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In news:

The Ministry of Home Affairs, the Assam government and the Bodo groups have signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam, currently spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.

Highlights of the Agreement:

  • Villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
  • Bodos living in the hills would be conferred a Scheduled Hill Tribe status.
  • The BTAD is to be renamed as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
  • The criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non- heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
  • A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crore would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
  • It proposes to set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining BTAD areas.
  • In this commission, besides State government, there will be representatives from ABSU and BTC. It will submit its recommendation within six months.
  • The total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.
  • The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools.
  • Bodo with Devnagri script would be the associate official language for the entire Assam.

Abolition Of Legislative Council In AP

In news:

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly recently passed a resolution to abolish the state’s Legislative Council (LC).

About Legislative Council:

  • The Legislative Council or VidhanParishad is the upper house in those states that have a bicameral legislature, the lower house being the State Legislative Assembly.
  • Its establishment is defined in Article 169 of the Constitution of India.
  • Each Member of the State Legislative Council serves for a six-year term, with terms staggered so that the terms of one third of a State Legislative Council’s membership expire every two years.
  • This arrangement parallels that for the RajyaSabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.
  • Qualified member of Legislative Council must be a citizen of India, at least 30 years old, mentally sound, not an insolvent, and must be enrolled on the voters’ list of the state for which he or she is contesting an election.
  • Under Article 171, a Council cannot have more than a third of the number of MLAs in the state, and not less than 40 members.
  • Besides Andhra Pradesh, five other states have VidhanParishads — Bihar (58 members), Karnataka (75), Maharashtra (78), Telangana (40), UP (100).
  • Jammu and Kashmir had a Council until the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
  • The Odisha Assembly has passed a resolution for a Legislative Council. Proposals to create Councils in Rajasthan and Assam are pending in RajyaSabha.

Disinvestment Of Air India

In news:

The government has kicked off the complete disinvestment process of Air India for the second time after it failed to receive a single bid in the first attempt back in 2018.

In brief:

  • The government will offload 100% of its stake in Air India, compared with 76% put on the block last time.
  • The buyer will have to take on Rs 23,286 crore of debt out of a total Rs 60,074 crore, compared to Rs 33,392 crore of debt and current liabilities in the last attempt.
  • The new owner will be taking on a fleet of 121 aircraft in Air India’s fleet and 25 planes in Air India Express’ fleet.
  • These exclude the four Boeing 747-400 jumbojet aircraft that the airline plans to transfer to its subsidiary Alliance Air, which is not a part of the current transaction.
  • Air India has 50.64% market share in international traffic among Indian carriers.
  • Air India’s bloated staff strength was flagged by potential investors in the last disinvestment attempt.
  • The airline has 17,984 employees, of which 9,617 are permanent staff.
  • Whether the employees will be retained by the new investor is unclear.
  • However, like the last attempt, the properties currently in use by Air India, including the Nariman Point building and the company’s headquarters near Connaught Place in New Delhi will be retained by the government.

Polycrack Technology

In news:

Indian Railways has put in place the country’s first Waste to Energy plant in Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop which falls under East Coast Railway.

In brief:

  • It uses a patented technology called POLYCRACK, is first-of-its-kind in Indian Railways and fourth in India.
  • It is world’s first patented heterogeneous catalytic process which converts multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.
  • The process is a closed-loop system and does not emit any hazardous pollutants into the atmosphere.

Polycrack Plant can be fed with all types of plastic, petroleum sludge, un-segregated MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) with moisture up to 50%, e–waste, automobile fluff, organic waste including bamboo, garden waste etc., and Jatropha fruit and palm bunch.

This process will produce energy in the form of Light Diesel Oil which is used to light furnaces.

Advantages:

  • Pre-segregation of waste is not required to reform the waste. Waste as collected can be directly fed into Polycrack.
  • It has high tolerance to moisture hence drying of waste is not required.
  • It is an enclosed unit hence the working environment is dust free.