is 10 nautical miles from Vizhinjam.
- Presently, India does not have deep water container transshipment terminal and for this India is dependent on the ports of Colombo, Singapore.
- This results in significant loss of foreign exchange and revenue, which is estimated to be around Rs 2,500 crore per year.
NPA of Mudra loan only 3.3% in 7 years
Why in News?
NPAs under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana increased to Rs 46,053.39 crore for all banks (public, private, foreign, state co-operative, regional rural and small finance) since the launch of the scheme on April 8, 2015.
Between 2015 and 2022, borrowers of Mudra loans, essentially micro and small enterprises, have paid their EMIs (Equated Monthly Instalment) to banks. Based on an RTI data, the NPAs of banks for Mudra loans, including those extended during the Covid-19 pandemic, are on average lower.
- MUDRA loans are offered by Banks, NBFCs, MFIs and other eligible financial intermediaries notified by MUDRA Limited.
- The Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) was launched on April 8, 2015, to provide loans up to Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-agricultural, small and micro enterprises.
- MUDRA loans are offered under the following three categories-
- Loans up to 50,000/- Rs. (Shishu)
- Loans up to 50,001 to 5 lakh Rs. (Kishore)
- Loans up to Rs.5,00,001/- to Rs.10 lakhs. (Tarun)
- Objective - To promote entrepreneurship among new generation aspiring youth with greater focus on Shishu loan along with Kishore and Tarun categories.
- To provide need based term loans to eligible borrowers for meeting capital asset / working capital / marketing related requirements.
- Tenure: Mudra loan can be taken for 5 years or maximum 7 years.
- Security: As per the guidelines of Reserve Bank of India, banks should not accept collateral security in case of loans up to Rs.10 lakh given to MSME sector.
- Financial Inclusion: Banking the unbanked, securing the unbanked and encouraging the unbanked to take advantage of technology.
- About 22% of the total loans have been sanctioned to new entrepreneurs and about 68% of the total loans have been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs.
Imphal's Ima Bazar
Why in News?
On his recent visit to Manipur's Ima Bazar, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted linking economic development with "women power".
- It originated due to Lallup Kaaba, an ancient bonded labor system. The lallup-kaba was a forced labour system in Manipur Kingdom which required male members of the Meitei ethnicity to work in distant lands or to serve in the army
- As a consequence of the system, women had to support their households by cultivating their fields or weaving textiles and then selling the products on improvised markets. Due to which a market system developed which is called Ima Kaithal today.
- The Keithel (Kaithal) or Market, an all-women market, is said to be the largest shopping complex in Asia for its unique identity.
- This is a unique women's market, with 3,000 "imas" or women running stalls, divided into two sections on either side of the road.
- Vegetables, fruits, fish and household groceries are sold on one side and exquisite handlooms and household appliances on the other.
- Male vendors and shopkeepers are banned here.
- In 2018, the state government announced legal action under the Manipur Municipalities Act, 2004 if men here become buyers or sellers.