PIB Mains special November 2018

 

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Health System for A New India: Building Blocks (GS-2)

Context

  • The NITI Aayog organized a dialogue on “Health System for A New India: Building Blocks”, with national and international academia, practitioners, Indian policymakers and other stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem.

Details

  • The dialogue was the first in the series of NITI Aayog’s “Development Dialogues”that aims to facilitate multisectoral conversations on India’s developmental issues, which constitute a part of the country’s 15 Year Vision document.
  • The dialogue focused on strengthening and further building on the existing blocks for Health Systemsfor a New India and prioritized four critical health systems issues for discussion and debate.
  • These included expanding resources for health through pooling existing funds; expanding the role of the government as a strategic purchaser from both public and private providers to improve quality of healthcare services; provision of equitable and integrated services; and leveraging technology as an enabler and aggregator.
  • The dialogue also deliberated convergence of fragmented building blocks of financing and service provision, with each reinforcing the other, and moving from programmatic or schematic approaches to a systemsapproach to healthcare.

 

Nine Point Agenda Suggested By India to G-20 for Action Against Fugitive Economic Offences And Asset Recovery (GS-3)

keywords

  • Strong and active cooperation across G-20 countries to deal comprehensively and efficiently with the menace fugitive economic offenders.
  • Cooperation in the legal processes such as effective freezing of the proceeds of crime; early return of the offenders and efficient repatriation of the proceeds of crime should be enhanced and streamlined.
  • Joint effort by G-20 countries to form a mechanism that denies entry and safe havens to all fugitive economic offenders.
  • Principles of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNOTC), especially related to “International Cooperation” should be fully and effectively implemented.
  • FATF should be called upon to assign priority and focus to establishing international co-operation that leads to timely and comprehensive exchange of information between the competent authorities and FIUs.
  • FATF should be tasked to formulate a standard definition of fugitive economic offenders.
  • FATF should also develop a set of commonly agreed and standardized procedures related to identification, extradition and judicial proceedings for dealing with fugitive economic offenders to provide guidance and assistance to G-20 countries, subject to their domestic law.
  • Common platform should be set up for sharing experiences and best practices including successful cases of extradition, gaps in existing systems of extradition and legal assistance, etc.
  • G-20 Forum should consider initiating work on locating properties of economic offenders who have a tax debt in the country of their residence for its recovery

 

 

8 States achieve 100% household electrification under Saubhagya (GS-3)

Context: 8 States have achieved 100% saturation in household electrification under Saubhagya namely Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, J&K, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal.

Saubhagya – ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ was launched in September, 2017 with the objective to provide access to electricity to all the remaining households in the country.

  • The States completing 100% household electrification by 31st 2018 will also receive additional grant of 15% of the project cost (5% for special category States) sanctioned under Saubhagya.

 

Gabon new avenue for India (GS-2)

Context: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Gabon, Mr. Regis Immongault, called on Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation.

Gabon:

  • Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a country on the west coast of Central Africa.
  • Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west.

India and Gabon

  • Indian companies are already operating in wood, plywood, mining and fisheries sectors.
  • There is also a possibility that two countries will work together in sectors like logistics, infrastructure, energy, water, agriculture, services and tourism.
  • Gabon has the 6th largest reserves of Manganese in the world. It is one of the four countries in the world with high-grade reserves along with South Africa, Australia and Brazil.

 

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (GS-3)

Keywords

Kenya and its co-hosts Canada and Japan are inviting the world to Nairobi for the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy.

The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference is the first global conference on the sustainable blue economy. Over 18,000 participants from around the world are coming together to learn how to build a blue economy that:

  • Harnesses the potential of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of all, particularly people in developing states, women, youth and Indigenous peoples
  • Leverages the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving our waters for future generations

Blue Economy: The objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities within the Indian Ocean region’s maritime economic activities. The Blue Economy is determined to initiate appropriate programs for: the sustainable harnessing of ocean resources; research and development; developing relevant sectors of oceanography; stock assessment of marine resources; introducing marine aquaculture, deep sea/long line fishing and biotechnology; and human resource development; among others.

India is also developing its maritime infrastructure as well as its inland waterways and coastal shipping through the launch of the ambitious “Sagarmala Programme” which aims to revolutionize maritime logistics and port led developments in the country. India’s national vision about this sector is clearly articulated in term “SAGAR”- Security and Growth for All in IOR.

 

 

Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) Program (GS-2)

Context:

  • Union HRD Minister launched the ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC)’ program under Innovation cell of MHRD in New Delhi.
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development has established an “Innovation cell” at AICTE with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country.

Details

  • It is a significant step in institutionalizing innovation and developing a scientific temperament in the country.
  • The purpose of formation of network of Institution’s Innovation Councils (IICs) is to encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years.
  • More than 1000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have already formed IICs in their campuses and enrolled for the IIC network managed by MHRD’s Innovation cell to promote innovation through multitudinous modes leading to an innovation promotion eco-system in their campuses.

What was the need of the Program?

  • Universities are the main research centers of developed countries and because of their research they are at the top in global innovation ranking
  • So setting up of research centers through ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) program, India is expecting to improve its ranking on the Global scale.
  • So in order to give boost to it the educational advancement in higher education can only be achieved by encouraging best practices in innovation and advance research and Innovation Cell has undertaken many initiatives in this direction such as implementing programs like Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievement (ARIIA), Smart India Hackathon (SIH)- 2019, etc.

 

City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects(GS-3)

Context: Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi would lay the Foundation Stones of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) in 129 Districts under the 9th CGD Bidding Round recently awarded by PNGRB, remotely from Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It would herald the availability of convenient, environment-friendly and cheaper natural gas for almost half of the country’s population spread across 26 States and Union Territories upto 9th round.

CGD Network

  • Government of India has put thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to move towards a gas based economy. Accordingly, development of CGD networks has been focused to increase the availability of cleaner cooking fuel (i.e. PNG) and transportation fuel (i.e. CNG) to the citizens of the country. The expansion of CGD network will also benefit to industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas.

Why Natural Gas

  • Natural gas is a superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels being an environment friendly, safer and cheaper fuel. Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like one gets water from the tap. There is no need to store cylinders in the kitchen and thus saves space. As per WHO database released in May 2018, India has 14 out of 15 world’s most polluted cities in terms of PM 2.5 concentration. Large number of industries also consume polluting fuels like pet coke and furnace oil which emit polluting CO2. Some of the courts recently ordered for banning use of pet coke in states within their jurisdiction.
  • Natural Gas (as CNG) is cheaper by 60% as compared with petrol and 45 % w.r.t. Diesel. Similarly, Natural Gas (as PNG) is cheaper by 40 % as compared with market price LPG and price of PNG almost matches with that of subsidised LPG (based on prices in Delhi). An autorickshaw owner can save Rs. 7000-8000 on his monthly fuel bill by conversion from petrol to CNG. Thus, even on cost front as well, natural gas is preferable to petrol, diesel and LPG.
  • Share of Natural Gas in India’s energy basket is 6.2% as against 23.4% globally. In India – in the state of Gujarat itself, it is 25%. If Gujarat can achieve share of gas consumption more than global average, rest of India can also.
  • India made a commitment in COP21 Paris Convention in December 2015 that by 2030, it would reduce carbon emission by 33% of 2005 levels. Natural gas, as domestic kitchen fuel, as fuel for transport sector as well as a fuel for industries and commercial units, can play a significant role in reducing carbon emission.

 

 

 

Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge (GS-3)

Context:

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched the Ease of Doing Business Grand Challenge at an event in Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi
  • The objective of this challenge is to invite innovative ideas based on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, Blockchain and other ccutting-edge technology to reform Government processes. The platform for the Grand Challenge is the Startup India Portal.

Description:

  • The Prime Minister said that there have been improvements in the ease of doing business and the ranking has further improved from previous years but he seeks suggestions and improvement programs from the think tanks and Industrial bodies.
  • India now ranks first in South Asia due to continuous efforts from Union and State Govts.
  • The reforms initiated were keeping in mind the Predictable Transparent Policies and Policy Driven Governance.
  • So it is necessary to reduce human intervention in the processes, and increase the use of modern and digital technologies. He said that a work culture based on this, will further promote policy driven governance.

Definition:

  • Ease of doing business is an index published by the World Bank. It is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the ease of doing business in a country.
  • In the EODB index, ‘higher rankings’ (a lower numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights.

 

 

AirSewa 2.0 (GS-3)

Context:

The Union Minister of Civil Aviation and  Commerce & Industry and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, launched the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal and mobile app in New Delhi

About:

  • Airsewa enables travelers to submit grievances and seek information on air travel in India.
  • It is an initiative by MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation)
  • The government had launched Air Sewa’s maiden version in 2016 as a part of its initiative, ‘Digital India’, to address customers’ grievances on a digital platform.

Features:

  • The second version of the app and web portal will allow flyers to register their complaints via social media using the hashtag ‘AirSewa’
  • The need was felt for development of an upgraded version of AirSewa to provide a superior user experience with enhanced functionalities.
    • Major improvements include features such as secure sign-up and log-in with social media, chatbot for travellers support, improved grievance management including social media grievances, real-time flight status and details flight schedule.
  • The upgrade and improved version of AirSewa operates through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app for both android and iOS platforms
    • The web portal and application will help to capture air travellers’ feedback for policy interventions.
    • The focus is now on improving the quality of services so that passengers who are travelling have a safe and comfortable experience.
  • Further upgrades of AirSewa are also being planned which would include DigiYatra registration, airport maps, BHIM payment integration and grievance escalation and transfer.

 

 

 

Industrial Park Rating System (GS-3)

Context:

  • The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, released the report prepared by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, on Industrial Park Rating System.

 Details

  • This system is being developed by the ministry to assess industrial parks in the country based on four pillars — internal and external infrastructure, connectivity, environment and safety management, and business support services.
  • There are over 3,000 industrial parks in the country in sectors including engineering, software, food processing and chemicals.
  • Under the system, the ministry would assess 200 such parks on several parameters such as sewage effluent and treatment; and water treatment.
  • The need of the system arises to see whether these parks are matching the global standards.

Significance

  • This would help in improving infrastructure of industrial parks which are present in almost all the states.
  • Development of industrial park rating system would help increase competitiveness of industries and promotion of the manufacturing sector
  • The portal serves as a one-stop solution to the free and easy accessibility of all industrial information including availability of raw material – agriculture, horticulture, minerals, natural resources, distance from key logistic nodes, layers of terrain and urban infrastructure.

 

 

National Conference of Women in Police (GS-3)

Context: The 8th National Conference of Women in Police (NCWP) begins in Ranchi, Jharkhand. The two-day conference which is being organized by Bureau of Police Research & Development in collaboration with Jharkhand Police, is the only national-level platform to address the issues of Women in uniform and create an enabling atmosphere for them to maximize and optimize their professional potential.

About NCWP:

  • The 1stedition of NCWP was organized in 2002 at New Delhi by BPR&D in collaboration with Delhi Police.
  • It is an Empowered Body which shall deal with capacity building of women police personnel and provide adequate exposure in the core police functions for achieving absolute professionalism.
  • NCWP has been continuously working on strengthening and monitoring of mechanism to deal with sexual harassment in all the Police Organizations / CPOs by suggesting active ways and means.
  • Sincere efforts have been made for issues related with gender sensitization for all police ranks, exclusive infrastructural development for women police like restrooms, toilets, crèche etc., equal opportunities for women in career planning and other welfare measures like maternity and childcare leave, police housing for women workforce, etc.

Topics deliberated in the conference:

  • Unheard voices of Women in CAPF/Force – Gender neutral working places.
  • Technology for skills enhancement.
  • Empowered workspace for conducive work environment.
  • Role of Women Police in Smart Cities.
  • Women in Community Oriented policing.
  • Special Training Needs for Women personnel.
  • Sexual harassment at workplaces – Varied perspective and management

 

 

 

Economic fugitives (GS-3)

Context: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that world nations, led by the UN, should arrive at a consensus in refusing shelter to economic fugitives and create a framework for Extradition Treaties and exchange of information on black money while delivering a keynote address after presenting Economic Times Awards 2018 for Corporate Excellence, in Mumbai.

Who are economic fugitive offenders? 

  • A fugitive economic offender is an individual who has committed some specified offense(s) involving an amount of one hundred crore rupees or more and has absconded from India or refused to come back to India to avoid or face criminal prosecution in India.
  • A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person declared so by a ‘Special Court’ set up under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act 2002, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of any of the economic offenses provided in the schedule to Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill,2018 and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill,2018

  • The Bill allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if: (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offenses where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.   
  • To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts. The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice.Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.
  • The Bill allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court.
  • Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property).Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.

 

 

Traffic Separation Scheme (GS-3)

Context: The Directorate General of Shipping has proposed the establishment of a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off the south-west coast of India to prevent collision incidents between merchant vessels and fishing vessels off the coast of Kerala.

About:

  • The proposal has been drawn taking into consideration past collision incidents off the Indian coast, traffic patterns of merchant vessels for past years, and optimum sea routes, in consonance with the current traffic flow, including simplification of traffic in converging areas off the coast of Kerala.
  • The proposal has also considered aspects pertaining to the safety of navigation, maritime security and the separation of opposing streams of traffic to reduce incidents of collision in Indian waters.
  • Stakeholder consultations are in progress for establishing the Traffic Separation Scheme – TSS in the south-west coast.
  • The proposed TSS lanes are currently under consideration, and will be located at a distance of about 90 nautical miles west of Mangalore in Karnataka, with the lanes leading in a south-easterly direction to the southernmost tip of India and ending about 40 nautical miles off south of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
  • The average distance from the coast is about 50 nautical miles.

Benefits:

  • The promulgation of TSS on the south-west coast of India is expected to shift the density of merchant traffic away from the coast and merchant ship traffic will become more concentrated in the established TSS.
  • This is expected to result in more sea room for fishing vessels to operate safely and will, therefore, be beneficial to the fishing industry.

 

 

 

State of the Indian Startup Ecosystem-2018 report (GS-3)

Context: Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, released the first State of the Indian Startup Ecosystem-2018 report by Inc 42 which is an Indian information platform known for its coverage of the Indian startup ecosystem.

About:

  • According to the Inc42 ‘The State of Indian Startup Ecosystem 2018’, India currently has more than 49,000+ startups, 1500+ investors, 250+ incubators, and 26 unicorns. The country is among the three largest startup ecosystems in the world in terms of its size, reach, and impact.
  • The report is an analysis to help drive strategic decision-making in governance, investments, growth, and other core aspects of the ecosystem

 

 

Development of agriculture sector (GS-3)

 Context:

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh on the occasion of the first convocation ceremony of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University in Bihar said that it has begun work on five new themes targeted by Union Agriculture Ministry for the development of agriculture sector. These include “har khet ko pani”, increase the production of pulses, soil health, doubling farmers’ income and more crop per drop.

Highlights:

  • Four new projects to accelerate the ‘Lab to Farm’ programme for all-round development of agriculture has been launched by the government.
  • In order to increase the connectivity of farmers with scientists, technical assessment, evaluation, training and capacity building, the government has initiated the Farmer First program.
  • Considering the importance of capacity development for entrepreneurship in rural youth, Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) program has been started.
  • In order to create new opportunities of employment generation for the youth in agriculture and to prevent their migrations, Attracting and Retaining of Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) has been started.
  • Under the “Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav” program, agricultural experts of agricultural universities and ICAR have been given the responsibility of a village in order to create awareness among farmers about scientific farming.

Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana):

  • Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) programme is a new initiative of Indian Council of Agricultural Research to reorient graduates of Agriculture and allied subjects for ensuring and assuring employability and develop entrepreneurs for emerging knowledge intensive agriculture.
  • This envisages the introduction of the programme in all the Agricultural Universities as an essential prerequisite for the award of degree to ensure hands on experience and practical training depending on the requirements of respective discipline and local demands.
  • This programme includes five components:
  1. Experiential Learning,
  2. Rural Awareness Works Experience,
  3. In-Plant Training /Industrial attachment
  4. Hands-on training (HOT) / Skill development training
  5. Students Projects.

Attracting and Retaining of Youth in Agriculture (ARYA):

Realizing the importance of rural youth in agricultural development of the country, ICAR has initiated a programme on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture”.

Objectives:

(i) To attract and empower the Youth in Rural Areas to take up various Agriculture, allied and service sector enterprises for sustainable income and gainful employment in selected districts.

(ii) to enable the Farm Youth to establish network groups to take up resource and capital intensive activities like processing, value addition and marketing.

(iii) To demonstrate functional linkage with different institutions and stakeholders for convergence of opportunities available under various schemes/program for sustainable development of youth

 

Fintech festival at Singapore addressed by PM (GS-3)

Context

  • Narendra Modi became the first Head of Government to deliver the keynote address at Singapore Fintech Festival.
  • PM Modi launched APIX (Application Programming Interface Exchange), a global Fintech platform with Deputy PM of Singapore T Shanmugaratnam after his address at the event.

Fintech festival:

The recent International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings marked the launch of the Bali Fintech Agenda. It is set of 12 policy recommendations aimed at better harnessing the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology.

Significance

  • Fintech has the potential to broaden the reach of formal financial services, sharply lower costs and spur efficiency gains.
  • It has created wave of innovation in payments, clearing and settlement, offering both the banked and unbanked cheaper and faster services, besides powering e-commerce.
  • Fintech providers are now beginning to offer saving, borrowing, insurance and other financial products and advisory services.
  • Financial inclusion can fundamentally reshape the lives of people and have a hugely positive economic and social impact.
  • Another positive spillover comes from governments benefitting from reduced leakages and better targeting of public services, while an expanding tax base through improved compliance allows greater resource-generation for public investment.

Concerns

  • Fintech tends to be lightly regulated or unregulated in some jurisdictions and soundness and stability are concerns.
  • Payments and e-money operators use essentially private money, which carries credit and settlement risks.
  • Broader financial stability questions arise as fintech expands from a low base and linkages with banks grow. There are increasing concerns associated with data privacy, data security and money laundering.

 

 

Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme (GS-2)

Context

  • Union Agriculture Minister launches NCDC’s new scheme to promote young entrepreneurs in cooperatives.

Details

  • The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly scheme for attracting them to cooperative business ventures.
  • The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC.
  • It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members.
  • All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.

Funding

  • The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others.
  • The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal.

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)

  • It was established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 as a statutory Corporation under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
  • Its core functions include Planning, promoting and financing programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, certain other notified commodities e.g. fertilisers, insecticides, agricultural machinery, lac, soap, kerosene oil, textile, rubber etc., supply of consumer goods and collection, processing, marketing, storage and export of minor forest produce through cooperatives, besides income generating stream of activities such as poultry, dairy, fishery, sericulture, handloom etc.
  • It is an ISO 9001:2015 compliant organisation and has a distinctive edge of competitive financing.

 

7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting concludes in Singapore (GS-2)

Context: The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, led the Indian delegation to the 7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on 12-13 November, 2018. The Ministerial Meeting was held in preparation for the 2nd RCEP Leaders Summit to be held on 14th November 2018 in Singapore in which Prime Minister of India will be participating.

RCEP:The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega regional free trade agreement being negotiated amongst 16 countries, comprising 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) plus six ASEAN FTA partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

Outcomes:

  • Ministers guided the negotiators to deliberate further on E-Commerce, Competition and Investment chapters where consensus could not be reached during this meeting.
  • Ministers urged the negotiators to intensify their work with a view of narrowing gaps and finding balanced outcomes in the negotiations with the aim of concluding negotiations by 2019.
  • Commerce Minister defended India’s interests effectively and secured maximum flexibilities. Both in STRACAP(Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures ) and SPS(Sanitary and Phytosanitary) negotiations, India managed to obtain balanced outcomes in the application of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism.

 

DIPP  hosts Global Digital Content Market 2018 (GS-2)

Context: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is hosting a conference on Global Digital Content Market (GDCM)2018, on14th- 15thNovember 2018, in New Delhi

About: India has been chosen as a host nation for the conference by World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) due to the strong creative industry in the country in films, music and media. The focus for this year’s conference is the Asia Pacific region

WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organisation or WIPO is a UN specialised agency created in 1967 to promote intellectual property (IP) protection and encourage creative activity all over the world. WIPO is basically a global forum for IP policy, services, information and cooperation. Currently, it has 191 member states. The governing bodies and rules are set down in the WIPO Convention of 1967. It is at present headed by Francis Gurry, who is its Director General. WIPO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO has its origins in the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property which was established in 1893.

Objective: The aim of GDCM 2018 is to give industry stakeholders a platform to come together and discuss new avenues in the films, music, gaming and creative industry along with points of challenge that is presented due to thechanging creative landscape because of the disruption brought about by digital technologies

Secretary DIPP, Ramesh Abhishek, informed in the press conference that India’s rank in the Global Innovation Index 2018 has improved by 24 places from that of 2015 and now ranks 57th

 

 

MNRE circulates draft Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme   (IWTCS) (GS-3)

Context: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in consultation with National Institute of Wind Energy Chennai, has prepared a draft of new Scheme called Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS) incorporating various guidelinesTurbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS).

About: The draft Scheme lists the guidelines for the benefit of all the stakeholders from concept to lifetime of wind turbine, including Indian Type Approved Model (ITAM), Indian Type Certification Scheme (ITCS), Wind Farm Project Certification Scheme (WFPCS) and Wind Turbine Safety & Performance Certification Scheme (WTSPCS).

Objectives: The IWTCS is aimed at assisting and facilitating Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), End Users -Utilities, State Nodal Authorities (SNAs), Developers, Independent Power Producers (IPPs), Owners, Authorities, Investors and Insurers, Certification Bodies and Testing Laboratories.

Advantages:

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India through various policies and schemes has facilitated the healthy and orderly growth of the wind energy sector. The guideline for the recognition of the certification schemes in India by MNRE was paramount for the success of quality wind turbines installed in India.
  • Type Certification of wind turbines plays an active role in ensuring that wind turbines in India meet the requirements of requisite IS/IEC/IECRE standards in vogue.
  • Internationally, IEC /IECRE Certification schemes for wind turbines are well recognized and widely used and the IWTCS in its formulation has incorporated the rules and procedures of IS/IEC/IECRE.

 

 

Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities 2018 (GS-2)

  • The objective of the Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is to leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region.
  • It is a capacity building project that helps youth with disabilities to overcome their limitations and challenge themselves for a better future by providing them with access to ICT and related experiences, improving their ability to leverage information and social participation while setting ICT agendas for participant countries related to disabilities and boosting international cooperation and exchange.
  • It is being held with a total of four events including e-Tool Challenge to evaluate the skills of using the MS Office programme and e-Life Map Challenge to evaluate the online information searchability in specific situations.

 

 

Bilateral Exercise Between Indian & Republic of Singapore Navies (GS-3)

  • The 25thedition of SIMBEX, an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” is scheduled from 10thto 21st November 2018 off Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
  • Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.
  • Complementing India’s ‘Act-East’policy, there have been a number of agreements and high level visits in the recent past between the two countries.

Relationship:

  • Indo-Singapore bilateral relations have been on an upswing in the recent past. 
  • Both countries have a full calendar of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises, many of which take place annually.
  • In November 2015, the robust relationship between the two countries was elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’
  • In June this year, on the side-lines of the Shangrila Dialogue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore inked many agreements including those under the ‘Defence and Strategic Partnership Sectors’.
  • Key among them is the ‘Implementation Agreement between Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy concerning Mutual Coordination, Logistics and Services Support for Naval Ships’, Submarines and Naval Aircraft (including Ship borne Aviation Assets) visits. 
  • The Implementation Agreement since coming in force has facilitated deployment of naval assets from bases of the other through logistics and services support. 
  • Both sides agreed to undertake continuous and institutionalised naval engagements in their shared maritime space including establishing maritime exercises with like-minded regional / ASEAN partners. 

The 2018 edition marks the Silver Jubilee of SIMBEX. 

SIMBEX 2018 will be the largest edition since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity.

 

Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities 2018 Begins (GS-2)

  • The Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities, 2018 was inaugurated 
  • The three day event is being organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with Rehabilitation International Korea and their associated partner LG Electronics.

Objective:

  • To leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region.

About:

  • The Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is a capacity building project that helps youth with disabilities to overcome their limitations and challenge themselves for a better future by providing them with access to ICT and related experiences, improving their ability to leverage information and social participation while setting ICT agendas for participant countries related to disabilities and boosting international cooperation and exchange.
  • This year around 100 youth with disabilities (visual disability, hearing disability, locomotor disability and intellectual disability/developmental disorder) from 18 countries namely, India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, UK and UAE are participating in this event.
  • India has nominated twelve youth with disabilities to participate in the event.

Context:

  • The competition is focused on strategies for strengthening IT skills of youth with disabilities as a critical requirement for enhancing their access to information and communication services on an equal basis with others.
  • It is being held with a total of four events including e-Tool Challenge to evaluate the skills of using the MS Office programme and e-Life Map Challenge to evaluate the online information search ability in specific situations.

 

Impact of Demonitisation (GS-3)

Context:

Following is the highlight of the Text of the Article written by the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley on completion of two years of Demonetisation.

Highlights:

  • Demonitisation is a key step in a chain of important decisions taken by the Government to formalise the economy.
  • Technology has been used for both Direct and indirect taxes to facilitate filing of returns and expanding the tax base.

THE ROLE OF CASH

  • India was a cash dominated economy.  Cash involves anonymity in transactions.  It bypasses the banking system and enables its possessors to evade tax. 
  • Demonitisation compelled holders of cash to deposit the same in the banks. 
  • The enormity of cash deposited and identified with the owner resulted in suspected 17.42 lakh account holders from whom the response has been received online through non-invasive method.
  • Larger deposits in banks improved lending capacity for the banks.             

THE MISCONCEIVED ARGUMENT

  • Confiscation of currency was not an objective of demonitisation. Getting it into the formal economy and making the holders pay tax was the broader objective. 

EFFECT ON DIGITISATION

  • The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) was launched in 2016 involving real time payments between two sets of mobile holders. 
  • The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is an App developed by NPCI for quick payment transactions using UPI. 
  • The RUPAY Card is used both at the Point of Sale (PoS) and for e-commerce. 

IMPACT ON DIRECT TAXES  

  • The impact of demonitisation has been felt on collection of personal income tax. 
  • Its collections were higher in Financial Year 2018-19 (till 31-10-2018) compared to the previous year by 20.2%. 
  • In the first four years of this Government, returns have increased to 6.86 crore.  By the time the first five years of this Government are over, we will be close to doubling the assesse base.

IMPACT ON INDIRECT TAX

  • Demonitisation and implementation of the GST curbed cash transactions in a big way. 
  • This formalisation of the economy has led to the tax payer base increase from 6.4 million in the pre-GST regime to 12 million tax payers in the post-GST regime. 
  • The fact that assesses have to now declare their business turnover not only impacts the indirect tax calculations, but also ensures that income tax arising out of them is disclosed in the tax assessments. 
  • In 2014-15, the indirect tax to GDP ratio was 4.4%.  Post-GST it has climbed up by at least 1 percentage point to 5.4%.
  • Villages being connected by Road, electricity in every home, 92% coverage for rural sanitation, a successful Awas Yojana, a cooking gas connection in  8 crore poor homes. 
  • Ten crore families are covered under Ayushman Bharat, Rs. 1,62,000 Crore is being spent on subsidised food, 50% increase in MSP for farmers and a successful Crop Insurance Scheme.
  • It is the formalisation of the  economy which has led to 13 crore entrepreneurs getting Mudra Loans. 
  • More formalisation, more revenue, more resources for the poor, better Infrastructure, and a better quality of life for our citizens.

 

 

 

 

India and the Republic of Korea sign MoU (GS-2)

  • The MoU was signed by two parties to strengthen and further develop the established relationship for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.

 

 

National Conference on Public Procurement & Competition Law (GS-1)

  • It is being organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
  • The National Conference is being organised in association with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • It is a unique initiative of the Commission which provides a platform to various stakeholders to engage in an active discussion with the policymakers and the industry on various aspects of competition law and public procurement.
  • The National Conference will be attended by senior policy makers from Central Government, various State Governments, participants from the public sector enterprises, industry, legal and finance professionals, corporate lawyers, academics, and other relevant stakeholders.
  • The event will focus on public procurement, bid rigging, cartels and leniency.

 

MSME Support and Outreach Programme (GS-3)

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Support and Outreach Programme.
  • Various announcements and deliverables focused on access to credit, access to market, hand holding and facilitation support measures etc. for MSME Sector.

About:

  • MSME Outreach Programme will run for 100 days covering 100 Districts throughout the country.
  • Various Central Ministers are likely to visit these districts in order to apprise the entrepreneurs about various facilities being extended to MSME Sector by the Government and financial institutions and to come forward and make best use of these facilities including access to credit and market, etc.
  • It is expected that this Outreach Programme will help in further boosting the MSME sector since this sector is one of the major generator of employment opportunities and making a significant contribution to the overall growth of the economy.

Agreement between India and Morocco

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

 

 

 

Opening up the ISA membership to all countries that are members of the United Nations (GS-1,GS-3)

  • The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for moving a Resolution in the first Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for amending the Framework Agreement of the ISA for opening up the ISA membership to all countries that are members of the United Nations.

Benefits:

  • Opening the membership of the ISA will put solar energy in global agenda with the universal appeal for developing and deploying solar energy.
  • It will make ISA inclusive, whereby all member countries that are members of the United Nations could become member.
  • Expanding membership will lead to ISA initiative benefitting the world at large.

 

 

MoU between India and Korea (GS-2)

  • The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Korea for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.

 

12 Zonal Railways are free from UMLC (GS-3)

  • Indian Railway has taken a mission area to eliminate all Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs) on Broad Gauge and accordingly special efforts have been made so that elimination can be completed at the earliest.
  • Most of the UMLCs have been eliminated either by provision of Subway/RUBs or by manning.
  • All Unmanned level crossings on routes having speed more than 130KMPH and on Sub-urban routes have been eliminated.
  • 12 Zonal Railways – Central Railway, Eastern Railway, East Central Railway, East Coast Railway, North Eastern Railway, North East Frontier Railway, Southern Railway, South Central Railway, South Eastern Railway, South East Central Railway & West Central Railway have now become UMLC free on Broad Gauge route.
  • By elimination of UMLCs on war footing, accidents at UMLCs have reduced from 65 in 2009-10 to 3 in 2018-19.

 

India Surges 23 Ranks in ease of doing Business (GS-3)

Context:

  • As per the World Bank report 2019 on Ease of Doing Business, India has taken a huge leap of 23 ranks from 100 in 2017-18 to 77 in 2018-19 indicating it is continuing its steady shift towards global standards.
  • One of the key indices which has contributed immensely toward this growth is ‘Trading across borders’ which shows an impressive improvement from 146 rank last year to 80thrank this year.
  • The Ministry of Shipping has been taking initiatives to improve the parameter of ‘Trading across border’ as 92% of India’s Export- Import trade by volume is handled at ports.
  • The World Bank has recognized India as one of the top improvers for the year.

 

 

 

 




DESIRE IAS PIB Mains SPECIAL OCTOBER -2018 Monthly compilation

PIB : Mains SPECIAL

OCTOBER -2018

All previous year Monthly PIB  click me 

GS-1

5th Edition of ‘Women of India National Organic Festival’

  • The 5thedition of the ‘Women of India National Organic Festival’ was inaugurated by Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi.

Objective

  • The Festival celebrates and promotes women entrepreneurs/producers and farmers in the organic field from across India.
  • Participants from the remotest parts of the country get the opportunity of selling their healthy and wholesome goods to the people of Delhi and surrounding areas.
  • The participants are being encouraged to sell their products on a long term basis on WCD Ministry’s e-marketing portal Mahila-e-Haat.

About

  • The festival is From October 26thtill November 4th, IGNCA and will  be the cultural hub of India’s most varied offerings of organic products from 26 States, ranging from food, wellness, personal care, home improvement, spices, staples, kitchen composters and for the first time ‘The Vegan Project’ and Food Court with cooked-on-site delicacies will also be available.
  • The Festival will have producers and manufacturers of Organic Products from 26 Indian States.

 

GS-2

92% MGNREGA wage payments generated on time

  • In the Financial Year 2018-19, so far 92% wage payments under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has been generated within 15 days.
  • This percentage was 26.85% in 2014-15, indicating the remarkable improvement towards making timely payments.
  • These assets have been for Natural Resource Management (NRM), Water Conservation works, durable assets, and a very large number of Individual Beneficiary Schemes including a 90/95 days’ work availability for poor households in the construction of their own houses under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G).
  • Each and every asset under MGNREGS is geo-tagged and available in the public domain for scrutiny.
  • All current works are monitored by geo-tagging have before, during, and after completion to ensure full transparency in all works.
  • Nearly 100% expenditure is now through Electronic Fund Management System (e-FMS) indicating the thrust on quality, transparency, and accountability.

Background:

  • MGNREGS is a demand driven and additional resources will be made available as and when required to ensure that no one is denied work on demand.
  • Adequate steps have been taken to ensure timely payments and mobilization of additional resources when required.
  • Reforms in the programme over the last 3 years have substantially improved the quality of durable assets and convergence for effective livelihood diversification.

 

National Health Resource Repository (NHRR)

 

  • It is country’s first ever national healthcare facility registry of authentic, standardized and updated geo-spatial data of all public & private healthcare establishments.
  • The vision of the NHRR project is to strengthen evidence-based decision making and develop a platform for citizen and provider-centric services by creating a robust, standardized and secured IT-enabled repository of India’s healthcare resources.
  • NHRR will be the ultimate platform for comprehensive information of both, Private and Public healthcare establishments including Railways, ESIC, Defense and Petroleum healthcare establishment
  • NHRR will cohesively work with Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) and Central TB Division (CTD) on an integrated plan for the larger benefit of ensuing Hospital empanelment and private sector engagement.

Significance

  • The platform will be very useful for all key stakeholders – government, private health establishments and the public.
  • It shall also enhance the coordination between central and state government for optimization of health resources, making ‘live’ and realistic state PIPs and improving accessibility of data at all levels, including State HODs, thus, decentralize the decision making at district and state level.
  • It shall identify key areas of improvement by upgrading existing health facilities or establishing new health facilities keeping in view the population density, geographic nature, health condition, distance, etc.
  • The result shall be enhanced center and state government coordination to ensure intelligent use of health resources to ensure superior health access, service delivery and improve transparency & accountability for effective centre-to-state funding.
  • The project shall improve the visibility of Private providers to enable Public-Private Partnerships.

 

Seminar on “Women’s Health Challenges, Access and Prevention”

Context:

  • Smt Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare inaugurated a seminar on “Women’s Health Challenges, Access and Prevention” organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Highlights

  • Women are strong pillars of any vibrant society and sustained development of the country can be achieved only if we take holistic care of the women and children.
  • India has made considerable progress in the area of women’s health.
  • Maternal mortality Ratio (MMR) is one such indicator which reflects this progress. India’s MMR in the last few years has declined at an accelerated pace to reach 130 per one lakh live births in 2014-16. This means we save more than 30 mothers every day.
  • The National Health Mission a “continuum of care” approach is employed to ensure the best possible health outcomes for women throughout their reproductive life-cycle.
  • In the rural areas, the out of pocket expenditure for childbirth in public health facilities has also decreased.
  • The Ministry of Health has launched ‘LaQshya – Labour room Quality improvement Initiative’ in 2017.
  • The launch of Ayushman Bharat, interventions to address issues of women’s health will be further strengthened and made women-centric.
  • Empowerment of women and their health are very closely related and the rise in institutional deliveries through Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) and Janani SurakshaYojana (JSY) are providing healthcare services to encourage this.

 

Indian Institute of Skills

Context:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the for setting up of Indian Institute of Skills(IISs) at different locations across the country in Public Private Partnership (PPP), which will be explored for promotion of IIS at select locations based on demand and available infrastructure.

Benefits:

  • It shall augment the global competitiveness of key sectors of Indian economy by providing high quality skill training, applied research education and a direct and meaningful connection with industry.
  • It will provide opportunity to aspiring youth across the country to have access to highly skilled training, and enhance the scope of accountability through its linkage with industry and global competitiveness across sectors.

 

Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988

Context:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the appointment of Adjudicating Authority and establishment of Appellate Tribunal under Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act(PBPT), 1988.

Salient Features:

  • Appointment of an Adjudicating Authority, along with the three additional Benches and to establish the Appellate Tribunal under the PBPT Act;
  • To provide the officers and employees to Adjudicating Authority, Benches of the Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal by diverting the existing posts at the same level/rank from the Income Tax Deptt./Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT);
  • The Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal shall sit in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD).
  • Benches of Adjudicating Authority may sit in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, and the necessary notification in this regard shall be issued after making consultation with the Chairperson of the proposed Adjudicating Authority.

Benefits:

  • The approval will result in effective and better administration of cases referred to the Adjudicating Authority and speedy disposal of appeals filed against the order of the Adjudicating Authority before the Appellate Tribunal.
  • Appointment of the Adjudicating Authority would provide first stage review of administrative action under the PBPT Act.

 

National Monitoring Framework on Sustainable Development Goals

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the constitution of a High Level Steering Committee for periodically reviewing and refining the National Indicator Framework (NIF) for monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with associated targets.

Targets:

  • Measures to mainstream SDGs into on-going national policies, programmes and strategic action plans to address the developmental challenges.
  • Statistical indicators of NIF will be the backbone of monitoring of SDGs at the national and state level and will scientifically measure the outcomes of the policies to achieve the targets under different SDGs.
  • Based on statistical indicator, the MoSPI will bring out national reports on implementation of SDGs. The Report will facilitate assessment of progress, identify challenges and give recommendations for follow up at the national level.
  • High Level Steering Committee will review the National Indicator Framework on regular basis for its improvement.
  • Data source Ministries / Departments will be responsible for providing regular information to MoSPI on these indicators at required intervals and disaggregation for national and sub-national reporting of SDGs.
  • Advanced IT tools will be used for close and effective monitoring.

Major impact:

  • SDGs integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. It intends eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world with basic motto of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikash’.
  • SDGs with 17 Goals and 169 Targets intend for promotion of sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems.

Background:

  • At the Millennium Summit held in 2000 at the UN Headquarters in New York, eight development goals known as the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) were adopted, which formed the blueprint for countries to pursue their national development strategies from 2000 to 2015.
  • The MDGs targets were unevenly achieved across the countries and a need was felt to start fresh discussions to assess the usefulness of the MDGs and to explore possible successor to guide development cooperation in the world beyond 2015.

 

National Workshop on Physical & Mental Disabilities in the Light of Global Best Practices in Care, Rehabilitation & Research

  • Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the “National Workshop on Physical and Mental Disabilities in the Light of Global Best Practices in Care, Rehabilitation and Research”.

Objective:

  • To help our country’s commitment under the UNCRPD, RPWD Act and help establish uniformity in the services for persons with disabilities.
  • It also supported protocol development in the service delivery; promote replication of global best practices; and encourage adaptation of global best practices to Indian context.
  • The workshop assisted in implementation of best-practices for the 21 disabilities covered under the RPWD Act.
  • It helped fine tune our practices of disability-specific, discipline-specific, model-specific, approach-specific holistic-services and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) models.

Aim:

  • To improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and their families.

Outcome: 

  • To share, implement and bring uniformity in global best practices for empowerment of persons with disabilities (Divyangjans)in India specially in the context of 14 new disabilities of the RPWD Act 2016.
  • The workshop witnessed the best practitioners from across the nation in each of the 21 disabilities as per the RPWD Act.
  • It also came up with recommendations for Government, Service providers, activist, policy makers, educationalist, and professionals to implement RPWD Act, by adopting the best practices.

 

NITI Lecture Series

  • The ‘NITI Lectures: Transforming India’ was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on August 26, 2016 and since been held annually, featuring eminent speakers from across the world.
  • With the vision of disseminating cutting-edge, innovative ideas in development policy to India, the NITI Lectures are attended by the Government’s top decision makers, including members of the Cabinet and senior officials across ministries and departments
  • Through the lectures, NITI Aayog has been bringing policy makers, academics, experts and administrators of global repute to India.
  • The aim of the series is to enable learning, both at the Centre & States, from successful development practice world over.

 

 

13th convention of the Central Information Commission

  • President speaking on the occasion said, free flow of information is the essence of democracy. And for the people of a free and free-spirited country, information is power. They have a right to know how they are being governed, how public money is being spent, how public and national resources are being deployed, how public services are being delivered, and how public works and welfare programmes are being carried out. In a democracy, there is no such thing as too much information. Information overload is always preferable to information deficit.

Benefits or Impact of RTI:

  • RTI makes for greater efficiency in both delivering services to a citizen as well as using public resources and finances. This improves transparency and removes doubts that may arise about favouritism and misappropriation.
  • The Internet and the digital economy have been used to advance e-auctions of mining blocks. They have helped create the Government e-Market or GeM portal for public procurement of goods and services.
  • The JAM trinity – Jandhan accounts, Aadhar-based unique identities and mobile phones – has helped with direct bank transfers to beneficiaries of schemes.
  • He commended the CIC for upholding the RTI’s basic charter that public records, with some exceptions for subjects such as national security, are open to public scrutiny – but private records of individual citizens are protected from intrusive third-party curiosity.

Manual Scavenging

  • 6thMeeting of the Central Monitoring Committee to review the implementation of the “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” (MS Act, 2013)” held under the chairmanship of Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.

What the law says:

  • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, forbids the employment of any person for the task of manual scavenging by any agency or individual. As picking up untreated human excreta is harmful to one’s health and hygiene, the Act seeks to completely ban the practice.
  • In 2013, right after the prohibition act came into force, the government had recognised 12,742 manual scavengers in 13 states, out of which 82 per cent were from Uttar Pradesh.
  • The act lays down the rules and procedure for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers through training in alternate employment, financial help and help with purchasing property.
  • The act recognises that every local authority (municipality or panchayat), cantonment board and railway authority is responsible for surveying its area to identify manual scavengers.
  • The act defines what is ‘hazardous cleaning’. It mandates that the person who is getting the job done must provide the cleaner with ‘protective gear’.
  • Requirements of oxygen cylinder, torches, and constant monitoring of workers through computers etc. are not mentioned in the act and hence are not provided to the cleaners.
  • The primary step under the act has been to demolish the insanitary latrines, open drains and pits.

Positive Effect of Law:

  • The Supreme Court issued a slew of directions in 2014 to prevent and control the practice and also to prosecute the offenders. It also directed the government to pay a compensation of 10 lakh rupees to the family members of those killed in acts of manual scavenging since 1993.

 

National Council for Vocational Training, NCVT and National Skill Development Agency

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of the existing regulatory institutions in the skills space – National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) into the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).

Details:

  • NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities.
  • Functions of NCVET:
  • recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers;
  • approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs);
  • indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies;
  • research and information dissemination;
  • grievance redressal.

The Council would be headed by a Chairperson and will have Executive and Non-Executive Members.

Benefits:

  • This institutional reform will lead to improvement in quality and market relevance of skill development programs lending credibility to vocational education and training encouraging greater private investment and employer participation in the skills space.
  • This will help achieve the twin objectives of enhancing aspirational value of vocational education and of increasing skilled manpower.

Background:

  • In an effort to realize India’s demographic dividend, its workforce needs to be equipped with employable skills and knowledge so that they can contribute to economic growth in a substantive manner.
  • In the past, most of the country’s skill training needs were met through courses offered by the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and under the Modular Employable Scheme (MES), regulated by NCVT. Since this infrastructure was not enough to meet the increasing skill requirements of the country as well as the skilling needs of the growing workforce, the Government took a number of initiatives to scale up the skilling efforts.
  • NCVET is envisaged as an institution which will perform the regulatory functions so far vested in NCVT and NSDA. Regulatory functions currently being carried out by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) will also be housed in the NCVET.

 

 

Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act 1951

  • Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates the Election Commission to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more.

Issue in News:

  • The term of sixteenth Lok Sabha is upto 3rdJune, 2019. As the vacancies from Karnataka have occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of House, bye elections are required to be held under Section 151A of R. P. Act 1951 to fill these vacancies within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancies that is 18th& 21stMay, 2018.
  • Whereas, in case of vacancies from Andhra Pradesh, there is no need to hold bye elections as the remaining term of the Lok Sabha is less than one year from the date of occurrence of vacancies that is 20thJune, 2018.

Background:

  • Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 states:
  • Time limit for filling vacancies referred to in sections 147, 149, 150 and 151.—Notwithstanding anything contained in section 147, section 149, section 150 and section 151, a bye-election for filling any vacancy referred to in any of the said sections shall be held within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy:
  • Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if— (a) the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year; or (b) the Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye-election within the said period.

 

2nd World Conference on Access to Medical Products: Achieving the SDGs 2030

  • “India is deeply committed nationally and globally to achieving all public health goals. Together we are working towards providing highest possible standards of health care for our citizens. Universal health coverage is key to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 agenda and to which India is firmly committed”, this was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The Government has launched Ayushman Bharat, a National Health Protection Scheme, which envisions health assurance of 5 lakh rupees (6815 USD) per family per year, will benefit over 50 crore (i.e. 500 million) people, and is the world’s biggest health assurance scheme.

Objective:

  • To take forward the recommendations from the 1st World Conference 2017 and build on the work done for access to medical products in the context of SDGs (including trade agreements) in line with GPW 13 of WHO, foster new approaches in innovation landscape for medical products and health technologies for accelerating research and innovation and identify knowledge, information and policy options on the interface of international trade and health to achieve SDG 2030 goals.

 

Atal Innovation Mission & SIRIUS sign MoU

Aim:

  • To promote innovative cooperation between students of India and Russia, a Memorandum of Understanding was exchanged between India’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the Russian Federation’s SIRIUS Educational Foundation.
  • Promotion of educational, scientific, innovative achievements, promote innovative cooperation, and search and develop the talented youth of both countries fostering a knowledge-driven innovation ecosystem in both the countries.

About AIM-SIRIUS Innovation Festival 2018

  • To promote a spirit of collaborative innovation, young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs and SIRIUS Educational Foundation came together at a four-day Indo-Russian ATL innovation boot-camp and the innovations developed across space technology, healthcare, smart mobility, clean energy and agricultural technology were showcased.

About Atal Innovation Mission

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is NITI Aayog’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India.
  • AIM has been established to create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in a holistic manner through various initiatives at school, university and industry levels.
  • AIM also serves as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities in India, leveraging state of the art, advanced and affordable emerging technologies.
  • The Atal Innovation Mission has thus two core functions:
  1. Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.
  2. Entrepreneurship promotion:Wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs at Incubation Centres.

About SIRIUS Educational Foundation

  • “Talent and success” is a unitary, non-profit, non-standard educational organization. The activities of the Foundation are aimed to identify and support children and young people who have shown outstanding abilities. Providing assistance in obtaining general and additional education for such personalities, including education in the fields of arts, natural sciences, physical culture and sports.

 

Swachh Bharat Mission: Report

  • The Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) has launched the 150th birth year celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, as the Mission enters its fifth and final year of implementation.
  • The program focuses on behaviour change to generate demand for sanitation services by the rural population which is then followed by supply.
  • Progress:
    • The rural sanitation coverage of India has increased significantly, from 39% in October 2014 to 95% today.
    • The Swachh Bharat Mission is the world’s largest public funded sanitation program.
  • Communication strategy:
    • Behaviour Change Communication is undertaken under the SBM at the ground level and is complemented with mass media at the national level as well.
    • For example-
      • Mass media campaigns such as Darwaza Band, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar and Anushka Sharma, communicates the messages of women empowerment, promotion of twin pit toilets and usage of toilets,
      • The SBM foot soldiers, Swachhagrahis – participate in the triggering of communities for behaviour change and sustaining improved behaviours through Inter-Personal Communication.
    • Water for ODF:
      • A policy decision has been taken under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) to prioritize the provision of piped water supply (PWS) for villages that become ODF.
    • ODF-Quality:
      • Verification of all ODF declared villages is very unique to Swachh Bharat Mission.
      • Within 90 days of declaration, verification is done for each household in the village. Another round of sustainability verification is done 180 days after the first round.
    • Impact of SBM:
      • A recent WHO study reports that Swachh Bharat would have led to saving of 300,000 lives by 2019 and around 150,000 lives would be saved annually thereafter.
      • UNICEF estimated that a household in an ODF village in rural India saves Rs. 50,000 every year.
      • BMGF has released a study that shows significant improvements in diarrhoea prevalence and stunting among children in ODF villages, compared to nearby non-ODF villages.
    • The Swachh Bharat model of sanitation has led India into a sanitation revolution, and the country is on track for an ODF India by October 2019.

 

Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap in India

launched a Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap in India, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Aim:

  • The task force will bring together leaders from business, Government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to accelerate the future-proofing of education and training systems in the country.
  • Develop an action plan to address skills gaps in India and make the Indian workforce ready for jobs of future.
  • This Task Force is the second country-led public-private collaboration of the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project after South Africa.

 

IR

12th ASEM Summit

Context:

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the Summit said that building the future together is the need of the hour and promoting Inclusive growth and Sustainable Connectivity should be the priority.
  • The theme of ASEM 12 Summit is “Global Partners for Global Challenges”.

Highlights of the Summit: 

  • The ASEM summit will bring together:
    • heads of state or government of 51 European and Asian countries
    • representatives of the European Union
    • the Secretary General of theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

 

  • Leaders will seek to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the two continents on a wide range of areas, including:
    • trade & investment
    • connectivity
    • sustainable development and climate
    • security challenges such as terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber-security, irregular migration.

Highlights of the Vice President’s Speech:

  • 2030 Sustainable Development Goals has been mapped to India’s developmental programmes and schemes.
  • India’s development architecture is under pinned by ‘Collective Efforts for Inclusive Development’.
  • India would be showcasing its rich cultural heritage through the unique fusion of Indian classical dance Kathakali narrating the story of Spanish “Don Quixote” as a part of the ASEM culture festival.
  • Peace is a prerequisite for progress. If there is tension at the border, there will be no attention in the nation. Let’s work together to eliminate terror from the globe.

 

India-EU co-operation dialogue on Digital Communications

Context:

  • The Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) Government of India, Mr Manoj Sinha and the H.E. Mr Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for Digital Single Market and Vice President of the European Commission have met in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on Digital communications, Digital economy and society.

Objective:

  • India and the EU will work together to develop joint plans of action in the agreed areas of cooperation such as future networks and emerging technologies, including 5G,IoT/M2Metc., promoting R&D and innovation, network security, spectrum management, enhanced capacity development as well as policy and regulatory requirements among others.
  • The India-EUco-operation dialogue on Digital Communications will take place annually through appropriate mechanism within the existing framework of the India-EU Joint Working Group on ICTs which was set up in 2011.

 

MoU amongst BRICS nations

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa, regarding Cooperation in the Social and Labour Sphere.

Details:

  • In the MoU, the parties including India have agreed to cooperate and hold mutual events in the prominent areas viz. labour legislation and enforcement, protection of workers’ rights with focus on vulnerable groups, Employment and labour market policies, Professional education, skills and training and Social protection.
  • The member countries may utilize the BRICS Network of Labour Research Institutes and BRICS Social Security Cooperation Framework for cooperation on Social Security and other labour issues.
  • The Memorandum is not an International Treaty and does not create rights and obligations for the parties governed by international law.

 

Major Impact:

  • The MoU provides a mechanism for cooperation, collaboration and maximum synergy amongst BRICS member countries with the common objective of inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the new industrial revolution.
  • This network would specifically focus on the theme of youth employment and research on new forms of employment.
  • This network will also explore new learning technologies, including virtual network to deepen cooperation, exchange of information and capacity building.
  • The BRICS Social Security cooperation framework will deepen social security cooperation among BRICS nations and would facilitate cooperation for improvement of social security systems and social security agreements among member countries.

 

BRICS Finance Deputies: 

  • The meeting focused on reviewing the progress achieved by the BRICS Forum in 2018 as well as deliberating on the way forward under the upcoming 2019 BRICS Chairmanship of Brazil.
  • Secretary (EA) in his interventions indicated India’s unequivocal support for NDB’s membership expansion.
  • Secretary (EA) also emphasized that the role of BRICS is to provide broad guidance to NDB and the decisions on managing the micro details should be left to NDB Board of Directors and Board of Governors.
  • Secretary (EA) indicated that the Report of the Expert Group set-up to study the feasibility of BRICS Rating Agency has envisaged the setting-up of a BRICS Rating Agency which is completely independent and private sector led.
  • Secretary (EA) emphasized on the need felt by the emerging markets and developing economies for a rating methodology that takes into account the country circumstances of these economies.

 

G-20 Nations

Context:

  • The Final G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting under the 2018 Argentine Presidency and the final BRICS Deputies Meeting under the 2018 South African Chairmanship were held on the sidelines of the IMF/Fund Bank Annual Meetings.

G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) Meeting:

  • The deliberations in the G-20 FMCBG meeting centered on key risks facing the global economy, enhancing a resilient international financial architecture, financing infrastructure development, progress on compact with Africa as well as streamlining of the GPFI process.
  • The risks related to trade tensions, financial vulnerabilities and oil prices have materialized and are having major impact on the Emerging Market Economies.
  • The need for G-20 nations to take co-ordinated action so as to ensure that the negative spill over effects of global risks on EMDEs are minimized.
  • Appreciated the progress of work under the Argentine Presidency on developing infrastructure as an asset class.
  • The efforts undertaken by India to attract private players in infra financing space such as creating Real Estate Investment Trust Fund, Infrastructure Debt Fund as well as undertaking efforts for monetizing brownfield assets.
  • He indicated the importance of developing global standards and protocols for attracting private funds to the infrastructure space and hoped that the infrastructure agenda of G-20 can contribute in this direction.
  • The investment facilitating schemes that GoI has in place to encourage private players to invest in Africa and elsewhere such as National Export Insurance Fund, Concessional Financing Facility etc.

 

Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh

  • The bilateral trade between the two countries touches $9 billion out of which Bangladesh exports goods worth $900 million.
  • India being an immediate neighbour with whom Bangladesh not only shares a long border but also culture, traditions and language will be looking towards India to import the items it needs.
  • There is immense scope for increasing Food & Beverages (F&B) exports from India to Bangladesh.
  • Fresh fruits going from India to Bangladesh are: mangoes, grapes, pomegranates and apples.
  • Among other F&B products, there is still great scope for added export of dried, shelled chickpeas, fresh or chilled onions and shallots, food preparations, cumin seeds, fresh grapes, semi-milled or wholly milled rice, black fermented tea and partly fermented tea, turmeric and cane sugar.

About:

  • Indusfood is being billed as the World Food Supermarket – a one-stop event to source all requirements related to food and beverage from India.

 

Vice President meets Prime Minister of Portugal

  • Portugal had recently signed a MoU with Goafor a pilot project for water supply and waste water management as part of the Panaji Smart City initiative.

GS-3

Top 100 Bank Frauds

Context

  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) released a first-of-its-kind analysis of the top 100 banking frauds and has shared its findings with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and department of financial services to plug loopholes observed by the Commission.

 

Details

  • In order to make the report more comprehensive, the top 100 Bank Frauds have been classified into 13 sectors, namely gems and jewellery, manufacturing / industry, agro, media, aviation, service / project, discounting of cheques, trading, Information Technology, export business, fixed deposits, demand-loan, and Letter of Comfort
  • The analysis of the top bank frauds included in the report mainly focuses on modus operandi, amount of money involved, type of lending, anomalies observed, loopholes that facilitated the fraud,
  • The study focused on the methods used by fraudsters, and the loopholes noticed by the CVC, and suggested systematic improvements to avoid such frauds.

 

Recommendation

  • The measures suggested include strengthening of Standard Operating Procedures, monitoring system and also highlighting the role of controlling offices, so as examine the aspect of quality of business

 

Link between agriculture and entrepreneurship

  • Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, on the occasion of World Food Day, attended the Agri-Startup and Entrepreneurship Conclave.

Theme:

  • The theme of the conclave was “Unleashing Potentials in Agriculture for Young Entrepreneurs (UPAYA)”.
  • The conclave brought together entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, scientists, farmers, technology developers to create desired awareness and help build a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, particularly in the Agriculture sector.

Speech:

  • Shri Pradhan addressing the conclave applauded the ICAR for giving a new dimension to the World Food Day.
  • This has provided an opportunity to the entrepreneurs who have come up with innovative food products and solutions in the agriculture sector, to showcase their innovations and deliberate on this important area.
  • Agriculture in India is seeing fundamental shifts, and we have moved from a paradigm of food deficit to food surplus was said by him.

 

National Security Strategy

Aim:

  • At creating conditions to effectively pursue its development agenda while keeping the costs of security optimal and affordable.

Following components to be included:

  • Maintaining a deterrent capability to safeguard National Interests.
  • Ensuring security of national territory, maritime region, including our trade routes, air space and cyber space.
  • Maintaining a secure internal environment to guard against threats to our unity and development.
  • Strengthening and Expanding ‘‘Constructive Engagement’’ with Nations to promote regional and global peace as also international stability.

 

Youth Road Safety Learners Licence Programme

Context:

  • The programme is a PPP initiative to be run incollaboration with Diageo India and theInstitute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), and attempts to bring a formal and structured training program for young, first-time drivers as they apply for learner’s license.
  • Launching this first-of-its-kind training programme in the country, road safety is of prime importance for the Government as recent times have seen an alarming rise in road fatalities especially among the youth.
  • Rash driving, drunken driving, lack of adequate safety measures like not wearing helmets are some of the major factors resulting in high road accidents.
  • The government is committed to making its vision of safer roads and cities a reality. This programme will help the Government achieve its target of reducing road accidents by 50 percent by 2020.

Background: 

  • IRTE has been successfully running its ‘Road to Safety’ initiative to provide capacity building training to traffic police officials and educate commercial drivers such as truckers and bus drivers and university students on the dangers of drunken driving. The programme has trained over 4624 traffic officials in road safety capacity-building, 6,000 commercial vehicle drivers and over 5,000 university students in more than 64 cities of 17 states.

 

Special Central Government Package for Footwear and Leather Sector

  • The Central Government has approved a special package for employment generation in leather and footwear sector.
  • The package involves implementation of Central Sector Scheme – Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme (IFLADP) with an approved expenditure of Rs. 2600 Crore for 2017-20.

 

Aim:

  • Development of infrastructure for the leather sector, address environmental concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, generate employment and increase production. Enhanced Tax incentives will attract large scale investments in this sector and reforms in labour laws taking into account the seasonal nature of the sector will support economies of scale.
  • In a major boost to the leather industry in Tamil Nadu under the IFLADP four projects with a total outlay of 107.33 crore have been approved by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to facilitate upgradation of infrastructure, job creation and environmental sustainability.
  • Projects approved in Tamil Nadu are:
  1. Upgradation of Tala Trichy Common Effluent Treatment Plant(CETP) at Trichy,
  2. Pallavaram CETP at Nagalkeni Chrompet, and
  3. SIDCO Phase-I CEPT at Ranipet and Perundurai leather industries Eco Security Pvt. Ltd. at Erode.
  • DIPP has also given in-principal approval for mega leather cluster at Bantala in West Bengal. This will generate employment for around 7000 people and lead to an investment of Rs. 400 to 500 crore.

Background:

  • The Leather Technology, Innovation and Environmental Issues sub-scheme under IFLADP provides financial support at 70% of the project cost to leather clusters to meet the prescribed pollution control discharge norms.
  • This covers establishment, expansion, upgradation of CETPs, developing secure landfills, common recovery units, management of sludge and any other techniques for hazardous waste management.

 

 

World Habitat Day – 2018 with the theme ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management’ (MSWM)

  • The Government has considered solid waste management as top priority area of urban development and added that the launch of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) – Clean India Mission’ envisages 100 per cent of the urban population to be covered under Solid Waste Management (SWM) services.
  • He said the theme also remind us of our collective responsibility to implement Sustainable Development Goals.

Related SDG’s are:

  • SDG Goal No. 11, ‘to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ along with basic services,
  • SDG Goal No. 3 ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages’,
  • SDG Goal No. 12 ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’,
  • SDG Goal No. 13 ‘to take urgent action to combat climate change and impacts’.

Impact:

  • Behavioural change and citizen/community participation in SWM is the key to sustain a project related to management of municipal solid waste and if municipal solid waste management is done through proper planning and management, it would lead to a business case of income generation and provide financial support to ULBs by generating revenue.

 

Indian Railways enters into MoC & MoU with Government of Russian Federation

Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC):

  • A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Railways of the Republic of India and the Joint Stock Company ‘Russian Railways’.
  • The Memorandum of cooperation includes:
    • Implementation of speed up gradation project of Nagpur-Secunderabad section;
    • Setting up of single traffic control centre for managing mixed traffic at local level;
    • Best practices in freight cargo operation;
    • Development of multi modal terminals; and
    • Exchange of best technologies being practiced by the two countries.
  • Training and advanced qualification improvement of Indian railway employees with the involvement of Russian railway-related higher education establishments.

Aim:

  • To provide organizational and methodological support to higher educational institutions implementing joint projects in the field of transport education of both countries.

 

Recent Developments in Clean and Safe Nuclear Power Generation

  • The country is witnessing an increasing demand for energy and the consumption was only bound to go up further by 4.2 per cent per annum.
  • Rapid urbanization and industrialisation are among the factors that would push energy demand and consumption further.
  • Increasing the share of nuclear energy in the overall energy mix of the country was essential to ensure sustainable development of the nation and also to achieve India’s international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Nuclear power is a cost effective and commercially viable energy resource. A developing country like India should make good use of such an important energy source that is clean and cost-effective.
  • Massive afforestation to increase the green cover in the country.

 

Security

India and Kazakhstan agree to boost Defence and Military Technical Cooperation

  • Conducted a company level joint military exercise ‘KAZIND-2018’ in South Kazakhstan, last month.
  • India and Kazakhstan are bound by historical and cultural ties and this has laid a strong foundation for the multifaceted cooperation.  Both countries are Strategic Partners since 2009.
  • India’s partnership with Kazakhstan in UN Peacekeeping reflects its desire to support Kazakhstan in its contribution to global peace.

 

IND-INDO CORPAT

  • Indian Naval Ship Kulish, a Kora class missile corvette, entered Belawan harbour, Indonesia for the opening ceremony of the 32nd edition of India – Indonesia coordinated patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT), to be held from 11 – 27 Oct 2018.
  • The ships and aircraft from both the countries would undertake patrolling on the respective sides of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary Line.
  • The visit seeks to emphasize India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain, consolidate interoperability and strengthen existing bonds of friendship between the two countries.

Vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region):

  • The Indian Navy has been involved in assisting countries in the IOR with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue, other capacity -building and capability-enhancement activities.
  • The current deployment will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s effort to forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas and consolidate inter-operability.

 

Air force commanders’ conference

Context:

  • Discussions will take place on maintaining combat worthiness and the cutting edge of IAF by suitably refining the training pattern.
  • Training for future inductions like Rafale and Tejas fighter Jets, Chinook and Apache helicopters, SPYDER & Medium Range Surface to Air Missile.

Highlights

  • Raksha Rajya Mantri addressed the Air Force Commanders on the conference and stressed upon the vital role being played by the IAF for enabling India to be the Net Security Provider in the IOR in furtherance of the Prime Minister’s SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) Doctrine.
  • IAF is the most technologically intensive and quickest military response available to the Government for furthering India’s leverage.
  • IAF leading the thrust to promote India’s indigenous bio-jet fuel program would surely go a long way in reducing India’s crude oil import bill by more than 10% and augment farmers’ incomes substantially.
  • The Mehar Baba Swarm Drone Competition is a highly exciting development and I wish it all success in identifying innovative technology in Unmanned Aerial Systems.
  • IAF is the first service to kickstart an Artificial Intelligence Project with the participation of the private industry and the progress of this project is extremely heartening.

 

 

 




DESIRE IAS PIB PRLIMS SPECIAL OCTOBER -2018 for UPSC CSE Exam

PIB

PRLIMS

SPECIAL

OCTOBER -2018

Govt Initiative  

1- Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • Under – control of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals& Fertilizers,
  • Jan Aushadhi” is the novel project launched by Government of India in the year 2008 for the noble cause – Quality Medicines at Affordable Prices for All. The campaign was undertaken through sale of generic medicines through exclusive outlets namely “Jan Aushadhi Medical Store” in various districts of the country. The first “Jan Aushadhi Medical Store” was opened on 25thNov 2008 at Amritsar in Punjab.
  • It was envisaged that the scheme would run on a self-sustaining business model, and not be dependent on government subsidies or assistance beyond the initial support. It was to be run on the principle of “No Profit, No loss”.

Objectives of PMBJP

Making quality medicines available at affordable prices for all, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, through exclusive outlets “Jan Aushadhi Medical Store”, so as to reduce out of pocket expenses in healthcare.

Vision

To bring down the healthcare budget of every citizen of India through providing Quality generic Medicines at Affordable Prices.

Mission:

  • Create awareness among public regarding generic medicines.
  • Create demand for generic medicines through medical practitioners.
  • Create awareness through education and awareness program that high price need not be synonymous with high quality.
  • Provide all the commonly used generic medicines covering all the therapeutic groups.
  • Provide all the related health care products too under the scheme.

Key features of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP):

  • State Governments or any organization / reputed NGOs / Trusts / Private hospitals / Charitable institutions / Doctors / Unemployed pharmacist/ individual entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for new Jan Aushadhi stores.
  • The applicants shall have to employ one B Pharma / D Pharma degree holder as Pharmacist in their proposed store.
  • Applications shall be submitted to BPPI either online or offline.
  • Jan Aushadhi stores can be located within Government hospital premises as well as Private hospital premises or anywhere outside.
  • BPPI shall establish a Central Ware House, C&F agents at different locations and Distributors in all the States/UTs.
  • 20% trade margin shall be included in MRP for retailers and 10% for distributors.
  • Jan Aushadhi medicines will be sold through “Mobile Jan Aushadhi Vans” after all requisite approvals are obtained.

Implementation Agency for PMBJP:

  • BPPI (Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India), under the administrative control of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals& Fertilizers, Government of India will be the implementation agency for the PMJAY.
  • BPPI has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India, with the support of all the Pharma CPSUs for coordinating procurement, supply and marketing of generic drugs through the Jan Aushadhi stores.
  • In 2010, BPPI got registered as an independent society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 as a separate legal entity.

About Jan Aushadhi Store (JAS)

  • JAS has been opened across the country.
  • The normal working hours of JAS are 8 Am to 8 PM.
  • All therapeutic medicines are made available from Jan Aushadhi Stores.
  • In addition to medicines and surgical items supplied by BPPI, Jan Aushadhi stores also sell allied medical products commonly sold in chemist shops so as to improve the viability of running the Jan Aushadhi store.
  • The number of Janaushadhi stores in the country has grown to more than 4300 in 640 districts,

2-Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY)

Context:

  • Gram Sabhas across the country have been asked to inform the farmers about the enrolment and benefits of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojan (PMFBY) at the beginning of the Rabi Season.
  • The Gram Sabhas will also inform the farmers on how they can insure their crops under the Scheme.

First season for PMFBY with its revised operational guidelines:

  • The companies to reduce premium rates, especially as the general cut-off date for enrolment has been advanced by 15 days for both seasons.
  • The farmers get 72 hours to intimate individual claims against the existing 48 hours.
  • This can be done through any of the channels provided under the Scheme and directly on the portal of PMFBY.
  • The farmers can access dedicated grievance redressal authorities.
  • Revised operational guidelines provide for appointment of District Level Grievance Redressal Officer and creation of State and District Grievance Redressal Cells for fast redressal of grievances.
  • Non-loanee farmers can approach designated Common Service Centres, banks and insurance agents for insuring their crops or directly enrol on the portal.
  • Farmers who avail short term crop loans from formal financial institutions at concessional rates of interest are automatically covered under the Scheme.

 

3-MoU signed between Lady Irwin College & MoRD for Roshni

Context:

  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development  and Lady Irwin College, have signed  a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing ROSHNI – Centre of Women Collectives led Social Action.
  • ROSHNI is technically and financially supported by UNICEF India serving as a technical support unit at national level for DAY-NRLM and is embedded in the Department of Development Communication and Extension, Lady Irwin College, New Delhi.

Aim:

  • DAY-NRLM aims to reach out to 8-10 crore rural poor households (based on SECC 2011) in a time bound manner, and, stay engaged with them till they come out of abject poverty.
  • It envisions breaking the self-perpetuating cycle of malnutrition- illness- out-of-pocket expenditure for treatment-poverty through its savings and enterprise approach and layering of Food, Health, Nutrition and WASH (FHNW) interventions through Self-help groups (SHG) and their federations.

About:

  • DAY-NRLM is MoRD’s nodal agency for implementation of the convergent action plan under the POSHAN Abhiyaan, which in addition to MORD includes the Ministry of Woman and Child Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The four areas of convergence are – mobilisation for fixed day health, nutrition and WASH camps (Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Day-VHSND), convergence through behaviour change communication, convergence through common use of infrastructure and promotion of nutri-based livelihoods for women collectives.

About Roshni:

  • Roshni aims to work with women collectives for social action on FHNW interventions in alignment with DAY-NRLM Dashasutra strategy and supporting implementation of convergent action plan under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • Roshni will learn from Swabhimaan and similar models, and extend support to DAY-NRLM for expanding the scope of FHNW interventions.
  • The Centre will lead knowledge creation, capacity building for scale-up of convergent action plan, learning and re- learning in Swabhimaan sites and provide policy guidance to DAY-NRLM on POSHAN Abhiyaan initiatives.

 

4- Udyam Abhilasha

Context:

  • On the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi yesterday i.e. October 02, 2018, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), had launched a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign, Udyam Abhilasha in 115 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog in 28 States and reaching to around 15,000 youth.

Objective:

  • The campaign would create and strengthen cadre of more than 800 trainers to provide entrepreneurship training to the aspiring youths across these districts thus encouraging them to enter the admired segment of entrepreneurs.
  • to inspire rural youth in aspirational districts to be entrepreneurs by assisting them to set up their own enterprise,
  • to impart trainings through digital medium across the country,
  • to create business opportunities for CSC VLEs,
  • to focus on women aspirants in these aspirational districts to encourage women entrepreneurship and
  • to assist participants to become bankable and avail credit facility from banks to set up their own enterprise.

Background:

  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), is the Principal Financial Institution for the Promotion, Financing, Development and Coordination of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector.
  • SIDBI meets the financial and developmental needs of the MSME sector with a Credit+ approach to make it strong, vibrant and globally competitive.
  • SIDBI, under its revamped strategy SIDBI 2.0, has adopted the theme of ease of access to MSEs and being Impact Multiplier & Digital Aggregator.

 

5- SATAT: To promote Compressed Bio-Gas

  • Petroleum Minister launches SATAT initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas as an alternative, green transport fuel.

Aim:

  • Providing a Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
  • It holds great promise for efficient municipal solid waste management and in tackling the problem of polluted urban air due to farm stubble-burning and carbon emissions.
  • Use of CBG will also help bring down dependency on crude oil imports and in realising the Prime Minister’s vision of enhancing farmers’ income, rural employment and entrepreneurship.

Background:

  • Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc. After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%.
  • Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential.

 

New Portals

1- Impactful Policy Research in Social Science’ (IMPRESS)

  • launched the web portal of the Scheme “Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS)”.

About the Scheme:

  • 1500 research projects will be awarded for 2 years to support the social science research in the higher educational institutions and to enable research to guide policy making.

The objectives of the scheme are:

  • To identify and fund research proposals in social sciences with maximum impact on the governance and society.
  • To focus research on (11) broad thematic areas such as:
    • State and Democracy,
    • Urban transform–ation,
    • Media, Culture and Society,
    • Employment,
    • Skills and Rural transformation,
    • Governance,
    • Innovation and Public Policy,
    • Growth,
    • Macro-trade and Economic Policy,
    • Agriculture and Rural Development,
    • Health and Environment,
    • Science and Education,
    • Social Media and Technology,
    • Politics,
    • Law and Economics.
  • To ensure selection of projects through a transparent, competitive process on online mode.
  • To provide opportunity for social science researchers in any institution in the country, including all Universities (Central and State), private institutions with 12(B) status conferred by UGC.
  • ICSSR funded/recognised research institutes will also be eligible to submit research proposals on the given themes and sub-themes.

The following will be the modalities for implementation:

  • There will be (4) calls for proposals – October, 2018, February 2019, September 2019 and February 2020.  The process of evaluation of the proposals and selection will be completed within 90 days from the date of call for proposals.
  • The experts for evaluation of proposals will be persons of eminence and selected using objective criteria.
  • There will be a regular monitoring of the progress of projects using the online portal, in which the progress can be directly updated by the Project Coordinator.
  • There will be a third party evaluation of the projects in March 2021.

 

2-“Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)”

  • launched   the web portal of the Scheme “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)”.

Aim:

  • At improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.

Salient Feature of SPARC are:

  • This scheme will improve research ecosystem of  India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world from 28 selected nations to jointly solve problems of national and international relevance.

 

3- Digi Yatra

  • The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Shri Suresh Prabhu released the policy on biometric based digital processing of passengers at airports called “Digi Yatra”.
  • DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by end of February, 2019. Bangalore & Hyderabad International Airports will be ready with pilot implementation by end of February, 2019.
  • Any service provider involved in facilitating travel of passenger from door to door will be able to use this platform in future through innovative solutions.
  • It is a Facial Recognition based passenger processing which is a common standard being adopted the world over.

Process Involved:

  • This DigiYatra ID will be shared by passengers while booking ticket.
  • Airlines will share the passenger data and DigiYatraID with the departure airport.
  • A passenger who has created the Digi Yatra ID has to undergo a one time verification at the departure airport during his/her first travel.
  • If a passenger opted for Aadhar based verification, the identity will be verified online. On successful verification, facial biometric will be captured and stored in the Digi Yatra ID profile of the passenger.
  • In case the passenger has chosen any other identity for creating Digi Yatra ID, verification will be done manually by Security personal and facial biometric will be captured and stored in the Digi Yatra ID profile.
  • A successfully registered passenger can go directly to the entry point E-Gate of the airport and scan the barcode/ QR code of the ticket/ Boarding pass. A camera will capture the face for comparing with DigiYatraID Photo. On successful verification of the travel details and facial matching, the E-Gate will open. The system will also generate a token in the system combining the face of passenger with PNR of the ticket, so that at subsequent check points the ticket details will be available on face recognition.

 

4- Self4Society

  • Professionals keen on doing volunteer work in their free time will be provided a platform by the government through an app, #Self4Society, developed by MyGov.
  • The app will have incentives, gamification and intra- and inter-company competitions, and social networking
  • This platform is going to create a big opportunity for the masses and will lead to a better outcome of the efforts of professionals who have keen interest in volunteering.

 

5- Central Warehouse and Digital Cash Management System

  • Union Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurated the hi-tech Central Warehouse, setup by the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI).

About:

  • The hi-tech Central Warehouse would facilitate seamless distribution of Jan Aushadhi generic medicines to all PMBJP Kendra functional across the country.
  • The Minister had inaugurated the Digital Cash Management System for Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP), to be implemented as a partnership between BPPI and Bank of Baroda.

About:

  • This System will be implemented at all PMBJP Kendras for purchasing medicines and cashless payment system with BPPI.
  • Bank of Baroda will also provide loan to all PMBJP Kendra for purchasing medicines. The cashless transactions will be done only through unique virtual accounts opened by Bank of Baroda for each and every PMBJP Kendra, across the country.

 

In PIB News

1- Invest India – WhatsApp partner

Context:

  • In an effort to fuel the growth of India’s entrepreneurial and small business community, Invest India through its flagship initiative Startup India Hub has partnered with WhatsApp on a program that focuses on the proliferation of startups, promoting economic growth and generating employment opportunities in India.
  • WhatsApp will invest quarter of a million dollars as seed funding to the top 5 winners of the ‘WhatsApp Startup Challenge’ and an additional $ 250,000 will be directed to a select few from the entrepreneurial community to promote their WhatsApp business number on Facebook and drive discovery of their businesses.
  • This way customers will be able to find the business and start talking to them on that WhatsApp number.
  • Invest India is also working with WhatsApp to drive awareness about its business tools in around 15 states impacting over 60,000 businesses in the coming months through tools such as Startup India ‘Yatra’ program and other in-person training events.
  • The Startup community is the future of India and will be the platform through which the millions of youth of this country will be gainfully employed.
  • WhatsApp cares deeply about helping businesses connect with customers and grow.
  • The more opportunities that are given the more startups will become engines of India’s economic growth.

Background:

  • In the last 2 years at the Startup India programme, there are over 13,000 startups registered with Startup India program that spread across 448 districts covering all 29 States and 6 Union Territories.

2- Statue of Unity

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will dedicate the world’s tallest statue, the “Statue of Unity”, to the Nation, at Kevadiya in Gujarat.
  • The 182 metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, will be dedicated to the nation on his birth anniversary, at Kevadiya in Narmada District of Gujarat.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

  • He was born on 31 October, 1875 at Karamsand, Gujarat and died on 15 December 1950 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He is known as Iron Man of India or Bismarck of India. By profession, he was barrister (lawyer) and had successfully practiced law. Later he left law practice and joined the Indian national movement under leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • In India’s independence struggle, he played a major role in organizing peasants’ movements on Gandhian principles in Bardoli and Kheda in Gujarat and during the Quit India movement.
  • His biggest contribution to India was his role in the integration of the over 500 princely states with India during 1947-49. He is also remembered as Patron Saint of India’s civil servants for establishing modern All-India services. He was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest Civilian honour, in 1991.

3-Gujarat’s first Mega Food Park in Surat

  • Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the first Mega Food Park in Gujarat.

About:

  • The Park is located at Village Shah and Vasravi, Taluka Mangrol, District Surat.
  • The Park also has a common administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs and 4 PPCs at Bharuch, Padra (Vadodara), Valsad and Navsari having facilities for primary processing and storage near the farms.
  • The Park will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers in the CPC and PPC catchment areas.

Aim:

  • At giving a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
  • Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.

Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).

4-Vigilance Awareness Week

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will observe the Vigilance Awareness Week from 29thOctober to 3rdNovember, 2018 as per the directions of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Government of India.

Theme:

  • The theme of the vigilance awareness this year is “Eradicate Corruption- Make a New India.”

Aim:

  • The CVC aims to promote integrity, transparency and accountability in public life.

Benefits:

  • The observation of Vigilance Awareness Week creates greater awareness among public and encourages all the stakeholders to collectively participate in prevention of and fight against Corruption.
  • During the week-long Vigilance Awareness campaign, various activities like seminars, debates and essay competitions will be organized in the Ministry to sensitize and motivate its officers and staff to remain vigilant and transparent in their work in order to eradicate corruption in all spheres of life.

 

5-India’s first container movement on inland waterways

Context:

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will transport container cargo belonging to the food and beverage giant PepsiCo (India) from Kolkata to Varanasi on river Ganga (National Waterway-1) tomorrow.
  • This would be the country’s first container movement on inland vessel post-independence, and a milestone moment in the history of India’s IWT sector.

About:

  • PepsiCo (India) will move 16 containers – equivalent to 16 truckloads- filled with food and snacks in the vessel MV RN Tagore which will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days.
  • MV RN Tagore will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.
  • The event coincides with another momentous day for IWT in India as IWAI’s first foray into Public Private Partnership (PPP) model will become a reality with the handing over of operation and management of its terminals in Kolkata to M/s Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt Ltd. (SAPEL) on a supply, operate and maintain (SOM) model.
  • Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages, as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.
  • The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore.

 

6- India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2018

  • India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2018 – a marquee event which provided a peep into the exciting future in the rapidly evolving area of digital communications.

Theme:

  • “New Digital Horizons – Connect. Create. Innovate.”-established the IMC as a regular platform for global and local stakeholders in the sector to collaborate in the cause of exploring opportunities and leveraging possibilities, with specific focus on South and South-East Asia.

Highlights of the Event:

  • The Government of India announced the commitment of the industry to roll out One Million WiFi Hotspots in the Country by December 2019.
  • The National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) 2018 was also unveiled at the event. NFAP 2018 frees up a total of 605 MHz spectrum in the 5-GHz band for Wi-Fi services.

 

7- Electoral Bond Scheme 2018

  • Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018; as per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
  • A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
  • Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.
  • The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the Authorized Bank.
  • Electoral Bonds shall be valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period.
  • The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account shall be credited on the same day.

 

8- International Arya Mahasammelan-2018

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the International Arya Mahasammelan – 2018 in Delhi.
  • The President enumerated about Swami Dayanand Saraswati:
    • He showed us the path of renaissance and self-pride.
    • He was an intrepid warrior of social and spiritual reform.
    • He took effective measures for educational and social reform especially for women empowerment and eradication of untouchability. His work is relevant even in the present times both for Indian society and the entire world.
    • He had worked for eradication of discrimination in society on the basis of caste, creed and sect and motivated everyone to become Arya – that is – the best.
  • In Mahasammelan they discussed on the issues such as prevention of superstition, modernization, women empowerment, tribal welfare, and management of natural calamities.
  • The President said that we will be celebrating 200thbirth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 2024 and will also celebrate the 150thanniversary of the Arya Samaj in 2025.
  • Past laureates include distinguished global personalities like former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and renowned international relief organizations like Doctors without Borders and Oxfam.

 

9- Creation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF)

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for creation of special Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF).

Benefits:

  • Creation of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and Inland fisheries sectors.
  • To augment fish production to achieve its target of 15 million tonne by 2020 set under the Blue Revolutio, and to achieve a sustainable growth of 8% -9% thereafter to reach the fish production to the level of about 20 MMT by 2022-23.
  • Employment opportunities to over 9.40 lakh fishers/fishermen/fisherfolk and other entrepreneurs in fishing and allied activities.
  • To attract private investment in creation and management of fisheries infrastructure facilities.
  • Adoption of new technologies.

 

10-75th Anniversary of Formation of Azad Hind Government

Context

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted the national flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi morning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Azad Hind government formed by freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Details

  • On October 21, 1943, Bose had announced the formation of the country’s first independent government in Singapore.
  • It was a part of a political movement originating in the 1940s outside India with the purpose of allying with the Axis powers to free India from British Rule
  • It was established by Indian nationalists-in-exile during the latter part of the Second World War in Singapore with monetary, military and political assistance from Imperial Japan
  • Its army, the “Azad Hind Fauj” (Indian National Army or the INA), went into action against the British Indian Army and the allied forces

 

11- Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

Context

Vice President leaves for Belgium to attend 12th ASEM Summit

  • It is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe
  • It comprises 53 partners: 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.
  • ASEM addresses political, economic, financial, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
  • ASEM is bi-annual event conducted as an informal and flexible process on the basis of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefit and to promote the exchange of ideas and best practices and thus act as breeding ground for new policy ideas.
  • The theme of the 2018 ASEM Summit is ‘Global Partners for Global Challenges’.

 

12- World Food Day

  • World Food Day is a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger.
  • The theme of World Food Day 2018 is ‘Our actions are our future – A zero hunger world by 2030 is possible’.

Aim:

  • The Government of India aims to transform India’s agricultural sector to contribute to the achievements of global environmental objectives.
  • A new project has been launched in association with FAO, India office known as ‘Green-agriculture: transforming Indian agriculture for global environmental benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes’.

Initiatives taken:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, a national level programme, was launched to create world-class food processing infrastructure. This is expected to leverage investment of five billion US dollars, benefit two million farmers and generate more than half a million jobs over the next two years.”
  • Mega Food Parks aim to link agro-processing clusters with key production centres. This will offer immense value proposition in crops such as potato, pineapple, oranges and apples. Farmers groups are being encouraged to set up units in these parks, thereby reducing wastage and transportation costs, and creating new jobs.”

 

13- Goa Maritime Symposium – 2018

  • The Goa Maritime Symposium – 2018, the second edition of the Goa Maritime Symposium (GSM) – a forum towards fostering friendly relations with the maritime neighbours – was inaugurated by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM, ADC, at INS Mandovi at Goa.
  • The “Naval War College Journal”, an academic compendium with ideas and papers from writers and thinkers on maritime strategy and security, was also released on the occasion by the CNS.

Theme:

  • The theme of the seminar was “Building Stronger Maritime Partnerships in IOR”.
  • The deliberations were focused on capacity building among IOR Navies to tackle emerging maritime threats, in addition to discussing cooperative strategies for enhancing interoperability among partner maritime agencies.

About:

  • The GMS was conceptualised and first held in Nov 2016 aimed at establishing academic excellence as well as sharing of ideas among India’s maritime neighbours’ by facilitating interaction between senior representatives of navies and maritime agencies in the IOR.
  • It plays a constructive role in bringing together stakeholders involved in evolving strategies, policies and implementation mechanisms in the maritime domain.

 

14-BBNL key for implementation of Bharat Net project

  • BBNL has played a key role in leading the successful implementation of the Bharat Net project fordigitally connecting all 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country.

Objective:

  • To facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking and other services to citizens in every part of our country, on a non-discriminatory basis. We have completed approximately 50% of the project, and the remainder is targeted for completion by March 2019.

About Bharat Net:

  • Phase I: The target of completing 1,00,000 GPs under phase-I of Bharat Net was achieved in December 2017.
  • Phase ll: Bharat Net Phase-II is planned to connect the remaining 1,50,000 GPs, using an optimal mix of media, by 31 Mar, 2019.

Phase II is being implemented through three models – state-led model, CPSU model, and private sector model

15-World Bank’s Human Capital Index

Context-The World Bank released a Human Capital Index (HCI) as part of the World Development Report 2019.

About HCI & its Theme:

  • Broader theme of the World Development Report (WDR) this year is “The Changing Nature of Work”. As part of this report, the World Bank has launched a Human Capital Project (HCP).
  • The HCP programme is claimed to be a program of advocacy, measurement, and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital.
  • There are three components of HCP- a cross-country human capital measurement metric called the Human Capital Index (HCI), a programme of measurement and research to inform policy action, and a programme of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital.
  • The HCI has been constructed for 157 countries.
  • It claims to seek to measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18.
  • The HCI index values are contended to convey the productivity of the next generation of workers, compared to a benchmark of complete standard education and full health.

The HCI has three components:

  • 1-Survival, as measured by under-5 mortality rates;
  • 2-Expected years of Quality-Adjusted Schoolwhich combines information on the quantity and quality of education (quality is measured by harmonizing test scores from major international student achievement testing programs and quantity from number of years of school that a child can expect to obtain by age 18 given the prevailing pattern of enrolment rates across grades in respective countries); and
  • 3-Health environmentusing two proxies of (a) adult survival rates and (b) the rate of stunting for children under age 5.

Human Development Index:

  • UNDP constructs Human Development Index (HDI) for several years.
  • The HCI uses survival rates and stunting rate instead of life expectancy as measure of health, and quality-adjusted learning instead of merely years of schooling as measure of education.
  • HCI also excludes per capita income whereas the HDI uses it.
  • Two significant changes from HDI are exclusion of income component and introduction of quality adjustment in learning. Exclusion of income element and introduction of quality adjustment makes HCI far less representative of Human Capital Development than the Index claims it to be.
  • The first HCI published today at the Annual Meetings of the Fund Bank comes with a conclusion that for 56% of the world’s population the HCI is at or below 0.50; and for 92% it is at or below 0.75. Hence only 8% of the population can expect to be 75% as productive as they could be.
  • The HCI measures the Index outcomes for each country as a fraction of maximum value of 1. As expected the advanced economies such as North America and Europe mostly have HCI value of above 0.75, while South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa have the lowest HCI among the regions. The HCI for India has been estimated at 0.44. The quality adjusted learning has been measured in case of India by using the data as old as 2009.

The key observations regarding HCI for India in the Report are as under:

  • Human Capital Index: A child born in India today will be only 44 per cent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.
  • The HCI in India for females is marginally better than that for males.
  • Further, there has been marked improvement in the HCI components  in India  over the last five years.
  • Probability of Survival to Age 5: 96 out of 100 children born in India survive to age 5.
  • Expected Years of School: In India, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 10.2 years of school by her 18th
  • Harmonized Test Scores: Students in India score 355 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.
  • Learning-adjusted Years of School: Factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of school is only 5.8 years.
  • Adult Survival Rate: Across India, 83 per cent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60.
  • Healthy Growth (Not Stunted Rate): 62 out of 100 children are not stunted. 38 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.
  • Gender Differences: In India, HCI for girls is marginally higher than for boys.

16-TITLI

  • Very severe cyclonic storm ‘Titli’ to move north-westwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve north-eastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha.
  • Rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at Isolated Places over south Odisha.
  • Cyclone Titli has been named by Pakistan.
  • Both the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea experience cyclonic events, however the frequency and intensity of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal is higher.
  • Moreover, nearly 58% of cyclones formed in the Bay of Bengal reach the coast as compared to only 25% of those formed in the Arabian Sea.

Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Cyclone

  • The reason that cyclones such as Titli, Phailin (2013) and Hudhud (2014) typically strike in October is that wind shear (the difference within wind speeds and direction at two different levels) is low during this time; low wind shear, when combined with surface sea temperatures greater than 26°C, raises the likelihood of cyclones. In monsoon season, cyclones are rare because of high wind shear.
  • Since sea surface temperatures and humidity both directly correlate with chances of cyclone formation, the Bay of Bengal is a more likely target because it gets higher rainfall, and because the slow winds around it keep temperatures relatively high: about 28 degrees around the year. Warm air currents enhance this surface temperature and aid the formation of cyclones.
  • In addition, the Bay receives higher rainfall and constant inflow of fresh water from the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. This means that the Bay’s surface water keeps getting refreshed, making it impossible for the warm water to mix with the cooler water below, making it ideal for a depression.
  • On the other hand, the Arabian Sea receives stronger winds that help dissipate the heat, and the lack of constant fresh water supply helps the warm water mix with the cool water, reducing the temperature.
  • Due to the lack of any large landmass between the Pacific and the Bay of Bengal, cyclonic winds easily move into the Bay of Bengal. Once here, the winds encounter the Western Ghats and the Himalayas, either becoming weak or getting blocked in the Bay, but never reaching the Arabian Sea.
  • Adjacent to the northwest Pacific, which is one of the world’s most active basins for typhoons, the Bay of Bengal receives the remnants of major landfalls in the Philippines, China and South Asia. From these places come low-pressure systems that develop into a monsoon depression or a cyclone.

Prediction and Evacuation

  • According to scientists, the prediction is difficult because of budgetary and meteorological factors. E.g.:
    • The US has dedicated aircraft that fly directly into the clouds to study moisture levels and gather various data on cyclone profile. While, India largely rely on satellite images (a top view) that reveals little data on moisture content and intensity.
    • Indian scientists get a more detailed picture only when a cyclone is 300-400 km from the coast, which reduces preparation time.

17-LUBAN

  • Tropical Cyclone Luban is spinning through the Arabian Sea.
  • It is forecast to track toward Oman, Yemen or the Gulf of Aden in the week ahead.
  • The cyclone is named as Luban by oman authorities.
  • Tropical cyclones are most likely to develop in the Arabian Sea in the spring and fall.
  • It usually affects the Arabian Peninsula every one to two years.
  • The cyclone typically weaken as they approach the Arabian Peninsula due to dry desert air.
  • This year, Cyclone Sagar made landfall in western Somalia in May. It was the country’s strongest and westernmost tropical cyclone in records dating to the mid-1960s.

18-GI Tag for Alphonso Mango from Konkan

  • Alphonso Mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and other adjoining areas in Maharashtra, gets a Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.
  • The king of mangoes, Alphonso, better known as ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra has long been one of the world’s most popular fruit and is exported to various countries including Japan, Korea and Europe. New markets such as USA and Australia have recently opened up.

About GI:

  • A Geographical Indication or a GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of the GIs.
  • GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen.
  • Our rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.

Recent developments:

  • Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu launched the logo and tagline for the Geographical Indications (GI) of India and said that the GI will give the rightful share of intellectual property to the artisan and the place of origin of the product.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has taken several initiatives and is actively involved in promotion and marketing of GIs with a vision to enhance the horizon both socially and economically for GI producers.

The first product to get a GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004. There are a total of 325 products from India that carry this indication

19- GeM

  • The National Mission on GeM was launched by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, on 5thof September 2018.

Aim:

  • Creating awareness about GeM, train buyers and sellers, get them registered on GeM and increase the procurement through GeM.
  • This drive has been taken up for the promotion of inclusiveness of all sections of categories of sellers and service providers, highlighting and communicating the value addition in joining GeM, achieving cashless, contactless and paperless transactions, increasing overall efficiency and maximising ease of availability of goods and services.
  • The ongoing National Mission has led to an average saving of 25% across categories.

 

Defense

1- INS Tarangini

  • The sail training ship of Indian Navy, INS Tarangini based at Kochi, returned after a seven month long sailing across the world to a grand reception at naval base,
  • During the voyage, the ship has proudly ‘shown the flag’ and highlighted the diverse culture of India across 15 ports in 13 countries.

About : INS Tarangini

  • INS Tarangini is a three masted ‘square rigged’ barque which carries a total of 20 sails.
  • She is the First Sail Training Ship in Indian Navy and was commissioned on 11 Nov 1997.
  • In her 21 years of glorious service, she has sailed over 2,20,000 nautical miles to date across the world’s oceans.
  • She is the first of two Sail Training Ships in the First Training Squadron, the other being INS Sudarshini.
  • The primary role of these Sail Training Ships is to develop character and professionalism, as well as inculcate the qualities of initiative, courage, resilience and esprit-de-corps amongst the Sea Trainees and also impart practical training to them, primarily on navigation, sailing and seamanship.

2-MedWatch

  • The Indian Air Force has launched an innovative mobile health App named ‘MedWatch’ in keeping with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India, Ayushman Bharat and Mission Indradhanush’ on the occasion of 86th
  • The app is conceived by the doctors of IAF and developed in house by Directorate of Information Technology (DIT) with ZERO financial outlay.

About:

  • ‘MedWatch’ will provide correct, Scientific and authentic health information to air warriors and all citizens of India.
  • The app is available on www.apps.mgov.gov.inand comprises of host of features like information on basic First Aid, Health topics and Nutritional Facts; reminders for timely Medical Review, Vaccination and utility tools like Health Record Card, BMI calculator, helpline numbers and web links.
  • ‘MedWatch’ is the first mobile health app in the three Armed Services.
  • The MedWatch mobile health app is an Indian Air Force initiative and a small contribution to our citizen.

 

3-JIMEX

  • JIMEX-18 is aimed to enhance interoperability, improve understanding and imbibe the best practices of each other.
  • It will comprise a Harbour Phase and a Sea Phase
  • The Harbour Phase of the exercise will include professional and social interactions between ship’s crews, sports fixtures and operational planning for the Sea Phase.
  • The Sea Phase would include Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercises, VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) Drills, Gun Firings, Cross Deck Helo Operations and coordinated operations in Anti-Submarine/ Anti-Air threat scenarios.

Significance

  • The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in Dec 2013 off Chennai.
  • The conduct of JIMEX-18 after five years is indicative of an upswing in the Indo-Japanese defence relations and the continued efforts of both Governments to work closely to enhance safety and security of the global commons in keeping with ‘rule based order’.
  • The two navies have been working in close coordination in Anti-Piracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden (GoA) for the past few years.

 

4- 72nd Infantry Day Celebrations

Aim:

To commemorate the selfless dedication to duty by Indian Army’s gallant Infantrymen, a wreath laying ceremony was organised at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’.

About:

  • General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, along with senior officers, laid wreaths in a solemn ceremony.
  • Sepoy Boota Singh, a recipient of Vir Chakra in 1971 War represented the veterans.
  • Infantry celebrates 27 October each year as Infantry Day to commemorate the first Infantry action post-independence.

Background:

  • In response to the threat posed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Nation, on this day in 1947, the leading elements of the Indian Army from 1stBattalion of the SIKH Regiment air landed at Srinagar and gallantly fought the raiders aided by Pakistan Army.

This bold action by the Indian Army and indomitable courage displayed by the Infantrymen reversed the tide of events and thwarted the adversary’s nefarious designs

Awards in News

1- Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh bags Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for 2014

  • A doyen of Manipuri dance Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh has been selected for the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2014.

Context:

  • The award recognizes his contribution in keeping the tradition of Manipuri dance alive and vibrant, promoting harmony through dance and also pays tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, who, deeply influenced by Manipuri dance, made it an integral part of the education curriculum at Visva Bharati.

 

About him:

  • He has distinguished himself both as an outstanding teacher, performer and choreographer.
  • His work over the years bears witness to his creativity within the framework of traditional Manipuri dance.
  • His choreography has been enriched by elements incorporated from various forms of performing arts of Manipur such as Thang-ta, Nata-Sankirtana, Lai-haraoba and Rasleela.

Background:

  • The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2015 & 2016 is being conferred on the Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh) and on one of India’s greatest sculptors, Shri Ram Vanji Sutar, respectively.
  • The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012 and second was conferred on Shri Zubin Mehta in 2013.
  • The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.

2- Future Policy Gold Award

Context

  • Sikkim has won the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award for its achievement in becoming the world’s first totally organic agriculture state.

Details

  • Sikkim won the Future Policy Award 2018, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries
  • Sikkim became the first state in India to officially announce adoption of organic farming in the year 2003 to ensure long term sustenance of soil fertility, protection of environment and ecology, healthy living and decreasing the risk of health ailments.
  • In 2003, Sikkim stopped imports of chemical fertilizers in the State and since then the cultivatable land there is practically organic and farmers of Sikkim are traditional users of organic manure.
  • Nicknamed the “Oscar for best policies”, the award is co-organised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM — Organics International, and recognises “the world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology”.
  • Brazil, Denmark, Quito and Ecuador shared the Silver award.

 

3- ESIC wins ‘ISSA GOOD Practice Award, Asia & the Pacific 2018’

  • The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has won the ‘ISSA Good Practice Award’ for Administrative Solution for Coverage Extension at the “Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific” held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • The award recognizes the measures taken by ESIC for extension of coverage-SPREE (Scheme for Promoting Registration of Employers and Employees), reduced rate of contribution rates for 24 months in newly implemented areas and raising the wage limit for coverage under the ESI Act, etc.

About:

  • The Regional Social Security Forum for Asia and the Pacific is a triennial Forum, which is the most important social security event in the Region.  For the triennial Regional Forum, ISSA invites submissions for the ISSA Good Practices Award for Asia and the Pacific Regions.
  • The Forum provides unique opportunities to CEOs and Managers of ISSA Member Institutions to discuss key social security challenges and share their experiences.

4- Carnot Prize

  • Recognising the pathbreaking transformations in India’s energy, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design is awarding its fourth annual Carnot Prize to Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal and former Minister of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Government of India.

About:

  • The Carnot Prize is the Kleinman Center’s annual recognition of distinguished contributions to energy policy through scholarship or practice.
  • The most prestigious award in the energy sector, Carnot Prize is named after French physicist Nicolas Sadi Carnot who recognised that the power of the steam engine would “produce a great revolution”in human development.
  • Mark Alan Hughes, founding faculty director, Kleinman Center, commended India’s electrification drive – “Providing power to the world’s energy poor turns on the lights—and also empowers education, sanitation, and health care. It closes the gap between the haves and have nots.”

Indian Initiatives:

  • In the last four years, energy efficiency has become a people’s movement in India, making the Government’s UJALA scheme the world’s largest LED distribution programme, and along with private sector participation, 130 crore LED bulbs have been distributed, making India brighter and cleaner.
  • It is a matter of immense pride for India that in several newly electrified villages, the first consumers of electricity are using LED bulbs and rooftop solar panels, realising India’s vision of sustainable, universal, and affordable energy access.

 

5- PM awarded the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize

  • The Seoul Peace Prize Committee has decided to confer the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in recognition of his dedication to improving international cooperation, raising global economic growth, accelerating the Human Development of the people of India by fostering economic growth in the world’s fastest growing large economy and furthering the development of democracy through anti-corruption and social integration efforts.
  • The Committee lauded PM’s initiatives to make the government cleaner through anti-corruption measures and demonetization.
  • The Committee also credited Prime Minister for his contribution towards regional and global peace through a proactive foreign policy with countries around the world under the ‘Modi Doctrine’ and the ‘Act East Policy.’
  • Prime Minister Modi is the fourteenth recipient of this award.

Background

  • The Seoul Peace Prize was established in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul, Republic of Korea – an event in which 160 nations from across the world took part, creating harmony and friendship and a worldwide atmosphere of peace and reconciliation.
  • The Seoul Peace Prize was established to crystallize the Korean people’s yearning for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world.
  • The Seoul Peace Prize has been awarded biennially to those individuals who have made their mark through contributions to the harmony of mankind, reconciliation between nations and to world peace.

 

 

 

 




DESIRE IAS PIB Mains Special September 2018 

DESIRE IAS

PIB

Mains Special

September 2018 

GS-1

Nothing …

 

GS-2 (Polity and Governance)

Government constitutes Competition Law Review Committee

Context

  • In pursuance of its objective of ensuring that Legislation is in sync with the needs of strong economic fundamentals, the Government has constituted a Competition Law Review Committee to review the Competition Act.

The Terms of References of the Committee are as follows:-

  • To review the Competition Act/ Rules/ Regulations, in view of changing business environment and bring necessary changes, if required;
  • To look into international best practices in the competition fields, especially anti-trust laws, merger guidelines and handling cross border competition issues;
  • To study other regulatory regimes/ institutional mechanisms/ government policies which overlap with the Competition Act;
  • Any other matters related to competition issue and considered necessary by the Committee.

Background

  • The Competition Act was passed in the year 2002 and the Competition Commission of India was set up in pursuance of the same.
  • The Commission started functioning in right earnest from 2009 and has contributed immensely towards the development of competition and fair play practices in the Indian market.
  • During the past nine years the size of the Indian Economy has grown immensely and India is today amongst the top five Economies in the World and poised to forge ahead further.
  • In this context, it is essential that Competition Law is strengthened, and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.

 

4thWorld Summit on Accreditation (WOSA-2018)

  • Union Minister for HRD Shri Prakash Javadekar Inaugurates 4th World Summit on Accreditation (WOSA-2018). Speaking on this occasion the Minister said that ‘Ratings and Rankings’ both the quality hallmark for any educational institutions therefore accreditation becomes very important.
  • He further said that we need to cover each and every institution under accreditation but right now the number of accredited institutions is very less.
  • He said that that it may be for two reasons first some institutions do not want to come under accreditation and second we have some restriction in our own accreditation mechanism therefore government wants to increase the strength of NBA and NAAC so that more number of institutions can be accredited.

Background

  • The National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Human Resource Development engaged in quality assurance of the programs offered by the professional and technical institutions in India through accreditation.
  • NBA has been accorded Permanent Signatory Status of Washington Accord since June, 2014.
  • It has adopted internationally implemented outcome based assessment and accreditation, to ensure that the graduates of the NBA accredited programs are globally competent and relevant.

WOSA 2018

  • The focus of WOSA 2018 is on “CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN OUTCOME BASED ACCREDITATION”.

 

Two-day National Orientation workshop on National e-Vidhan Application

Aim:

  • The focus of the workshop would be to encourage all State Legislatures to move towards e-Vidhan platform and bring in transparency, accountability and responsiveness in their conduct of business, through the use of technology.
  • NeVA is a member-centric, decentralised digital application that makes information available on digital platform about day to day functioning of Legislative Houses covering, among other areas, List of Business (LOB), Notices, Bulletin-1, Bulletin-2, Starred/ Unstarred Questions including reply by the Departments (Q&A), Bills: Introduced/ Consideration & Passing, Synopsis of Proceedings, House Proceedings-Verbatim, Committees Reports, Rules & Procedures, Digital Library, Provisional Calendar, Reference material, Rotation of Ministries, Contacts, BudgetPress Releases etc.
  • The application would host a secure page for each Member of the House for submitting Questions & other Notices.

 

Two Day Regional Conference on Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts

  • The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG), Government of India in association with Government of Madhya Pradesh is organizing a Regional Conference on Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts
  • This Conference is an effort to create a common platform to share experiences in the formulation and implementation of Best Practices in Citizen Centric Governance and improved Public Service Delivery through e-Governance, transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly effective administration.

District Disability Rehabilitation Centres to be strengthened

  • All multi-storyed government buildings, railway stations, airports and bus stands are being made accessible for Divyangjan with lifts, ramps and escalators under ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’.
  • The Ministry has increased the categories of Divyangjan from 7 to 21.
  • Six new scholarships have been started since the year 2015 for the educational upliftment of Divyangjan.
  • Five per cent reservation has been provided to them for higher education and four per cent in Government jobs.
  • More than 7300ADIP Camps have been organised by the Ministry nationwide, for distribution of assistive devices and equipments to Divyangjan.
  • The Ministry has also arranged Cochlear implant surgeries to 1300 hearing impaired children.

Salient features of the District Disability Rehabilitation Centres are:

  1. 310 districts have been identified and 263 DDRCs have been set up;
  2. Awareness generation, early intervention and assessment of the need of assistive devices to Divyangjans;
  3. Therapeutic services such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy etc. to Divyangjans through rehabilitation professionals; and
  4. Equipment for rehabilitation services and Cost norms of the Scheme has been revised and enhanced to 2.5 times w.e.f. 01/04/2018.

 

All India Pension Adalat

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the ‘Pension Adalat’, organised by the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India.
  • Pension Adalats will help in on-the-spot redressal of pensioners’ grievances.
  • The Pension Adalats are being convened with the objective of bringing on a common table the aggrieved pensioner, the concerned department, the bank or CGHS representative, wherever relevant, so that such cases can be settled across the table within the framework of extant rules.

Health

Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention in New Delhi.
  • Achieving universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene by 2030 is a major challenge in many parts of the world.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission has been shaped by among the world’s leading specialists on sanitation. It has been scripted by common Indians of uncommon quality – men and women of rare courage, of foresight, social empathy and civic pride.
    • Five important themes that countries may choose to adopt while meeting the problem of insufficient sanitation, these are –
      • ensure people lead the planning;
      • implementation and management of sanitation programmes;
      • use smart and affordable technologies for effective and efficient service delivery;
      • eliminate all forms of inequalities in service delivery;
      • create innovative financing instruments to fund and sustain the sanitation movement; and
      • develop capacities within the government to plan, implement and monitor sanitation programmes.

 

Health Ministry partners with Dell and Tata Trusts

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, exchanged the MoUs with the Tata Trusts and Dell to provide a technological platform for nationwide prevention, control, screening and management program of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Aim:

  • Bringing healthcare technology transformation in Comprehensive Primary Health Care NCD program under Ayushman Bharat, the Health Ministry is working with Dell as technology partner and the Tata Trusts as deployment partner.
  • A cloud-based mobile, web and analytics solution has been developed to digitize health records to aid the population-based screening program, to bring quality health services at door step, to enable increased productivity for health workers and doctors, and to facilitate monitoring of delivery of services by state and district administrators.

 

Rashtriya Poshan Maah celebrated at CCRAS

Context:

  • Ministry of AYUSH and Central Council of Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), all 25 Clinical Research Institutes of CCRAS are conducting various health care activities during the Rashtriya Poshan Maah being observed in the month of September, 2018.

Activities Undertaken:

  • During the camp,  some medicinal plants of daily use (home remedies) have been displayed for the knowledge of patients, importance of nutrition from an Ayurvedic perspective was shared with the participants, visitors and patients, the female patients at IPD were counselled accordingly along with other OPD patients.
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers were also sensitized towards the significance of nutrition and the banners, charts and brochures have been prepared, displayed and distributed for creating awareness.

Objective:

  • To improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating mothers by leveraging technology, a targeted approach and convergence, issued directives to its Research Councils and Institutes for conducting activities for the welfare of general public.

 

Education

Conference on Academic Leadership on Education for Resurgence

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Conference on Academic Leadership on Education for Resurgence in Vigyan Bhawan and said that when one thinks of resurgence or revival, the first image that comes to mind is of Swami Vivekananda, who presented before the world, the strength of Indian thought.

 The highlights of PM Modi’s speech:

  • Knowledge and education are not restricted to books
  • The purpose of education is to enable balanced growth of every dimension of a human being, which is not possible without innovation.
  • In our ancient/old universities like Takshshila, Nalanda and Vikramashila, innovation was given emphasis along with Knowledge.
  • In our ancient universities like Nalanda, Vikramshila and Takshashila both knowledge and innovation were equal given importance.
  • I insist that students should give knowledge in the class room of the College, University but they also add them to the aspirations of the country.
  • Centre strives to make educational institutions in the country’s needs at every level.
  • With this vision, we have started the Atal Tinkering Lab. Focusing on increasing trend of innovation in schoolchildren.
  • To improve the infrastructure of education, the Revitalization of Infrastructure and Systems in Education or RISE programme has been started. It aims to spend one lakh crores by 2022.
  • The government has set up HEFA- that is, High Education Funding Agency, which will provide financial assistance in the formation of higher educational institutions.
  • Government has decided to increase the budget of National Higher Education Campaign.

 

I.R.

Indo-Uzbek Business Meet

  • The Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, said that India is committed for a strong economic partnership with Uzbekistan.
  • The services sector has huge potential for boosting economic growth and employment generation and will play an important role in Indo-Uzbekistan partnership.
  • Trade relations between India and Uzbekistan are governed by the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation signed in May 1993. This agreement provides for mutual MFN treatment, promotion of economic, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation, including active participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in bilateral economic cooperation.
  • India and Uzbekistan signed an Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation in 1993, and for Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection in May 1999. The Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation has met ten times.
  • India’s exports to Uzbekistan includes pharmaceutical products, mechanical equipment, vehicles and optical instruments.
  • India imports fruits and vegetables, services, fertilizers and lubricants from Uzbekistan.

 

MoU between NITI Aayog, and Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation (MEDRF)

Context:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, and Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation (MEDRF) in the field of social, economic, industrial and regional development programs.

Objective:

  • To explore the potential of cooperation in the framework of preparation and implementation of strategies and programs of social, economic, industrial and regional development. It provides a framework and enabling environment to understand each other’s strengths, market, technologies, policies, etc.

The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation:

  • Conducting and execution of joint research projects related to issues of mutual interest;
  • Exchange of information and research works related to issues of mutual interest   between   the two sides,   including   information   on   government strategies and development programs;
  • Visits of relevant specialists of both sides for participation in joint events;
  • Organization of seminars, conferences and other meetings on agreed agenda; and
  • Other forms of cooperation as per mutual consent of the Sides.

 

President Kovind in Cyprus

  • The President said that India’s overriding mission is its economic growth and modernisation, with the fruits of development reaching all sections of our people.

International Solar Alliance:

  • The President said that earlier this year India co-founded and hosted the inaugural conference of the International Solar Alliance.
  • The ISA is central to our effort to mobilise international resources and technologies to combat climate change. The scope for renewable energy is immense and will be crucial to checking rising temperatures and rising seas. He invited Cyprus to become part of the ISA family.

Agreements Signed:

  • Two bilateral agreements were signed; the first, between the Financial Intelligence Unit, India, and Unit for Combating Money Laundering of Cyprus, aims at sharing financial intelligence and fighting money laundering, terror financing and related crimes.
  • The second agreement commits both countries to greater cooperation on environmental issues.

India and Morocco bilateral cooperation

Context:

  • India and Morocco agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and security.

Two bilateral MoUs:

  • ‘Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space’ between ISRO and the Moroccan Centre of Remote Sensing and
  • ‘Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security’ between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT –IN), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Moroccan Computer Response Team (ma-CERT) were signed in the presence of Raksha Mantri and the Moroccan Defence Minister.

 

India and Morocco sign Air Services Agreement

  • India and Morocco signed the revised Air Services Agreement between the two countries enabling greater connectivity through a modernized agreement.

Benefits:

  • Greater air connectivity between India and Morocco and will enable the airlines of each side to enter into code share with airlines of other party, as well as provide greater freedom in mounting direct flights.
  • These developments in the Civil Aviation sector will enable the people of each country to travel to the other country leading to better economic and cultural ties.

 

Vice President’s visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania

Some key outcomes:

  1. India’s aspiration to be on UNSC and for taking forward UN reforms was supported.
  2. India’s stand on terror and support for early adoption of United Nation’s Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism was endorsed.
  3. Strong support for resuming EU-India trade agreement after Romania assumes Presidency of EU.
  4. Business Forums generated a good deal of enthusiasm among the industrialists and businessmen in every country as they got to know about India’s transformative initiatives.  The growth story and the reports from World Bank, IMF quoted by Vice President enhanced awareness.
  5. Romania showed a special interest in Space and Aerospace. Malta expressed its desire to join the International Solar Alliance.
  6. The vice President underscored the growing importance of India on the world stage and drew attention to four key features that need to be recognised. He called them 4Ds – Democracy, Demographic dividend, Demand and Diaspora.
  7. The address to the Serbian Parliament was very well received and the admiration for India as the largest democracy and a vibrant, well-functioning polity was more than evident in the standing ovation the Vice President received at the end of his address.
  8. MOUs entered into related to plant protection, tourism, air services, oil research, diplomatic training and maritime cooperation.
  9. In all the three countries, there was considerable interest in Yoga and Ayurveda and in Romania, the Vice President launched two books on Ayurveda and inaugurated an Ayurveda Information Centre.

 

Relationship between India and Romania

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that India and Romania are growing at an unprecedented and steady pace during his two-day visit to Romania.
  • India signs MoU with Romania in the field of Petroleum and Gas.
  • Romania support’s for resumption of talks on India-European Union Broad-based Trade & Investment Agreement
  • Romania also supports India in its aspiration for a permanent seat in UN Security Council.
  • Romanian companies are also operating in India and the cumulative FDI inflow from Romania to India is around USD 7.5 million.
  • Opportunities for bilateral investment flows between a growing Romanian economy and a huge Indian market in sectors such as IT, automobiles, mining, agriculture and food processing, tourism, healthcare products and energy.

 

MoU between India and South Africa

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.

Salient Features:

  • Remote sensing of the earth;
  • Satellite communication and satellite-based navigation;
  • Space science and planetary exploration;
  • Use of spacecraft, launch vehicles, space systems and ground systems;
  • Practical applications of space technology including geospatial tools and techniques; and
  • Other areas of cooperation to be determined by the Parties.

 Cooperating Terms:

  • Planning and implementation of joint space projects of mutual benefit and interest;
  • Establishment, operation and maintenance of ground stations for supporting space activities;
  • Sharing of satellite data, results of experiments, and scientific and technological information;
  • Joint research and developmental activities;
  • Exchange of technical and scientific personnel designated to participate in the cooperative programmes;
  • Capacity building in space science and technology, and space application programmes for societal purposes;
  • Organization of joint symposia, conferences and scientific meetings; and
  • Additional forms of cooperation will be determined in writing upon mutual consent between the Parties.

Benefits:

  • Signing of this MoU shall enable pursuing the potential areas of cooperation such as space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth, satellite communication and satellite-based navigation; space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground systems; and application of space technology.

 

India and Serbia: Celebrates 70 years of diplomatic relations

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that India and Serbia have historic and special relations as co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement and our relationship is based on mutual trust, mutual understanding and support to each other on issues of core interest.

Discussed on:

  • India and Serbia have historic and special relations as co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • India and Serbia celebrate 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations.
  • Releases commemorative stamp on Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla.
  • Witnesses signing of MoUs on cooperation in the fields of Plant Health and Plant Quarantine and a revised Air Services.
  • Makes joint Press Statement.
  • Witnesses Exhibition on Belgrade/New Delhi – 70 years of Diplomatic Relations.
  • Terrorism is the most serious global threat in today’s world;
  • Holds bilateral discussions with the President of Serbia

 

GS-3

Indian Ports Association appoints Managed Service Provider

  • The five major port trusts, viz, Mumbai Port TrustKolkata Port TrustChennai Port TrustDeendayal Port Trustand Paradip Port Trust have come together in this collaborative effort towards building a common shared platform for modernization and automation of port processes.
  • The key benefits from the system in Port and Shipping sector include:
    • Improve India’s ranking in Ease of doing business
    • Enable faster request processing in delivery of services with better turnaround time
    • Reduction in manual intervention/documentation required
    • Reduction in overall Transaction time and costs
    • Improve the efficiency of port operations, quick turn round of vessel and subsequent less dwell time
    • Dashboard to ports/MOS for Real Time MIS on cargo/ship movements & Exim transactions
    • Simplified and accelerated procedures for cargo entry, exit or transit
    • Enhanced transparency across systems

 

Twenty Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) centres

  • Twenty Embryo Transfer Technology Centres are being established in the country and a proposal of 19 centres has been approved so far.
  • This was stated by the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh at the foundation laying ceremony of Embryo transfer Technology ceremony of Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) centre in the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BALF), Uruilikanchan, Pune.
  • 3000 high genetic merit bulls of indigenous bovine breeds are being produced from these centres. Two of these centres are to be set up in Nagpur and Pune in Maharashtra.
  • The Minister observed that agriculture and dairy business complement each other for the social and economic upliftment of cattle farmers.
  • To achieve this objective, it is essential to have good quality livestock breed in order to increase production. Under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, 10 semen centres have been identified for the production of Sex Sorted Semen for the production of more female animals.
  • INDUSCHIP has been developed for genomic selection of indigenous breeds and 6000 dairy animals have been genetically evaluated using INDUSCHIP.
  • Under the Pashu Sanjivni component of the scheme, 9 crore milch animals are being identified using UID (Unique Identification Device).

 

Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics 

  • Union Minister of Electronics & IT, Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad today inaugurated Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics (CEDA) in New Delhi.
  • Minister of State for Electronics & IT  Sh. S.S. Ahluwalia said that data analysis has been traditionally done since the time of Kautaliya for effective decision making, but today with great capabilities achieved in Information and communication technologies Data analysis can help in effective and efficient governance.
  • Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics (CEDA) will aid in fast-tracking the adoption of advanced analytics in government.

CEDA aims to:

  • Be a focal point and centre of expertise in data analytics for government and public sector

It aims at providing following services to Government:

  1. Data Quality Assurance Services –. The centre will provide data profiling tools and techniques and necessary expertise to analyse the data for quality issues. While data cleaning shall be done for making the data ready for analytical use, recommendations shall also be given in order to help the department take necessary actions to further improve their data collection process.
  2. Custom-built Data Analytics Solutions – Build analytic solutions that are specific to a particular problem which may relate to a single or a combination of departments.
  3. Develop reusable assets– This will be one of the many USPs of the centre. CEDA will build Data Analytic solutions that address a generic data analytics problem that is prevalent across departments or States. Such a solution will then be made available to other departments/states as a pre-built analytic solution that can be operationalized for the new States at a cost effective and a much faster rate.
  4. Knowledge Management – CEDA will implement knowledge repository to collect learnings from across projects and share best practices across initiatives and will ensure usage of best practices in across the government.
  5. Capacity Building and Self Service Analytics – Besides creating the analytics solutions for the government departments, the centre’s focus would also be to train and enable the departments to do self-service analytics by simplifying the data in a manner in which an administrator can use it with minimum technical support.
  6. Change Management – CEDA will help ministries in assessing impact from the analytics solutions and help in understanding changes to organizational roles and responsibilities

 

FDI in Telecom Sector

Aim:

  • Provide relevant information relating to the FDI policy and the telecommunications sector in India at one place to facilitate the stakeholders.
  • Telecom Sector is also playing an important role in agriculture, poverty eradication, disaster preparedness and financial inclusion.
  • FDI an important component of economic growth can play an important role in the sector as it has been doing.

 

India International Science Festival

  • The fourth edition of India International Science Festival will be inaugurated by President of India in Lucknow on October 6, 2018.
  • IISF-2018 with its focal theme “Science for Transformation” will have 23 special events.
  • The Global Indian Science & Technology Stakeholders Meet (GIST), Industry Academia Meet and Science & Technology for Harnessing Innovations (SATHI) – A National startup entrepreneurship summit and Student Science Village are some of the important events, being organized.
  • The Science Village program is linked with the Pradhan Mantri Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to reach out to the rural masses and propagate science and for seeking scientific solutions to the diverse challenges facing our society, particularly rural India.
  • As World record attempts have been a key part of IISF since 2015, in IISF 2018, a World Record attempt will be made to “isolate DNA” by 500 students from class 8thto 10th 
  • Nav Bharat Nirman and the Science and Literary Festival are the other highlights of IISF 2018.

 

Offset Policy in Defence

  • The Offset Policy was formally announced for the first time in 2005 and has been revised several times.
  • It mandates foreign suppliers of equipment’s to spend certain percent of the contract value in India. It was first revised in 2006 and then again in 2011 and in 2016. Sometimes this may take place with technology transfer.
  • Offset policy necessarily aims at acquisition and development of the state of the art technologies and create world class defence production industry which should be able to meet both domestic and export requirements of the country.

Details

  • The key objectives of the Defence Offset Policy is to leverage the capital acquisitions to develop Indian defence industry by fostering development of internationally competitive enterprises; augmenting capacity for research and development in defence sector and to encourage development of synergistic sector like civil aerospace and internal security.
  • The offset can be discharged by many means such as direct purchase of eligible products/services, FDI in joint ventures and investment towards equipment and transfer of technology.
  • As per Defence Offset Guidelines, the foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is free to select any Indian company as its offset partner.
  • All successful offset programmes have certain common well defined characteristics, purposeful selection in consonance with well-defined objectives, hard negotiations, detailed planning and close oversight.
  • It is being deduced that Offset Policy aims at defence industrial development of country.

 Concerns

  • Equipment Acquisition in Jeopardy:In their enthusiasm to obtain order, many vendors fail to grasp the full implications of offset liabilities. They tend to take obligation lightly and do not make adequate budgetary provisions.
  • Time Delays:Negotiations and deliberations may hinder fast implementation and may cause undue delay
  • Offset as Incidental Considerations:Offset will work best when aspirations of both the vendor and buyer country are fulfilled and resulting in a win-win situation for both seller and buyer. An analysis of buyers’ perspective on offsets to gain maximum advantages and vendors’ reluctance to give away too much may lead to the impression that offsets aspirations of buyer and possible approach towards same by vendor are dichotomous.
  • Technology received in few countries also show that it was outdated and did not improve competitions of indigenous industry.
  • Offsets did not create new markets for local produce.

Recommendations

  • Offset should not delay main acquisition nor should it drive acquisition of equipment and technology.
  • Wherever feasible, we should resort to direct offsets.
  • Technology being obtained through offsets should be both relevant and contemporary.

 

 

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

  • An overarching structure, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the Defence Minister was constituted for overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process.

Objective:

  • The objective of the Defence Acquisition Council is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

Context:

  • The DAC accorded approval for procurement of 1000 engines of 1000 BHP for fitment in T-72 tanks of the Army under ‘Buy & Make’ category and at an approximate cost of over Rs 2300 crore. Post transfer of technology most of these engines will be manufactured by Ordnance Factories Board (OFB). The engines will enhance mobility, agility and acceleration of T-72 tanks making them more versatile and effective in the battlefield.

India International Convention and Expo Centre

  • The commission for the India International Convention & Expo Centre in Dwarka (IICC Dwarka) is the result of the international competition organised by the DMICDC (Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation) in January 2017.
  • The Centre is going to be a world-class state-of-the-art Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre, with facilities like financial, hospitality and retail services located in Sector 25, Dwarka.
  • It is a 100% Government owned company under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project

  • The Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) is an initiative being undertaken by the Central Water Commission (CWC), Government of India with World Bank loan assistance, to improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner, and to strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating Implementing Agencies across participating States as well as in the CWC.

Objective:

  1. Component-I: – Rehabilitation of Dam and its Appurtenant Structures,
  2. Component-II: – Institutional Strengthening and
  3. Component-III: – Project Management.
  • The Scheme envisages comprehensive rehabilitation of 198 existing dam projects located in seven states of India namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand (Damodar Valley Corporation) and Uttarakhand (Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited).

 

DAY-NRLM

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the extension of timeline for implementation of the Special Package under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) for Jammu & Kashmir for another period of one year during 2018-19.

Impact:

  • This will help in covering all the vulnerable rural households in the State (estimated at two thirds of the total number of households) within a definite time frame.
  • It will ensure mobilization of households under the auto inclusion category and households with at least one deprivation category listed in the Socio Economic Caste Census – 2011.
  • It will also ensure coverage of all the blocks in Jammu & Kashmir under DAY-NRLM and ensures social inclusion, social development, promotion of livelihoods leading to poverty alleviation in the State.

Background:

  • The Special Package as approved in May 2013 could not be fully implemented due to unavoidable reasons and disturbed conditions in the State.
  • The State Government has requested Government of India to consider extension of the earlier approved implementation schedule of the Special Package and continued funding of DAY-NRLM in Jammu and Kashmir on a demand driven basis without linking allocation with poverty ratio during this extended period.
  • The approval by the Cabinet will give a boost to the vulnerable rural families in Jammu & Kashmir.

 

Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on Research & innovation in agriculture

  • Research and innovation in the field of agriculture must reach farmers. He has urged scientists and researchers to collaborate with farmers to make agriculture more affordable and viable.
  • Empowering farmer and strengthening agriculture would help in developing rural India
  • Farming technique tested across Andhra Pradesh can be a model for sustainable agriculture as it reduces the heavy input cost on agriculture and help boost productivity. The Zero Budget Natural Farming has the potential to enhance the income or profit margins for farmers who are often under distress owing to debt.
  • Called on both farmers, officials and scientists to make united efforts to facilitate farmers understand new technologies and reduce input cost of agriculture.

 

Indian Railways undertakes various IT initiatives

  • The major initiatives taken by Indian Railways in this regard:

Tracking of trains using newer technologies:

  • A Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) is being implemented, whereby GPS tracking devices would communicate using satellite communications.

Handheld Devices on trains:

  • Handheld Terminals (HHTs) are being provided to the Train Ticket Examiners (TTEs) to be able to check the reserved coaches, allot the vacant berths and transmit information on available berths to the subsequent stations.
  • The HHT can also access the ticketing application and collect excess fares as per rules. The terminal can potentially connect to a Point of Sale (POS) machine and charges can be collected digitally.

Modernisation of Ticketing Website (IRCTC):

  • Over the last four years, the capacity of the website has increased to 20,000 tickets per minute starting from 2000 tickets per minute in 2014, a ten-fold increase.

Paperless Unreserved Ticketing through Mobile Phones:

  • This has eliminated the need for passengers to stand in queue for getting tickets for journey in unreserved compartments of trains.  The ticket is delivered on the Mobile Phone and is embedded with QR Code.

Indian Railway e-Procurement System (IREPS):

  • Complete tendering activity of Indian Railways for procurement of goods, services & works and e-auction of scrap sale is on IREPS.
  • IREPS system is largest such G to B portal in India.
  • It has helped in achieving objectives of transparency, efficiency and improving of ease of doing business.

 

Smart City Expo India 2018

  • The Vice President of India was addressing the inaugural session of the Smart City Expo India 2018, in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Some important points from his speech:

  • The creation of pedestrian non-motorized zones is the need of the hour curb traffic congestions.
  • Governance at door step is the key objective of smart cities and he asked authorities to work towards digitization of city governance, services, certifications and approvals without unnecessary personal interface.
  • Develop Smart Village at par with Smart Cities.
  • Social development should be at the core of every project undertaken by Smart Cities.
  • Vulnerabilities of the marginalized sections of the society must be kept in mind.

 

 

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Desire IAS PIB September 2018 Prelim Special

 

Desire IAS

PIB

September 2018

Prelim Special

 

Index

  1. Recent Mobiles Apps or Portals
  2. New Scheme or Campaign
  3. Important Days
  4. Polity & Health
  5. Economy
  6. IR
  7. Defense
  8. Tit Bits

 

 

Recent Mobiles Apps or Portals Launched 

 Chinta Se Mukti“ mobile app

  • ESIC “Chinta Se Mukti“ mobile app is  available on UMANG platform of Govt. of India.
  • With this app, the Insured Persons can view their contribution history, personal profile, claim status and also their entitlement to benefits.
  • Grievances can also be lodged through this app.
  • Insured Persons can also view knowledge bank on health topics and audio-visuals on benefits under ESI Scheme.

 

NeVA-mobile app

  • The mNeVA (NeVA-mobile app) is a device neutral and user friendly app that has made information on conduct of business in Legislatures accessible anytime, anywhere to everyone.
  • It is a work-flow based app deployed in Cloud (Meghraj) which helps the Chair of the House to conduct the proceedings of the House smoothly and the members to carry out their duties in the House efficiently.
  • NeVA-mobile App is available for download from Play store and App store for Android and iOS mobiles respectively.

Background:

  • e-Vidhan is a Mission Mode Project to digitize and make the functioning of State Legislatures paperless.
  • This is part of Digital India programme and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
  • Desires to roll out e-Vidhan as NeVA covering all 40 Houses including two Houses of Parliament and thereby putting all them on a single platform and proving the theory of ‘One Nation One Application’.

 

Jan Dhan Darshak

  • Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre (NIC) has jointly developed a mobile app called Jan Dhan Darshak as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative.
  • This app will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country.
  • Jan Dhan Darshak app will be in a unique position to provide a citizen centric platform for locating financial service touch points across all providers such as banks, post office, CSC, etc.
  • These services could be availed as per the needs and convenience of the common people.

Features of this app:

  • Find nearby Financial touch points, based on current location (Branches/ATM/Post offices)
  • Search by place name
  • Search by place name also available with Voice Interface
  • Phone number of bank branches available in app, with the facility of call button for integrated dialing
  • Users’ feedback will go directly to the concerned bank for carrying out the necessary updation in data on financial touch points.

 

Agmark online system

  • Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh launched the online software for Agmark.
  • The application processes related to Agmark certification are being done online by the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection (DMI). The process of application will be simple, quick, transparent and 24×7.
  • The Agmark online system is being implemented across the country to conduct quality control functions.
  • Through the Agmark online system, certificate of authorisation (domestic), permission of printing press, permission of laboratories (domestic) and services related to laboratory information management system will be provided online.
  • In the new online application system, there are provisions for online receipt of fees from the applicants.

 

Launching of two portals to strengthen Women Safety

  • The Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal “cybercrime.gov.in” will receive complaints from citizens on objectionable online content related to child pornography, child sexual abuse material, sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape.
  • The National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), which is accessible only to law enforcement agencies, will assist in effectively tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences.

 

Leveraging IT for Mobility

Ministry of Railways & Centre for Railway Information Services (CRIS) organised a seminar on “Leveraging IT for Mobility” also launched a new app – “AAPOORTI’ mobile App of ‘Indian Railways e-procurement system’.

About Aapoorti:

  • The ‘Aapoorti’ mobile App of ‘Indian Railways e-procurement system’.
  • This App provides information and data related to e-tendering and e-auction related activities of Indian Railways.
  • For e-tendering activities, users can see details related to tenders published, tenders closed, purchase orders placed.
  • For activities related to e-auction of scrap sale, users can see upcoming auctions, auction schedules, sale conditions, details of material available for e-auction, auctioning units.
  • User manuals of IREPS are also made available on the App.
  • The App also provides for rating of the app and taking feedback from users which shall help us continuously improve the app.

 

The logo and web portal for commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind launched the logo and the web portal (http://gandhi.gov.in/) for commemoration of 150thbirth anniversary of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • The designs of the logo with colour guide are available on the web-site of https://gandhi.gov.in/download.htmlfor download:-
  1. Logo in original form (Main Logo)
  2. Logo for use in single colour (for use in black and white)
  3. Logo in reverse form with light/bright background
  4. Logo in reverse form with dark background
  • The salient features of the new web portal are:
  1. To identify visitors from different geography and serve them personalized information;
  2. Organizations & individuals can join celebration and submit their Karyanjali through an easy upload process.
  3. Information related to Gandhian literature, philosophy, audios, videos, rare photos are available in the portal.
  • The webportal is participatory in nature and all the participating organizations will be able to upload their activities regarding commemoration on the website.
  • It also has a unique feature Gandhipedia which will be a repository of Gandhian knowledge and will continue to grow with time.
  • The two year long celebrations from 2ndOctober, 2018 to 02ndOctober, 2020 will be held across the country and all over the globe to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

 

Application of GIS (Geographic Information System) in Disaster Management

  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is conducting a two-day training-cum-workshop programme on ‘Application of GIS (Geographic Information System) in Disaster Management’.
  • A total of 19 representatives from 12 States, UTs and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are participating in the training programme which will enable them to understand the need, role and scope of web-based GIS service for management of disasters more efficiently and effectively through an integrated platform.

Aim:

  • To help participants develop skills for effectively utilising the geo-information tools for disaster management.

About:

  • NDMA is working towards integrating geospatial data for research, mitigation and post disaster management. This system will help the Centre as well as State Governments, local bodies, civil societies and other stakeholders to handle the complete disaster cycle in an effective and efficient manner.

 

All India Radio Streaming Services on Amazon Alexa Smart Speakers

  • Vividh Bharati and 14 other regional language streaming services of All India Radio will be streamed on Amazon Alexa.
  • Archival assets of All India Radio will be made available in Amazon Alexa in near future.
  • All India Radio will get an additional platform for global and domestic audiences and will cover all the shadow areas of the terrestrial broadcasting in the regional, headquarters and metro cities.
  • Alexa would supplement All India Radio’s website and App.

 

New Scheme or Campaign   Launched

Rashtriya Poshan Maah

Event Details:

  • When: Sep 01, 2018 to Sep 30, 2018
  • Where: Across the country

About:

  • Rashtriya Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month) is being observed during the month of September 2018.
  • The programme-an initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development and NITI Aayog is supported by 18 line Ministries/Departments/Government Organizations.
  • It seeks to synergise all efforts by leveraging technology and intends to take nutrition awareness to the level of Jan Andolan or People’s Movement.
  • The programme focuses on 8 themes– Antenatal Care, Optimal Breastfeeding (Early & Exclusive), Complementary Feeding, Anemia, Growth Monitoring, and Girls-education, diet, right age of Marriage, Hygiene & Sanitation, and Food Fortification.
  • Various activities are planned for to the month of September which will be celebrated nationwide as Poshan Maah. Activities like- Prabhat Pheri, POSHAN Melas, POSHAN Rallies & Walks, Nukkad Nataks, Yuva Shakti Rallies, School Based Events, Recipe Demonstration, Public Events are planned.
  • The People’s Movement intends to reach 11 crore beneficiaries during the Nutrition Month itself.

The speciality of the programme is that activities are to be updated by all the Ministries on the Jan Andholan Dash-board for continuous monitoring.

PM launches “Swachhata Hi Seva”

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today launched the ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ Movement.
  • It aimsat generating greater public participation towards Swachhta.
  • It is being organized in the run up to the fourth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission, on October 2nd, 2018, which will also mark the commencement of the 150thyear celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He interacted with a cross-section of people from 17 locations across the country, via video conferencing.
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has led to a decrease in cases of diseases such as diarrhoea.
  • From the Gateway of India in Mumbai, actor Amitabh Bachchan explained the various cleanliness activities he has been involved in, including cleaning of a beach in Mumbai.
  • The Prime Minister appreciated the role of the Swachhagrahis, and said their role would always be remembered in history. He said that our confidence and resolve towards cleanliness is sky-high.

 

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

  • The Prime Minister will launch the scheme on September 23 but effectively it will become operational from September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
  • With the launch by the Prime Minister, 26-27 states and UTs are likely to immediately commence the PMJAY.

Aim:

  • The mega healthcare scheme provides medical cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families, constituting 40 per cent of India’s total population.

 

Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign

  • ‘Swachhata Hi Seva 2018’ a jan andolanfor Swachhata to be observed in the run-up to the 4thanniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), i.e. from September 15th to October 2nd 2018, as the sanitation movement enters its final leg.

Campaign Objectives

  • Accelerate the momentum of Swachh Bharat in the run-up to its 4thanniversary
  • Re-energise the Swachh Bharat Jan Andolan and lay down the foundation of sustainability
  • Reinforce the concept of “Sanitation as everyone’s business”
  • Commence Mahatma Gandhi’s 150thbirth year celebrations with a nationwide campaign

Cleaning of Iconic Places

  • Focus on the 30 Swachh Iconic Places for cleanliness activities

Corporate Sector                                                                       

  • A drive will be run to have all management, staff, employees and workers to undertake shramdaan both inside their campuses and in adjoining public places

Media                                                            

  • Media has been playing a crucial role in achieving the goals of SBM. During the SHS fortnight, media is requested to create mass awareness and increase outreach across the country.
  • The regular coverage and reporting of Shramdaan activities during SHS by various stakeholders and sections of the community will be vital for realizing the goal of Swachh Bharat.

 

Paryatan Parv

  • The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders is organizing the second edition of “Paryatan Parv”, a nation-wide celebration of Tourism, from the 16thto 27th September, 2018.

Paryatan Parv 2018

  • Objective:
    • Drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.
  • The three components of Paryatan Parv, are:
    • Dekho Apna Desh: To encourage Indians to visit their own country.
    • Tourism for All: Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country are being organised.
    • Tourism & Governance: Iteractive Sessions & Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes will be organised across the Country

 

Parakram Parv

  • Parakram Parv is being celebrated to highlight the valour and accomplishments of the Indian Army.
  • To mark the second anniversary of the Surgical strikes, carried out by the Indian army, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Parakram Parv at the Combined Commanders’ Conference in Jodhpur.
  • The Parakram Parv, an exhibition, will commemorate the second anniversary of the surgical strikes and is being organised by the Konark Corps at the Jodhpur Military station.

 

Paryatan Parv

  • Paryatan Parv 2018 is being organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.

Components of Paryatan Parv are:

  1. Dekho Apna Desh: To encourage Indians to visit their own country. There are several activities to be organised across the Country like Photography contest covering tourism attractions and experiences, promotion on Social Media, Tourism related Quiz, Essay, Debate and Painting Competitions for Students. General public engagement for the event will be promoted through the MyGov platform.
  2. Tourism for All: Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country are being organised. The activities at these sites will include illumination in and around the Sites, Cultural Programmes of Dance, Music, Theatre, Story Telling, Sensitisation Programmes for Stakeholders around the Sites, Tourism Exhibitions, Showcasing Culture, Cuisine and Handicrafts / Handlooms, Guided Heritage Walks, etc.
  3. Tourism and Governance: Interactive Sessions and Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes will be organised across the Country.

 

 

Mera School Digital School

  • The Vice President of India, has said that Technology brings transparency, prosperity and opportunities for rural youth after launching 100 Digital Classrooms in 75 Rural Government Schools in Gwalior.
  • These digital classrooms will help students understand the complexities if science and Mathematics better.
  • Audio-visual content and the support of internet will help immensely

Rail Heritage Digitisation Project

  • The project is a landmark effort, first of its kind in this part of the globe, to showcase country’s Rail Heritage to National and International audience.
  • Whenever we look at the evolution of the transport system in India, all these rich traditions, history and culture will play an important role in understanding how the Indian Railways has evolved.
  • This project is a gift from the 13 Lakh Railways employees to the 130 crore citizens of India.
  • 22 digital screens across different locations in India will be set up for showcasing this historic project.

Background:

  • Railways in India started its journey on 16th April, 1853 between Bori bunder and Thane.

 

Ambassadors of Skill India Campaign

  • The Hindi film stars- Varun Dhawan andAnushka Sharma, have been signed on to promote and endorse the Skill India Mission.
  • The duo, through their film ‘Sui Dhaaga– Made in India’, are saluting India’s entrepreneurs and skilled workforce, especially homegrown artisans, craftspeople and weavers who are making the country proud the world over.
  • Varun and Anushka, the star cast of the film, have partnered Skill India and will dedicate time to promote India’s skilled talent and their fine work by engaging with them across different parts of the country.

About:

  • The Skill India Campaign has brought about multiple policy interventions though its Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Policy, comprehensive changes in the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 and introducing the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) which together aims to provide best-in-class training to our workforce and formally recognize their skills. MSDE’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program under PMKVY recognizes the skills and experience gained through years of working, bringing about a major shift from un-organized sector to the organized sector.

 

SATAT initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas

Aim:

  • Providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.

Background

  • Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.
  • After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%. Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential.
  • Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.

 

National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM)

Context:

  • The Government of India decided to launch a six week long National Mission on GeM from 6thto 17thOct 2018 in order to increase awareness, accelerate the use of GeM and to further augment the proven benefits of procurement through GeM for all government departments and organisations.
  • It covers all central government departments, states and public sector undertakings in a mission mode by organising workshops, roadshow, trainings, events and other information, education and communication activities, including buyer and seller registration.

Background:

  • Government e Marketplace is the National Public Procurement Portal offering an online, end-to-end solution for procurement of common use goods and services by government departments.
  • It is used by Central and State Government Ministries and Departments, Central and State Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs & SPSUs), autonomous institutions and local bodies.
  • GeM provides an open, inclusive, transparent and efficient online marketplace.

 

DIGIVAARTA Launched

  • DigiVaarta has been launched to spread awareness amongst the common public on digital payment topics such as BHIM, Aadhar Enabled Payment Systems (AePS), Bharat QR, and Security Do’s and Don’ts to begin with.

Aim:

  • To enable citizen government dialogue and engage citizens in educational and outreach programmes. With the mobile phone as its interface, DigiVaarta’s content and communication style is interactive and adaptive.
  • The same message can be used to interact with both smart phone and feature phone users.
  • It can engage the user over multiple channels in a 2-way interaction, using different content styles (stories, images, videos, discussions and polls) in different languages.

 

REINVEST- 2018

Aim:

  • Accelerate the worldwide effort to scale up renewable energy and connect the global investment community with Indian energy stakeholders.

Objective:

  • 2ndRE-INVEST will include a three-day Conference on renewables, cleantech and future energy choices, and an Expo of renewables-related manufacturers, developers, investors and innovators.
  • The 2ndRE-INVEST will provide a great opportunity to various organisations to showcase their business strategies, achievements and expectations.
  • It would facilitate collaboration and cooperation with key stakeholders in India, which has today emerged as one of the world’s largest renewable energy markets

 

Pradhan MantriAarogyaMitra (PMAM)

  • The scheme is creating a cadre of certified frontline health service professionals called Pradhan Mantri Aarogya Mitras (PMAMs) who will be primary point of facilitation for the beneficiaries to avail treatment at the hospital and thus, act as a support system to streamline health service delivery.
  • AarogyaMitras training is being conducted in collaboration with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Ministry of Skill Development to strengthen implementation and operational preparedness.

 

Benefits under the scheme:

  • It will provide a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • Over 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) will be eligible for these benefits.
  • PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to servicesfor the beneficiary at the point of service.
  • PMJAY will help reduce catastrophic expenditure for hospitalizations, which impoverishes people and will help mitigate the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes.
  • Entitled families will be able to use the quality health services they need without facing financial hardships.
  • When fully implemented, PMJAY will become the world’s largest fully government-financed health protection scheme. It is a visionary step towards advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

 

Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY)

  • Under the vision of Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY) shall be implemented so that each and every citizen receives his due share of health care
  • This is the “world’s largest government funded healthcare program” targeting more than 50 crore beneficiaries.
  • It is a paradigm shift from sectorial, segmented and fragmented approach of service delivery through various national and State schemes to a bigger, more comprehensive and better converged and need based service delivery of secondary and tertiary care.

 

Background

  • 71st Round of National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) has found 9% of rural households and 82% of urban households have no access to healthcare insurance/assurance.
  • More than 17% of Indian population spend at least 10% of household budgets for health services.
  • Catastrophic healthcare-related expenditure pushes families into debt, with more than 24% households in rural India and 18% population in urban area have met their healthcare expenses through some sort of borrowings.
  • PMJAY primarily targets the poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data for both rural and urban areasas well as the active families under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

 

Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana in alliance with the States:

  • The Scheme is principle based rather than rule based, allowing States enough flexibility in terms of packages, procedures, scheme design, entitlements as well as other guidelines while ensuring that key benefits of portability and fraud detection are ensured at a national level.
  • States have the option to use an existing Trust/Society or set up a new Trust/Societyto implement the Scheme as State Health Agency and will be free to choose the modalities for implementation.
  • States can implement the Scheme through an insurance company or directly through the Trust/Society/Implementation Support Agencyor a mixed approach.

 

 

Important Days

52nd International Literacy Day

  • 52ndInternational Literacy Day was organised at New Delhi where, Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Praksah Javadekar said that it is very sad to see a large number of illiterate people in the country even after 70 years of independence.
  • To eradicate illiteracy from India literacy mission must be a social movement across the country. He further said that Government is committed to make New India and New India will be literate India (Saakshar Bharat).
  • Recently launched ‘Samagra Siksha’ which is an integrated scheme for school education extending support to States from pre-school to senior secondary levels for the first time. Under this scheme about one million schools will get library grant of Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000 to strengthen the libraries to ensure that “Padhega Bharat Badhega Bharat”.

Background

  • International Literacy Day (ILD) is celebrated on 8thSeptember every year all over the world.
  • The celebration of ILD started following a recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy which met in Tehran in September 1965. The Conference recommended that 8thSeptember, the date of the inauguration of the Conference, be proclaimed International Literacy Day and be observed world-wide. UNESCO in 14thSession of its General Conference held in Paris in November 1966, formally proclaimed 8th September as International Literacy Day.
  • In India, literacy and particularly Adult literacy has been a national priority since independence. With a view to eradicate illiteracy and impart functional literacy and lifelong education to adult education, National Literacy Mission was launched by Government of India in 1988.

 

24th World Ozone Day Celebrations

  • Harsh Vardhan released the draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) and a booklet on ‘Montreal Protocol – India’s Success Story’.
  • A refurbished website on the Ozone Cell of the Ministry and a Management Information System (MIS) for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) were also launched on the occasion.
  • India is the first country in world to develop such a document (ICAP), which addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand.
  • Keep Cool and Carry on”: The Montreal Protocol is the theme of 24th World Ozone Day celebrations.

About: The Montreal Protocol

  • The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN numbers countries.
  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has been recognized as the most successful international environment treaty in history.
  • Its implementation has not only led to the phase-out of around 98% of ozone depleting chemicals, but also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. Nearly 2 million cases of skin cancer per year have been averted globally.

 

Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha

Context

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha in New Delhi

 

What was the objective?

  • It was established in the year 1918 by our beloved Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi with the sole aim of propagating Hindi in southern states.
  • “Hindi Prachar” was a movement that emerged as part of Freedom Movement and the leaders who led the nation to “FREE INDIA” felt the necessity of making a single Indian Language the National Language, and through that language unify the people and thereby intensify National Integration.

 

Details

  • The Sabha was inaugurated by Annie Besant on June 17, 1918
  • The first Hindi class was conducted by Devdas Gandhi, the youngest son of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • During its silver jubilee celebrations, Gandhiji stayed for nearly 10 days on the premises of the Sabha.
  • Parliament has made the Sabha as an Institution of National Importance in 1964.
  • A centenary commemorative postal stamp to mark the 100th foundation day of the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha was released recently
    • The stamp contains a photo of Mahatma Gandhi, the founder president of the Sabha, and a letter written by him.
  • It has played a very important role in strengthening the emotional unity of our country.

 

Polity & Health

NITI Aayog’s MOVE Cyclathon

 Context

  • NITI Aayog today flagged off MOVE Cyclathon, a cycle rally to promote cleaner, accessible modes of transport

‘Mobility Week’

  • ‘Mobility Week’ will see 17 events in 7 days—from 31 August to 6 September 2018. These events will facilitate interactions with various stakeholders across the mobility domain.
  • It will help drive the government’s goals for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration, and job growth and also speed up India’s transition to a clean energy economy.
  • Participants include global and Indian leaders from across the mobility sector such as OEMs, battery manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers, technology solution providers, representatives from the Indian government as well as foreign governments, various inter-governmental organizations, academia, and policy think tanks.
  • The Summit, which is the first of its kind, with over 1,200 participants expected from across the world including leaders from the government, industry, research organizations, academia, think tanks and civil society.

 

Model International Center for Transformative AI (ICTAI)

  • NITI Aayog, Intel, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) announced that they are collaborating to set up a Model International Center for Transformative Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI) towards developing and deploying AI-led application-based research projects.

Aim:

  • To conduct advanced research to incubate AI-led solutions in three important areas – healthcare, agriculture and smart mobility – by bringing together the expertise of Intel and TIFR.
  • To experiment, discover and establish best practices in the domains of ICTAI governance, fundamental research, physical infrastructure, compute and service infrastructure needs, and talent acquisition

 

Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUSHR)

  • Union Science & Technology minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan today inaugurated a novel holistic Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUSHR)project at Sun Dial Park in New Delhi that produces clean water which is reused for various purposes, while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste water, thus converting the Barapullah drain into profitable mines.
  • This plant, can convert 10 lakh litre of sewage into clean water and generate 3 tonnes of biofuel, will be scaled up and will become a model for example for the whole world.
  • In another unique initiative at the site Department of Biotechnology has undertaken afforestation of marshy flood plains, degraded and unusable land and planted 2281 plant and tree species.
  • This not only cleans the area, mitigates mosquito breeding but also purifies the air and soil.
  • The species and the spacing of the planted material is carefully planned using a technology which allows these trees to grow rapidly and within a short span of two-three years recover a unique ecosystem of birds, insects and animals.

 

Medical Cyclotron Facility Cyclone-30

  • Cyclotrons are used to produce radioisotopes for diagnostic and therapeutic use for cancer care.
  • Cyclone-30, the biggest cyclotron in India for medical application became operational this month when 30 MeV beam reached the Faraday Cup for the first time last week.
  • This will start regular production by the middle of the next year after the commissioning of the supporting nuclear systems and regulatory clearances.
  • After the commissioning of liquid target (for FDG production) and solid targets (production of Germanium-68, Palladium-103 and other isotopes), work on studies related to installation of Iodine isotope [1-123] production target, material study target and Accelerator Driven System target will also be taken up.

Benefit:

  • This will provide for affordable radio isotopes and related radiopharmaceuticals for the entire country especially, for Eastern India and also have export potential for Germanium-68/Gallium-68 generator for in-situ production of Gallium-68 and Palladium-103 isotopes, used for breast cancer diagnosis and prostate cancer treatment, respectively.
  • Cyclone-30 commissioning re-emphasises the capability of Indian scientists and engineers to deliver at the highest level of science and technology.

 

Locate Public Toilets on Google Maps

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM – U), has partnered with Google to launch the Loo Review campaign to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps.
  • 500+ cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with the name of “SBM Toilet” are currently live on Google Maps.
  • Objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM – U) is to provide sanitation coverage through public toilet facilities across cities in India for achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • With around 3400 cities already having achieved ODF status, and other cities gearing up towards the same, there is now a need to ensure that the ODF status is sustained through continuous usage and proper maintenance of public toilets.

 

Economy

 

PM launches India Post Payments Bank(IPPB)

  • The function was witnessed at over 3000 locations across the country, which were connected to the main event in Delhi.
  • PM recalled that the Union Government had earlier rolled out the Jan Dhan Yojana to establish financial inclusion. He said IPPB branches have opened across 650 districts.
  • The Prime Minister said that the postman has long been a respected and accepted person in the villages. He said the trust on the postman remains, despite the advent of modern technology.
  • He said that the Government’s approach is to reform existing frameworks and structures, and hence, transform them in accordance with the changing times. He said that there are over 1.5 lakh post offices and over three lakh postmen or “grameen dak sevaks” who are connected to the people of the country. Now they shall be empowered with smartphones and digital devices to provide financial services.

Background

What is IPPB?

  • India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) is a financial service provider that will operate under the country’s postal department.
  • The government-owned payments bank will be able to accept deposits of up to Rs. 1 lakh from customers.
  • But they do not have the rights to use these funds to advance risky loans at higher interest rates.

What are the features?

  • Accounts – India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) offers three types of savings accounts—regular, digital and basic.
  • A digital savings account can be opened through the IPPB mobile app.
  • However, it is valid only till 12 months.
  • Within this, it has to be converted into a regular savings account by providing biometric data to the postman.
  • A regular and basic account can be opened either through the post office or the postman.
  • Balances – All three accounts are zero-balance accounts, with no minimum balance rules.
  • However, RBI has directed all payments bank account holders to hold not more than Rs 1 lakh in any account at a given point of time.
  • So the moment an IPPB account crosses Rs 1 lakh limit, the transaction will be rejected automatically.
  • To handle this, IPPB suggests linking a post office savings account with the IPPB account.
  • So, any balance in excess of Rs 1 lakh will be transferred to the post office account.
  • Interest rate – All IPPB accounts attract an interest rate of 4% per annum.
  • Calculated on the daily closing balance, the interest rate is paid quarterly.
  • Deposit & withdrawal – In regular and digital savings accounts, one can withdraw or deposit any number of times.
  • In case of a basic savings account, there is a restriction of 4 cash withdrawals monthly.
  • For cash deposits and withdrawals, one can approach the nearest post office where the IPPB service is available.
  • IPPB accounts do not come with an ATM card and so one cannot withdraw cash from ATMs.
  • Doorstep banking – Consumers can also call the postman or Grameen Dak Sevaks (GDS) home and make transactions.
  • This is done using the QR card that is received with the IPPB account.
  • Doorstep banking from IPPB comes at a cost of Rs 25 for cash transactions and Rs 15 for digital transactions.

Benefits of IPPB:

  • It will enable money transfer, transfer of government benefits, bill payments and other services such as investment and insurance.
  • Postmen would deliver these services at the doorstep.
  • IPPB will also facilitate digital transactions, and help deliver the benefits of schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which provide assistance to farmers.

 

challenges?

  • A key challenge is if it can manage to earn the profits required to survive as a standalone business entity.
  • Besides, there are severe restrictions imposed by the RBI on how payments banks can employ their funds.
  • The first wave of new payments banks that commenced business last year (Airtel, Paytm and Fino) have not made any significant changes.
  • Banks have traditionally stayed away from pure deposit banking, unless customers have been willing to pay for these services.
  • The IPPB promises to pay an interest rate of 4% to its savings account customers.
  • To generate revenues, it plans to charge fees on money transfers and other financial services.
  • It also plans to invest idle customer deposits in safe government securities in order to earn interest.
  • However, if this will be sufficient to cover interest and operational costs or not remains uncertain.
  • Besides, the IPPB is likely to face stiff competition from private companies.
  • With increasing competition, the IPPB’s revenues and margins are also likely to come under pressure.
  • Despite these, if it succeeds, the new payments bank could usher in a new era of rapid financial inclusion across rural India.

 

Coffee Connect & Coffee KrishiTharanga

  • Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu launched Coffee Connect – India coffee field force app and Coffee KrishiTharanga – digital mobile extension services for coffee stakeholders.

Coffee Connect:

  • The mobile app Coffee Connect has been developed to ease the work of field functionaries and to improve the work efficiency.
  • This application provides solution by harnessing the power of mobility comprising the latest technology in easing the whole process of the field activities like digitization of Coffee Growers & Estates with Geo Tagging, collecting the Plantation details.
  • It will also help in transparency in the activities of the extension officers and officials, transparency in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.

Coffee KrishiTharanga:

  • The Coffee KrishiTharanga services are aimed at providing customized information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability.
  • The “Coffee KrishiTharanga” is pilot tested in the Chikmagalur and Hassan districts of Karnataka State covering 30,000 farmers during the first year and will be extended to remaining growers in a phased manner.

Background:

  • Coffee is cultivated in India in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers and 98% of them are small farmers. Its cultivation is mainly confined to Karnataka (54%), Kerala (19%) and Tamil Nadu (8%) which form traditional coffee tracts.
  • Coffee is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh & Odisha (17.2%) and North Eastern states (1.8%), with main emphasis on tribal development and afforestation.

 

National Mission on GeM

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, launched the National Mission on Government eMarketplace (GeM) for increasing awareness and accelerating the use of (GeM).
  • It is aimed at creating awareness about GeM, train the buyers and sellers, get them registered in GeM and increase the procurement through GeM.
  • The mission also aims to give a boost to cashless, contactless, paperless transactions in line with Digital India objectives.

About:

  • Government eMarketplace is the national public procurement portal offering an online, end-to-end, solution for procurement of common use goods and services by government departments.
  • GeM provides an open, inclusive, transparent and efficient online marketplace, which provides huge savings to government.
  • It is mandatory for central government departments to procure through GeM.
  • 25 states and Union Territories have signed MoU with GeM to adopt it as the mandatory mode of procurement for their departments so far.

Benefits:

The portal has nearly 27 thousand buyer organisations registered and about 1.37 lakh sellers and service providers offering more than 4.65 lakh products and services for online purchase and contributes to approximately 20-25% average overall savings to the Government

Apsara

  • “Apsara”, the first research reactor in Asia became operational in Trombay campus of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in August 1956.  After providing more than five decades of dedicated service to the researchers, the reactor was shut down in 2009.

About:

  • Nearly sixty-two years after Apsara came into existence, a swimming pool type research reactor “Apsara-upgraded”, of higher capacity was born at Trombay on 10thSeptember 2018 at 18:41 hrs.
  • The reactor, made indigenously, uses plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).
  • This reactor will increase indigenous production or radio-isotopes for medical application by about fifty percent, by virtue of higher neutron flux and would also be extensively used for research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding.
  • Development of this has re-emphasised the capability of Indian scientists and Engineers to build, complex facilities for health care, science education and research.

 

Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA)

  • “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan’ (PM-AASHA) is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce.
  • Government has already increased the MSP of kharif crops by following the principle of 1.5 times the cost of production.

Components of PM-AASHA:

  • Price Support Scheme (PSS),
  • Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
  • Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS).
  • The other existing schemes of Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) for procurement of paddy, wheat and nutri-cereals/coarse grains and of Ministry of Textile for cotton and jute will be continued for providing MSP to farmers for these crops.

Details:

  • Increasing MSP is not adequate and it is more important that farmers should get full benefit of the announced MSP.
  • Cabinet has approved the Umbrella Scheme of PM-AASHA with three sub-schemes i.e. Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PDPS).
  • In Price Support Scheme (PSS), physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and Copra will be done by Central Nodal Agencies with proactive role of State governments.
  • It is also decided that in addition to NAFED, Food Cooperation of India (FCI) will take up PSS operations in states /districts. The procurement expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by Central Government as per norms.

 

Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna

  • The ESI Corporation has approved a Scheme named “ATAL BIMIT VYAKTI KALYAN YOJNA” for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.
  • This scheme is a relief payable in cash directly to their Bank Account in case of unemployment and while they search for new engagement.  Detailed instructions including eligibility conditions, application format, etc. will be issued separately.
  • ESI Corporation has approved the proposal for reimbursement of Rs. 10/- per person to the employers to encourage the seeding of Aadhar (UID) in ESIC database of their workers and their family members. It will curtail the multiple registrations of same Insured Persons and thus enable them to avail the benefits requiring longer contributory conditions.
  • ESI Corporation has approved the proposal for relaxing the eligibility conditions for availing Super Specialty treatment has now been relaxed from earlier insurable employment of 2 years to 06 months with contribution requirement of only 78 days.
  • The eligibility for availing Super Specialty treatment for dependents of Insured Person has now been relaxed to insurable employment of one year with 156 days of contributions.
  • This relaxation will immensely help the Insured Persons and their beneficiaries to avail Super Specialty treatment free of cost as per revised eligibility.

Indore (Mangaliyagaon) — Budni New Line (205.5 Km)

  • Cabinet approves Indore (Mangaliyagaon) — Budni New Line (205.5 Km) with Electrification.
    It will reduce the distance between Jabalpur and Indore by 68 Kms.
  • It will also reduce travel time between Indore to Mumbai and towards South India.
  • This project will generate direct employment during construction for about 49.32 lakh man-days.

 

ASHA Benefit Package

  • Cabinet approves ASHA Benefit Package with two components:
  1. ASHAs and ASHA facilitators meeting the eligibility criteria (18-70 years) to be enrolled in social security schemes implemented by Government of India namely, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.
  2. An increase in the amount of routine and recurring incentives under National Health Mission for ASHAs under NHM from Rs. 1000/- per month to Rs. 2000/-per month.

 

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

  • The Prime Minister will launch the scheme on September 23 but effectively it will become operational from September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
  • With the launch by the Prime Minister, 26-27 states and UTs are likely to immediately commence the PMJAY.

Aim:

  • The mega healthcare scheme provides medical cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families, constituting 40 per cent of India’s total population.

 

National Digital Communications Policy-2018 

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018) and re-designation of the Telecom Commission as the “Digital Communications Commission”.

Impact:

  • Supports India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services.
  • The ‘Customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ NDCP-2018 shall lead to new ideas and innovations, after the launch of advanced technology such as 5G, IOT, M2M, etc. which shall govern the telecom sector of India.

Objectives:

  • Broadband for all;
  • Creating four million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector;
  • Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017;
  • Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017;
  • Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains; and
  • Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.

These objectives are to be achieved by 2022.

Features:

  • Provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen;
  • Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022;
  • Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas;
  • Attract investments of USD 100 billion in the Digital Communications Sector;
  • Train one million manpower for building New Age Skill;
  • Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices;
  • Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals
  • Facilitate India’s effective participation in the global digital economy;
  • Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and
  • Secure digital communications infrastructure and services.

Strategy:

  • Establishment of a National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority;
  • Establishing Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects;
  • Creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way, standardization of costs and timelines;
  • Removal of barriers to approvals; and
  • Facilitating development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.

 

Three Best Performing States in “Ease of Living Index” Under Amrut

  • Andhra Pradesh has topped the charts among States in terms of “Ease of Living Index” rankings followed by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The three States were awarded the three best performing States under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living Index, 2018.

About: Ease of Living Index

  • The Ease of Living Index is a transformative initiative of the Ministry to help the cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis national and global benchmarks.
  • The ‘Ease of Living’ Index seeks to assist cities in undertaking a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Ease of Living framework comprised four pillars namely Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical which are further broken down into 78 indicators across 15 categories (governance, identity and culture, education, health, safety and security, economy, affordable housing, land use planning, public open spaces, transportation and mobility, assured water supply, waste-water management, solid waste management, power, and quality of environment).
  • The Ease of Living assessment standards is its close linkage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the 17 SDG goals, 8 goals are directly linked to India’s ease of living assessment framework with SDG 11.

 

PM inaugurates Pakyong Airport

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim.
  • The first airport in the Himalayan State, and the 100th airport in the country.
  • Pakyong Airport would greatly ease connectivity to Sikkim and in order to ensure that it is useful to the common man, this airport is part of the UDAN scheme.
  • The Prime Minister said that out of 100 airports in the country today, 35 have been operationalized in the last four years.

The Union Government has initiated the “Mission Organic Value Development for North Eastern Region” for Sikkim’s progress in organic farming.

Jowai-Ratacherra Section of NH-6 is upgraded in Meghalaya

Context:

  • The 102 km stretch of national highways has been two-laned with 10m wide carriageway of paved shoulder at a cost of Rs 683 crore.
  • It has three major bridges across Rivers Alpha, Lubha and Umproshung, along with 34 minor ones, 441 culverts and a 123 metre long tunnel at Sonapur village.
  • The national highway will provide better connectivity to Mizoram, Tripura and south western parts of Assam.
  • Travel time from Jowai to Ratacherra will be reduced from 4 hrs to 2.5 hrs.
  • The road passes through coal/cement producing belt of the region, which is a lifeline to the landlocked states of NE.

Benefits:

  • The new highway will also ensure fast movement of goods across the Barak valley, upliftment of bamboo industry, better employment opportunities, widespread economic development, and improved connectivity, all working to enhance the economy of Barak valley.

 

I.R.

Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)-India and Singapore

  • The launch of the review signals further deepening of business, economic and trade collaboration between the two countries.
  • Both countries also discussed ways to further promote trade of goods, services and boosting investments.
  • Singapore is the second largest trading partner of India within ASEAN and India is the largest trading partner of Singapore in South Asia, with a bilateral trade of USD 17.7 billion in 2017-18.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • It is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) ASEAN plus Three (People’s Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea), Australia, India, and New Zealand.
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • RCEP will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical co-operation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues.
  • It aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff
  • Expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates.
  • It also seeks to liberalize investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions

 

71st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia

  • “India has fast-tracked many initiatives aimed at achieving all the core tenets of Universal Health Coverage i.e, strengthening health systems, improving access to free medicines & diagnostics and reducing catastrophic healthcare spending”,
  • India has recently launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogyascheme under the ambitious programme called ‘Ayushman Bharat‘ i.e. Long live India, one of the central pillars of this year’s budget.
  • India has already initiated universal screening for prevention and management of five common NCDs including hypertension, diabetes and three common Cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix at pan India level.
  • AMRIT Deendayal, an acronym for ‘Affordable Medicines & Reliable Implants for Treatment’ – Centres that provide medicines for cancer & cardiovascular diseases and cardiac implants at significantly reduced prices.
  • Jan Aushadhi(peoples’ medicines) stores are also now open to make available quality affordable essential medicines to people in need.

 

24th RCEP Auckland Round

  • 6thRegional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting was held on 30-31 August, 2018, in Singapore, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, led the Indian delegation.
  • The Chair of the Trade Negotiating Committee, Mr. Pak Iman Pambagyo, made a detailed presentation on the state of play of RCEP negotiations and sought ministerial guidance and direction on pending issues.
  • The Ministers acknowledged the good progress made in the negotiations so far with successful conclusion of 4 chapters, namely (i) Economic and Technical Cooperation; (ii) Small and Medium Enterprises; (iii) Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation; and (iv) Government Procurement.

In Goods:

  • The negotiators have been tasked to work on the ASEAN’s Non-Paper on Trade in Goods Market Access Negotiations, which is to be considered as the working assumption paper. Commerce Minister reiterated the need for providing adequate flexibilities on various elements of the Non-Paper, such as exclusion, reduction, staging and deviations.

In Services:

  • Suresh Prabhu emphasised on the importance of maintaining quality and commercially meaningful offers across all Modes. In a significant development, all member countries agreed to establish the linkage between Mode 4/ MoNP and the Services text.

In Investment:

  • The Commerce Minister underlined the importance of negotiations focussing on the application of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and mentioned that clarity on its application would lead to further movement in the Investment Chapter. At India’s behest, it was agreed that ISDS will not apply to MFN and PPR.

Background: 

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a mega regional free trade agreement being negotiated amongst 16 countries, comprising 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and six ASEAN FTA partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. So far 6 Ministerial Meetings, 5 Inter-sessional Ministerial Meetings and 23 Rounds of the Trade Negotiating Committee at the technical level have been held.

 

Three projects in Bangladesh

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, Chief Minister of West Bengal – Ms. Mamata Banerjee, and the Chief Minister of Tripura – Shri Biplab Kumar Deb, today jointly inaugurated three projects in Bangladesh, via video conference.

Projects include:

  • (a) 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh, through the existing Bheramara (Bangladesh) – Baharampur (India) interconnection.
  • (b) Akhaura – Agartala Rail Link
  • (c) Rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.

BIMSTEC

  • The Inaugural Military Field Training Exercise for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technological and Economic Cooperation nations named MILEX-18 scheduled from 10 September 18 to 16 September 18 started with a Grand Opening Ceremony on  10 September 18 at Aundh Military Station.

Aim:

  • To practice the BIMSTEC Nations in planning and conduct of counter-terrorist operations.
  • The exercise schedule is focused upon learning of best practices, team building & special tactical level operations in a counter-terrorist environment in semi-urban setting.
  • The inaugural edition of the BIMSTEC MILEX 18 was carried out in all Military grandeur, razor edge precision and with the complete sanctity that a Military Parade should display.

 

Joint Statement on the Inaugural India-U.S 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

  • The launch of the 2+2 Dialogue as a reflection of the shared commitment by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Mr. Donald Trump to provide a positive, forward-looking vision for the India-U.S. strategic partnership and to promote synergy in their diplomatic and security efforts.

Strengthening the Defense and Security Partnership

  • The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of India’s designation as a Major Defense Partner (MDP) of the United States and committed to expand the scope of India’s MDP status and take mutually agreed upon steps to strengthen defense ties further and promote better defense and security coordination and cooperation.

Partners in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond

  • The two sides expressed support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The United States acknowledged India’s longstanding and ongoing contributions of economic assistance to Afghanistan and also welcomed India’s enhanced role in Afghanistan’s development and stabilization.
  • India welcomed the recent U.S.-North Korea summit. The two sides pledged to work together to counter North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs and to hold accountable those countries that have supported them.
  • The United States welcomed India’s accession to the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime and reiterated its full support for India’s immediate accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Promoting Prosperity and People-to-People Ties

  • The Ministers recognized the importance and the potential for increasing bilateral trade, investment, innovation and job creation in both countries.
  • Both sides looked forward to full implementation of the civil nuclear energy partnership and collaboration between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company for the establishment of six nuclear power plants in India.

 

MOBILISE YOUR CITY” (MYC)

  • India and France have signed an implementation agreement on “MOBILISE YOUR CITY” (MYC).

About:

  • Mobilise Your City (MYC) is part of an international initiative which is supported by the French and the German Governments and was launched at 21stConference of Parties (COP21) meeting in December, 2015.
  • Based on a proposal made by AFD in 2015, the European Union has agreed to provide funds of Euro 3.5 million through the AFD to contribute to specific investments and technical assistance components within the Mobilise Your City (MYC) programme in India.

Aim:

  • To support three pilot cities viz. Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad in their efforts to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions related to urban transport by implementing urban mobility plans at local level and to help India at national level to improve their sustainable transport policy.

The main components of the proposed assistance are:

  1. to support planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport projects,
  2. support to strengthening institutional capacity for regulating, steering and planning urban mobility, and
  3. learning and exchange formats with other cities across India for exchanges on best practices.

 

Defence

Yudh Abhyas 2018

  • A joint military training Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2018 is scheduled to be conducted in the foothills of Himalayas at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand, as part of the ongoing Indo-US defence cooperation.

Context:

  • The joint exercise Yudh Abhyas 2018 will simulate a scenario where both nations will work together in counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment in mountainous terrain under United Nation charter.

About:The two week exercise will witness participation of about 350 personnel of the US Army and similar strength of the Indian Army.

  • The exercise curriculum is progressively planned where the participants are initially made to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure, weapons, equipment, confidence training and tactical drills.
  • The training advances to joint tactical exercises wherein the battle drills of both the armies are coherently unleashed.
  • The training will culminate with a final validation exercise in which troops of both countries will jointly carry out an operation against terrorists in a fictitious but realistic setting.
  • The exercise is a great step for the armies of the two democratic countries to train together and gain together from each other’s rich operational experiences.
  • The latest exercise will help further build interoperability between the forces of both the nations.

KAZIND 2018

  • Exercise KAZIND-2018 is a joint military exercise between Indian and Kazakhstan Armies, commenced in Otar Military Area, Kazakhstan.

Aim:•To build & promote army to army relations and exchange skills & experiences between Indian Army and the Kazakhstan Army.

  • Increasing interoperability between forces from both countries which is crucial for success of any joint operation. Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario.

Exercise Aviaindra-18

Aim:To focus towards anti-terrorist operations in a bi-lateral scenario. The exercise would further enhance the co-operation and understanding each other’s Concept of Operations. There would be formal interactions, discussions, exchange of ideas and friendly sports matches to enhance bonhomie between the two Air Forces.

About: Exercise Aviaindra is Air Force level exercise between India and Russia. It was conducted for first time in 2014 and since then it is conducted bi-annually (twice a year) in both countries

Successful Flight Test of Prahar

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the indigenously developed surface-to-surface tactical missile ‘Prahar’.
  • There were also a series of papers which were presented on weapon integration on service aircraft and towards building and sustaining the training for naval experimental test pilots and flight test engineers.

About: •‘Prahar’ is a contemporary weapon system capable of carrying multiple types of warheads and neutralizing a wide variety of targets.

 

Tit bits-

NATIONAL SPORTS AWARDS -2018

About:

  • National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four year.
  • Arjuna Award is given for consistency outstanding performance for four years.
  • Dronacharya Award for coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious International sports events.
  • Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime contribution to sports development.
  • Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development.
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy is given to overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments.

(i)         Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2018

S. No. Name of the Sportsperson Discipline
1. Ms. S. MirabaiChanu Weightlifting
2. ShriViratKohli Cricket

 

(ii)        Dronacharya Awards 2018

S. No. Name of the Coach Discipline
 1 Subedar  ChenandaAchaiah  Kuttappa Boxing
 2 Shri Vijay Sharma Weightlifting
 3 Shri A. Srinivasa Rao Table Tennis
 4 Shri Sukhdev  Singh  Pannu Athletics
 5 Shri Clarence Lobo Hockey (Life Time)
 6 ShriTarakSinha Cricket (Life Time)
 7 ShriJiwan Kumar Sharma Judo (Life Time)
 8 Shri V.R. Beedu Athletics (Life Time)

 

(iv)      Dhyan Chand Award 2018

S. No. Name of the Sportsperson Discipline
 1 ShriSatyadev Prasad Archery
 2 Shri Bharat Kumar Chetri Hockey
 3 Ms. Bobby Aloysius Athletics
 4 ShriChougaleDaduDattatray Wrestling

 

(vi) Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar 2018

S. No. Category Name of the entity
1. Identification and Nurturing of Budding & Young Talent Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited
2. Encouragement to Sports through Corporate Social Responsibility JSW Sports
3. Sports for Development Isha Outreach

(vii) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2017-18: 

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

 

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PIB – Mains Special – August 2018 Complilation

DESIRE IAS

PIB

Mains Special

August 2018

 

Index

GS-1 or GS-3

1-NITI Aayog launches 5 Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Indian Himalayan Region

GS-1 or GS-2

2-Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace

GS-1 or GS-2

3- 195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to support women-affected by violence

GS-2

1-Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018

2-Dam Safety Bill

3-Pending RTI Applications

4- Cases pending in Supreme Court and NGT

International Relationship (GS-2)

1-Memorandum of Understanding between India and USA

2-MoU between India and Republic of Korea

3-MoU between India and Bulgaria

4-India-Japan Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue

5-Cabinet approves MoU between India and Indonesia on Health cooperation

6-Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

7- SAARC

8- G-20

GS-3

1- India Post Payments Bank

2- Review of Penal Provisions of Company Act 2013

3- Special Package to Boost Export of Textiles

4- PM reviews performance of key infrastructure sectors of Transport and Housing

5- Affordable Solar Power

6- Integrate to Innovate Programme for energy Startups

7- Need to Address Root Cause Behind Man-Animal Conflict”

8-  Cabinet approves raising of four additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force

9- PM visits Kerala

DEFENSE 

1- New Defense Production Policy

2- Import of Weapons/ Military Equipment

3- Maoist and Naxal activities in the country

Special Event

1- The Prime Minster Speech on the 72nd Independence Day

 

 

 

 

GS-1 or GS-3

1-NITI Aayog launches 5 Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Indian Himalayan Region

  • NITI Aayog had set up 5 Working Groups (WGs) to prepare a roadmap for actions in 5 thematic areas.

The themes include:

  • Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security,
  • Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region,
  • Transformative Approach to Shifting Cultivation,
  • Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas and
  • The call for actions include setting up of a Himalayan Authority for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region and launching of “Himalaya Calling”: An Awareness to Action Campaign as people’s movement.

Suggestions:

  • Setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas,
  • National Mission/Program on Transforming Shifting Cultivation in North Eastern States,
  • Demand driven network of skill and entrepreneurship development Centres in Himalayan States, Consortium of institutions of high learning for mountain specific research and technology,
  • Link with Hindukush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment program (HIMAP) and
  • Setting up Central Data Management Agency for Himalayan Database at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.

 

GS-1 or GS-2

2-Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the Annual Reports of Private companies now made Mandatory: Ministry of Corporate Affairs amends the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014

In order to ensure safe workplaces for Women in the private sector, the Ministry of Women and Child had requested Hon’ble Minister for Corporate Affairs to mandate the disclosure regarding implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in the Directors Report of every company.

  • It may be noted that Section-134 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides the disclosure framework which the Directors of every company are required to comply with in the Annual Reports.
  • This section also includes the penal provisions for non-disclosure.
  • The inclusion of the compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the non-financial disclosures will ensure that the issue gets into the focus into Board of Directors of the companies
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been making continuous efforts to mainstream the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. Detailed Rules under the Act were issued.
  • It was ensured that all the ministries/ departments under the central government as well as the organizations working directly under them constitute the Internal Complaints Committee as mandated under them Act.
  • A number of instructions have been issued by the DoPT on the request of the ministry to provide immediate relief to the women working in central government against sexual harassment at workplace.
  • The ministry has also empaneled a number of entities who can provide training to any organization on effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. The ministry has provided a facility to all working women to file complaints under this Act directly with the ministry through the SHE-Box.

GS-1 or GS-2

3- 195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to support women-affected by violence

  • The Ministry is implementing Scheme for setting up One Stop Centre since April 2015 to support women-affected by violence.
  • Under the scheme, it has been envisaged that One Stop Centre would be set up in every district across the country in phased manner.
  • So far,195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to provide single window services such as medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counseling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence.

Ministry has approved setting up of five One Stop Centres at Thiruvanatapuram, Thissur, Mallapuram, Kannur, Wayanad districts of Kerala

GS-2

1-Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill,2018 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 6th August 2018, has been passed by the Rajya Sabha today. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot today moved the Amendment Bill, 2018 in Rajya Sabha.

Point-wise details:  Section 18A has been inserted to nullify conduct of a preliminary enquiry before registration of an FIR, or to seek approval of any authority prior to arrest of an accused, and to restore the provisions of Section 18 of the Act.

Section 18A, inserted in the Act, states that:-

(1) For the purpose of the PoA Act,-

(a) preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person; or

(b) the investigating officer shall not require approval for arrest, if necessary, of any person, against whom an accusation of having committed an offence under the PoA Act has been made and no procedure other than provided under the PoA Act or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, shall apply.

(2) The provision of section 438 of the Code shall not apply to a case under the Act, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any Court.

Background :

  • The directions of the Hon’ble Court to conduct a preliminary inquiry within seven days by the Dy. S.P. concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the PoA Act and that arrest in appropriate cases may be made only after approval by the S.S.P., would delay registration of First Information Report (FIR) and will impede strict enforcement of the provision of the POA Act.
  • It may also be difficult to get the preliminary inquiry conducted within seven days as sufficient number of Dy. S.P level officers are usually not in place.
  • Typically, the Dy. S.P. are located at the district level and not at taluk/block level. Other repercussions of the said directions of the Hon’ble Court are that delay in registration of FIR would result in delay in payment of admissible relief amount to the victims of atrocities admissible only on registration of FIR.
  • All this would adversely affect the very objective of the Act to prevent commission of atrocities against members of SC and ST and be severely detrimental especially in heinous offences like sexual exploitation of   SC/ST women including rape, gangrape, acid attacks and murder etc.

 

2-Dam Safety Bill

Context

  • The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
  • The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

Functions of the National Dam Safety Authority:

  • It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices.
  • It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations.
  • It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures.
  • It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure.
  • It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances.
  • It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams.
  • It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution.
  • Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.

Need for a legislation:

There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.

3-Pending RTI Applications

  • Central Information Commission (CIC) has informed that 23,978 second appeals/complaints are pending as on 26-07-2018.

4- Cases pending in Supreme Court and NGT

  • The number of cases related to environmental issues pending in the Supreme Court of India is around 110 and 3573 in the National Green Tribunal

 

International Relationship (GS-2)

1-Memorandum of Understanding between India and USA

  • Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and USA in insurance regulatory sector.

Impact:

  • The MoU provides a framework for cooperation and coordination, including for the exchange of information and research assistance with respect to each Authority’s overview and other lawful responsibilities.
  • Both the countries intend to share their experiences on various regulatory functions and to provide mutual assistance including training activities.
  • India and USA have also agreed to continue to facilitate cooperation on international standard-setting activities, financial stability and the development and implementation of consumer protection through sound prudential regulation of the insurance sector.

Background:

  • IRDAI is a body set up under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance and re-insurance business in India. Similarly, in USA, Federal Insurance Office (FIO) is vested with the authority to monitor all aspects of the insurance sector and to represent the USA on prudential aspects of international insurance.
  • India and USA have strong business relations with each other and both the countries have been in regular discussions at various political and official levels.
  • Various institutional mechanisms have also been put in place over time to strengthen bi-lateral cooperation on wide ranging multi-sectoral issues between the two countries.
  • USA is one of the major contributors of foreign direct investment in India and many insurance companies have set up joint venture with USA based insurance companies. With increase in foreign investment cap to 49%, there is further scope for foreign investments in Indian insurance sector particularly from USA based companies. Hence the bilateral MoU between IRDAI and FIO, USA holds lot of potential for the two countries.

 

2-MoU between India and Republic of Korea

  • Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Republic of Korea on the cooperation in the field of railways.

Impact:

  • The MoU will provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector with its Korean counterpart.
  • It will facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/ workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.

Details:

  • Planning and execution of Joint research for the mutual interests;
  • Co-operation in setting up of latest railway R&D facilities in India;
  • Planning and execution of Technical seminar or forum;
  • Short Term Training Programme for RDSO personnel by KRRI;
  • Exchange Programme of Personnel between KRRI & RDSO for limited period, for specific Projects;
  • Consultancy for the development of railway industry of both the countries; and
  • Any other form of cooperative activities agreed upon by the Parties.

Background:

  • Ministry of Railways have signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation include high speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc.

 

3-MoU between India and Bulgaria

  • Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Bulgaria in the field of tourism.

Objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding are:

  • To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector
  • To exchange information and data related to tourism
  • To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour operators,
  • To   establish   exchange   programme   for cooperation   in   Human   Resource Development.
  • To exchange visits of Tour Operators / Media /Opinion Makers for promotion of two way tourism
  • To exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management.
  • Foster bilateral cooperation through film tourism for promoting the two countries as attractive tourism destinations and
  • To promote safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.

Background:

  • India and Bulgaria had previously signed an Agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism in 1994. Bulgaria is a potential tourism markets for India (India received approximately 5288 tourists from Bulgaria in 2017).

 

4-India-Japan Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue

  • The Ministers shared the recognition that it is important for the two countries to further strengthen defence and security cooperation under the ‘Japan-lndia Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ that aligns Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ with India’s ‘Act East Policy’ to work together in achieving common objectives.

Promote cooperation and exchanges in the following areas:

  • Institutionalised Dialogue and Mutual Visits
  • Exchanges between the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) and the Indian Army.
  • Exchanges between the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Indian Navy.
  • Exchanges between the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Indian Air Force
  • Education and Research Exchanges
  • Cooperation in Defence Equipment and Technology
  • The Ministers noted the effort made by both countries regarding the cooperation on US-2 amphibious aircraft.

5-Cabinet approves MoU between India and Indonesia on Health cooperation

The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation: –

  • Research and development, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and IT-based medical equipment;
  • Human Resource Development;
  • Health services; and
  • Any other area as may be mutually agreed upon.

 

6-Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
  • The BIMSTEC comprises of seven countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand
  • The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population
  • The region has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion. In the last five years, BIMSTEC member states have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown

 Why BIMSTEC so much important for India?

  • The BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • The two Southeast Asian countries in the grouping, Myanmar and Thailand, have a crucial place for India’s ambitious connectivity plans for North Eastern region.
  • Myanmar is only Southeast Asian country India has a land boundary with. An India-Myanmar-Thailand highway is one of the key projects that figures in a big way in the government’s Act East (earlier Look East) policy.
  • With the India-Pakistan bickering coming in way of a smooth functioning of the SAARC, groupings such as BIMSTEC can take forward the concept of regional cooperation in a different manner.
  • BIMSTEC aims to encourage cooperation at the multilateral level among member countries from two different regions of Asia and does not work as substitute to SAARC.

Positive points

  • BIMSTEC is a natural choice for strengthening India’s footprints in the neighbourhood under its Act East Policy as it includes Thailand and Myanmar both ASEAN member
  • Absence of Pakistan, makes it easier for India to have meaningful discussion and engagement with neighbours.
  • Bimstec more naturally lends itself to regional integration physical connectivity as well as economic cooperation. Therefore, Bimstec seems an attractive alternative to Saarc.
  • India and other South Asian nations can have closer cooperation with the economically prospering region of Southeast Asia.
  • BIMSTEC has huge economic potential given the region’s economic dynamism, huge markets and rich natural resources

Despite its promise it has remained low profile for following factors

  • Members of BIMSTEC have acquired memberships in various other regional/sub-regional organisations which also promote cooperation at different levels.
  • Lack of political will has also limited the prospects of BIMSTEC. Countries like Thailand focus more on groups like ASEAN.
  • Region lacks physical connectivity. The tri-lateral highway connecting India-Myanmar-Thailand has been a non-starter.
  • Growth of intra-regional investment is negligible.
  • Lack of good infrastructure has acted as barrier to trade by raising cost and time.

In order to harness potential of BIMSTEC steps like signing FTA in goods and services, improving physical and digital connectivity by building ports, economic corridors etc need to be taken.

India which is one of the fastest growing economy and rising global power needs play an important role.

7- SAARC

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.
  • Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  SAARC was founded in Dhaka in 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu.
  • The organization promotes the development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
  • SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nation as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities.

Observers of SAARC: – 

States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.

Objectives of SAARC: –

The objectives shall be:

  • To promote the welfare of the peoples of SOUTH ASIA and to improve their quality of life.
  • To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.
  • To provide all individuals with the opportunity to live in dignity and to realise their full potentials.
  • To promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of SOUTH ASIA
  • To contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another are problems.
  • To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
  • To strengthen cooperation with other developing countries.
  • To strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests.
  • To cooperate with international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes.

SAARC criticism

  • Ever since it was launched in Dhaka with its first meeting in 1985, the platform has been hijacked by the India-Pakistan rivalry.
  • It was a multilateral platform with a bilateral agenda.
  • Victim card will be played by Pakistan. It will say that India is using its economic power and size to isolate Pakistan in the region.
  • The member states except India have still not reached the take-off stage to be able to pursue the program of economic integration and collaboration.
  • Different countries have varied political systems like democracy, military dictatorship, presidential and monarchy form of govt, creating hurdles in aligning the ideology.
  • Indo-Pak conflict – Two of the biggest powers have fought 3 wars since 1947 and harbour utter distrust for each other and even led to the nuclearization of the region.
  • Increased Chinese influence in the region
  • Widespread socio-economic problems– hunger, terrorism, ethnic rivalries, political turmoil, the leadership crisis.

Agreements Under SAARC: –

SAFTA

  • A Free Trade Agreement confined to goods, but excluding all services like information technology. The agreement was signed to reduce customs duties on all traded goods to zero by the year 2016.

SAPTA

  • South Asian Preferential Trading Agreement for promoting trade amongst the member countries came into effect in 1995.

 Why is SAARC important for India?

  • If charity begins at home, then the foreign trade should definitely begin with neighbours. A meaningful cooperation can materialise only when there are mutual trust and willingness among member countries to resolve and overcome bilateral differences and apprehensions for the greater good of their own people.
  • The most important factor is that India is the only country, which shares borders with all the SAARC countries, barring Maldives and Afghanistan. The implication of this geographical reality is that India has to facilitate the establishment of strong economic linkages with the neighbouring countries.
  • Maintaining peaceful relation with Pakistan is utmost important in-order to focus on development, otherwise, India cannot fulfil its aspirations to be one of largest economies.
  • The ethnic ties is a parallel string of connection with neighbouring countries which will strengthen our relations which are important for country’s holistic development.
  • Development of Afghanistan is in the interest of India for peace in the region from problems of terrorism and Afghanistan economy can be a better bet for Indian businesses to spread their presence.
  • South Asian neighbours are a valuable resource for economic integration of India and they can benefit immensely with their growing population and needs. The problems of terrorism, border disputes, tax issues if solved, these nations will add to Indian economic growth.

8- G-20

  • It is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
  • Founded in 1999
  • Its aim was to review policy decisions to enhance international financial stability
  • It now deliberates on global economic issues and other important development challenges.
  • First Head of State Summit was held in 2008 (Due to Economic Crisis)
  • 20 Members ( EU + 19 Countries) :

Advantages

  • It provides forum for Developing countries in deliberation on important matters of international importance
  • First met in 2009 – Was to play a pivotal role in stemming economic and financial crisis of Recession – It set a framework for preventing  future financial crises, while securing sustainable and balanced global, restraining protectionism
  • Central bank governors and finance ministers work on coordinated action to eliminate terrorist financing, Black money issues
  • Issues of Tax Haven – Members agreed to share tax information – Agreed to adopt OCEDs BEPS measures to stop transferring of profit by MNCs without paying taxes
  • Since 2010, G-20 agenda widened to issues like Agriculture, Food security, Trade, Investment, Employment, Taxation, Anti corruption, energy, climate, SME
  • G 20 is transforming from flexible and informal institution into Group with Working parties, Expert group on different subjects

Criticism

The process of determining which nations were to be invited to join the G20 and which nations would not appear to have been very informal.

  • A 2011 report had criticised the G20’s exclusivity, highlighting in particular its under-representation of the African continent.
  • The G20 is a self-appointed group. It may be more representative than the G8, but it is still arbitrary.
  • Critics say that G20 basically was an extension of the G7.
  • It’s not population, it’s not GDP, it’s not financial reserves, it’s just a decision taken on what we assume are the important economies of the world.
  • The G20’s transparency and accountability have been questioned by critics, who call attention to the absence of a formal charter and the fact that the most important G20 meetings are closed-door.
  • G20 summits have also attracted protesters from a variety of backgrounds, including information activists, opponents of fractional-reserve banking and anti-capitalists

GS-3

1- India Post Payments Bank

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will launch the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on September 1st, 2018.
  • IPPB has been envisioned as an accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man, to help speedily achieve the financial inclusion objectives of the Union Government.
  • It will leverage the vast network of the Department of Posts, which covers every corner of the country with more than 300,000 Postmen and Grameen Dak Sewaks. IPPB will hence significantly augment the reach of the banking sector in India.
  • On the day of the launch, IPPB will have 650 Branches and 3250 Access Points spread across the country. Simultaneous launch events will be held at these branches and access points.
  • All the 1.55 lakh Post Offices in the country will be linked to the IPPB system by December 31, 2018.
  • IPPB will offer a range of products such as savings and current accounts, money transfer, direct benefit transfers, bill and utility payments, and enterprise and merchant payments.
  • These products, and related services, will be offered across multiple channels (counter services, micro-ATM, mobile banking app, SMS and IVR), using the bank’s state-of-the-art technology platform.

 

2- Review of Penal Provisions of Company Act 2013

  • The Committee constituted by Government of India in July 2018 to review the existing framework dealing with offences under the Companies Act, 2013 and related matters and make recommendations to promote better corporate compliance, has submitted its report.

Main Recommendations:

  • Restructuring of Corporate Offences to relieve Special Courts from adjudicating routine offences:
  • Rre-categorization of 16 out of the 81 compoundable offences by shifting them from the jurisdiction of special courts to an in-house E-adjudication framework;
  • Rremaining 65 compoundable offences to continue under the jurisdiction of special courts due to their potential misuse;
  • Status quo recommended in respect of all non-compoundable offences, which relate to serious corporate offences;
  • Instituting a transparent online platform for E-adjudication and E-publication of orders; and
  • Necessitating a concomitant order for making good the default at the time of levying penalty, to achieve better compliance.

De-clogging the NCLT by:

  • Enlarging the jurisdiction of the Regional Director with enhanced pecuniary limits for compounding of offences under section 441 of the Companies Act 2013 (the Act);
  • Vesting in the Central Government the power to approve the alteration in the financial year of a company under section 2(41); and conversion of public companies into private companies under section 14 of the Act.

Recommendations related to corporate compliance and corporate governance:

  • Re-introduction of declaration of commencement of business provision to better tackle the menace of ‘shell companies’;
  • Greater disclosures with respect to public deposits, particularly in respect of transactions exempted from the definition of public deposits under section 76 of the Act to prevent abuse and harming of public interest;
  • Huge reduction in time-limit for filing documents related to creation, modification and satisfaction of charges and stringent penal provisions for non-reporting;
  • Once a company obtains restrictions under section 90(7) relating to significant beneficial ownership, in respect of shares whose ownership remains undetermined, such shares should be transferred to the Investor Education and Protection Fund if rightful owner does not claim ownership within a year of such restrictions;
  • Non-maintenance of registered office to trigger de-registration process;
  • Holding of directorships beyond permissible limits to trigger disqualification of such directors; and
  • Imposition of a cap on independent director’s remuneration in terms of percentage of income in order to prevent any material pecuniary relationship, which could impair his independence on the board of the company.

 

3- Special Package to Boost Export of Textiles

  • India has the potential to become one stop sourcing destination for brands and retailers from ASEAN.
  • There are opportunities for textile manufacturers from ASEAN to invest here and cater to domestic market as well as exports because of competitive advantages available in India including availability of raw material, trained man-power and presence of the entire textile value chain. Further, 100% FDI is allowed in the textile sector under automatic route.
  • To increase exports of textile and apparel, Government has announced a Special Package for garments and made-ups sectors.
  • the rates under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) have been enhanced from 2% to 4% for apparel and made-ups from November 2017.
  • Government is also providing interest rate subvention for pre and post shipment credit for the textile sector and gives assistance to exporters under Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme.

Further, following steps are being taken by the Government for promoting the export of Handloom and Handicrafts:

  • Assistance for marketing study, branding, participation in Fairs and Exhibitions, Buyer-Seller Meets in India and abroad etc. through Marketing and other Schemes.
  • setting up of 8 mega clusters in the country for increasing manufacturing and exports.
  • providing skill upgradation training to artisans and carpet weavers.
  • refunding excise and customs duties for importing inputs through Duty Drawback channel.
  • Providing assistance for manufacturing new and Innovative designs as per need.
  • Providing modern and improved tools to improve the production technique of artisans.

Objectives:

  • Employment generation and export by encouraging apparel and garment industry, which will provide employment to women in particular and increase India’s share in global exports.
  • Promotion of Technical Textiles, a sunrise sector, for export and employment
  • Promoting conversion of existing looms to better technology looms for improvement in quality and productivity
  • Encouraging better quality in processing industry and checking need for import of fabrics by the garment sector.

The amended scheme would give a boost to “Make in India” in the textiles sector; it is expected to attract investment to the tune of one lakh crore rupees, and create over 30 lakh jobs.

4- PM reviews performance of key infrastructure sectors of Transport and Housing

Key points

  • The average road length constructed per day in FY 17-18 was 26.93 km, as compared to 11.67 km in FY 13-14.
  • The Prime Minister was informed about progress made in digitisation of the transport sector. Over 24 lakh RFID tags have been issued so far, and over 22 percent of toll revenue now comes from electronic toll collection.
  • The “Sukhad Yatra” App, which provides information about road conditions, and facilitates lodging of complaints, has seen over one lakh downloads so far.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, rural roads have now connected 88 percent of all eligible habitations. Over 44,000 villages have been connected in the period from 2014 to 2018, as compared to about 35,000 in the preceding four year period.
  • The “MeriSadak” App has been launched in 10 regional languages,
  • GIS Mapping of roads is underway, and 20 States have so far been hosted on the Geospatial Rural Road Information System (GRRIS). Green technologies, and non-conventional materials such as waste plastic and fly ash, are being used in rural road construction.
  • In the railways sector, there has been significant addition in capacity and rolling stock. Additions in “new lines, doubling and gauge conversion” between 2014 and 2018, was to the extent of 9528 kilometres, which is 56 percent higher than the preceding four year period.
  • Similarly, in the aviation sector, passenger traffic has grown by over 62 percent in the four year period between 2014 and 2018, as against 18 percent in the preceding four year period. Under the UDAN scheme, 27 airports are now operational in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
  • In the ports sector, traffic volume in major ports increased by 17 percent in the period between 2014 and 2018.

 

5- Affordable Solar Power

  • The panelists of Pravasi Bharatiya Panel on “Role of Indian Diaspora in Capacity Building for Affordable Solar Power” called on Prime Minister.
  • They presented the outcomes of their discussions over last two days in areas such utility scale solar, off-grid and microgrid solutions, solar storage, next generation solar technologies and innovative financing options for the renewable sector.
  • Prime Minister welcomed the practical recommendations and directed Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to take forward these expert interactions and factor relevant outcomes in policy-making.

6- Integrate to Innovate Programme for energy Startups

  • Invest India has joined hands with energy sector companies to offer a unique lab-to-market opportunity for Indian startups through the Integrate to Innovate Programme.
  • Integrate to Innovate is a 3-month corporate acceleration programme for energy startups housed at the corporate premises.
  • The application for the programme is hosted on Startup India Hub – an online platform bringing together all stakeholders of the Indian startup ecosystem. The programme provides an opportunity for collaboration and conversation around valuable energy transitions, offering startups an opportunity to bring their ideas to life with the guidance and support from corporates.
  • The selected startups will receive a cash prize grant of upto ₹ 5 Lakh per startup along with an opportunity to pilot their product with corporates.
  • The corporates would offer them access to technology, technical and commercial mentorship and access to potential customers through the corporate network of partners.
  • Entries are invited from innovators across various stages of the energy life-cycle—generation, transmission and distribution, storage and consumption—in multiple sectors such as households, farm, industry, infrastructure, building, utility and transport.
  • The winners will be assessed on select parameters such as the breakthrough nature of the innovation, business viability and scalability potential.

In these categories specific areas of interest for the Integrate to Innovate programme include:

Household

  • Home Automation
  • E-commerce marketplaces for smart home products and installer/support services
  • Rooftop solar & home energy storage

Transport

  • EV and EV infrastructure
  • Gas powered trucks

Farm

  • Waste to Value

Infrastructure

  • Renewables
  • Grid and micro-grids
  • Storage battery
  • Sensors, drones, data analytics, workforce mobility
  • Cybersecurity

Utility

  • Metering, Billing & Customer analytics
  • Demand response & distributed energy resource management systems
  • Transactive energy, blockchain based energy trading and energy marketplaces

Building

  • Energy efficiency and cooling
  • B2B e-markets
  • Automation efficiency
  • Predictive asset management (IoT and AI)

 

7- Need to Address Root Cause Behind Man-Animal Conflict”

  • Strongly emphasizing the need to address the root cause behind the man-animal conflict, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, pointed out that the man-animal conflict is an existential crisis not for the animals, but for human beings.
  • underlined the fact that protection of wilderness and forests is a must to protect any wildlife species.
  • The Minister stressed the urgent need to focus on human population to optimize conservation efforts.

Background 

  • Current population estimates for Asian elephants in the country, as per 2017 Census, are about 30,000.  Asian elephants are confined to South Asia and South East Asia and about 60 per cent of global population of Asian elephants is found in India
  • In order to conserve the Asian Elephants the Project Elephant started in 1992, with the objectives of
  • conservation and protection of viable population of wild elephants in their natural habitats in the country;
  • restoration of natural habitats and traditional corridors/migratory routes or movement paths used by the elephants, wherever necessary, through eco-restoration, acquisition etc;
  • ensuring safeguards against poaching and other threats;
  • mitigation and control of human elephant conflicts;
  • welfare and management of captive elephants; and
  • creating a viable mechanism to ensure inter-state and regional and national level coordination in protecting and conserving the elephant and its ranges.

causes of man-animal conflict

  • Increased disturbance due to collection of fuel wood, fodder, NTFPs, water etc. from the forests has also increased the incidences of man-animal conflict
  • people have to go deeper and deeper, year by year for fetching firewood Decreased prey base
  • Habitat fragmentation and shrinking of habitats

impact of man wildlife conflict

  • Injury or loss of human lives or animals
  • Crop damage , livestock depredation
  • Damage to human property and destruction of habitat

way forward

  • Capacity building of forest guards
  • Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors for knowing Animal movements – Eg. Buxa forest
  • Construction of highways/railways bypassing wildlife rich areas like Trans-Canada Highway bypassed Banff National park
  • Expansion of protected reserves : in-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival and reduced conflict with humans
  • Safe animal zones creation: re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
  • Community based rehabilitation measures: making community responsible for resolution of animal-man conflict will aid in decentralized approach of governance for wildlife preservation. For ex it is done Keibul Lamjao National Park, Kaziranga national park, Sundarbans etc;

Partnering with WWF which provide tailor made solutions to man wildlife conflict with community and species in consideration

8- Cabinet approves raising of four additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force
Details:

  • The objective of raising four additional battalions is to reduce the response time keeping in view the vast geographic area of the country.
  • These four battalions will initially be raised as two battalions in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and one battalion each in Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Rifles (ARs).
  • Later these four battalions will be converted into NDRF battalions. Based on the vulnerability profile, these four battalions will be placed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi National Capital Region.

Background:

  • NDRF is a specialized force, which has been created in the year 2006 for the purpose of specialist response during the natural and man-made disaster or threatening situation.
  • At present there are 12 battalions in NDRF which are deployed strategically across the country to provide immediate response.
  • Government has allowed 100% FDI under automatic route in educational institutions
  • As per consolidated FDI Policy, 2017, the Government has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% under automatic route in the educational institutions subject to applicable laws/sectoral rules/regulations/ security conditions.

 

9- PM visits Kerala

  • The Prime Minister visited Kerala to review the situation arising out of floods in the State

Relief announcements:

  • The Prime Minister announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the State.
  • He also assured the State Government that relief materials including food grains, medicines etc would be provided, as requested.
  • PM also announced ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to those seriously injured from PM’s National Relief Funds (PMNRF).
  • PM has directed Insurance Companies to hold special camps for assessment & timely release of compensation to the affected families/beneficiaries under Social Security Schemes.
  • PM has directed National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to repair main national highways damaged due to floods on priority.
  • The Central Public Sector like NTPC and PGCIL have also been directed to be available to render all possible assistance to the State Government in restoring power lines.
  • Villagers, whose kutcha houses have been destroyed in the devastating floods, would be provided Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin houses on priority irrespective of their priority in the Permanent Wait List of PMAY-G.
  • Under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, farmers would be provided assistance for replantation of damaged horticulture crops.

 

DEFENSE

1- New Defense Production Policy

  • A draft Defence Production Policy 2018 has been prepared which provides a focused, structured and significant thrust to development of defence design and production capabilities in the country.
  • The draft policy has been shared with all concerned stakeholders for their views before notification.

Salient features of the Draft Policy

  • Creation of a dynamic, robust and competitive defence and aerospace industry as an important part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • Creation of a tiered defence industrial ecosystem in the country.
  • Reducing current dependence on imports and strive to achieve self-reliance in development and manufacture of weapon systems / platforms.

The Policy mandates for Transfer of Technology or enhanced Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for domestic production in the event of non-availability of manufacturing capabilities in the country.

2- Import of Weapons / Military Equipment

Key points

  • During the last three years and current year (upto June, 2018), 106 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors and 62 have been signed with foreign vendors including those from Russia, Israel, USA, France, UK and Germany for procurement of defence equipment for Armed Forces.
  • The major defence equipment imported include Radars, Rockets, Artillery Guns, Rifles, Aircraft, Helicopters, Laser Designation Pods, Pods for Aircrafts, Missiles, Weapons, Simulator and Ammunition.

 

3- Maoist and Naxal activities in the country

  • The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) situation in the country has been improving consistently and is now well under control.
  • Currently 30 districts in 07 States are most affected by LWE violence.
  • Total 30 districts contributed 88% of violent incidents and 94% of deaths in 2017.

1- The Prime Minster, Shri Narendra Modi today addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 72nd Independence Day.:

Following are the highlights from his speech

  • The next year will mark 100 years of the Jalliwanwallah bagh massacre. The masses had sacrificed their lives for the country’s freedom; and the exploitation had crossed all limits. The Jalliwanwallah bagh incident inspires us of the sacrifices made by those brave hearts. I salute all those brave hearts from the bottom of my heart.
  • India has become the sixth largest economy of the world.
  • After independence, an highly inclusive constitution was drafted under the leadership of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. It came with the resolve of making a new India.
  • Had we worked at the speed of 2013 , it would have taken centuries in making India 100% open defecation free or electrifying every part or even providing the LPG gas connection to every woman in rural and urban areas. Had we worked with the speed of 2013, an entire generation would have taken to connect the country with optical fibre. We will go by such speed to achieve all these goals.
  • The mission of Skill Development is being encouraged by establishing new centres in small places.
  • Start-up programmes have mushroomed in Tier II and Tier III cities.
  • Efforts are in progress to compile a ‘common sign’ dictionary for disable persons.
  • Modernisation and technology has entered into the field of agriculture.  Our farmers are using micro irrigation, drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation methods.
  • We have decided with great courage to give attractive prices for the products of farmers.  The minimum support price for many crops has been increased to more than 1.5 times the input costs.
  • With the help of small traders, their openness and their aptitude to accept new things, the country has successfully implemented the GST.  It has brought a new confidence among the traders.
  • Benami Property Law has been implemented with great courage and intention for the good of the country.
  • There was a time when the world used to talk of Red Tape’.  However, today the issue of ‘Red Carpet’ is being discussed. We have reached 100th position in the ‘ease of doing business’ ranking. Today, the entire world is looking at our achievement with pride.
  • There was a time when for the world India meant – ‘policy paralysis’ and ‘delayed reforms’. However, today India is being discussed for – ‘reform, perform and transform’.
  • There was a time when the world counted India among the ‘fragile five’. However, today the world has been saying that India has become the destination for multi-trillion dollar investment.
  • We are getting progressive news about highways, railways, airways, waterways and information ways (I-ways) from North East.
  • Our youths from the North East are establishing BPO in their areas.
  • The North East region has turned to be a hub of organic farming.  Sports university is being set up in North East.
  • There was a time when North East felt distant from Delhi but within last four years we have succeeded to get Delhi to the threshold of North East.
  •  In our country 65% of our population consists of 35 year old people.  Our youth has brought a paradigm shift in the nature of job.  Whether it is startup, BPO or e-commerce or the field of mobility, our youth has entered into new fields.  Now a days our youth is committed to take this country to new heights.
  • 13 crore people have availed MUDRA LOAN which is a great achievement.  Of this 4 crore are youth who have availed loan for the very first time and are self-employed and progressing independently. This in itself is an example of changing atmosphere.Our youth are managing common service centres in three lakh villages and they are linking every village and citizen with the world in seconds by utilizing information technology.
  • With the spirit of innovation our scientists, we are going to launch ‘NAVIC’ which will be very useful for the fishermen and others.
  • India has resolved to send manned spacecraft to the space by 2022.  India will be the fourth country to do this.
  • We want to expand the horizons of agriculture with the help of modernization.  We want to adopt value addition right from ‘seeds – to –market’.  For the first time we are progressing in the path of Agriculture Export Policy so as to enable our farmers to emerge powerful in the world market.
  • Now new avenues of organic farming, blue revolution, sweet revolution, solar farming have emerged on which we plan to move ahead.
  • In fisheries, India has emerged second largest country of the world.
  • The export of honey has doubled.
  • It is a matter of pleasure for the sugarcane farmers that the production of ethanol has tripled.
  • Now the sale of Khadi has doubled.
  • Our farmers are now focussing on solar farming.  Due to this he can contribute to agriculture and at the same time earn money by sale of solar energy.
  • Along with economic progress and development, we also want to focus on dignity of human life which is supreme.  Hence we are also planning to continue with those schemes which enable a common man to lead his life with pride, respect and dignity.
  • According to WHO report 3 lakh children have been saved because of Swachchta Campaign.
  • Taking inspiration from Gandhiji who had organized satayagrahis, we have succeed to mobilize ‘Swatchagrahis’.  On the occasion of 150th birth anniversary crores of “Swatchagrahis’ plan to pay tribute in deed and action to respected Bapuji in the form of Swatch Bharat.
  • In order to provide free health services to the poorest people, Government of India has launched Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojanaAbhiyan.  Now under this scheme any person can get relief from diseases by going to the good hospitals.
  • Under the scheme Ayushman Bharat 10 crore families are able to get health insurance benefits, it means nearly 50 crore citizens will be covered. Each family will get 5 lakh rupees health coverage annually.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaAbhiyan will be launched on 25th September, 2018 as a result from now on, common man need not suffer from problems of dreaded diseases.
  • New avenues are emerging for middle class families and youth in the field of health.  New hospitals will be constructed in 2 tier and 3 tier cities.  Medical staff will be established in huge numbers.  Employment opportunities will be more in the years to come.
  • Government is making efforts to close all the leakages.  We are on the path of removal of corruption and black-money.  Due to all these efforts we were able to mobilize 90000 crore money to the Government Exchequer.
  • Upto 2013, for the past 70 years the direct tax payers were only 4 crore people.  Now the numbers has doubled and grown to 7.25 crores.
  • For the period of 70 years, indirect tax officials were able to mobilize 70 lakhs of revenue.  Whereas by implementation of GST, within a year we were able to mobilize 16 lakhs of revenue.
  • In order to maintain transparency, we have launched online process.  We have utilized Information Technology to the maximum level.
  • Asserting that India is today brimming with self-confidence, the Prime Minister mentioned developments such as the success of Navika Sagar Parikrama by six young women naval officers, and the achievements of young Indian sportspersons from humble backgrounds.
  • He mentioned the blooming of Neelakurinji flowers in the Nilgiri hills, a phenomenon that occurs once every 12 years

 




PIB Important News Analysis AUGUST Month 2018 Prelims Special 

PIB

AUGUST 2018 

(1st to 31st August  Analysis)

Prelims Special 

ECONOMY

1-Cabinet approves Re-structuring of the Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board (ASRB)

What is ASRB?

  • ASRB will now be a 4 Member body instead of 3 Members. It will have a Chairperson and 3 Members.
  • ASRB would be for a period of three years or till attainment of 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.

Why Re-structuring Needed?

  • For the purpose of autonomy, secrecy, accountability and efficient functioning ASRB shall be delinked from ICAR and to be attached with Dept. of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
  • The budget head for ASRB may also be delinked from ICAR and be created under DARE, and the ASRB may have its own cadre of administrative staff in the secretariat and have independent administrative control.

What will be the Impact?

  • The four Member body comprising of one Chairperson and three Members would help in expediting the work and functioning of ASRB.
  • It would support in expediting the recruitment process which would be beneficial for the agrarian community and agriculture at large.
  • It will ensure more transparency and efficiency in recruitment of meritorious scientists to various scientific positions in lCAR, the premier agency for agricultural research and education in the country.

 

2-Solar Charkhas to Generate Direct Employment to One Lakh Persons

Which Ministry Launched?

  • Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched the Mission Solar Charkha for implementation of 50 Solar Charkha Clusters across the country for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.

How it will be helpful?

  • The scheme will generate direct employment to nearly one lakh persons.

About Mission Solar Charkha

  • Solar Charkha Units have been classified as village industries.
  • includes World Bank Loan of USD 200 Million.

3-Energy conservation guidelines for energy intensive industries

Which Ministry Is Implementing?

  • Bureau under the aegis of Ministry of Power is implementing many initiatives for energy efficiency in the energy intensive industries.

Scheme running for increasing energy efficiency

  • Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme is a flagship scheme of Government of India to improve energy efficiency of large energy consuming industries.

About Energy Efficiency Guidelines

  • As a part of Indo-Japan Energy Dialogue, Energy Conservation Centre of Japan (ECCJ) and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)have developed Energy Conservation Guidelines for energy intensive industries covering both large as well as MSMEs.
  • These guidelines will enable the industries to establish a systematic mechanism to improve the energy efficiency for major energy consuming utilities.
  • These guidelines would serve a ready reference of standard and target benchmarked energy performance values for major energy consuming equipment which will improve the overall energy performance of the industry.

 

4-Cabinet approves Policy Framework for exploration and exploitation of Unconventional Hydrocarbons

What Is Unconventional hydrocarbons?

  • Unconventional hydrocarbons such as Shale oil/gas, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) etc.
  • It will be carried out under the existing Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), CBM contracts and Nomination fields to encourage the existing Contractors in the licensed/leased area to unlock the potential of unconventional hydrocarbons in the existing acreages.

How this policy going to help?

  • This policy will enable the realization of prospective hydrocarbon reserves in the existing Contract Areas which otherwise would remain unexplored and unexploited.
  • With this policy dispensation, new investment in Exploration and Production (E&P) activities and chances of finding new hydrocarbon discoveries and resultant increased domestic production thereof is expected.
  • Exploration and exploitation of additional hydrocarbon resources is expected to spur new investment, impetus to economic activities, additional employment generation and thus benefitting various sections of society.
  • This will lead to induction of new, innovative and cutting-edge technology and forging new technological collaboration to exploit unconventional hydrocarbons.

Background:

  • As per existing contractual regime of PSCs, existing Contractors are not allowed to explore and exploit CBM or other unconventional hydrocarbons in already allotted licensed/leased area.
  • Similarly, CBM Contractors are not allowed to exploit any other hydrocarbon except CBM.
  • Acreages held at present by various Contractors in PSCs and CBM blocks and National Oil Companies (NOCs) in nomination regime constitute a significant part of India’s sedimentary basin.

 

5-Airports to have GI Product Stalls:

How GI Product Stalls will help?

  • Minister stated that he will ensure that major airports of the country have stalls displaying GI and self-help group products and discussion are also on with NABARD for setting up a portal for GI and self-help group products.
  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had launched a Logo and a Tagline Contest for Geographical Indications of India on 18thOctober, 2017, through mygov.in platform.
  • The tagline Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India, represents the spirit of Geographical Indications of India and will be helpful in effective branding and promotion of GIs.
  • This will also help in engaging more people on the subject of GIs and making them aware about the benefits of a GI tag.

What is Geographical Indication?

  • Geographical Indication is a genre of Intellectual Property.
  • GI tag is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
  • The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • These could be naturally grown crops like Assam Chilies or manufactured products like Jaipur Pottery.
  • GI tags are given on the basis of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The registration of GI is valid for 10 yearsafter which it needs to be renewed.
  • Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law.
·  GI will give the rightful share of intellectual property to the artisan and the place of origin of the product.
  • GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen. India’s rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.

 

6-GeM to ensure transparency in public procurement

As an initiative to improve transparency in procurement, Government has set up Government e- Marketplace as a 100% Government owned company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for providing online platform for procurement of common use goods and services by government organizations.

  • Government e- Marketplace (GeM) is an online platform for government users which was launched on August, 2016. It leverages technology to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
  • It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value of their money.
  • It is paperless, cashless and contactless platform giving end to end solution.
  • All the State Governments are utilising the services offered by Government e-Marketplace

 

7-Cage Farming in Karnataka

  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries approved by the Government in December 2015 inter-alia provides financial assistance for open sea cage culture and
  1. ii) installation of cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies.
  • The Government of Karnataka reported the installation of 8 marine cages with an expenditure of Rs. 29.9 lakh for Seabass and Cobia culture

What is Cage Farming?

  • Cage aquaculture involves the growing of fishes in existing water resources while being enclosed in a net cage which allows free flow of water.
  • It is an aquaculture production system made of a floating frame, net materials and mooring system (with rope, buoy, anchor etc.) with a round or square shape floating net to hold and culture large number of fishes and can be installed in reservoir, river, lake or sea.
  • A catwalk and handrail is built around a battery of floating cages.

There are 4 types of fish-rearing cages namely:

  1. Fixed cages,
  2. Floating cages,
  3. Submerged cages and
  4. Submersible cages.
  • Economically speaking, cage culture is a low impact farming practice with high returns and least carbon emission activity.
  • Farming of fish in an existing water body removes one of the biggest constraints of fish farming on land, ie., the need for a constant flow of clean, oxygenated water.
  • Cage farms are positioned in a such way to utilize natural currents, which provide the fish with oxygen and other appropriate natural conditions.
  • In view of the high production attainable in cage culture system, it can play a significant role in increasing the overall fish production in India.

 

8-Food Processing Technology (ICRAFPT) gets underway at IIFPT

  • International Conference on Recent Advances in Food Processing Technology (ICRAFPT) got underway at Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur in Tamilnadu.
  • The bumper production and diversification of agriculture has brought in new challenges for everybody in view of the large scale food wastage on one hand and seasonal & regional demand & there supply issues of many commodities.

Background:

  • The Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), a premier national Institute working under the administrative control of Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Government of India functioning from its headquarters in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
  • Besides delivering research and education in food processing, the institute has been incubating farmers, entrepreneurs and aspiring youth for prospective food business ventures.

 

ENVIRONMENT AND GEOGRAPHY

1-Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve Becomes 11th Biosphere Reserve from India to be Included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves

What is in News?

  • The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve has become the 11thBiosphere Reserve from India that has been included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).
  • The decision to include Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in WNBR was taken at the 30thSession of International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO held at Palembang, Indonesia,
  • India has 18 Biosphere Reserves and with the inclusion of Khangchendzonga
  • Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level.

About Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve

  • It is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level.
  • It includes range of ecolines, varying from sub-tropic to Arctic (tundra), as well as natural forests in different biomes, that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats.
  • Its core area is major transboundary Wildlife Protected Area.
  • Its southern and central landscape which makes up 86% of core area is situated in Greater Himalayas.
  • Its northern part accounting for 14% of area is characterized by trans-Himalayan features.
  • The core zone of Khangchendzonga National Park already has been designated World Heritage Site in 2016 under ‘mixed’ category (first from India in this category).
  • The core zone of this biosphere reserve alone has over 150 glaciers and 73 glacial lakes, the prominent is famous 26-km-long Zemu glacier.
  • It is also home to number of globally threatened fauna including musk deer, snow leopard, red panda and Himalayan Tahr and many ethnic communities including Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepalese.
  • Over 118 species of large number of medicinal plants are found in Dzongu Valley of this reserve which are of ethno-medical utility.

 

2-PM to attend event to mark World Biofuel Day 2018

What are Biofuels?

  • Biofuels can help reduce import dependency on crude oil. They can contribute to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and generate employment in rural areas.
  • Biofuels have synergies with various Government initiatives, including enhancing farmers’ incomes, and Swachh Bharat.
  • A biofuel is any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from organic matter in a short period of time. This is in contrasts with fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form and with other types of fuel which are not based on hydrocarbons like nuclear fuels.

Different Generation Fuel :–

  • The structure of the biofuel itself does not change between generations, but rather the source from which the fuel is derived changes.
  • First Generation Biofuels were directly using the food crops like wheat and sugar for making ethanol and oil seeds for bio diesel by conventional method of fermentation. These fuels emitted more greenhouse gases.
  • Second Generation Biofuels used non-food crops and feedstock instead of food crops as used in first generation. Wood, grass, seed crops, organic waste are used in fuel preparation.
  • Third Generation Biofuels use specially engineered Algae whose biomass is used to convert into biofuels. The greenhouse gas emission here will be low in comparison to others.
  • Since first generation completely depends on food directly; high volume of food grains were directed away from food market and used in the energy market. As every country is energy starved and good remuneration for farmers awaited everyone was attracted to production of raw materials for biofuels causing damages to the food security aims.

Third generation biofuels have advantages like:

  • Cost: The Algae are cultured to act as a low-cost alternative. It gives high-energy and entirely renewable feedstock.
  • Energy: The Algae will have the potential to produce more energy per acre than conventional crops.
  • Eco-Friendly: Algae can also be grown using land and water which are unsuitable for food production, therefore reducing the strain on already depleted water sources
  • Range: In Algae based biofuels is that the fuel manufactured can be used for a wide range of fuels such as diesel, petrol and jet fuel.
  • However Algae, even when grown in waste water, requires large amounts of water,nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. Also it requires large amount of fertilizers increasing GHG emissions and hence will be much costlier.
  • The fourth generation biofuel may in future reduce the greenhouse emission. It is a ray of hope for mankind which could be nurtured further by sustainable development thus to secure a better future for upcoming generations.

Bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas are a class of Bio Fuels

  1. Bio ethanol: It is produced from fermentation of carbohydrate and cellulosic material of crops and other plants and grasses. It is generally used as an additive to increase octane number of fuel.
  2. Bio Diesel: It is a methyl or methyl ester of fatty acids produced by trans esterification of oils and fats obtained from plants and animals. It can be directly used as fuel.
  3. Bio gas: Biogas is methane produced by anaerobic digestion of organic material by anaerobes. It can be produced either from biodegradable waste materials or by the use of energy crops fed into anaerobic digesters to supplement gas yields.

Our Bio fuel production is based mostly on Jatropa. To popularize Bio fuel Government has taken following initiatives:

  • Making 10% blending compulsory for transport sector and declaring intended target of 20% blending by 2017 in National Bio Fuel policy.
  • Making availability of blended fuel at all major cities.
  • Allowing major transport sectors to purchase biofuel directly.
  • Jatropha incentives of Government have been identified as a part of achieving energy independence. SBI has signed an MoU to provide loans for Jatropha cultivation. Various platforms for spreading awareness, such as Cinema halls are being utilized to popularize the uses of Jatropha.
  • Indian Railways have started using bio diesel mixed with its fuel with great success.
  • Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announces the opening of various outlets for High-Speed Diesel mixed with Bio Diesel.
  • Karnataka government has started biofuel parks to supply biofuel to transport corporations.

As a result of the efforts of the Union Government, ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14, to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18. The Government also approved the National Policy on Biofuels in June 2018.

 

3-PARIVESH” – an environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances launched

About PARIVESH

  • PARIVESH(Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) on the occasion of World Biofuel
  • PARIVESH is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.
  • Launch of PARIVESH, the vision of the Prime Minister for E-Governance and enhancing Ease of Doing Responsible Business is being translated into action by MoEF&CC.
  • PARIVESH, MoEFCC has become more of a facilitator, than a regulator.
  • Main highlights of PARIVESH include – single registration and single sign-in for all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ), unique-ID for all types of clearances required for a particular project and a single Window interface for the proponent to submit applications for getting all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forests, Wildlife and CRZ clearances).

How its going to help?

  • “PARIVESH enables project proponents, citizens to view, track and interact with scrutiny officers, generates online clearance letters, online mailers and alerts to state functionaries in case of delays beyond stipulated time for processing of applications

 

4-India’s only lab for conservation of endangered species

What they do?

  • CCMB-LaCONES is the only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wildlife and successfully reproducing endangered blackbuck, spotted deer and Nicobar pigeons.
  • India’s only lab for conservation of endangered species.

Where is the laboratory?

  • Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), a dedicated facility of CSIR’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad uses modern biotechnologies for conservation of endangered wildlife.

How this lab helped?

  • the efforts of scientists at CCMB in producing off-springs of blue rock pigeon, spotted deer and blackbuck, which were on the verge of extinction, through artificial insemination of cryopreserved sperm. CCMB scientists in collaboration with Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad have now rescued Indian Mouse Deer from extinction through successful conservation breeding programme.
  • This facility would increase the collection of genetic resources from wildlife through collaboration with zoos in India.
  • It would also facilitate exchange of genetic material between the Indian zoos for maintaining genetic diversity and conservation management made accessible to scientists and wildlife managers for implementing conservation programs.

5-National Crisis Management  (NCMC) meets for the second time

What was in news?

  • The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met to review the rescue & relief operations in the flood affected areas in Kerala.
  • It was decided to mobilise additional resources of all agencies including Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to provide the required assistance to Kerala.

What is National Crisis Management (NCMC) ?

  • It comes under Ministry of Home Affairs
  • It is the only dedicated disaster response force in the world
  • Established in 2006 ( Head office in New Delhi)
  • It works under National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which lays down policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management.
  • At present there are 12 battalions in NDRF which are deployed strategically across country to provide immediate response.
  • 4 new battalions are sanctioned by Union Cabinet.

What function NCMC performs?

  • It is the only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
  • The only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, standalone nature.

 

6-Cyclone Warning Centre

What was in news?

  • The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences is proposing to set up a Cyclone Warning Centre in Thiruvananthapuram in another one month.

Where are the warning centres?

  • IMD at present has cyclone warning centres only at Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

How it helps?

  • The Centre will cater to the needs of Kerala and Karnataka states and will be equipped with all state of the art infrastructure including forecasting tools to issue weather warnings and coastal bulletins (for fishermen,etc.).

The Ministry is also planning to set up another C-Band Doppler Weather Radar at Mangalore by end of 2019, which will cover the northern parts of Kerala.

7-TRIBES India

  • The Airport Authority of India has allotted space at Ahmedabad, Udaipur and Kolkata airports for opening of Tribes India outlets.
  • TRIFED has been offered spaces at International Airports at Dehradun, Varanasi, Pune, Goa, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Amritsar and Gangtok for setting up of Tribes India Outlets.
  • TRIFED has established a network of 89 Outlets i.e. 42 own Sales outlets, 33 outlets on consignment sale and 14 franchise outlets located across the country.

Tribal Artisan Mela (TAM):

  • TAMs are organized by TRIFED with a view to identify new artisans and new products at the sourcing level in States/Districts/Villages for expanding the tribal producers’ base.

TRIFED:

  • Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) is a national-level apex organization functioning, since 1987, under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, striving to promote the economic development of the Tribal communities of the country through marketing development and sustained up gradation of their skills and products.
  • The approach involves capacity building, imparting need-based trainings, and exploring marketing possibilities for products in national as well as international markets, brand building & creating opportunities for marketing on sustainable basis.
  • TRIFED’s sole objective is to bring about a multi-dimensional transformation of the tribal society and a shift in the perception of their existing image.

Background:

  • Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) is a national-level apex organization functioning, since 1987, under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, striving to promote the economic development of the Tribal communities of the country through marketing development and sustained upgradation of their skills and products.
  • The approach involves capacity building, imparting need-based trainings, and exploring marketing possibilities for products in national as well as international markets, brand building & creating opportunities for marketing on sustainable basis.
  • TRIFED’s sole objective is to bring about a multi-dimensional transformation of the tribal society and a shift in the perception of their existing image.

 

8-World Elephant Day

  • To focus attention of various stakeholders to support various conservation policies to help elephants, including:
  1. Improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory
  2. Conserving elephant habitats
  3. Providing better treatment for captive elephants
  4. Reintroducing some captive elephants into sanctuaries
  • Current population estimates for Asian elephants in the country, as per 2017 Census, are about 30,000.
  • Asian elephants are confined to South Asia and South East Asia and about 60 per cent of global population of Asian elephants is found in India.
  • As an acknowledgement of the important role played by the elephants in the social, religious and cultural life of people in India, elephants were declared as a National Heritage Animal in the year 2010.

Project Elephant

In order to conserve the Asian Elephants the Project Elephant started in 1992.

 

10-Lakhwar Multipurpose Project

Purpose:

  • It will benefit all six states in terms of river flow, drinking water, irrigation and electricity.
  • The focus is also on abating pollution in River Yamuna under Clean Ganga Mission, that the 34 projects are being taken up on the river out of which 12 are in Delhi which will ensure that the water going to Haryana and Rajasthan is Nirmal.

 

11-India’s National Redd+ Strategy

In brief

REDD refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation;

REDD+ refers to conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks

 

  • REDD+ activities will help in sustainable livelihood of local communities and also in conservation of biodiversity.
  • REDD+ strategy will help the country to fulfill its NDC commitments and will also contribute to the livelihood of the forest dependent population.
  • REDD+ actions at the State level will be coordinated by the committee headed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) & Head of Forest Force (HOFF) of the States.
  • In simple terms, REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

Aim:

  • REDD+ aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivizing forest conservation.
  • The strategy seeks to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and also developing a roadmap for enhancement of forest carbon stocks and achieving sustainable management of forests through REDD+ actions.

Background:

  • Paris agreement on climate change also recognizes role of forests in climate change mitigation and calls upon country Parties to take action to implement and support REDD+.   India has communicated in its Nationally Determined Contribution under Paris Agreement, that it will capture 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1-Electric Propulsion System

  • ISRO is working on Electric Propulsion System (EPS) which can reduce the dependence on chemical propellant.
  • The EPS system was first flown on South Asia Satellite (SAS) – GSAT-9 launched in the year 2017 and is working satisfactory.
  • With the help of EPS, satellite weight can be reduced as the chemical propellants are replaced by electrical system, the weight of which is not so significant compared to chemical propellant.

About GSAT-9

  • GSAT-9 is a planned Indian geostationary communications satellite. It will be utilized to serve also the neighbouring countries of the SAARC (except Pakistan, which opted out) as South Asian Satellite.
  • The satellite is planned with a mission life of 12 years and is to be positioned at 48º East longitude.

 

2-Reusable Launch Vehicle

What was in news?

  • India became the fifth nation to successfully conduct the flight demonstration of a scaled down version of a winged-body reusable launch vehicle, thereby validating the critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management.

How its going to help?

  • This flight represented the first baby step towards the realisation of a future fully reusable Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) space transportation system.
  • expected to reduce the launch cost by approximately 50 – 60% when compared to that of an expendable launch vehicle.

What is reusable launch system?

  • reusable launch system(RLS, or reusable launch vehicleRLV) is a space launch system intended to allow for recovery of all or part of the system for later reuse. To date, several fully reusable sub-orbital systems and partially reusable orbital systems have been flown

 

3-Making of Green Propellant

  • ISRO is developing green propellants for use in future rocket & satellite propulsion systems.
  • to minimise environmental impact while improving overall efficiency and economy.
  • ISRO has made a beginning by developing an eco-friendly solid propellant based on Glycidyl Azide Polymer (GAP) as fuel and Ammonium Di-Nitramide (ADN) as oxidizer at the laboratory level, which will eliminate the emission of chlorinated exhaust products from rocket motors.

 

4-Scientists decode complex Wheat Genome

  • In a major scientific breakthrough, a team of international researchers, including 18 from India decoded the wheat genome.
  • The information generated will help to identify genes controlling complex agronomic traits such as yield, grain quality, resistance to diseases and pests, as well as tolerance to drought, heat, water logging and salinity.
  • Cracking of the bread wheat genome will go a long way in developing climate-resilient wheat and help tide over possible impact of climate change on farm output.
  • The reference genome covers 94% (14.5 Gb) of the entire wheat genome. The bread wheat has a complex hexaploid genome which is 40 times larger than that of the rice genome and 5 times larger than the human genome.

Advantage:

  • The availability of high quality reference genome would accelerate the breeding of climate-resilient wheat varieties to feed the ever-increasing world population and help address global food security in the decades to come.

 

5-Navigation Satellites

What was in news?

  • IRNSS-1I spacecraft was successfully launched aboard PSLV-C41 on April 2018. The spacecraft was the replacement for IRNSS-1A and is providing intended navigation services.
  • IRNSS-1A continues to provide messaging services like disaster alerts and other societal applications.
  • The subsequent launches include GSLV-MK III that is planned to launch GSAT-29, PSLV-C42 launch and Chandrayaan-2 Mission.

More about IRNSS-1I ( Team Desire IAS input)

  • The IRNSS-1I is overall eighth satellite to join ISRO’s NavIC navigation satellite constellation.
  • It replaced IRNSS-1A, the first of seven navigation satellites of IRNSS series that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed.
  • IRNSS-1I was made by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies in collaboration with ISRO.
  • The IRNSS-1I was having lift-off weight of 1,425 kg and has life span of 10 years.
  • It carried two types of payloads: Navigation and Ranging.
  • They are L5 and S-band navigation payloads and C-band ranging payloads.
  • It also has corner cube retroreflectors for LASER ranging.
  • It will be stationed in Geosynchronous Orbit at 36,000 km height.

About IRNSS:

  • IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. Simply put, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to the GPS (global positioning system) of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe as well as China’s Beidou.
  • It consists of a constellation of seven satellites.

Features:

  • It covers whole India and region surrounding it up to 1500 km.
  • It provide accuracy up to 20m as claimed by ISRO.
  • Its apogee(farthest point) is 20,657km and Perigee is 284 km
  • The satellite weighs average 1330 kg approx. and each have solar panels to generate 1400wt.
  • A master control facility is set up on land to receive signals from these satellites.

Applications of IRNSS:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
  • Disaster Management.
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  • Integration with mobile phones.
  • Precise Timing.
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

6-NavIC

  • India’s own GPS is all set to be launched and will place it in the club of select countries which have their own indigenous navigation systems.
  • The GPS has been named NavIC—Navigation with Indian Constellation.
  • The other countries that have their own indigenous system are:
  1. Russia: GLONASS—Global Navigation Satellite System
  2. European Union: Galileo Positioning System
  3. Japan: Quasi-Zenith Satellite System—QZSS
  4. China: Beidou Navigation Satellite System—BDS
  • The NavIC will be useful in terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation.
  • Tracking, managing disaster and gathering geodetic data will be a few of the other uses of the system.

 

8 : O-SMART: Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science

What is O-SMART?

  • Cabinet approves Umbrella scheme “Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART)” of Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The scheme encompasses a total of 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science.

How its going to help?

  • The services rendered under the O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal states, Defence, Shipping, Ports etc.
  • This will help in reducing the search time for fishermen resulting savings in the fuel cost.
  • Implementation of O-SMART will help in addressing issues relating to Sustainable Development Goal-14, which aims to conserve use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.
  • This scheme (O-SMART) also provide necessary scientific and technological background required for implementation of various aspects of Blue Economy.
  • The State of Art Early Warning Systems established under the O-SMART Scheme will help in effectively dealing with ocean disasters like Tsunami, storm surges.
  • The technologies being developed under this Scheme will help in harnessing the vast ocean resources of both living and non-living resources from the seas around India.

 

PORTALS Initiative

 

1-Mobile App DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform

·         Policy initiatives of TRAI, over the years, have been to protect the interests of the consumers. Recognizing the importance of reaching out to the consumers and to safeguard their interests, TRAI has now integrated its Mobile Apps namely DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform.

  • UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is developed by National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen centric services.
  • It provides a unified approach where citizens can install one application to avail multiple government services. From now onwards, TRAI’s Mobile Appsnamely DND 2.0 &MyCall shall also be available on Umang Platform.

 

Certain key features of these applications are:

(a) TRAI MyCall App

  • TRAI MyCall is an intuitive and user friendly application for Crowdsourced Voice Call Quality Monitoring. The Application helps Mobile phone users to rate their experience about voice call quality in real time and help TRAI gather consumer experience data along with Network data.
  • A pop up requests the user to rate the call after it ends. Callers simply select their rating in the form of stars and indicate if the calls were made in indoor, outdoor or while travelling.
  • Callers can also provide additional details such as noise or audio delay or mark a call-drop.

(b) DND 2.0 App

  • DND (Do Not Disturb) Services App enables smart phone users to register their mobile number under DND and report spam messages or calls to avoid Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)/Telemarketing Calls/SMS.

2-Launch Mobile App Niryat Mitra

  • The app developed by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is available both on Android and on IOS platforms.

What is in this app?

  • It provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade right from the policy provisions for export and import, applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff, preferential tariff, market access requirements – SPS and TBT measures.
  • The most interesting part is that all the information is available at tariff line.
  • The app works internally to map the ITC HS code of other countries with that of India and provides all the required data without the users bothering about the HS code of any country. Presently the app comes with the data of 87 countries.

3-Swachh Manch web portal

  • Swachh Manch, a web-based platform which aims to bring together every stakeholder contributing to the Swachh Bharat Mission under a common platform. Swachh Manch will enable uploads of pictorial evidence of citizens and organizations participating in the initiatives, as well as record the number of hours volunteered, as acknowledgement of citizens’/organisations’ efforts and contributions to the cause of ‘swachhata’.
  • The Swachh Manch will also be integrated with the existing Swachhata App to act as a citizens’ grievance redressal platform.

 

4-Project “SWAYAM

What is SWAYAM?

  • ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM), which will provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
  • This covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.

How SWAYAM will help?

  • The objective is to ensure that the every student in our country has access to the best quality higher education at the affordable cost.
  • Academicians from hundreds of institutions throughout the country are involved in developing & delivering MOOCs through SWAYAM in almost all disciplines from senior schooling to Post Graduation wherein it is intended to develop world class content.

 

6- e-filing, e-pay, and NSTEP

  • The Chief Justice of India launched various applications for the benefit of the litigants and lawyers.
  • Three applications of e-filinge-pay, and NSTEP(National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes)created under the eCourts project were launched during the occasion.
  • The second phase of the eCourts project is implemented by Department of Justice during 2015 – 19 under the guidance of eCommittee, Supreme Court of India for ICT enablement of all district and subordinate courts in the country.

eFiling:

  • The eFiling application is made available at efiling.ecourts.gov.in where online registration of lawyers and litigants can be done.
  • Through the application, one can file cases from any part of India to any court on registration.
  • Portfolio management of cases of litigants and lawyers is provided on this portal and one can get updates from time to time about filed cases, cases under objection or rejected cases.
  • The facility of eSign is provided for those who cannot afford purchasing token for making digital signatures.
  • The eFiling application will facilitate efficient administration of Judicial System, as it will ease pressure on filing counters and will speed up work flow processing.
  • Data entry will be more accurate which will help to take data driven decisions in court administration.
  • It will start building digital repositories which will auto generate paper books and can be quickly transmitted to Higher Courts which will reduce delays.

ePay:

  • The ePay application at pay.ecourts.gov.in is a unified portal wherein facility to pay online court fees is provided.
  • ePayment is a safe and secure, quick and easy way to pay court fees .
  • At present, the facility will be made operational in two states of Maharashtra and Haryana.
  • OTP authentication provides secure way to financial transactions and one can get instant acknowledgement through SMS and print receipt.
  • The application is beneficial to judicial administration since verification of court fees is more easy, secure and transparent and accurate figures of court fees collected can be generated for any court, district or State.

NSTEP:

  • NSTEP – National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes is another innovative application launched as part of the eCourts Project, which is an collaboration between Case Information Software (CIS), Web portal and Mobile Application.
  • It is a transparent and secure system for transmission of process from one location to another, and shall address delays in process serving particularly for processes beyond jurisdiction.
  • The service will empower litigants with real time information relating to status of service of process and will entail litigants to take immediate follow up action which will reduce delays.
  • The status of service can also be tracked on public portal.

 

INDICES

1- Nationwide ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ released

  • State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ has been released by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).
  • Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Haryana have been categorised in the second best category of ‘achiever’ states.
  • The State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index will help in implementing national energy efficiency initiatives in states and meet both State as well as national goals on energy security, energy access and climate change.”

About Index:

  • The State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index has 63 indicators across Building, Industry, Municipality, Transport, Agriculture and DISCOM with 4 cross-cutting indicators.
  • States are categorised based on their efforts and achievements towards energy efficiency implementation, as ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’ and ‘Aspirant’.
  • The ‘Front Runner’ states in the inaugural edition of the Index are: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan based on available data.
  • The Index examines states’ policies and regulations, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures and energy savings achieved.

 

2- Ease of Living Index to Empower Citizens

  • Ease of Living Index launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • It has attracted wide public enthusiasm and provided an opportunity to Urban Planners, Municipal Authorities and public at large a baseline data for wider public debate.
  • This is a unique exercise and is based on an open and participatory assessment of cities along with physical audit of urban metrics in a transparent manner.

Features that influence the assessment outcomes and Rankings:

  1. Indicators and Weightages
  2. Quantum of Data Available with Cities
  3. Quality of Data Provided
  4. Relative benchmarks

3- Global Innovation Index, GII- 2018 launched in India


NITI Aayog to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII

  • Government and industry must synergise their efforts to promote R&D and innovation in the country.
  • India’s rank on the Global Innovation Index (GII) has improved from 60 in 2017 to 57 in 2018. India has been consistently climbing the GII ranking for the past two years.

About Index:

  • It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organizations and institutions.
  • It ranks nations based on 80 indicators.
  • India’s Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is one of the knowledge partners which assists GII team in bringing out the annual ranking.

GII is published annually since 2007 and is considered leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into state of innovation around the world

GOVERNMENT SCHEME, PROGRAMS, PROJECTS, Etc.

1- Government launches the scheme ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’

The Ministry of Culture, Government of India has launched the new scheme namely ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’ for Financial Years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Context:

  • The Union Ministry of Culture on June 1, 2018 introduced a new scheme called ‘SevaBhojYojna’ to reimburse the central share of CGST and IGST on items for food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by charitable religious institutions.

About the Yojana:

  • The scheme seeks to reimburse the central government’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) on purchase of raw items such as ghee, edible oil, atta, maida, rava, flour, rice pulses, sugar and jaggery, which go into preparation of food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by religious institutions.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to lessen the financial burden of such charitable religious institutions, which provide free of cost without any discrimination to the general public and devotees.
  • The charitable religious institutions including temples, gurudwara, mosque, church, dharmik ashram, dargah, monasteries, which fulfill the following criteria are eligible for the grant:
  • The institutions that have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
  • The institutions that serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month.

 

2- SAATHI Initiative Launched

  • Ministries of Power  and Textiles have joined hands under a new initiative SAATHI(Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries).
  • Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.
  • The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis.
  • This is the aggregation, bulk procurement and financing model that EESL has successfully deployed in several sectors like LED bulbs, Smart Meters and Electric Vehicles.
  • The unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipments and cost savings.
  • The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement will also lead to reduction in capital cost, benefits of which will be passed on to the Powerloom units so that their repayment amount and period would reduce.
  • The Powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country.

 

3- Atal Bhujal Yojana

  • The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore scheme, for sustainable management of ground water.
  • The funding pattern is 50:50 between Government of India and the World Bank.
  • The scheme is to be implemented over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23.
  • The identified over-exploited and water stressed areas for the implementation of the scheme fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

 

4- Implementation of E-Pashudhan Haat Scheme

  • Government has launched e-Pashu Haat portal for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.
  • Through the portal farmers can obtain information on location of quality indigenous germplasm in the form live animals, semen doses and embryos.
  • This portal is playing crucial role in development and conservation of indigenous breeds.

About E-Pashudhan Haat Portal

  • It is launched under the National Mission on Bovine Productivity for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.

This portal helps farmers to be aware about breed wise information on indigenous breeds. Farmers/breeders can

5- NITI Aayog indentified 117 districts as Aspirational Districts for RUSA Scheme

  • NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as ‘Aspirational Districts’.
  • These districts have been selected on the basis of composite index which includes published data of deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census, Health &Nutrition, Education and Basic Infrastructure.
  • During the second phase of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA), central assistance is provided for opening of new Model Degree Colleges(MDCs) in  ‘Aspirational Districts’ identified by NITI Aayog and in unserved & underserved districts in North Eastern and Himalayan States.

What is RUSA?

  • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2013.
  • Its aim was to increase enrolment in higher education by 30%.
  • It primarily provides strategic funding to eligible State higher educational institutions.

 

6- Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes for benefit of North Eastern Students

  • Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes are being implemented for the students of North Eastern region.
  • Ishan Vikas is coordinated by IIT, Guwahati and under the programme, selected school children from North Eastern States  are  brought in close contact with the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and  National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) during the vacation period to motivate them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to facilitate internship opportunities for the engineering college students in various institutes of national importance.
  • Ishan Uday Scholarship Scheme is administered by University Grants Commission (UGC). Under the scheme, scholarship is provided to the economically backward students from the North East Region for pursuing general degree courses, technical and professional degree courses. It is envisaged to provide 10000 scholarships annually.

 

7- Launches Bidder Information Management System and Bhoomi Rashi – PFMS Linkage Portals

  • Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari launched Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) and Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage – two IT initiatives of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry that are aimed at expediting pre construction processes relating to bidding and land acquisition respectively.

How BIMS will help?

  • It is estimated that BIMS portal will significantly reduce the procurement time for projects through an objective and transparent online evaluation system thereby leading to accelerated project implementation.
  • Bhoomi Rashi,the portal developed by MoRTH and NIC, comprises the entire revenue data of the country, right down to 6.4 lakh villages.
  • Integration of Public Financial Management System (PFMS)with Bhoomi Rashi is one of the key functionalities to facilitate payment related to compensation for land acquisition to all the beneficiaries directly through the Bhoomi Rashi system.

What is PMFS?

  • PFMS is a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA). to facilitate sound public financial management system for Government of India (GoI) It provides various stakeholders with a real time, reliable and meaningful management information system and an effective decision support system, as part of the Digital India initiative of GoI.

 

8- First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ in Manipur

  • The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.
  • It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.
  • Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur.
  • The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.  Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation
  • Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.  Under the project a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake has been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore.

 

9- MoveHack, NITI Aayog’s global mobility hackathon

  • More than 7,500 registrations from 20+ countries, top 30 teams to be mentored by the likes of Nandan Nilekani and Deep Kalra
  • MoveHack 2018, NITI Aayog’s global mobility hackathon with total prize money of more than INR 2 crores, has received strong interest from across the globe.
  • The hackathon, which was launched on 1st August 2018, has so far received more than 7,500 registrations for the 10 themes.

Aim of MoveHack

  • To bring about innovative, dynamic and scalable solutions to problems pertaining to mobility and transportation. The hackathon has a two-pronged campaign approach:
  • (a) ‘Just Code It’: aimed at solutions through innovations in technology/product/software and data analysis, and
  • (b) ‘Just Solve It’: innovative business ideas or sustainable solutions to transform mobility infrastructure through technology.
  • In addition to the attractive prize money, what sets this hackathon apart is that it provides a unique opportunity for end-to-end integration of solutions in Smart Cities, States and Central Ministries through commercial implementation.
  • Problem themes include multimodal commuter mobility in cities, multimodal freight handling and transportation, road safety, future of mobility etc.

 

10- Rashtriya Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month)

Which Ministry Organised it?

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India organized an orientation workshop for various stakeholders participating in the Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month) being celebrated in the month of September.

What are the objectives?

  • The primary objective of the celebration of Poshan Maah is to take the messages of POSHAN to the grass root level.
  • The programme– an initiative of WCD Ministry and NITI Aayog is supported by 18 line Ministries/Departments/Government Organizations.
  • The programme focuses on 8 themes– Antenatal Care, Optimal Breastfeeding (Early & Exclusive), Complementary Feeding, Anemia, Growth Monitoring, Girls-education, diet, right age of Marriage, Hygiene & Sanitation, Food Fortification.
  • Various activities are planned for to the month of September which will be celebrated nationwide as Poshan Maah. Activities like- Prabhat Pheri, POSHAN Melas, POSHAN Rallies & Walks, Nukkad Nataks, Yuva Shakti Rallies, School Based Events, Recipe Demonstration, Public Events are planned.

Background:

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 8th March, 2018 from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
  • The programme through use of technology, a targeted approach and convergence strives to reduce the level of Stunting, Under-nutrition, Anemia and Low Birth Weight in Children, as also, focus on Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers, thus holistically addressing malnutrition.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters over the next few years.

 

11- Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Which ministry launched it?

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Human Resources Development, with the intention to enrich Rural India.

What is purpose of Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan?

  • This unique initiative of HRD ministry will serve as real Bharat Darshan for students and it is also an opportunity for them to learn about the basic challenges faced by rural people and to bring out practical solutions for their betterment.
  • The Minister advised students to involve local village people at every stage of problem identification and solving issues relating to health, cleanliness, waste management, plantation, financial inclusion, women and child development etc.
  • The knowledge base and resources of the Premier Institutions of the country are to be leveraged to bring in transformational change in rural developmental process.
  • It also aims to create a vibrant relationship between the society and the higher educational institutes, with the latter providing the knowledge and technology support to improve the livelihoods in rural areas and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and private organisations in the society.

What are the changes in Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0?

  • Under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0, the institutions have been selected on a Challenge Mode and the scheme has been extended to 750 reputed Higher Educational Institutes (both public and private) of the country.
  • IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this programme and the Ministry intends to extend the coverage to all the reputed Higher Educational Institutes, in a phased manner.
  • Each selected institute would adopt a cluster of villages / panchayats and gradually expand the outreach over a period of time.
  • Institutes through their faculty and students, will carry out studies of living conditions in the adopted villages, assess the local problems and needs, workout the possibilities of leveraging the technological interventions and the need to improve the processes in implementation of various government schemes, prepare workable action plans for the selected villages.

12- India’s Energy Efficiency Program

  • The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $220 million Loan Agreement and an $80 million Guarantee Agreement for the India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program. 
  • The Program, to be implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), will help scale-up the deployment of energy saving measures in residential and public sectors, strengthen EESL’s institutional capacity, and enhance its access to commercial financing.
  • The investments under the Program are expected to avoid lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of 170 million tons of CO2, and contribute to avoiding an estimated 10 GW of additional generation capacity.
  • This would be over 50 percent of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency target of 19.6 GW indicated in India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Accord.

The Key Components of the Operation include:

  • Creating sustainable markets for LED lights and energy efficient ceiling fans;
  • Facilitating well-structured and scalable investments in public street lighting;
  • Developing sustainable business models for emerging market segments such as super-efficient air conditioning and agricultural water pumping systems; and
  • Strengthening the institutional capacity of EESL.

About Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)

  • EESL was set up under Union Ministry of Power to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency projects. It is a Joint Venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and POWERGRID.
  • It also leads market-related actions of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE).
  • It also acts as the resource centre for capacity building of State DISCOMs

 

DEFENCE

1-Ballistic Missile Interceptor AAD Successfully Flight Tested

  • DRDO conducted the successful test of the Ballistic Missile Interceptor Advanced Area Defence from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
  • The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms was launched against multiple simulated targets of 1500 km cl Ballistic Missile Interceptor ballistic missile.
  • One target among simultaneously incoming multiple targets was selected on real time, the weapon system radars tracked the target and the missile locked on to it and intercepted the target with a high degree of accuracy.
  • The complete event including the engagement and interception was tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems, radars and telemetry stations. All the mission objectives were successfully met.

 

2-Operation ‘Madad’ by Southern Naval Command

  • Operation “Madad” has been launched by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi since 09 Aug 2018 for assisting the state administration and undertaking disaster relief operations due to the unprecedented flooding experienced in many parts of Kerala, owing to incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams.

 

3-Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to MT Kamet (7756m)

  • In pursuit of achieving greater heights in the field of mountaineering, Indian Army is planning to attempt Mt Makalu (8485M), the fifth highest mountain peak in the world in 2019.
  • As a precursor to it, an expedition to Mount Kamet (7756M), Joshimath District Chamoli, Uttarakhand is being conducted under the aegis of Army Adventure Wing in August-September 2018.
  • Mt Kamet is the 3rdhighest peak of India after Kanchanjanga & Nandadevi and is the only highest peak available to climb within the country.

 

4-Exercise Pitch Black

  • Ex Pitch Black a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise was hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
  • It is for the first time that IAF participated with air assets in the Exercise Pitch Black (PB-18).

Objective

  • The objectives for the exercise were to foster closer relationship between the participating friendly forces and to promote interoperability through exchange of knowledge and experience.
  • The aim for participating crew and specialist observers was to expose them to op environment in international scenarios.

 

5-Anti-Tank Guided Missile ‘HELINA’

  • Indigenously developed Helicopter launched Anti-Tank Guided Missile ‘HELINA’ has been successfully flight tested

What is HELINA?

  • HELINA is helicopter launched version known of NAG ATGM, designed and developed indigenously for Indian Army under integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP).
  • It is manufactured by India’s sole missile producer, state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited.
  • HELINA is one of the most advanced Anti-Tank Weapons in the world.
  • It works on “fire and forget” principle and operates in Lock on Before Launch mode.
  • It has operational range of 7-10km (after air-launched).
  • It is equipped with highly advanced Imaging Infrared Radar (IIR) seeker along with integrated avionics.
  • It also possesses advanced passive homing guidance system.
  • It has been designed mainly to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.

 

What is NAG?

  • It is a “Fire and Forget” anti-tank missile
  • It is a guided missile
  • Developed by DRDO under Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
  • The NAG ATGM has strike range of over 2.5km with fire and forget capabilities.
  • It has top attack capabilities that can effectively engage and destroy all known enemy tanks during day and night.
  • The missile incorporates an advanced passive homing guidance system and possesses high single-shot kill probability. It is designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.
  • Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms.
  • It is in service since 2015.
  • It is developed under Indian Ministry of Defence’s integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), which also involved the development of four other missiles that are Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi

 

6-Exercise Maitree 2018

  • It is joint military exercise between Indian Army and Royal Thai Army
  • Exercise Maitree is an annual event designed to strengthen the partnership between Royal Thai Army and Indian Army
  • It involved familiarization training between two armies to evolve drills and procedures involved in counter insurgency & counter terrorist operations in urban, rural and jungle terrain under UN mandate
  • The second phase included practicing of various drills & tactical scenarios in counter insurgency environment, execution of tactical operations like search and destroy operation, house intervention and survival techniques

Significance

  • Both the armies immensely benefitted from each other’s expertise and experience in conduct of tactical level counter terrorist operations.
  • The exercise helped in enhancing the cooperation between two armies & bonhomie between troops.

 

7-INS Khanjar visits Yangon, Myanmar

  • INS Khanjar a Missile Corvette of Indian Navy was on a three-day visit to Yangon, Myanmar to undertake operational turn around (OTR) and as part of goodwill visit.

 

IN NEWS (PERSON, PLACE, ETC)

1-Rehabilitation of Bru Migrants

  • In a major breakthrough on repatriation of displaced Bru persons from Mizoram since 1997, an Agreement has been signed by Government of India,  Government of Mizoram,  Government of  Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) on 3.7.2018.
  • 5407 families comprising of 32,876 persons presently in temporary camps in Tripura will be repatriated to Mizoram before 30thSeptember, 2018.
  • Government of India will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Brus in Mizoram, such as Financial Assistance @ Rs. 4 Lakh / per family, Cash Assistance @ Rs. 5000/ per month per family for 2 years,  Housing Assistance @ 1,50,000 / per family, Free Ration @ 600 gm /300 gm, adult/minor for 2 years, utensils & blankets @ Rs. 3,500/ per family and security cost, and address their issue of security, education, livelihood, etc. in consultation with Government of Mizoram and Tripura.
  • Reang are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura. The correct nomenclature for this ethnic group is actually Brualthough the name Reangwas accidentally incorporated by the Indian government during a census count.[
  • The Bru can be found all over the Tripura state in India. However, they may also be found in Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Bangladesh. They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.

2-Handfan “Pankha” made by tribals

  • In a unique initiative, Trifed has supplied the handfans “Pankha” to Ministry of Defence for those invitees who will attend the Independence Day flag hosting ceremony at Red Fort in Delhi. The Ministry of Defence placed an order for supply of 1000 handfans (Pankha) made by tribals and distribute the same to the invitees.
  • These fans have been made by Mahali tribe of Malda, West Bengal.
  • The Mahli are a scheduled tribe in India, in the states of Jharkhandand West Bengal.
  • They mostly reside in Dumka districtand certain other regions of Jharkhand, and in the adjoining areas of West Bengal.
  • Their population is dwindling. Mahli people traditionally earned their livelihood by selling articles made of bamboo. Some typical articles made by them are: Machi(a small bench), umbrellas, soop(used in kitchen, to remove dust from cereals), sop and chatai (for lying down and sleeping), raincap (special cap covering head, and upper back for protection from rains during work).
  • Mahli people typically have a tattooof their name on their hand.

3-Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away

  • He is, undoubtedly, one of the tallest leaders in post-independence India.
  • His contribution to strengthen democracy and good governance has been stupendous.
  • He successfully ran a coalition of 23 parties with his rare persuasive charm and competence.
  • ‘Bharat Ratna’ Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee’s qualities of Vyakthitva(personality), Vakthruthva (oratory),

Karthruthva (devotion to duty), Mithrutva (friendliness) all combined in his remarkable ‘Nethrutva‘ will be remembered for a long time to come.”

 

4-Krishna Kutir

  • Krishna Kutir, a home for 1000 widows
  • UP Government to allot land in Lucknow and Varanasi to create large Homes for helpless women and children.

About:

  • The Home for Widows, Krishna Kutir has been constructed on 1.4 hectare of land through National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) at a cost of 57.48 Crores (including cost of the land) with a capacity of 1000 inmates.
  • It has beautifully made 100 rooms/dormitories.
  • The design of the Home has been prepared in consultation with Helpage India and is old age friendly
  • The facility is also equipped with a large modern kitchen and a skill cum training centre.
  • It also has two dispensaries and physiotherapy facility and the inmates will be given regular medical checkups.
  • The construction of the home has been funded by Central Government and will be managed by the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

5- 6th International Buddhist Conclave

  • The President of India, inaugurated the 6thinternational Buddhist conclave in New Delhi.
  • This conclave is being organised by the Ministry of Tourism, GOI
  • The President said that the voyage of Buddhism from India to Asia and the transcontinental links that were created carried more than just spiritualism.
  • They carried a rich cargo of knowledge and learning. They carried arts and crafts. They carried meditation techniques and even martial arts.
  • The many roads that the monks and nuns – those men and women of faith – carved out became among the earliest trade routes.
  • In that sense, Buddhism was the basis for an early form of globalisation – and of inter-connectedness in our continent. It is these principles and values that must continue to guide us.
  • The President said that tourism is a multi-stakeholder enterprise. The private sector and civil society have substantial roles. And in terms of providing a safe and secure visitor experience, state and municipal administrations play a critical part. The business potential of tourism is immense.
  • Across our world, this industry is a big job creator, especially for local households and local communities.
  • In its essence, tourism, like Buddhism, is about people and empowering them to realise their potential.
  • The Ministry has also planned to organize an ‘Investors’ Summit’ during the Conclave to attract investments in developing world class infrastructure at Buddhist sites.

Aim:

  • To showcase and project the Buddhist Heritage in India and boost tourism to the Buddhist sites in the country and cultivate friendly ties with countries and communities interested in Buddhism.

Background:

  • India has a rich ancient Buddhist Heritage with several important sites associated with the life of Lord Buddha.
  • The Indian Buddhist Heritage is of great interest to the followers of Buddhism the world over.
  • The most precious gift that the Ancient India has given to the World is, the Buddha and his Path, which is, the Eight-fold Path, in Pali language, Aṭṭhangiko Maggo.
  • ‘Buddha Path’ on one hand refers to the extraordinary Teachings of the Buddha which is also called the Middle Path which when practiced brings purity of mind and leads to Peace, Happiness and Harmony within and also in the Society as well.

The Buddha Path provides quality of life based on Values as moral principles, or other ideas that guide our choices; Right beliefs, connection to nature and place with spirituality; Way of Life, daily practices, good habits and inspiring traditional skills for mental growth, thereby, making it the Living Heritage.




PIB ( 1st to 15th AUGUST) Mains Special

www.DesireIAS.com

PIB ( 1st to 15th AUGUST)

Mains Special

  1-Pending RTI Applications

  • Central Information Commission (CIC) has informed that 23,978 second appeals/complaints are pending as on 26-07-2018.

2-Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Vision

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.

Mission

  • The Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.
  • It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between society and an inclusive academic system by providing knowledge and practices for emerging professions and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and the private sectors in responding to the development needs of rural India.

Objective of the scheme are

  • To engage faculty and students of higher educational institutions in understanding rural realities.
  • Identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of technologies or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions as required by people.
  • To allow higher educational institutions to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government Programs.

Goals

  • To build an understanding of the development agenda within institutes of Higher Education and an institutional capacity and training relevant to national needs, especially those of rural India.
  • To re-emphasize the need for field work, stake-holder interactions and design for societal objectives as the basis of higher education.
  • To stress on rigorous reporting and useful outputs as central to developing new professions.
  • To provide rural India and regional agencies with access to the professional resources of the institutes of higher education,
    especially those that have acquired academic excellence in the field of science, engineering and technology, and management.
  • To improve development outcomes as a consequence of this research. To develop new professions and new processes to sustain and absorb the outcomes of research.
  • To foster a new dialogue within the larger community on science, society and the environment and to develop a sense of dignity and collective destiny.

3-Need to Address Root Cause Behind Man-Animal Conflict”

  • Strongly emphasizing the need to address the root cause behind the man-animal conflict, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, pointed out that the man-animal conflict is an existential crisis not for the animals, but for human beings.
  • underlined the fact that protection of wilderness and forests is a must to protect any wildlife species.
  • The Minister stressed the urgent need to focus on human population to optimize conservation efforts.

Background 

  • Current population estimates for Asian elephants in the country, as per 2017 Census, are about 30,000.  Asian elephants are confined to South Asia and South East Asia and about 60 per cent of global population of Asian elephants is found in India
  • In order to conserve the Asian Elephants the Project Elephant started in 1992, with the objectives of
  • conservation and protection of viable population of wild elephants in their natural habitats in the country;
  • restoration of natural habitats and traditional corridors/migratory routes or movement paths used by the elephants, wherever necessary, through eco-restoration, acquisition etc;
  • ensuring safeguards against poaching and other threats;
  • mitigation and control of human elephant conflicts;
  • welfare and management of captive elephants; and
  • creating a viable mechanism to ensure inter-state and regional and national level coordination in protecting and conserving the elephant and its ranges.

causes of man-animal conflict

  • Increased disturbance due to collection of fuel wood, fodder, NTFPs, water etc. from the forests has also increased the incidences of man-animal conflict
  • people have to go deeper and deeper, year by year for fetching firewood Decreased prey base
  • Habitat fragmentation and shrinking of habitats

impact of man wildlife conflict

  • Injury or loss of human lives or animals
  • Crop damage , livestock depredation
  • Damage to human property and destruction of habitat

way forward

  • Capacity building of forest guards
  • Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors for knowing Animal movements – Eg. Buxa forest
  • Construction of highways/railways bypassing wildlife rich areas like Trans-Canada Highway bypassed Banff National park
  • Expansion of protected reserves : in-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival and reduced conflict with humans
  • Safe animal zones creation: re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
  • Community based rehabilitation measures: making community responsible for resolution of animal-man conflict will aid in decentralized approach of governance for wildlife preservation. For ex it is done Keibul Lamjao National Park, Kaziranga national park, Sundarbans etc;
  • Partnering with WWF which provide tailor made solutions to man wildlife conflict with community and species in consideration

4-Dam Safety Bill

Context of the Bill:

  • The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
  • The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

Functions of the National Dam Safety Authority:

  • It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices.
  • It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations.
  • It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures.
  • It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure.
  • It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances.
  • It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams.
  • It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution.
  • Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.

Need for a legislation:

There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.

5- Integrate to Innovate Programme for energy Startups

  • Invest India has joined hands with energy sector companies to offer a unique lab-to-market opportunity for Indian startups through the Integrate to Innovate Programme.
  • Integrate to Innovate is a 3-month corporate acceleration programme for energy startups housed at the corporate premises.
  • The application for the programme is hosted on Startup India Hub – an online platform bringing together all stakeholders of the Indian startup ecosystem. The programme provides an opportunity for collaboration and conversation around valuable energy transitions, offering startups an opportunity to bring their ideas to life with the guidance and support from corporates.
  • The selected startups will receive a cash prize grant of upto ₹ 5 Lakh per startup along with an opportunity to pilot their product with corporates.
  • The corporates would offer them access to technology, technical and commercial mentorship and access to potential customers through the corporate network of partners.
  • Entries are invited from innovators across various stages of the energy life-cycle—generation, transmission and distribution, storage and consumption—in multiple sectors such as households, farm, industry, infrastructure, building, utility and transport.
  • The winners will be assessed on select parameters such as the breakthrough nature of the innovation, business viability and scalability potential.

In these categories specific areas of interest for the Integrate to Innovate programme include:

Household

  • Home Automation
  • E-commerce marketplaces for smart home products and installer/support services
  • Rooftop solar & home energy storage

Transport

  • EV and EV infrastructure
  • Gas powered trucks

Farm

  • Waste to Value

Infrastructure

  • Renewables
  • Grid and micro-grids
  • Storage battery
  • Sensors, drones, data analytics, workforce mobility
  • Cybersecurity

Utility

  • Metering, Billing & Customer analytics
  • Demand response & distributed energy resource management systems
  • Transactive energy, blockchain based energy trading and energy marketplaces

Building

  • Energy efficiency and cooling
  • B2B e-markets
  • Automation efficiency
  • Predictive asset management (IoT and AI)

6-Special Package to Boost Export of Textiles

  • India has the potential to become one stop sourcing destination for brands and retailers from ASEAN.
  • There are opportunities for textile manufacturers from ASEAN to invest here and cater to domestic market as well as exports because of competitive advantages available in India including availability of raw material, trained man-power and presence of the entire textile value chain. Further, 100% FDI is allowed in the textile sector under automatic route.
  • To increase exports of textile and apparel, Government has announced a Special Package for garments and made-ups sectors.
  • the rates under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) have been enhanced from 2% to 4% for apparel and made-ups from November 2017.
  • Government is also providing interest rate subvention for pre and post shipment credit for the textile sector and gives assistance to exporters under Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme.

Further, following steps are being taken by the Government for promoting the export of Handloom and Handicrafts:

  • Assistance for marketing study, branding, participation in Fairs and Exhibitions, Buyer-Seller Meets in India and abroad etc. through Marketing and other Schemes.
  • setting up of 8 mega clusters in the country for increasing manufacturing and exports.
  • providing skill upgradation training to artisans and carpet weavers.
  • refunding excise and customs duties for importing inputs through Duty Drawback channel.
  • Providing assistance for manufacturing new and Innovative designs as per need.
  • Providing modern and improved tools to improve the production technique of artisans.

Objectives:

  1. Employment generation and export by encouraging apparel and garment industry, which will provide employment to women in particular and increase India’s share in global exports.
  2. Promotion of Technical Textiles, a sunrise sector, for export and employment
  3. Promoting conversion of existing looms to better technology looms for improvement in quality and productivity
  4. Encouraging better quality in processing industry and checking need for import of fabrics by the garment sector.

The amended scheme would give a boost to “Make in India” in the textiles sector; it is expected to attract investment to the tune of one lakh crore rupees, and create over 30 lakh jobs.

7- 195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to support women-affected by violence

  • The Ministry is implementing Scheme for setting up One Stop Centre since April 2015 to support women-affected by violence.
  • Under the scheme, it has been envisaged that One Stop Centre would be set up in every district across the country in phased manner.
  • So far,195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to provide single window services such as medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counseling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence.
  • Ministry has approved setting up of five One Stop Centres at Thiruvanatapuram, Thissur, Mallapuram, Kannur, Wayanad districts of Kerala.

8- PM reviews performance of key infrastructure sectors of Transport and Housing

Key points

  • The average road length constructed per day in FY 17-18 was 26.93 km, as compared to 11.67 km in FY 13-14.
  • The Prime Minister was informed about progress made in digitisation of the transport sector. Over 24 lakh RFID tags have been issued so far, and over 22 percent of toll revenue now comes from electronic toll collection.
  • The “Sukhad Yatra” App, which provides information about road conditions, and facilitates lodging of complaints, has seen over one lakh downloads so far.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, rural roads have now connected 88 percent of all eligible habitations. Over 44,000 villages have been connected in the period from 2014 to 2018, as compared to about 35,000 in the preceding four year period.
  • The “MeriSadak” App has been launched in 10 regional languages,
  • GIS Mapping of roads is underway, and 20 States have so far been hosted on the Geospatial Rural Road Information System (GRRIS). Green technologies, and non-conventional materials such as waste plastic and fly ash, are being used in rural road construction.
  • In the railways sector, there has been significant addition in capacity and rolling stock. Additions in “new lines, doubling and gauge conversion” between 2014 and 2018, was to the extent of 9528 kilometres, which is 56 percent higher than the preceding four year period.
  • Similarly, in the aviation sector, passenger traffic has grown by over 62 percent in the four year period between 2014 and 2018, as against 18 percent in the preceding four year period. Under the UDAN scheme, 27 airports are now operational in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
  • In the ports sector, traffic volume in major ports increased by 17 percent in the period between 2014 and 2018.

9- New Defence Production Policy

  • A draft Defence Production Policy 2018 has been prepared which provides a focused, structured and significant thrust to development of defence design and production capabilities in the country.
  • The draft policy has been shared with all concerned stakeholders for their views before notification.

salient features of the Draft Policy

  • Creation of a dynamic, robust and competitive defence and aerospace industry as an important part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • Creation of a tiered defence industrial ecosystem in the country.
  • Reducing current dependence on imports and strive to achieve self-reliance in development and manufacture of weapon systems / platforms.

The Policy mandates for Transfer of Technology or enhanced Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for domestic production in the event of non-availability of manufacturing capabilities in the country.

 10- Cases pending in Supreme Court and NGT

  • The number of cases related to environmental issues pending in the Supreme Court of India is around 110 and 3573 in the National Green Tribunal.

11- Cabinet approves MoU between India and Indonesia on Health cooperation

The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation:-

  • Research and development, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and IT-based medical equipment;
  • Human Resource Development;
  • Health services; and
  • Any other area as may be mutually agreed upon.

12- Cabinet approves raising of four additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force
Details:

  • The objective of raising four additional battalions is to reduce the response time keeping in view the vast geographic area of the country.
  • These four battalions will initially be raised as two battalions in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and one battalion each in Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Rifles (ARs).
  • Later these four battalions will be converted into NDRF battalions. Based on the vulnerability profile, these four battalions will be placed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi National Capital Region.

Background:

  • NDRF is a specialized force, which has been created in the year 2006 for the purpose of specialist response during the natural and man-made disaster or threatening situation.
  • At present there are 12 battalions in NDRF which are deployed strategically across the country to provide immediate response.
  • Government has allowed 100% FDI under automatic route in educational institutions
  • As per consolidated FDI Policy, 2017, the Government has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% under automatic route in the educational institutions subject to applicable laws/sectoral rules/regulations/ security conditions.

13-National Energy Storage Mission (NESM)

  • The Expert Committee referred has proposed a draft NESM with objective to strive for leadership in energy storage sector by creating an enabling policy and regulatory framework that encourages manufacturing, deployment, innovation and further cost reduction.
  • NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute’s joint report on India’s Energy Storage Mission has proposed three stage solution approach i.e. creating an environment for battery manufacturing growth; scaling supply chain strategies; and scaling of battery cell manufacturing.
  • Energy Storage is one of the most crucial & critical components of India’s energy infrastructure strategy and also for supporting India’s sustained thrust to renewables.

focus Areas:

The draft focuses on 7 areas namely,

  • Indigenous manufacturing;
  • An assessment of technology and cost trends;
  • A policy and regulatory framework;
  • Financing, Business models and market creation;
  • Research and development;
  • Standards and testing; and
  • Grid planning for energy storage.

13- Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill,2018 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 6th August 2018, has been passed by the Rajya Sabha today. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot today moved the Amendment Bill, 2018 in Rajya Sabha.

Point-wise details:  Section 18A has been inserted to nullify conduct of a preliminary enquiry before registration of an FIR, or to seek approval of any authority prior to arrest of an accused, and to restore the provisions of Section 18 of the Act.

Section 18A, inserted in the Act, states that:-

(1) For the purpose of the PoA Act,-

(a) preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person; or

(b) the investigating officer shall not require approval for arrest, if necessary, of any person, against whom an accusation of having committed an offence under the PoA Act has been made and no procedure other than provided under the PoA Act or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, shall apply.

(2) The provision of section 438 of the Code shall not apply to a case under the Act, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any Court.

Background :     

  • The directions of the Hon’ble Court to conduct a preliminary inquiry within seven days by the Dy. S.P. concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the PoA Act and that arrest in appropriate cases may be made only after approval by the S.S.P., would delay registration of First Information Report (FIR) and will impede strict enforcement of the provision of the POA Act.
  • It may also be difficult to get the preliminary inquiry conducted within seven days as sufficient number of Dy. S.P level officers are usually not in place.
  • Typically, the Dy. S.P. are located at the district level and not at taluk/block level. Other repercussions of the said directions of the Hon’ble Court are that delay in registration of FIR would result in delay in payment of admissible relief amount to the victims of atrocities admissible only on registration of FIR.
  • All this would adversely affect the very objective of the Act to prevent commission of atrocities against members of SC and ST and be severely detrimental especially in heinous offences like sexual exploitation of   SC/ST women including rape, gangrape, acid attacks and murder etc.

 14- Disclosure of compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the Annual Reports of Private companies now made Mandatory: Ministry of Corporate Affairs amends the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014

In order to ensure safe workplaces for Women in the private sector, the Ministry of Women and Child had requested Hon’ble Minister for Corporate Affairs to mandate the disclosure regarding implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in the Directors Report of every company.

  • It may be noted that Section-134 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides the disclosure framework which the Directors of every company are required to comply with in the Annual Reports.
  • This section also includes the penal provisions for non-disclosure.
  • The inclusion of the compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the non-financial disclosures will ensure that the issue gets into the focus into Board of Directors of the companies
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been making continuous efforts to mainstream the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. Detailed Rules under the Act were issued.
  • It was ensured that all the ministries/ departments under the central government as well as the organizations working directly under them constitute the Internal Complaints Committee as mandated under them Act.
  • A number of instructions have been issued by the DoPT on the request of the ministry to provide immediate relief to the women working in central government against sexual harassment at workplace.
  • The ministry has also empanelled a number of entities who can provide training to any organization on effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. The ministry has provided a facility to all working women to file complaints under this Act directly with the ministry through the SHE-Box.

15- Import of Weapons / Military Equipment

Key points

  • During the last three years and current year (upto June, 2018), 106 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors and 62 have been signed with foreign vendors including those from Russia, Israel, USA, France, UK and Germany for procurement of defence equipment for Armed Forces.
  • The major defence equipment imported include Radars, Rockets, Artillery Guns, Rifles, Aircraft, Helicopters, Laser Designation Pods, Pods for Aircrafts, Missiles, Weapons, Simulator and Ammunition.

16-Maoist and Naxal activities in the country

  • The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) situation in the country has been improving consistently and is now well under control.
  • Currently 30 districts in 07 States are most affected by LWE violence.
  • Total 30 districts contributed 88% of violent incidents and 94% of deaths in 2017.

 

 




PIB ( 1st  to 15th  August) Important News for Prelims

www.DesireIAS.com

PIB ( 1st  to 15th  August)

Important News for Prelims

1-Cabinet approves Re-structuring of the Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board (ASRB)

 Details:

  • The ASRB will now be a 4 Member body instead of 3 Members. It will have a Chairperson and 3 Members.
  • ASRB would be for a period of three years or till attainment of 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
  • For the purpose of autonomy, secrecy, accountability and efficient functioning ASRB shall be delinked from ICAR and to be attached with Deptt. of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
  • The budget head for ASRB may also be delinked from ICAR and be created under DARE, and the ASRB may have its own cadre of administrative staff in the secretariat and have independent administrative control.

 Impact:

  • The four Member body comprising of one Chairperson and three Members would help in expediting the work and functioning of ASRB.
  • It would support in expediting the recruitment process which would be beneficial for the agrarian community and agriculture at large.
  • Moreover, it will ensure more transparency and efficiency in recruitment of meritorious scientists to various scientific positions in lCAR, the premier agency for agricultural research and education in the country.

2-Solar Charkhas to Generate Direct Employment to One Lakh Persons

  • Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched the Mission Solar Charkha for implementation of 50 Solar Charkha Clusters across the country for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • The scheme will generate direct employment to nearly one lakh persons.
  • Solar Charkha Units have been classified as village industries.
  • includes World Bank Loan of USD 200 Million.

3-Nationwide ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ released;

  • State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ has been released by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).
  • Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Haryana have been categorised in the second best category of ‘achiever’ states.
  • The State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index will help in implementing national energy efficiency initiatives in states and meet both State as well as national goals on energy security, energy access and climate change.”

About Index:

  • The State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index has 63 indicators across Building, Industry, Municipality, Transport, Agriculture and DISCOM with 4 cross-cutting indicators.
  • States are categorised based on their efforts and achievements towards energy efficiency implementation, as ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’ and ‘Aspirant’.
  • The ‘Front Runner’ states in the inaugural edition of the Index are: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan based on available data.
  • The Index examines states’ policies and regulations, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures and energy savings achieved.

Energy conservation guidelines for energy intensive industries

  • Bureau under the aegis of Ministry of Power is implementing many initiatives for energy efficiency in the energy intensive industries.
  • Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme is a flagship scheme of Government of India to improve energy efficiency of large energy consuming industries.
  • As a part of Indo-Japan Energy Dialogue, Energy Conservation Centre of Japan (ECCJ) and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)have developed Energy Conservation Guidelines for energy intensive industries covering both large as well as MSMEs.
  • These guidelines will enable the industries to establish a systematic mechanism to improve the energy efficiency for major energy consuming utilities.
  • These guidelines would serve a ready reference of standard and target benchmarked energy performance values for major energy consuming equipment which will improve the overall energy performance of the industry.

5-Cabinet approves Policy Framework for exploration and exploitation of Unconventional Hydrocarbons

  • unconventional hydrocarbons such as Shale oil/gas, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) etc.
  • It will be carried out under the existing Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), CBM contracts and Nomination fields to encourage the existing Contractors in the licensed/leased area to unlock the potential of unconventional hydrocarbons in the existing acreages.

Benefits:

  • This policy will enable the realization of prospective hydrocarbon reserves in the existing Contract Areas which otherwise would remain unexplored and unexploited.
  • With this policy dispensation, new investment in Exploration and Production (E&P) activities and chances of finding new hydrocarbon discoveries and resultant increased domestic production thereof is expected.
  • Exploration and exploitation of additional hydrocarbon resources is expected to spur new investment, impetus to economic activities, additional employment generation and thus benefitting various sections of society.
  • This will lead to induction of new, innovative and cutting-edge technology and forging new technological collaboration to exploit unconventional hydrocarbons.

Background:

  • As per existing contractual regime of PSCs, existing Contractors are not allowed to explore and exploit CBM or other unconventional hydrocarbons in already allotted licensed/leased area.
  • Similarly, CBM Contractors are not allowed to exploit any other hydrocarbon except CBM.
  • Acreages held at present by various Contractors in PSCs and CBM blocks and National Oil Companies (NOCs) in nomination regime constitute a significant part of India’s sedimentary basin.

6-Navigation Satellites

  • IRNSS-1I spacecraft was successfully launched aboard PSLV-C41 on April 2018. The spacecraft was the replacement for IRNSS-1A and is providing intended navigation services.
  • However, IRNSS-1A continues to provide messaging services like disaster alerts and other societal applications.
  • The subsequent launches include GSLV-MK III that is planned to launch GSAT-29, PSLV-C42 launch and Chandrayaan-2 Mission.

More about IRNSS-1I ( Team Desire IAS input)

  • The IRNSS-1I is overall eighth satellite to join ISRO’s NavIC navigation satellite constellation.
  • It replaced IRNSS-1A, the first of seven navigation satellites of IRNSS series that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed.
  • IRNSS-1I was made by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies in collaboration with ISRO.
  • The IRNSS-1I was having lift-off weight of 1,425 kg and has life span of 10 years.
  • It carried two types of payloads: Navigation and Ranging.
  • They are L5 and S-band navigation payloads and C-band ranging payloads.
  • It also has corner cube retroreflectors for LASER ranging.
  • It will be stationed in Geosynchronous Orbit at 36,000 km height.

About IRNSS:

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. Simply put, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to the GPS (global positioning system) of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe as well as China’s Beidou. It consists of a constellation of seven satellites.

Features:

  • It is a constellation of total 7 satellite launched in space and a ground facility on land to receive signals from space satellites. 3 of its satellite Located in Geostationary orbit and 4 are inclined to geosynchronous orbit. However full NAVIC system has 9 satellite, 2 on ground in standby mode.
  • It covers whole India and region surrounding it up to 1500 km.
  • It provide accuracy up to 20m as claimed by ISRO.
  • Its apogee(farthest point) is 20,657km and Perigee is 284 km
  • The satellite weighs average 1330 kg approx. and each have solar panels to generate 1400wt.
  • A master control facility is set up on land to receive signals from these satellites.

Applications of IRNSS:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
  • Disaster Management.
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  • Integration with mobile phones.
  • Precise Timing.
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

7-Electric Propulsion System

  • ISRO is working on Electric Propulsion System (EPS) which can reduce the dependence on chemical propellant.
  • The EPS system was first flown on South Asia Satellite (SAS) – GSAT-9 launched in the year 2017 and is working satisfactory.
  • With the help of EPS, satellite weight can be reduced as the chemical propellants are replaced by electrical system, the weight of which is not so significant compared to chemical propellant.

About GSAT-9

  • GSAT-9is a planned Indian geostationary communications satellite. It will be utilized to serve also the neighbouring countries of the SAARC (except Pakistan, which opted out) as South Asian Satellite.
  • Similar to the Insat 4C/4CRsatellites, it will carry 12 high powered Ku-band transponders with India coverage beam and two beacon transmitters. The satellite is planned with a mission life of 12 years and is to be positioned at 48º East longitude. This I-2K (I-2000) Bus satellite has a liftoff mass of 2195 kg and payload power of 2300 W. It will also test an electrical propulsion system.

8-Airports to have GI Product Stalls:

GI will give the rightful share of intellectual property to the artisan and the place of origin of the product.

  • GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen. India’s rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.
  • Minister stated that he will ensure that major airports of the country have stalls displaying GI and self-help group products and discussion are also on with NABARD for setting up a portal for GI and self-help group products.
  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had launched a Logo and a Tagline Contest for Geographical Indications of India on 18thOctober, 2017, through mygov.in platform.
  • The tagline Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India ,represents the spirit of Geographical Indications of India and will be helpful in effective branding and promotion of GIs.
  • This will also help in engaging more people on the subject of GIs and making them aware about the benefits of a GI tag.

What is Geographical Indication?

  • Geographical Indication is a genre of Intellectual Property.
  • GI tag is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
  • The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • These could be naturally grown crops like Assam Chilies or manufactured products like Jaipur Pottery.
  • GI tags are given on the basis of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The registration of GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed.
  • Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law.

 

9-Government launches the scheme ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’

The Ministry of Culture, Government of India has launched the new scheme namely ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’ for Financial Years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Context:

  • The Union Ministry of Culture on June 1, 2018 introduced a new scheme called ‘SevaBhojYojna’ to reimburse the central share of CGST and IGST on items for food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by charitable religious institutions.

About the Yojana:

  • The scheme seeks to reimburse the central government’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) on purchase of raw items such as ghee, edible oil, atta, maida, rava, flour, rice pulses, sugar and jaggery, which go into preparation of food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by religious institutions.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to lessen the financial burden of such charitable religious institutions, which provide free of cost without any discrimination to the general public and devotees.
  • The charitable religious institutions including temples, gurudwara, mosque, church, dharmik ashram, dargah, monasteries, which fulfill the following criteria are eligible for the grant:
  • The institutions that have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
  • The institutions that serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month.
  • The institutions covered under Section 10( 23BBA)  of the Income Tax Act  or those registered as Society  under Societies Registration Act ( XXI of 1860) or as a Public Trust under any law for the time being in force of statuary religious bodies constituted under any Act  or institutions registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act.

10-Reusable Launch Vehicle

  • India became the fifth nation to successfully conduct the flight demonstration of a scaled down version of a winged-body reusable launch vehicle, thereby validating the critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management.
  • This flight represented the first baby step towards the realisation of a future fully reusable Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) space transportation system.
  • expected to reduce the launch cost by approximately 50 – 60% when compared to that of an expendable launch vehicle.
  • reusable launch system(RLS, or reusable launch vehicleRLV) is a space launch system intended to allow for recovery of all or part of the system for later reuse. To date, several fully reusable sub-orbital systems and partially reusable orbital systems have been flown

11-Making of Green Propellant

  • ISRO is developing green propellants for use in future rocket & satellite propulsion systems.
  • to minimise environmental impact while improving overall efficiency and economy.
  • ISRO has made a beginning by developing an eco-friendly solid propellant based on Glycidyl Azide Polymer (GAP) as fuel and Ammonium Di-Nitramide (ADN) as oxidizer at the laboratory level, which will eliminate the emission of chlorinated exhaust products from rocket motors.

12-Ballistic Missile Interceptor AAD Successfully Flight Tested

  • DRDO conducted the successful test of the Ballistic Missile Interceptor Advanced Area Defence from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
  • The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms was launched against multiple simulated targets of 1500 km cl Ballistic Missile Interceptor ballistic missile.
  • One target among simultaneously incoming multiple targets was selected on real time, the weapon system radars tracked the target and the missile locked on to it and intercepted the target with a high degree of accuracy.
  • The complete event including the engagement and interception was tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems, radars and telemetry stations. All the mission objectives were successfully met.

13-SAATHI Initiative Launched

  • Ministries of Power  and Textiles have joined hands under a new initiative SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries).
  • Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.
  • The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis.
  • To kick start the implementation, cluster wise demonstration projects and workshops will be organized in key clusters such as Erode, Surat, Ichalkaranji, etc.
  • The use of these efficient equipment would result in energy savings and cost savings to the unit owner and he would repay in installments to EESL over a 4 to 5 year period.
  • This is the aggregation, bulk procurement and financing model that EESL has successfully deployed in several sectors like LED bulbs, Smart Meters and Electric Vehicles.
  • The unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipments and cost savings.
  • The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement will also lead to reduction in capital cost, benefits of which will be passed on to the Powerloom units so that their repayment amount and period would reduce.
  • The Powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country.

Atal Bhujal Yojana

  • The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore scheme, for sustainable management of ground water.
  • The funding pattern is 50:50 between Government of India and the World Bank.
  • The scheme is to be implemented over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23.
  • The identified over-exploited and water stressed areas for the implementation of the scheme fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

14-NITI Aayog launches Move Hack, global mobility hackathon to crowdsource solutions for future of mobility in India

Total prizes of more than Rs. 2 crores, top 30 solutions to be mentored in Singapore

  • Mobility that ranges from pedestrian and personal transport to public transit and freight movement is extremely critical and impacts rural and urban daily lives.
  • The hackathon has two-pronged campaign approach: (a) “Just Code It”: aimed at solutions through innovations in technology / product / software and data analysis, and (b) “Just Solve It”: innovative business ideas or sustainable solutions to transform mobility infrastructure through technology.
  • Move Hack is open to individuals from all nationalities, making it a truly global hackathon.

 

15-Implementation of E-Pashudhan Haat Scheme

  • Government has launched e-Pashu Haat portal for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.
  • Through the portal farmers can obtain information on location of quality indigenous germplasm in the form live animals, semen doses and embryos.
  • This portal is playing crucial role in development and conservation of indigenous breeds.

About E-Pashudhan Haat Portal

  • It is launched under the National Mission on Bovine Productivity for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.
  • This portal helps farmers to be aware about breed wise information on indigenous breeds. Farmers/breeders can

16-GeM to ensure transparency in public procurement

  • As an initiative to improve transparency in procurement, Government has set up Government e- Marketplace as a 100% Government owned company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for providing online platform for procurement of common use goods and services by government organizations.
  • Government e- Marketplace (GeM) is an online platform for government users which was launched on August, 2016.
  • It leverages technology to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value of their money. It is paperless, cashless and contactless platform giving end to end solution.
  • All the State Governments are utilising the services offered by Government e-Marketplace

17-NITI Aayog indentified 117 districts as Aspirational Districts for RUSA Scheme

  • NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as ‘Aspirational Districts’.
  • These districts have been selected on the basis of composite index which includes published data of deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census, Health &Nutrition, Education and Basic Infrastructure.
  • During the second phase of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA), central assistance is provided for opening of new Model Degree Colleges(MDCs) in  ‘Aspirational Districts’ identified by NITI Aayog and in unserved & underserved districts in North Eastern and Himalayan States.

What is RUSA?

  • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2013.
  • Its aim was to increase enrolment in higher education by 30%.
  • It primarily provides strategic funding to eligible State higher educational institutions.

18-Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes for benefit of North Eastern Students

  • Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes are being implemented for the students of North Eastern region.
  • Ishan Vikas is coordinated by IIT, Guwahati and under the programme, selected school children from North Eastern States  are  brought in close contact with the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and  National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) during the vacation period to motivate them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to facilitate internship opportunities for the engineering college students in various institutes of national importance.
  • Ishan Uday Scholarship Scheme is administered by University Grants Commission (UGC). Under the scheme, scholarship is provided to the economically backward students from the North East Region for pursuing general degree courses, technical and professional degree courses. It is envisaged to provide 10000 scholarships annually.

19-Launches Bidder Information Management System and Bhoomi Rashi – PFMS Linkage Portals

  • Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari launched Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) and Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage – two IT initiatives of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry that are aimed at expediting pre construction processes relating to bidding and land acquisition respectively.
  • The pre-qualification of bidders can be assessed from data already stored in the portal, so that technical evaluation can be carried out much faster.
  • It is estimated that BIMS portal will significantly reduce the procurement time for projects through an objective and transparent online evaluation system thereby leading to accelerated project implementation.
  • Bhoomi Rashi,the portal developed by MoRTH and NIC, comprises the entire revenue data of the country, right down to 6.4 lakh villages.
  • Bhoomi Rashi portal has been instrumental in reducing the time taken for approval and publication of notifications pertaining to land acquisition
  • Integration of Public Financial Management System (PFMS)with Bhoomi Rashi is one of the key functionalities to facilitate payment related to compensation for land acquisition to all the beneficiaries directly through the Bhoomi Rashi system.
  • PFMSis a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA). to facilitate sound public financial management system for Government of India (GoI) It provides various stakeholders with a real time, reliable and meaningful management information system and an effective decision support system, as part of the Digital India initiative of GoI.

20-TRAI integrates its Mobile App DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform with the objective of reaching out to consumers and safeguarding their interests

  • Policy initiatives of TRAI, over the years, have been to protect the interests of the consumers. Recognizing the importance of reaching out to the consumers and to safeguard their interests, TRAI has now integrated its Mobile Apps namely DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform.
  • UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is developed by National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen centric services.
  • It provides a unified approach where citizens can install one application to avail multiple government services. From now onwards, TRAI’s Mobile Appsnamely DND 2.0 &MyCall shall also be available on Umang Platform.

Certain key features of these applications are:

(a) TRAI MyCall App

  • TRAI MyCall is an intuitive and user friendly application for Crowdsourced Voice Call Quality Monitoring. The Application helps Mobile phone users to rate their experience about voice call quality in real time and help TRAI gather consumer experience data along with Network data.
  • A pop up requests the user to rate the call after it ends. Callers simply select their rating in the form of stars and indicate if the calls were made in indoor, outdoor or while travelling.
  • Callers can also provide additional details such as noise or audio delay or mark a call-drop.

(b) DND 2.0 App

  • DND (Do Not Disturb) Services App enables smart phone users to register their mobile number under DND and report spam messages or calls to avoid Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)/Telemarketing Calls/SMS.

21-Rehabilitation of Bru Migrants

  • In a major breakthrough on repatriation of displaced Bru persons from Mizoram since 1997, an Agreement has been signed by Government of India,  Government of Mizoram,  Government of  Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) on 3.7.2018.
  • 5407 families comprising of 32,876 persons presently in temporary camps in Tripura will be repatriated to Mizoram before 30thSeptember, 2018.
  • Government of India will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Brus in Mizoram, such as Financial Assistance @ Rs. 4 Lakh / per family, Cash Assistance @ Rs. 5000/ per month per family for 2 years,  Housing Assistance @ 1,50,000 / per family, Free Ration @ 600 gm /300 gm, adult/minor for 2 years, utensils & blankets @ Rs. 3,500/ per family and security cost, and address their issue of security, education, livelihood, etc. in consultation with Government of Mizoram and Tripura.
  • Reang are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura. The correct nomenclature for this ethnic group is actually Brualthough the name Reangwas accidentally incorporated by the Indian government during a census count.[
  • The Bru can be found all over the Tripura state in India. However, they may also be found in Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Bangladesh. They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.

21-launch Mobile App Niryat Mitra

  • The app developed by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is available both on Android and on IOS platforms.
  • It provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade right from the policy provisions for export and import, applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff, preferential tariff, market access requirements – SPS and TBT measures.
  • The most interesting part is that all the information is available at tariff line.
  • The app works internally to map the ITC HS code of other countries with that of India and provides all the required data without the users bothering about the HS code of any country. Presently the app comes with the data of 87 countries.

22-Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve Becomes 11th Biosphere Reserve from India to be Included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves

  • The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve has become the 11thBiosphere Reserve from India that has been included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).
  • The decision to include Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in WNBR was taken at the 30thSession of International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO held at Palembang, Indonesia,
  • India has 18 Biosphere Reserves and with the inclusion of Khangchendzonga, the number of internationally designated WNBR has become 11, with 7 Biosphere Reserves being domestic Biosphere Reserves.
  • Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level.
  • It includes a range of ecolines , varying from sub-tropic to Arctic, as well as natural forests in different biomes, that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats.

23-Swachh Manch web portal

  • Swachh Manch, a web-based platform which aims to bring together every stakeholder contributing to the Swachh Bharat Mission under a common platform. Swachh Manch will enable uploads of pictorial evidence of citizens and organizations participating in the initiatives, as well as record the number of hours volunteered, as acknowledgement of citizens’/organisations’ efforts and contributions to the cause of ‘swachhata’.
  • The Swachh Manch will also be integrated with the existing Swachhata App to act as a citizens’ grievance redressal platform.

24-Ease of Living Index

  • The Ease of Living Index will also be launched along with an Ease of Living Index dashboard.
  • Apart from presenting the overall national ranking of 111 cities, the dashboard will present ranking of the cities across pillars, category, geographical zone and population classifications.
  • Ease of Living framework comprises four pillars namely Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical which are further broken down into 15 categories and 78 indicators.
  • The Ease of Living Index is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to help cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis global and national benchmarks and encourage cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management.
  • The Ease of Living assessment standards are closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will provide a strong impetus to India’s effort for systematic tracking progress of SDGs in the urban areas.

25-PM to attend event to mark World Biofuel Day 2018

  • Biofuels can help reduce import dependency on crude oil. They can contribute to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and generate employment in rural areas.
  • Therefore, biofuels have synergies with various Government initiatives, including enhancing farmers’ incomes, and Swachh Bharat.
  • As a result of the efforts of the Union Government, ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14, to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18. The Government also approved the National Policy on Biofuels in June 2018.
  • A biofuel is any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from organic matter in a short period of time. This is in contrasts with fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form and with other types of fuel which are not based on hydrocarbons like nuclear fuels.
  • The structure of the biofuel itself does not change between generations, but rather the source from which the fuel is derived changes.
  • First Generation Biofuels were directly using the food crops like wheat and sugar for making ethanol and oil seeds for bio diesel by conventional method of fermentation. These fuels emitted more greenhouse gases.
  • Second Generation Biofuels used non-food crops and feedstock instead of food crops as used in first generation. Wood, grass, seed crops, organic waste are used in fuel preparation.
  • Third Generation Biofuels use specially engineered Algae whose biomass is used to convert into biofuels. The greenhouse gas emission here will be low in comparison to others.
  • Since first generation completely depends on food directly; high volume of food grains were directed away from food market and used in the energy market. As every country is energy starved and good remuneration for farmers awaited everyone was attracted to production of raw materials for biofuels causing damages to the food security aims.

The third generation biofuels have advantages like:

  • Cost: The Algae are cultured to act as a low-cost alternative. It gives high-energy and entirely renewable feedstock.
  • Energy: The Algae will have the potential to produce more energy per acre than conventional crops.
  • Eco-Friendly: Algae can also be grown using land and water which are unsuitable for food production, therefore reducing the strain on already depleted water sources
  • Range: In Algae based biofuels is that the fuel manufactured can be used for a wide range of fuels such as diesel, petrol and jet fuel.
  • However Algae, even when grown in waste water, requires large amounts of water,nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. Also it requires large amount of fertilizers increasing GHG emissions and hence will be much costlier.
  • The fourth generation biofuel may in future reduce the greenhouse emission. It is a ray of hope for mankind which could be nurtured further by sustainable development thus to secure a better future for upcoming generations.

Bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas are a class of Bio Fuels.

  1. Bio ethanol: It is produced from fermentation of carbohydrate and cellulosic material of crops and other plants and grasses. It is generally used as an additive to increase octane number of fuel.
  2. Bio Diesel: It is a methyl or methyl ester of fatty acids produced by trans esterification of oils and fats obtained from plants and animals. It can be directly used as fuel.
  3. Bio gas: Biogas is methane produced by anaerobic digestion of organic material by anaerobes. It can be produced either from biodegradable waste materials or by the use of energy crops fed into anaerobic digesters to supplement gas yields.

Our Bio fuel production is based mostly on Jatropa. To popularize Bio fuel Government has taken following initiatives:

  1. Making 10% blending compulsory for transport sector and declaring intended target of 20% blending by 2017 in National Bio Fuel policy.
  2. Making availability of blended fuel at all major cities.
  3. Allowing major transport sectors to purchase biofuel directly.
  4. Jatropha incentives of Government have been identified as a part of achieving energy independence. SBI has signed an MoU to provide loans for Jatropha cultivation. Various platforms for spreading awareness, such as Cinema halls are being utilized to popularize the uses of Jatropha.
  5. Indian Railways have started using bio diesel mixed with its fuel with great success.
  6. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announces the opening of various outlets for High-Speed Diesel mixed with Bio Diesel.
  7. Karnataka government has started biofuel parks to supply biofuel to transport corporations.

26-Project “SWAYAM” of HRD Ministry provides one integrated platform and portal for online courses

  • ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM), which will provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
  • This covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.
  • The objective is to ensure that the every student in our country has access to the best quality higher education at the affordable cost.
  • Academicians from hundreds of institutions throughout the country are involved in developing & delivering MOOCs through SWAYAM in almost all disciplines from senior schooling to Post Graduation wherein it is intended to develop world class content.

27-Global Innovation Index, GII- 2018 launched in India
NITI Aayog to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII

  • Government and industry must synergise their efforts to promote R&D and innovation in the country.
  • India’s rank on the Global Innovation Index (GII) has improved from 60 in 2017 to 57 in 2018. India has been consistently climbing the GII ranking for the past two years.

About Index:

  • It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organizations and institutions.
  • It ranks nations based on 80 indicators.
  • India’s Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is one of the knowledge partners which assists GII team in bringing out the annual ranking.
  • GII is published annually since 2007 and is considered leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into state of innovation around the world

28-Operation ‘Madad’ by Southern Naval Command

  • Operation “Madad” has been launched by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi since 09 Aug 2018 for assisting the state administration and undertaking disaster relief operations due to the unprecedented flooding experienced in many parts of Kerala, owing to incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams.

29-Cage Farming in Karnataka

  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries approved by the Government in December 2015 inter-aliaprovides financial assistance for
    • open sea cage culture and
    • (ii) installation of cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies.
  • The Government of Karnataka reported the installation of 8 marine cages with an expenditure of Rs. 29.9 lakh for Seabass and Cobia culture

About Cage Farming

  • Cage aquaculture involves the growing of fishes in existing water resources while being enclosed in a net cage which allows free flow of water.
  • It is an aquaculture production system made of a floating frame, net materials and mooring system (with rope, buoy, anchor etc.) with a round or square shape floating net to hold and culture large number of fishes and can be installed in reservoir, river, lake or sea.
  • A catwalk and handrail is built around a battery of floating cages.

There are 4 types of fish-rearing cages namely:

  1. i) Fixed cages,
  2. ii) Floating cages,

iii) Submerged cages and

  1. iv) Submersible cages.
  • Economically speaking, cage culture is a low impact farming practice with high returns and least carbon emission activity.
  • Farming of fish in an existing water body removes one of the biggest constraints of fish farming on land, ie.,  the need for a constant flow of clean, oxygenated water.
  • Cage farms are positioned in a such way to utilize natural currents, which provide the fish with oxygen and other appropriate natural conditions.
  • In view of the high production attainable in cage culture system, it can play a significant role in increasing the overall fish production in India.

30-PARIVESH” – an environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances launched

  • PARIVESH(Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) on the occasion of World Biofuel
  • PARIVESH is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.
  • the launch of PARIVESH, the vision of the Prime Minister for E-Governance and enhancing Ease of Doing Responsible Business is being translated into action by MoEF&CC.
  • PARIVESH, MoEFCC has become more of a facilitator, than a regulator.
  • the main highlights of PARIVESH include – single registration and single sign-in for all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ), unique-ID for all types of clearances required for a particular project and a single Window interface for the proponent to submit applications for getting all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forests, Wildlife and CRZ clearances).
  • “PARIVESH enables project proponents, citizens to view, track and interact with scrutiny officers, generates online clearance letters, online mailers and alerts to state functionaries in case of delays beyond stipulated time for processing of applications

31-Handfan “Pankha” made by tribals for invitees attending the Independence Day flag hosting ceremony at the Red Fort tomorrow

  • In a unique initiative, Trifed has supplied the handfans “Pankha” to Ministry of Defence for those invitees who will attend the Independence Day flag hosting ceremony at Red Fort in Delhi. The Ministry of Defence placed an order for supply of 1000 handfans (Pankha) made by tribals and distribute the same to the invitees.
  • These fans have been made by Mahali tribe of Malda, West Bengal.
  • The Mahli are a scheduled tribe in India, in the states of Jharkhandand West Bengal.
  • They mostly reside in Dumka districtand certain other regions of Jharkhand, and in the adjoining areas of West Bengal.
  • Their population is dwindling. Mahli people traditionally earned their livelihood by selling articles made of bamboo. Some typical articles made by them are: Machi(a small bench), umbrellas, soop (used in kitchen, to remove dust from cereals), sop and chatai (for lying down and sleeping), raincap (special cap covering head, and upper back for protection from rains during work).
  • Mahli people typically have a tattooof their name on their hand.

32-Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to MT Kamet (7756m)

  • In pursuit of achieving greater heights in the field of mountaineering, Indian Army is planning to attempt Mt Makalu (8485M), the fifth highest mountain peak in the world in 2019.
  • As a precursor to it, an expedition to Mount Kamet (7756M), Joshimath District Chamoli, Uttarakhand is being conducted under the aegis of Army Adventure Wing in August-September 2018.
  • Mt Kamet is the 3rdhighest peak of India after Kanchanjanga & Nandadevi and is the only highest peak available to climb within the country.

33-First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ in Manipur

  • The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.
  • It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.
  • Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur.
  • The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.  Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation
  • Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.  Under the project a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake has been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore.

34-India’s only lab for conservation of endangered species

  • The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), a dedicated facility of CSIR’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad uses modern biotechnologies for conservation of endangered wildlife.
  • the efforts of scientists at CCMB in producing off-springs of blue rock pigeon, spotted deer and blackbuck, which were on the verge of extinction, through artificial insemination of cryopreserved sperm. CCMB scientists in collaboration with Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad have now rescued Indian Mouse Deer from extinction through successful conservation breeding programme.
  • CCMB-LaCONES is the only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wildlife and successfully reproducing endangered blackbuck, spotted deer and Nicobar pigeons.



Weekly PIB Analysis News( 15th To 21th July)

Weekly PIB Analysis News (15th To 21th July)

MAPPING for PRELIMS 

1-Djibouti

2-NH-54

National highway number 54 state through which passing : Assam, Mizoram

National highway number 54 starting from : Dabaka

Prelims Important Topics

1-Successful Test Firing of Bramos

  • BrahMos will provide a major strategic deterrence against China and Pakistan and can be utilized in ‘multi-mission’ roles such as precision strikes on terror camps across the LoC, against high-value naval targets, including aircraft carriers and nuclear bunkers.

 About Bramos

  • Supersonic cruise missile
  • Designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia
  • It has derived its name from the names of two rivers, India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.
  • It operates on fire and forget principal
  • Capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets
  • Carrying capacity : 300 Kg (both conventional and nuclear)
  • Speed : Mach 3 (that is, three times the speed of sound)
  • Max Range : 290 Km. Its range was extended to 450 km and plan is to increase it to 600km.
  • It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant.
  • BrahMos missile already has been inducted into the Indian Army and Navy

 

2-Status of Development of Inland Waterways in the Country 

  • The Government is working to develop inland waterways as an alternative mode of transport in the country, which is cleaner and cheaper than both road and rail transport. There are 111 National Waterways in the country today, after 106 waterways were declared as National Waterways, adding to the list of 5 existing NW, in 2016.
  • Some of the National Waterways in the country are already operational/ navigable and are being used for transportation.
  •  As per RITES Report of 2014 on “Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid”, the logistic cost of transportation by Inland Water Transport (IWT) mode is lower than rail and road as given below:
Mode

Rail

Road IWT
Freight (Rs/TKm) 1.36 2.50 1.06

 

 

 

  • The significant cost saving shows that the promotion of Inland Water Transport (IWT) would have positive impact on the overall logistics cost.

 

 3-SAFAR System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting

AFAR – the state of art Air Quality and Weather Forecast system has been unveiled by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The giant true colour LED display gives out real-time air quality index on 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance forecast. Based on the Air Quality Index on a particular day, health advisory and related precaution will be notified to prepare citizens well in advance. The system is first of its kind in India and is the most advanced system. It is installed at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. There are proposals to implement SAFAR in the other three cities i.e, Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Details:

  • SAFAR is operationalized by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • It was indigenously developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
  • In addition to regular air quality and weather parameters like Carbon Monoxide, Particulate Matter -PM2.5, PM10, Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Dioxide and Ozone, it will measure Black carbon, Mercury, sun’s UV-Index (UVI) and PM1 in real time.
  • It can also provide the measurement of online automatic ultrafine particles Mercury and PM1, both of which have direct relevance to human health.
  • It will also monitor the existence harmful pollutants of Xylene, Toluene and Benzene.

Benefits:

  • Preparedness of air pollution and weather extremes and public awareness will be accelerated.
  • It will lead to a better understanding of linkages among climate, pollution, emissions, and weather.
  • It will monitor all weather parameters like humidity, rainfall, temperature, wind direction and wind speed.

Gs-1 Mains 

1-Conservation efforts of Rural Heritage will help promote Tourism and Development in Rural India

  • inauguration of the 7th Annual General Body Meeting of Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD), in New Delhi
  • ITRHD -an NGO devoted to preservation of Indian Heritage and Culture in Rural India and working in about 7 states of India.
  • ITRHD’s conservation works of 17th -19th century village of terracotta temples, Maluti, dumka, in Jharkand.
  • The Maluti Project was  inaugurated by Prime Minister of India, The project involves conserving 62 temples of  the108 temples which were in a dilapidated condition.
  • encourage cultural awareness in the Locals. Tourist Circuits of such not-know places for the development of such places.
  • ITRHD works for Conserving and nurturing rural heritage- foundation for sustainable economic growth- as it ensures livelihood to rural residents in their traditional habitat, and increases the pride and self-confidence of the entire community

GS-2 Mains

1- 8th BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting at Durban

  • India is committed to eliminating TB by 2025
  • India today is more firmly committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as articulated in its National Health Policy.
  • Recently launched an ambitious programme called ‘Ayushman Bharat’ i.e. Long Live India.
  • “The programme rests on the twin pillars of Health and Wellness Centres for provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services and National Health Protection Mission for secondary and tertiary care that aims to cover around 100 million families,”.

ANALYSIS

  • India’s achievement in reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 100000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 100 000 live births in 2016
  • This achievement puts the country on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of MMR below 70 by 2030.

About BRICS

  • BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
  • Originally it was BRIC (S. Africa included in 2010). Term coined in 2001
  • Members are :
  • Major emerging national economies
  • Developing or newly industrialised nations
  • G 20 members
  • First formal summit was held in 2009 in Russia
  • Formed in 2011
  • It encourages commercial, political and cultural cooperation between the BRICS nations
  • New Development Bank is an outcome of this platform
  • Except India, all other members GDP is slowing down bringing average GDP growth of the BRICS to near zero
  • As of 2015, the five BRICS countries represent over 3 billion people, or 42% of the world population

2-RTI activists hold meeting

  • Only 36 per cent in rural and 38 per cent urban areas have heard of the RTI Act
  • 45% public information officers did not received any training
  • Data: At least 50 lakh RTI applications filed in India every year

Advantages of RTI

  • Transparency: It ensures the right of the citizen to acquire as much information they want regarding the working of government activities, rules and regulations,etc
  • Citizen-centric approach: The authorities have to give out information when asked by citizens and this made them alert and think twice before taking any random step.
  • Reduction in corruption: All information is accessible and it has taken a relatively down-curve.
  • It empowers the person to access information about any rights which affects them directly indirectly.

Issue à Official Secrets  vs RTI

  • controversial debate on the utility of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
  • The OSA was enacted keeping in view the National Security and Sovereignty.
  • It made an offence to obtain, collect, record, publish a secret document. However, it was so vast in its scope that it made it prone to misuse and gave the executive a carte blanche to act arbitrarily.
  • This situation gave rise to many problems. Some of which are as following:
    • Problem of classification of information as the word Secret was nowhere defined in the Act. Govt. has a wide discretion to classify any information as secret.
    • The excessive discretion many a times lead to arbitrariness which can give rise to discrimination and subvert the right to equality under Art. 14.
    • It also violated the freedom of speech and expression under Art. 19(1)(a).
    • As Right to freedom of information has been incorporated under broad ambit of Right to Life, the OSA,1923 violated Article 21.
    • There were many ambiguities regarding determination of an offence, prosecution procedures etc. It being a Penal law, the ambiguities favored the accused.

Critical Analysis of Performance of RTI

  • There are many areas which are out of limits of RIT act (Even, application of RTI to judiciary and legislature is limited).
  • The exclusion of law enforcement agencies is major cause of discontent of RIT supporters.
  • Disregard of announcements of Chief Information Commission by political parties indicate the lack of power to enforce the rulings of  CIC.
  • The recent controversy of non-appointment of CIC for a long-time shows the apathy of government towards the act.
  • Official Secrets Act, framed by colonial power still restricts much information out of the purview whether they did not have any relevance to security and integrity of India. For example Correspondence related to Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • All the government organisations were asked to put in public general information but this was not followed by many institutions and there is no deadline to this provision.
  • Information is presented in a technical language by government departments
  • Maintenance of information is not automated and efficient
  • Awareness of act is low among masses
  • Costs is sometimes high
  • Bureaucratic pre-eminence in information commissions results in promotion of traditional bureaucratic ethos of secrecy and lack of accountability.

3-FDI Inflow reaches 61.96 USD Billion in 2017-18

  • Measures taken by the Government on FDI policy liberalization along with improvement in ease of doing business climate has resulted in growth of total FDI inflows.
  • The country has been recording highest ever FDI since 2015-16.
  • It increased from 55.56 USD billion in 2015-16 to 60.22 USD billion in 2016-17 and reached to 61.96 USD billion in 2017-18.

 These figures surpass the FDI inflows of any of the preceding financial years. Year wise increase in the total FDI inflows is given below

4-Samagra Shiksha Scheme to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education

  1. The Department of School Education and Literacy has formulated the Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and it is being implemented throughout the country with effect from the year 2018-19.
  2. This programme subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored
  3. Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA),
  4. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and
  5. Teacher Education (TE).
  6. It is an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
  7. It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels.

The major interventions, across all levels of school education, under the scheme are:

  • (i) Universal Access including Infrastructure Development and Retention;
  • (ii) Gender and Equity;
  • (iii) Inclusive Education;
  • (iv) Quality;
  • (v) Financial support for Teacher Salary;
  • (vi) Digital initiatives;
  • (vii) Entitlements under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 including uniforms, textbooks etc.;
  • (viii) Pre-school Education;
  • (ix) Vocational Education;
  • (x) Sports and Physical Education;
  • (xi) Strengthening of Teacher Education and Training;
  • (xii) Monitoring and
  • (xiii) Programme Management.
  • The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving quality of school education and the strategy for all interventions would be to enhance the Learning Outcomes at all levels of schooling.

GS-3 Mains 

1-Reconstitution of National Bamboo Mission

National Bamboo Mission

It has an outlay of Rs.1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.

Bamboo is ‘Green Gold’.

The National Bamboo Mission is a wholly-sponsored central scheme.

  • To increase the area under bamboo plantation in non forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change as well as availability of quality raw material requirement of industries. The bamboo plantations will be promoted predominantly in farmers’ fields, homesteads, community lands, arable wastelands, and along irrigation canals, water bodies etc.
  • To improve post-harvest management through establishment of innovative primary processing units near the source of production, primary treatment and seasoning plants, preservation technologies and market infrastructure.
  • To promote product development keeping in view market demand, by assisting R&D, entrepreneurship & business models at micro, small and medium levels and feed bigger industry.
  • To rejuvenate the under developed bamboo industry in India.
  • To promote skill development, capacity building, awareness generation for development of bamboo sector from production to market demand.

How will it advance the economy?

  • Bamboo is essentially a type of grass, but its classification as a tree for 90 years prevented the northeast, which grows 67% of India’s bamboo, from exploiting it
  • The inclusion of bamboo in forest produce items has affected its marketability as bamboo grown by farmers could not be harvested
  • The introduction of a new policy for transit of bamboo from non-forest areas will further boost the bamboo sector in the Northeast, where more than 50 per cent of India’s bamboo resources are available

2-Doubling the income of farmers

  • Government has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022
  • At present, thirteen draft volumes of ‘Strategy for Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022’ prepared by the Committee have been uploaded on the website of this Department for seeking public opinion.
  • In order to realise net positive returns for the farmer, schemes as follows, are being promoted and implemented in a major way through the States/UTs viz:-

Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme;

Neem Coated Urea (NCU);

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY);

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY);

National Agriculture Market scheme (e-NAM);

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY);

National Food Security Mission (NFSM);

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH);

National Mission on Oilseeds & Oilpalm (NMOOP);

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA);

National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology (NMAET)

and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

  • In addition, schemes relating to tree plantation (Har Medh Par Ped), Bee Keeping, Dairy and Fisheries are also implemented.  All these schemes are implemented to enhance production and productivity of agriculture and thereby enhance income of farmers.
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) is notified for both Kharif & Rabi crops based on the recommendations of the Commission on Agriculture Costs & Prices (CACP). The Commission collects & analyses data on cost of cultivation and recommends MSP.

3-Cabinet approves Special Package for Irrigation Projects in Vidarbha, Marathwada and other chronically drought prone areas of Rest of Maharashtra

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister has approved the implementation of Centrally Sponsored-Scheme for completion of 83 Minor Irrigation projects and 8 major/medium irrigation projects of Marathawada, Vidharbha and drought prone areas of the rest of Maharashtra.

Impact:

  • Completion of these projects will ensure assured source of water to the farmers in the command area of these projects.
  • This will increase yield of their crops and thereby increase the income of the farmers.
  • Progress of the projects would be monitored by State as well as Central Water Commission.