Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Feb 21, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Byanjana Dwadashi: How a 500-year-old festival in Odisha symbolises community, food security and balanced diet

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Byanjana Dwadashi is celebrated by adherents of Vaishnavism, the largest sect within Hinduism, which considers Vishnu and his incarnations such as Krishna as the Supreme Godhead.

The festival celebrates a variety of food (Byanjana in Odia) on the 12th day (Dwadashi) of the Sukla Paksha or waxing phase of the moon in the month of Margashira (mid-December to mid-January),” Kedar Mishra, an Odisha-based poet and writer told this reporter.

Vaishnavites, through this festival, commemorate an episode of the Mahabharata where Yashoda observes that her son Krishna is pale and weak. She realises that this is because of lack of proper nutrition at a time when Krishna has devoted all his energy in fighting demons.

In order to fulfil his nutritional requirements, she prepares a lot of delicacies and feeds him. Krishna is not the only consumer of these delicacies. His friends – the Gopala Balakas or cowherd boys — also eat with him.


Current Affair 2:
Critical Evaluation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)


After about 16 years of the implementation of the act, a parliamentary standing committee on rural development and Panchayati Raj recently tabled the report, ‘Critical Evaluation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)’ in the Lok Sabha.

About MGNREGA in brief:

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, also popularly known as MGNREGA, is a social security scheme implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development together with state governments. The legislation guarantees 100 days of wage employment in a financial year, to adult members in a rural household who are willing to do unskilled manual work at a fixed minimum wage. The objectives of the scheme include:

  • Providing not less than one hundred days of unskilled manual work as guaranteed employment in a financial year to every household in rural areas as per demand, resulting in the creation of productive assets of prescribed quality and durability.
  • Strengthening the livelihood resource base of the poor
  • Proactively ensuring social inclusion




Important points in report:

  • Despite increase in demand, government budget allocation continues to be low for MGNREGA
  • The Department of Rural Development cited the non-completion of requisite procedural formalities by the State governments in the stipulated time, such as non-updation of muster rolls, delay in submission of documents for releasing wages, material share by the States along-with delay in the release of states’ share of 25% material costs, as some of the hindrances for the seamless flow of funds.
  • The unspent balance during 2018-19 was Rs. 2,599 crores which increased to Rs. 5,271 crores in 2020-21. As of 5 November 2021, the unspent funds stood at Rs. 1,351 crores. Citing this, the committee notedimprovement” in the reduction of unspent funds by the Department. The committee recommended that “this downward trend in the accrual of unspent balances need to be maintained through rational measures and asked the Department of Rural Development to ensure that the unspent balances are completely mitigated by the utilization of allocated funds in a time-bound and financially prudent manner”.
  • Wages should be made uniform across the country and linked with inflationary index

To keep up with the rise of inflation having an effect on the price rise of even essential commodities, the committee suggested linking wages under the scheme to a commensurate inflationary index. The nominal wage under the scheme would not be sufficient otherwise, and so the rural masses will be forced to migrate to urban areas for better remuneration, against the objective of the scheme.

  • Guaranteed workdays should be increased to 150 from 100

The Committee also strongly recommended an increase in the number of guaranteed days of work per household from 100 to 150 and further diversifying the nature of works under MGNREGA to meet 150 days of work.

  • Create a better workplace for women and promote women-centric works. The participation rate of women has always been above 53% since 2015-16 though the Act mandates the provision of a minimum 33% of the work to women labourers.
  • Increase the involvement of MPs through the issuance of directives to state governments and local bodies


Current Affair 3:
India-France roadmap on the blue economy and ocean governance

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India and France are maritime nations with dynamic maritime economy sectors like marine technology and scientific research, fisheries, port and shipping, to name a few. Possessing vast exclusive economic zones, their fate is closely linked to the sea and the ocean.

Setting up an India-France partnership on the blue economy and ocean governance

India and France plan to set up an India-France partnership on the blue economy and ocean governance whose scope will encompass maritime trade, marine trade in services, ports, the naval industry, fisheries, ,marine technology and scientific research, ocean observation, ocean modelling and forecasting services, marine biodiversity, etc.

The signatories will ensure that the competent ministries and institutions are involved in this partnership, which will have an inter-ministerial dimension and include, as required, the private sector.

Institutional pillar: forging a common vision of ocean governance based on the rule of law


To exchange views on their priorities, share their best practices and support ongoing and future cooperation, India and France plan to organise an annual bilateral dialogue on the blue economy and ocean governance. The dialogue will play a driving role in the formulation, organisation and follow-up of cooperation projects in the four pillars of the partnership: (i.) institutional, (ii.) economic, (iii) infrastructures, (iv.) scientific and academic.

Infrastructure pillar: cooperating on sustainable and resilient coastal and waterways infrastructure

Both sides will encourage sharing of knowledge and methodologies for upgrading current infrastructure, increasing their resilience to climate change, increasing port capacity, developing storage facilities, plug and play infrastructure in the ports, with a special focus on developing ‘green and smart ports’ equipped with sustainable dredging and ship recycling, which is also one of France's priority areas and involves a zero waste and circular economy approach.

Scientific and academic pillar: better knowledge of the ocean to innovate and protect

Convinced that research in marine science and technology is indispensable for monitoring, protecting and sustainably using marine living and non-living resources and biodiversity of the seas and the ocean, India and France will enhance their scientific cooperation as well as exchanges of students and researchers.

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