Syllabus Analysis

Desire IAS : PIB December 2018 analysis


PIB December 2018

News Analysis 



Year End Review-2018: Ministry of Tourism


  • Development of tourism infrastructure is being given priority to provide a better tourism experience to the tourists. Theme based circuits are being developed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme spanning the entire country.
  • Nine projects under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme have been inaugurated between August to December 2018 in the States of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centers, Eco Log Huts, Sound and Light Show, Helipads, Cafeteria, Wayside Amenities, Nature Trails, Jetties, Boat club, Adventure Zones, Interpretation Centers, Water Sports, Craft Villages, Tribal Thematic Villages, Illumination etc. have been developed as part of the above projects
  • Integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations is being undertaken under the ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme.


  • Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched “Adopt a Heritage Project” to provide world class tourist facilities at the various natural/cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites
  • The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of various tourist amenities.


  • The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country, to ensure wider participation of the general public and to popularize the concept of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’, ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ and ‘Tourism for All’


  • The First edition of the India Tourism Mart 2018 was organized by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations
  • India Tourism Mart provided a platform to different tourism stakeholders for interacting and conducting business with foreign buyers.


  • The Incredible India Mobile App showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more.
  • The mobile app has been designed keeping in mind the preferences of the modern traveler and follows the trends and technologies of international standards. The app has been equipped with features to assist the traveller in each phase of their journey to India.


States’ Startup Ranking 2018 Announced

Context: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced results of the first-ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018.

  • Gujarat is Ranked Best Performer whereas Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, And Rajasthan are Top Performer.
  • States have been identified as leaders across various categories such as Start-up policy leaders, incubation hubs, seeding innovation, scaling innovation, regulatory change champions, procurement leaders, communication champions, North-Eastern leader, and hill state leader.
  • The key objective of the exercise was to encourage States and Union Territories to take proactive steps towards strengthening the Start-up ecosystems in their states.
  • The entire exercise was conducted for capacity development and to further the spirit of cooperative federalism.


Context: Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), the sub-scheme under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) has the objective of helping rural households including women to set-up enterprises.


  • Skill building support is provided to all the entrepreneurs supported under Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme through Community Resource Persons for Enterprise Promotion (CRP-EP).
  • SVEP process mandates the preparation of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for each block. The DPR provides estimates of the potential of enterprises in various sectors in the block. The entrepreneurs have the freedom to identify the sectors in which they want to start businesses based on assessment of market potential.


Digital Sky Platform launched

Context: Ministry of Civil Aviation announced Digital Sky Platform, a first of its kind that implements ‘no permission, no take-off’ (NPNT) – a novel system of software-based self-enforcement to minimize deviations from the  Civil Aviation Regulations .

About: Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones, are a technology platform with wide-ranging applications. Nano drones in India can start flying legally from today. For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.

As per the draft Civil Aviation Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS),the drones have been classified as follows on the basis of their maximum take-off weight :

  1. Nano:  Less than or equal to 250 gm.
  2. Micro: Greater than 250 gm and less than or equal to 2 kg.
  3. Mini: Greater than 2 kg and less than or equal to 25 kg.
  4. Small :Greater than 25 kg and less than or equal to 150 kg.
  5. Large :Greater than 150 kg.


Government of India and Asian Development Bank Sign $85 Million Loan to Support Odisha Skill Development Project

Context: The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $85 million loan to improve the skill development eco-system in Odisha and establish an advanced skill training center, the World Skill Center (WSC), in the state capital Bhubaneswar.

Importance of the project:

  • The project will improve the quality of the State’s TVET(Technical and Vocational Education and Training) programs by making them relevant to industry and demand driven, and will impart advanced occupation-ready skills training aligned with international standards.
  • The project will engage Institute of Technical Education Services (ITEES), Singapore, to support Odisha Skill Development Authority in setting-up and operationalizing WSC which would offer internationally bench marked advanced training programs for the working age population of Odisha.
  • The project will help over 150,000 people learn skills in priority sectors, including manufacturing, construction and services for formal employment.


India Water Impact Summit-2018 to be held from 5th December

Context: Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate India Water Impact Summit 2018


  • Summit is being jointly organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) from 5-7 December 2018 in New Delhi.
  • The India Water Impact Summit is an annual event where stakeholders get together to discuss, debate and develop model solutions for some of the biggest water-related problems in the country.
  • A number of Indian Central Government Ministries, as well as all key decision makers responsible for delivering the rejuvenation of the Ganga, will also be present at the Summit.

The Summit will focus on three key aspects:

Spotlight on 5 states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Bihar. The objective is to showcase the efforts and works going on within the respective states.

Technology and Innovation: Implementation of the pilot/demonstration programme known as the Environment Technology Verification (ETV) process.

Ganga Financing Forum: The 2018 Summit also introduces the inaugural Ganga Financing Forum that will bring a number of institutions to a common knowledge, information and partnership platform. The Hybrid Annuity Model has redefined the economic landscape of water and waste-water treatment in India.


Ministry of Railways Signs an MoU with Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Context: Ministry of Railways’ National Rail Museum (NRM) and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum join hands together to provide an amazing combo offer to Delhi NCR tourists. As a part of the collaboration, a special discount of 35% on ticket prices will be offered to NRM visitors when they visit Madame Tussauds Museum. Similarly, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum visitors will be getting an attractive discount of 30% on combo packages of NRM.

Importance: It is envisaged that this innovative, first time ever, public-private museum collaboration, shall attract more tourists to both National Rail Museum and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.


  • National Rail Museum (NRM), managed by Indian Railway, is one of the top edutainment tourist destinations of Delhi NCR area having annual footfall of more than 5 lakhs. NRM offers railway history, heritage, nostalgia, games & children activity all bundled together at one place.
  • Madame Tussauds wax museum is a leading chain of Wax Museums in the world. In 2017, Madame Tussauds opened its 23rdWax museum in Connaught Place (CP), New Delhi. This is the first wax museum in India of this renowned brand.


Soil Health Card Scheme

  • Soil Health Card (SHC) is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding and advice him/her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that s/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

What is a Soil Health Card?

  • SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings.
  • It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely
    • N,P,K (Macro-nutrients) ;
    • S (Secondary- nutrient) ; Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo
    • (Micro – nutrients) ; and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters).
  • Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for the farm.

Will the farmer get a card every year and for every crop?

  • It will be made available once in a cycle of 3 years, which will indicate the status of soil health of a farmer’s holding for that particular period.
  • The SHC given in the next cycle of 3 years will be able to record the changes in the soil health for that subsequent period.


India Water Impact Summit

  • It is an annual event where stakeholders get together to discuss, debate and develop model solutions for some of the biggest water related problems in the country.
  • It is jointly organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga)
  • The discussion in 2018 is on rejuvenation of the Ganga River Basin. There will be multi-country dialogue on the subject, with showcasing of technological innovations, research, policy frameworks and funding models from India and abroad.

The Summit will focus on three key aspects:

  • Spotlight on 5 states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Bihar.
    • The objective is to showcase the efforts and works going on within the respective states.
  • Ganga Financing Forum: The 2018 Summit also introduces the inaugural Ganga Financing Forum that will bring a number of institutions to a common knowledge, information and partnership platform.
    • The Hybrid Annuity Model has redefined the economic landscape of water and waste-water treatment in India.
    • All tenders have been successfully bid out and financial closures being achieved. Additionally, the Government is also now encouraging development of smaller decentralised waste water treatment projects.
    • The Financing Forum will bring together financial institutions and investors interested in Namami Gange programmes.
  • Technology and Innovation:Implementation of the pilot/demonstration programme known as the Environment Technology Verification (ETV)
    • This will provide an opportunity to technology and innovation companies from around the world to showcase their solutions for addressing the problems prevalent in the river basin.


  • Shri Nitin Gadkari was speaking at the three-day long India Water Impact Summit 2018

Green Ganga App

  • It was developed by Remote Sensing Centre of ISRO
  • Green Ganga App is used for geo-tagging of saplings and delineation of plantation boundaries under ongoing afforestation activities of Namami Gange programme.

Skoch Awards

  • SKOCH Award, instituted in 2003, salutes people, projects and institution for making nation better
  • The SKOCH Award covers the best of efforts in the area of digital, financial and social inclusion.
  • It encompasses the best of governance, inclusive growth, excellence in technology and applications, change management, corporate leadership, corporate governance, citizen services delivery, capacity building, empowerment and other such softer issues that get normally lost in the glamour


  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India has been conferred the Skoch Award for National Significance


  • The award has been conferred on the Ministry considering its purpose and critical role played in installing about 73 GW renewable energy capacity in the country.
  • With 21 per cent of total installed capacity, within the year renewable energy grossed a magic figure of providing one billion units of electricity in the country.
  • India ranks 4 in the world in wind energy capacity and 5th in solar & total renewable energy capacity installed in the world.

International Year of Millets in 2023

Context: Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh has said that the 160thsession of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Council, currently underway in Rome, approved India’s proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023.


  • This international endorsement comes in the backdrop of India celebrating 2018 as the National Year of Millets for promoting cultivation and consumption of these nutri-cereals.
  • This is further supported by increase in Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of millets. Millets consists of Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and minor millets together termed as nutri-cereals. The MSP of Jowar has been increased to Rs 2450 per quintal from Rs 1725, Bajra to Rs 1950 from Rs 1425 and Ragi to Rs 2897 from Rs 1900 per quintal from 2018-19.

PCS 1x

Context: Indian Ports Association (IPA), under the guidance of Ministry of Shipping launched the Port Community System ‘PCS1x to Increase Ease of Doing Business.


  • PCS 1x’ is a cloud based new generation technology, with user-friendly interface.  This system seamlessly integrates 8 new stakeholders besides the 19 existing stakeholders from the maritime trade on a single platform
  • The platform offers value added services such as notification engine, workflow, mobile application, track and trace, better user interface, better security features, improved inclusion by offering dashboard for those with no IT capability.
  • Another major feature is the deployment of a world class state of the art payment aggregator solution which removes dependency on bank-specific payment eco system.
  • This system will enable trade to have an improved communication with the customs as they have also embarked on an Application Programming Interface (API) based architecture, thereby enabling real-time interaction.


Context: To connect with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), an online portal “ENSURE” has been launched by Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.


  • Portal ENSURE- National Livestock Mission-EDEG(Entrepreneurship Development and Employment Generation ) is developed by NABARD and is operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.
  • Under the National Livestock Mission’s component called Entrepreneurship Development and Employment Generation (EDEG), subsidy payment for activities related to poultry, small ruminants, pigs etc. through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) goes directly to the beneficiary’s account.

In order to make it better, simpler and transparent, the NABARD has developed an online portal “ENSURE” so that the information related to beneficiary and processing of application can be made readily available.


ECO Niwas Samhita 2018

Context: Giving a further fillip to India’s energy conservation efforts, Ministry of Power has launched the ECO Niwas Samhita 2018,an Energy Conservation Building Code for Residential Buildings (ECBC-R).


  • The Code was launched on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day 2018.
  • The implementation of this Code is will give a fillip to energy efficiency in residential sector. It aims to benefit the occupants and the environment by promoting energy efficiency in design and construction of homes, apartments and townships.
  • The Code is expected to assist large number of architects and builders who are involved in design and construction of new residential complexesin different parts of the country.
  • Implementation of this Code will have potential for energy savings to the tune of 125 Billion Units of electricity per year by 2030, which is equivalent to about 100 million ton of Co2 emission.

Bihar’s capital Patna on board the game-changing container cargo circuit on Inland Waterways

Context: Patna witnessed  a new landmark in India’s Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector with 16 TEUs of container cargo (equivalent to 16 truckloads) belonging to food giants PepsiCo India and Emami Agrotech Ltd from Kolkata reaching the city’s Gaighat IWT terminal on river Ganga.


  • Patna and upcoming IWAI terminal at Kalughat to emerge as new hub for trade up to Nepal with river Gandak announced as National Waterway 37
  • Plans are at an advanced stage to operationalize Patna-Varanasi sector of NW-1 for container cargo movement. Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages
  • It also reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.
  • The Ministry of Shipping is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under jal Marg Vikas Project (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.

Government plans to make all meters smart prepaid in 3 years


  • Ministry of Power has decided to make all meters smart prepaid in 3 years


  • This step is likely to bring revolution in power sector by way of reduction in AT&C losses, better health of DISCOMs, incentivisation of energy conservation, ease of bill payments and doing away with the paper bills.
  • Move towards smart meters is a pro poor step as consumers need not pay the whole month’s bill in one go, instead they can pay as per their requirements.
  • Manufacturing of smart prepaid meters will also generate skilled employment for the youth.


Year End Review 2018 Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare

Doubling Of Farmers Income:

The Government has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022. The Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee to examine issues relating to doubling of farmers’ income and recommend a strategy to achieve doubling of farmers’ income in real terms by the year 2022.  The committee has identified seven sources of income growth-

  1. Improvement in crop and livestock productivity
  2. Resource use efficiency
  3. Increase in the cropping intensity
  4. Diversification towards high value crops
  5. Improvement in real prices received by farmers
  6. Shift from farm to non-farm occupations.
  7. Savings in the cost of production

Initiatives Taken By The Government

  • Initiating market reforms through the State Governments by amending the agriculture marketing regime.
  • Encouraging contract farming through the State Governments by promulgating of Model Contract Farming Act.
  • 22,000 Gramin Haats are to be upgraded to work as centers of aggregation and for direct purchase of agricultural commodities from the farmers.
  • Launch of eNAM initiative to provide farmers an electronic online trading platform.
  • Implementation of flagship scheme of distribution of Soil Health Cards to farmers so that the use of fertilizers can be optimized.
  • “Per drop more crop” initiative under which drip/sprinkler irrigation is being encouraged for optimal utilization of water.
  • “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)” under which organic farming is being promoted.  North East is being developed as organic hub.
  • A revised farmer friendly “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)” have been launched. The scheme covers various types of risks from pre-sowing to post harvest and the farmers have to pay very nominal premium.
  • Under “Har Medh Par Ped”, agro forestry is being promoted for supplementing farm income, increase risk management and climate resilient agriculture as an important component of Integrated Farming Systems
  • The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was amended to exclude bamboo from the definition of ‘trees’. Henceforth bamboo grown outside forest area will not be regulated under the provisions of felling and transit rules. As a corollary the restructured National Bamboo Mission was launched for development of the value chain of bamboo as a measure to strengthen rural economy by linking the producer (farmer) to markets (industry).
  • Launch of PM-Asha scheme which will ensure MSP to farmers for oilseeds, pulses and copra.
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) is notified by the Government for certain crops. Giving a major boost for the farmers income, the Government has approved the increase in the MSPs for all Kharif & Rabi crops for 2018-19 season at a level of at least 150 percent of the cost of production.
  • Bee keeping has been promoted under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) to increase the productivity of crops through pollination and increase the honey production as an additional source of income of farmers.
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been implemented to enhance milk production and productivity of bovines and to make milk production more remunerative to the farmers.
  • National Livestock Mission has been implemented to increase productivity and genetic improvement of livestock.
  • Foreseeing high potential in fisheries sector, a Blue Revolution with multi dimensional activities mainly focusing on fisheries production, both inland and marine is being implemented.
  • The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), one of the eight Missions under the PM’s National Action Plan on Climate Change is anchored in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

National Food Security Mission

NFSM programme is being implemented in 638 districts of 29 states of the country for increasing the production and productivity of food grain crops (rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals & nutri-cereals) through area expansion and productivity enhancement, restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level and enhancing farm level economy to restore confidence amongst the farmers.

Krishi Unnati Mela

A National level 3rd Krishi Unnati Mela was organized and the objective of the mela was to create widespread awareness about the latest agricultural technological developments and receive feedback from the agricultural community, which helps in designing and shaping the Institute’s future research strategy.

Mahila Kisan Diwas

Mahila Kisan Diwas was organised and the focus of the event was to learn and address issues and constraints related to women farmers in Agriculture; Animal Husbandry, Dairying, Fisheries and other off-farm activities and their access to institutional credit and micro-financing and building agri-enterprises.


The governemnet recently approved Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to be continued as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for the next three years, i.e, 2017-18 to 2019-2020. RKVY Raftaar has the objective of making farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmers’ effort, risk mitigation and promoting agribusiness entrepreneurship. RKVY-RAFTAAR funds would be provided to the States as 60:40 grants between Centre and States while 90:10 for North Eastern and Himalayan States through various means.

Soil Health Card Scheme

Soil Health Card Scheme is under implementation in the country since February 2015 to provide Soil Health Card to all farmers in the country.  Soil Health Card will provide information to farmers on soil nutrient status of their soil and recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrient to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility. Soil Health card will be issued every 2 years for all land holdings in the country.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER)

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched a Central Sector Scheme entitled “Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region” for implementation in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura
  • The scheme aims at development of certified organic production in a value chain mode to link growers with consumers and to support the development of entire value chain starting from inputs, seeds, certification and creation of facilities for collection, aggregation, processing, marketing and brand building initiative

Micro Irrigation Fund

  • In order to achieve the objective of enhancing water use efficiency in agriculture sector and bring about desired growth, Finance Minister announced in the Union Budget for 2017-18 setting up of a dedicated fund in NABARD titled “Micro Irrigation Fund”
  • The main objective of the fund is to facilitate the States in mobilizing the resources for expanding coverage of Micro Irrigation by taking up special and innovative projects and also for incentivizing micro irrigation beyond the provisions available under Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) to encourage farmers to install micro irrigation systems.

Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)  

  • PM-AASHA will provide MSP assurance to farmers: A reflection of Government’s commitment to the “Annadata
  • The Scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced in the Union Budget for 2018.



Sixth National Report to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD)


India submitted its Sixth National Report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The report was submitted by the Union Environment Minister, during the inaugural session of the 13th National Meeting of the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) organized by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) The Minister also released the document ‘Progress on India’s National Biodiversity Targets: A Preview’ on the occasion.


  • The NR6 provides an update of progress in achievement of 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT) developed under the Convention process in line with the 20 global Aichi biodiversity targets.
  • The Report highlights that while India has exceeded/overachieved two NBTs, it is on track to achieve eight NBTs and in respect of the remaining two NBTs also, India is striving to meet the targets by the stipulated time of 2020.
  • India has exceeded the terrestrial component of 17 percent of Aichi target 11, and 20 percent of corresponding NBT relating to areas under biodiversity management.

Aichi Target:

The ‘Aichi Targets was adopted at the Nagoya conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In the conference of parties (COP-10), the parties agreed to come up with new plans and targets as the previous targets on biodiversity protection were not achieved. The short-term plan which consists of 5 strategic goals and further sub divided into 20 ambitious targets is collectively known as Aichi targets.

  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Strategic Goal E :Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building



Address of Union Environment Minister at inauguration of Indian Pavillion at COP-24

Highlights of his speech:

  1. This pavilion reflects our ambitious and bold actions on climate change. This  year the  theme of India  Pavilion  is  ‘One World One Sun One Grid’
  2. He spoke about Green Good  Deeds Movement and how India realized that people’s participation is crucial to accomplish our goal and so this campaign was prepared to inspire, encourage and involve each and every individual of our society.
  3. India is working hard for achieving 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. The effect of increased use of renewable energy is now visible in India. India stands 4thin wind power 5th in renewable power and 5th in solar power installed.


  • The 24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-24) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began at Katowice, Poland.
  • COP-24 is expected to finalise guidelines for implementation of Paris Agreement adopted in 2016.
  • COP is the supreme decision-making body of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). ‎All States that are Parties to UNFCCC are represented at COP.
  • ‎At COP, all parties review implementation of Convention and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of Convention and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of Convention.


Ministry of Finance releases Discussion Paper entitled “3 Essential “S”s of Climate Finance

Context: Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, released a Discussion Paper entitled “3 Essential “S”s of Climate Finance – Scope, Scale and Speed: A Reflection” on the sidelines of COP 24 to UNFCCC at Katowice, Poland.


  • The Discussion Paper examines analytically the scope, scale and speed required in climate finance. While the financial requirements of developing countries run into trillions of Dollars, the commitments made by the developed countries for enhancement and support in relation to climate finance is not clearly translated into reality. Equally important is the issue of reporting and tracking of climate finance.
  • The Discussion Paper finds serious concerns with the various numbers on climate finance reported by the developed countries. Definitions of climate change finance used in various reports were not consistent with the UNFCCC provisions. Methodologies used were also questionable.
  • This Paper attempts to identify the essential elements, step by step, for a robust and transparent accounting of climate finance flows from developed to developing countries.
  • Climate change issues have taken centre-stage in the recent times with various scientific reports pointing to the serious effects of climate change and global warming. The urgency for global climate action cannot be overemphasised.


Government Launches Asiatic Lion Conservation Project

Context: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with an aim to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.


  • The Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” will strengthen the ongoing measures for conservation and recovery of Asiatic Lion with the help of state-of-the –art techniques/ instruments, regular scientific research studies, disease management, Modern surveillance/ patrolling techniques.
  • Asiatic lions that once ranged from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in Eastern India were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss.
  • The conservation of Asiatic Lions has always been a priority of Government of India. The Ministry in the past has supported Asiatic Lion in Gujarat by including it in list of 21 critically endangered species for recovery programme and financial assistance under the species recovery component of CSS-DWH.

Science & Tech

Indian Science Congress (ISC)-2019


World’s largest science meet ‘Indian Science Congress (ISC)-2019’is going to be held in Jalandhar, Punjab. The theme for this year is   ‘Future India: Science and Technology.


  • Government’s aim is to deliver the benefits of Science & Technology to the last man in the society and scientists being a pivot should put their heart and soul into finding new solutions to the problems facing the nation and improve the quality of life of common man.
  • The event will play a pivotal role in stimulating scientific research effort and raising the scientific temperament in the country and the world.

Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA)

  • ISCA was started in the year 1914 at its headquarters in Kolkata.
  • It organises Indian Science Congress annually in first week of January.
  • The first meeting of ISCC was held in January 1914 in Asiatic Society, Kolkata.
  • ISCA works under Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is a premier scientific organization of India



The Union Cabinet has approved the Gaganyaan Program with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days.


  • A human rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission.
  • The total fund requirement for the Gaganyaan Programme is within Rs.10,000 crore and includes cost of technology development, flight hardware realization and essential infrastructure elements.
  • Gaganyaan Programme will establish a broader framework for collaboration between ISRO, academia, industry, national agencies and other scientific organizations.
  • This will allow pooling in of diverse technological and industrial capabilities and enable broader participation in research opportunities and technology development benefitting large number of students and researchers.
  • It is expected to generate employment and train human resources in advanced technologies.
  • It will inspire large number of young students to take up science and technology careers for national development.
  • Gaganyaan Programme is a national effort and will involve the participation of the Industry, Academia and National Agencies spread across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Human spaceflight programme will provide a unique micro-gravity platform in space for conducting experiments and test bed for future technologies.
  • The programme is expected to give impetus to economic activities within the country in terms of employment generation, human resource development and enhanced industrial capabilities.


Major Launches by ISRO in 2018

  • ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its forty second flight, PSLV-C40 successfully launched the 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series Remote Sensing Satellite. The 11 kg INS-1C and the 100 kg class Microsat were the two Indian co-passenger satellites of Cartosat-2.The 28 international customer satellites belonged to Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and the USA.
  • India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) successfully launched GSAT-6A Satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) .GSAT-6A is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide mobile communication services through multi beam coverage. For this, it is equipped with S and C band transponders.
  • ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 successfully launched the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite .IRNSS-1I is the latest member of the ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system. NavIC, also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1,500 km around the Indian mainland.
  • ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) successfully launched 31 satellites. HysIS is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380kg. The mission life of the satellite is five years. The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • India’s GSAT-29 communication satellite was successfully launched by the second developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII-D2). GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies. Its Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
  • ISRO’s heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana. GSAT-11 will act as a forerunner to all future high throughput communication satellites. The 5,854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.

ICAT Certification Launched with High Security Features

Context: International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) launched the Certification with high security features in order to prevent use of forged certificates.

  • This is a first of its kind initiative taken by any automotive certification agency in India for enhancing the security of the CMVR certificates which includes Type Approval Certificates (TAC) and Conformity of Production (COP) Certificates for vehicles, engines and components.
  • The new ICAT certificate format consists of nine new and unique security features incorporated in the certificate. Which are –
    • High security paper
    • Printing using the ultraviolet ink
    • Troymark
    • Microprint
    • Pantograph
    • Reverse Pantograph
    • Secure code
    • Print code
    • Digitally printed stamp and seal of ICAT

With the new high security features it will become difficult to forge or counterfeit the ICAT certificate.

ICAT is the premier certification agency authorized by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) for providing testing and certification services to the vehicle and component manufacturers situated within India and abroad.


Context: Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11) successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-7A from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.


  • The GSLV-F11 lifted off GSAT-7A weighing 2250kg and injected into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • GSAT-7A is the heaviest satellite being launched by GSLV with an indigenously developed cryogenic stage.
  • GSAT-7A is an advanced communication satellite with a Gregorian Antenna and many other new technologies.
  • GSLV is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core form the first stage. The second stage is equipped with a high thrust engine using liquid fuel. The cryogenic upper stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle.


Global Hackathon on Artificial Intelligence

Context: NITI Aayog is partnering with Perlin – a Singapore-based AI start up – to launch the ‘AI 4 All Global Hackathon’, With the vision to further expand the idea of‘Artificial Intelligence, AI for All’ articulated in the National AI Strategy.


  • The hackathon will be run two stages with Stage One ending 15 January 2019 and Stage Two, which will only include shortlisted participants from the previous stage, will conclude on 15 March 2019
  • he first stage will invite ideas for use cases of multi-party computation in areas such as Healthcare, Education, Agriculture, Urbanization, Financial Inclusion.
  • The second stage will call for these ideas to be matured and developed, with a focus on privacy preserving AI and distributed computing.


Year End Review – 2018 Ministry of Defence

Department of Defence Production

  • Government of India took policy decision to set up two Defence Production Corridors, one each in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Tamil Nadu. These would go a long way in making India self-reliant in defence production through ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
  • The 10th edition of ‘DefExpo’ was organised and was formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It for the first time projected India’s Defence manufacturing capabilities to the world. This was also reflected in the tagline for the Expo i.e. ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’.
  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) a scheme of Department of Defence Production (DDP), formulated in collaboration with Start Up India and Atal Innovation Mission, with the objective of bringing Start-ups to solve problems of defence production, innovate new technologies required by defence forces and reduce dependence on imported technology was launched.
  • 3rd Scorpene Submarine of Project-75, ‘Karanj’ was launched by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
  • Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman launched ‘Defence India Startup Challenge’ with the overall objective of making India self-reliant for meeting the requirements of national defence.
  • Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman launched ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ on November 27, 2018. The main idea behind this is to migrate from the culture of seeking Transfer of Technology (ToT) from foreign sources to generating Intellectual Property in India, to achieve the goal of self-reliance in Defence sector.
  • Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman launched ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ on November 27, 2018. The main idea behind this is to migrate from the culture of seeking Transfer of Technology (ToT) from foreign sources to generating Intellectual Property in India, to achieve the goal of self-reliance in Defence sector.

Military Exercises of Indian Army

  • HARIMAU SHAKTI – 2018: The first ever joint exercise between Indian and Malaysian armies aimed at training of troops in counter insurgency operations in jungle terrain.
  • SURYA KIRAN – XIII – lndo-Nepal Joint Military Exercise focused on counter terrorism operations in mountainous terrain.
  • MAITREE – lndo-Thai Joint Military Exercise was aimed at training the troops in counter insurgency & counter terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate. Both sides jointly trained, planned and executed a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario.
  • YUDHABHYAS 2018 – The 14th edition of lndo¬ US Joint military Exercise was conductedThe two week-long event saw both the armies hone their tactical and technical skills in countering insurgency and terrorism in a UN peacekeeping scenario involving a combined deployment at a brigade level.
  • KAZIND 2018 – The third edition of joint military training exercise between Indian Army and Kazakhstan Army was held. Both sides jointly trained, planned and executed a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario.
  • MILEX-2018 – Military field training exercise for BIMSTEC nations, MILEX-2018, was conducted. Aim of the exercise was to collectively train BIMSTEC nations in planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations in a semi urban focus of the exercise was to train and equip the contingents to undertake joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in urban and semi-urban terrain.
  • DHARMA GUARDIAN 2018 – The first of its own kind, an lndo-Japan joint military exercise was conducted. The primary aim was to in and equip the contingents undertake joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in urban and semi urban terrain.
  • INDRA- Tenth edition of lndo-Russian joint military Exercise was conducted. The aim of the exercise was to practice joint planning and conduct to enhance interoperability of the two armies in peace keeping and enforcement environment under the aegis of United Nations.
  • EKUVERIN 2018- Ninth edition of lndo-Maldives joint military exercise was conducted. The primary focus of the exercise was to train and equip the contingents to undertake joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural/ urban environment.

Indian Naval Operations

  • Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS):The IONS presently has 24 member countries with eight countries with observer status. Iran is the current ‘Chair’ of IONS. During the Conclave of Chiefs held in Tehran in April 2018, it was decided to conduct the IONS Anti-piracy exercise by Iran in 2019 and India assumed Chairmanship of IWG Information Sharing and Interoperability (IS&I).
  • MILAN-18-A Table-Top Exercise focussing on ‘Enhancing Regional Cooperation for Combating Unlawful Activities at Sea’ and a seminar on the theme ‘In pursuit of Maritime Good Order – Need for Comprehensive Information Sharing Apparatus‘ was conducted during the ‘Harbour Phase’. In the ‘Sea Phase’ participating ships undertook various exercises aimed at harnessing inter-operability in a variety of maritime scenarios including ‘Search and Rescue’ and ‘Maritime Interdiction Operations’.
  • Navika Sagar Parikrama: INSV Tarini returned to India on May 21, 2018, on completion of the first Indian all-women circumnavigation of the globe. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. The vessel covered 22,300 Nm during the voyage and met all the following criteria of circumnavigation. The expedition was in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential. It also depicted ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and helped discard the societal attitudes and mind set towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.

Defence Research and Development Organisation

  • Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile: Astra’ possessing high single shot kill probability has been developed by DRDO to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aerial targets.
  • Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM): MPATGM is a 3rdgeneration ATGM with ‘Fire & Forget’ and ‘Top Attack’ capabilities, which can be day and night. Design & development of MPATGM weapon system is undertaken for deployment by Infantry and Parachute Battalions of the Army.
  • USHUS – 2:Is submarine sonar to be installed on board four EKM submarines considering the long term requirements of the submarine arm and to combat the component obsolescence in the existing Russian sonars on board these submarines.

Ex Cope India 2018


  • Ex Cope India-18 is a 12-day joint exercise which is the fourth edition in the series of Bilateral Joint exercise held between IAF and USAF. This is for the first time, the exercise is being held at two air force bases.
  • The US has sent a fleet of F15 C/D and C-130 military aircraft. The IAF is participating with the Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft.


  • The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure and undertake mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability.
  • It will showcase US and India’s efforts and commitment to free and open Indo-Pacific region.


  • Cope India is a series of joint Air Force exercises held between the Indian Air Force and the United States Air Force, in India.
  • The first such exercise, which required many months of preparation, was conducted at the air force station in Gwalior in February 2004.
  • The exercise included flight tests, practice and demonstrations as well as lectures on subjects related to aviation.
  • There were also media functions and social interactions held among troops of the two countries.
  • The exercise has now evolved to incorporate subject matter expert exchanges, air mobility training, airdrop training and large-force exercises, in addition to fighter-training exercises.

Other defense exercises between India and the USA

  • Yudh Abhiyas: Exercise Yudh Abhyas is part of an ongoing series of joint exercises between the Indian and United States Armies since 2005, agreed upon under the New Framework of the India-US Defence Relationship. Commencing at the platoon level, the exercise has graduated to a command post (CPX) and field training exercise (FTX).
  • Malabar: Exercise Malabaris a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners. Originally begun in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, Japan became a permanent partner in 2015.

EX SHINYUU Maitri-2018

Context: The Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) is in India for a bilateral air exercise SHINYUU Maitri-18 with Indian Air Force from 03-07 Dec 18 at A F Station Agra.


  • The theme of the exercise is joint Mobility/Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) on Transport aircraft.
  • The focus of the exercise is set for the IAF and JASDF crews to undertake Joint Mobility/ HADR operations. Display of heavy loading/ off loading are also planned to be practiced during this exercise.


  • It is a joint Sino-India military exercise
  • The exercise included lectures and discussions on various counter terrorism aspects like cordon and search operations, raid on terrorist hideouts, intelligence collection and joint operations.
  • The troops shared best practices being followed by both nations in counter terrorism operations in urban and jungle terrain and the exercise provided an opportunity to both the armies for greater understanding and strengthening mutual trust and cooperation.

Sardar Patel Award


Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi announced annual Sardar Patel Award for National Integration at the DGPs/IGPs Conference at Kevadia


  • The Birth Anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which falls on 31 October, is celebrated as National Integration Day of Rashtriya Ekta Divas.
  • The government is attempting to create awareness among the people about Sardar Patel’s contribution towards India’s freedom struggle and ensuring national integration in India.
  • It will inspire more people to work towards furthering India’s unity and national integration which would be a fitting tribute to Sardar Patel


About Vijay Diwas:

  • Vijay Diwas, also called as Victory Day, is celebrated on every 16th December in India.
  • It marks the victory of Indian armed forces over Pakistan in the war of Independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971.
  • At the end of the 1971 war, the Pakistani Army unilaterally surrendered resulting in the independence of East Pakistan, which was called as Bangladesh.
  • On this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces along with 93,000 troops, surrendered to the allied forces consists of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini in Dhaka after they got defeated in the war.
  • On the anniversary of Vijay Divas, respect and tributes are paid to the martyrs who laid down their lives for their country.


Successful Test Firing of Long-Range Missile Agni V

Context:  Agni V, a long-range surface-to-surface Nuclear Capable Ballistic missile, was successfully launched from a canister on a road-mobile launcher at the Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha


Agni V

  • It is an intercontinental ballistic missile
  • It is three-stage solid propellant nuclear-capable missile
  • It is a surface-to-surface missile
  • Developed by DRDO
  • Range: 5500-5800km
  • Engine : 3 stage solid fuel
  • Capable of carrying nuclear warheads of over one tonne
  • It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets.
  • It is also a fire and forget missile, which once fired cannot be stopped, except by interceptor missile which only US, Russia and Israel have.



Context: The 10th edition of exercise INDRA NAVY will be conducted at Visakhapatnam.


  • INDRA is a navy exercise between Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) and Indian navy.
  • The primary aim of the exercise is to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies, develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
  • Initiated in 2003, INDRA NAVY exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity and level of participation.
  • Exercise INDRA NAVY-18 would help to further strengthen mutual confidence and inter-operability and also enable sharing of best practices between both the navies
  • The exercise will be yet another milestone in strengthening maritime security cooperation between the two navies and will serve to reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the countries.

Ex Aviaindra 2018: Ex AVIAINDRA, a service-specific exercise between Indian Air Force and Russian Federation Aerospace Force (RFSAF), is planned at Air Force Station Jodhpur from 10-21 Dec 2018.

Combined Guided Weapon Firing Exercise

Context: Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff arrived at Air Force Station Suryalankla on 07 Dec 18 on a two day visit to witness the combined guided weapons firing exercise of Surface to Air Missile.

About: This was a first of its kind Exercise undertaken by the Indian Air Force in which firing of four different class of missiles – AKASH, SPYDER, OSA-AK-M and IGLA was successfully carried out during day and night in an integrated networked environment.


  • Akash (means sky in English) is a mid-range surface-to-air missile (SAM). It is medium range nuclear capable supersonic missile. It has been indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
  • It is multi target, multi directional, all weather air-defence missile system consisting of surveillance and tracking radars for defending vulnerable areas against medium range air targets penetrating from low, medium and high altitudes. It has supersonic speeds ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5.
  • It has capability to carry 55- kg fragmentation warhead that is triggered by proximity fuse. It can engage aerial targets up to range of approximately 25 kms. It can reach high altitude of 18 kms and as low as 30 meters.


  • Spyder (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is an acquired missile system from Israel which is a short-range, quick reaction surface-to-air missile.
  • It comprises two missiles- Python and Derby, with an active onboard radar which makes the Spyder system more lethal. Both the missiles are smokeless which makes it harder to detect them visually.
  • It can neutralise enemy targets up to a distance of 15 km and at heights between 20 and 9000 metres.
  • Besides aircraft and UAVs, it can also neutralise low-level cruise missiles.
  • It is an all-weather missile which has an automatic process of engaging an aggressive aircraft or missile.
  • Spyder is shorter than India’s indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile, which has a strike range of 25 km.


Context: It is celebrated to commemorate the launch of Operation Trident by the Indian Navy against Pakistan on 4th December, 1971.


  • During 1971 India-Pakistan war, Indian Navy had played a significant role in the bombing of Karachi harbour, the stronghold of Pakistani Navy.
  • In the attack, the Indian navy sank four vessels and ravaged the Karachi harbour fuel fields.
  • In this operation, three missile boats of Indian Navy, INS Nirghat, INS Nipat and INS Veer had played pivotal role in this mission.

Information Fusion Centre (IFC)


  • The Navy will formally inaugurate the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).


  1. This center will provide information on “white shipping”, or commercial shipping, which will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
    • White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.
  • The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram, which is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.
  • All countries that have signed white shipping information exchange agreements with India, about 21 of them, are IFC partners.


  • The IFC-IOR is established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the region and beyond, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region
  • Establishment of the IFR-IRO would ensure that the entire region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.
  • This will help in addressing issues related to Piracy by mutual coordination with other countries.
  • This will also help in tackling the growing influence of china in the region.

Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN)

  • India has signed the ascension agreement to join the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN).
  • The pact will give India the access to information on ships which pass through the Indian Ocean region that will greatly help the security forces in keeping a tab on any suspicious activity.
  • The multilateral construct comprises of 30 countries and is steered by Italy.


Bogibeel bridge


Bogibeel, India’s longest road-rail bridge connecting Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 94th birth anniversary of the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


  • The bridge is 4.94 km long and 32 metres above the water level of the Brahmaputra.
  • The bridge, which is the second longest in Asia, has three-lane roads on top and double line rail below.
  • The bridge will also play an important role in defence of the country by facilitating ease of mobility to the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. In addition, the three road lanes of the bridge can act as three landing strips for the Air Force.
  • Currently, the train journey via Guwahati takes 37 hours. With the bridge in place, the journey between Dibrugarh and Delhi will be shorter by three hours come year-end.


Commemorative coin and postage stamp in memory of Paika Rebellion

Context: Prime Minister to release the commemorative coin and postage stamp in memory of Paika Rebellion and also inaugurate the Lalitgiri Archaeological Museum

About Paika Rebellion:

  • Paika Rebellion of 1817 is an armed revolt against the British by the Paiks of Khurda in Odisha. The rebellion took form and shape under the leadership of Baxi Jagandhu Bidyadhara.
  • It took place when the British East India company wrested the rent-free land that had been given to the Paiks for their military service to the Kingdom of Khurda.

National Consumer Day

  • National Consumer Day is observed on Dec 24.
  • The objective is to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.
  • The theme this year is “Timely Disposal of Consumer Complaints”.
  • On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted. The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.


The first ever Swadesh Darshan Project in the state of Nagaland to be inaugurated


  • The project “Development of Tribal Circuit: Peren-Kohima-Wokha” was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism
  • Swadesh Darshan scheme is one among the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner.
  • Under this scheme, the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth.

Khelo India Youth Games

Context: Khelo India Youth Games to be held in Pune known as the city of students.

Khelo India Programme

  • It will be a Central Sector Scheme (Scheme implemented by the Central Government machinery and 100% funding by the union government).
  • It is a Pan India Sports Scholarship scheme covering the 1000 most deserving and talented athletes across the sports discipline, every year.
  • Selected athletes will be entitled to a scholarship amount of Five Lakh Rupees for eight consecutive years.
  • It is an unprecedented scheme, a first-ever plan to be implemented for creating a long-term development pathway for athletes.
  • To enable the sportsman to pursue both studies and sports, the program aims at identifying and promoting 20 Universities in the country as centres of sporting distinction.
  • For sports promotion, latest user-friendly technology would be used. Ex: Geographic Information System (GIS) for locating the sports infrastructure, a user-friendly website for indigenous sports, a National Sports Talent Search Portal and information dissemination for the purpose of sports training through mobile apps.
  • To ensure maximum entries for organized sports competitions, the programme encourages the school and colleges to organize programmes of high standards.
  • Forming an active population with a healthy lifestyle is also the focus of this programme. For this purpose, a National Physical Fitness Drive is planned where children falling in the age bracket 10-18 years will be checked for physical fitness. Further, activities to support their physical fitness will be planned.
  • The aim is to impact the whole of sports ecosystem inclusive of sports economy, competition structure, talent identification, coaching and infrastructure.
  • The programme plans to engage youth living in deprived and disturbed areas into sporting activities so that they will be mainstreamed into the process of nation-building and weaned away from disruptive activities.

Sahitya Akademi Award

Context: Shri Shyam Sundar Besrahas been conferred the coveted Sahitya Akademi Award. He has been awarded for his novel “Marom” in Santhali language which is primarily based upon natural, social, economic and political conditions of Santhal Pargana.

The novel highlights the situation emerged after the two main industrial development of the Santhal area after Independence i.e Masanjore Dam at Dumka and Railway locomotive workshop at Chittaranjan.

Timeless Laxman

Context: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, released the coffee table book “Timeless Laxman”, based on the famous cartoonist RK Laxman.

RK Laxman’s creation:

He is best known for the creation of iconic character The Common Man, for his daily cartoon strip, You Said It in The Times of India (TOI). It was started in 1951. This character held a mirror to the society and targeted politicians for more than five decades. In 1988, a commemorative postage stamp of The Common Man was released by the Indian Postal Service on the 150th anniversary of TOI. He also created a popular mascot for the Asian Paints group called Gattu in 1954.

India Day

Context:  Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) inaugurated the ‘India Day’, an official side event organized jointly by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the development partners in the run up to the Partners’ Forum 2018.


  • India Day event is aimed to reflect on the journey of the RMNCH+A(reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent) programme and to share and learn from the good practices and innovations implemented by different States/UTs and organisations to address various health challenges around maternal and child health in order to sustain progress on global goals.
  • RMNCH+A is aligned with the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and its key programming tenets articulating well-defined targets to end preventable deaths, ensure health and well-being and expand enabling environments, popularly known as the Survive, Thrive and Transform approach.


Partners’ Forum 2018

Context: The Government of India, in association with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), is hosting a two-day international conference the fourth Partners’ Forum.


  • This is the fourth in a series of global high-level multi-country, multi-stakeholder events aimed at sustaining global momentum for issues related to health of women, children and adolescents.
  • PMNCH’s missionis to support the global health community to work successfully towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the health-related SDGs as articulated in the Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health in support of ‘Every Woman Every Child’ (EWEC) movement.


Third Edition of the Women Transforming India Awards

Context: The NITI Aayog is organising the Third Edition of the Women Transforming India Awards 2018 and is launching the upgraded portal of theWomen Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)


  • The Women Transforming India Awards were instituted to recognise and celebrate stories of exemplary women from across India.
  • This year’s theme is “Women and Entrepreneurship” and fifteen winners have been chosen through an extensive six-month long process to identify fascinating and inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs.
  • The Women Entrepreneurship Platform seeks to transform the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country and shall be a one-stop resource centre for future and budding women entrepreneurs.

Watan ko Jano

Context: Union Home Minister meets J&K school children under Youth Exchange Programme ‘Watan ko Jano’

  • The programme is sponsored jointly by Ministry of Home Affairs, Central Government (Kashmir Cell) and J&K State Rehabilitation Council Social Welfare Department.
  • It aims to give exposure to youth and children of J&K about the cultural and socio-economic development taking place in other parts of country. Youth and children hit by militancy and from weaker sections from J&K are selected for the programme.

Kisan Suvidha mobile application

Context: The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has developed  Kisan Suvidha mobile application to facilitate dissemination of information to farmers.

Information to farmers will be provided on critical parameters like Weather; Market Prices;  Plant Protection;  Agro-advisory; Extreme Weather Alerts; Dealers–Seed, Pesticide, Fertilizer, Farm Machinery; Soil Health Card; Cold Storages & Godowns, Veterinary Centres and Diagnostic Labs.

The app will be beneficial to farmers by providing valuable information like package of practices, market prices of various commodities, weather related information, advisory services, etc.

E-Drishti Software


  • An ‘e-Drishti’ interface has been unveiled for the Union Railway Minister, Minister of State and Board Members. This software includes an interface which provides summary information on punctuality of trains for the previous day.
  • There is also an interface which provides information on current train running on the Indian Railway network.
  • There are interfaces providing details of freight earning, freight loading and passenger earnings for the previous day & month and cumulative for the year, in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year.

International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography Hyderabad

Context: Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment and Forests & Climate Change will inaugurate the newly constructed International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) Complex in the INCOIS campus at Hyderabad.

The UNESCO Category 2 Centre established as a training facility at INCOIS will give an opportunity to the South Asian and African states bordering the Indian Ocean and the small island nations in the Pacific to benefit from the expertise and experience of INCOIS in the areas of ocean science and management.

To scale up the activities of International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean), a full-fledged facility consisting of an Academic Building and International Guest House has been constructed on the INCOIS campus.

The mission of the Centre is to assist the Member States of IOC/UNESCO in developing oceanographic scientific base, related technology and information systems and to create a pool of trained ocean scientists, technologists and managers to cater the growing demands of operational oceanographic services and better management of oceans.

NITI Aayog Releases SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018


The NITI Aayog today released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index,A single measurable Index to map progress of States & UTs towards 2030 SDGs


  • NITI Aayog has the twin mandate to oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country, and also promote Competitive and Cooperative Federalism among States and Uts.
  • The SDG India Index acts as a bridge between these mandates, aligning the SDGs with the Prime Minister’s clarion call of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,which embodies the five Ps of the global SDG movement – people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.
  • If a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies that it has achieved the 2030 national targets.The higher the score of a State/UT, the greater the distance to target achieved.

Classification Criteria based on SDG India Index Score is as follows:

  • Aspirant: 0-49
  • Performer: 50-64
  • Front Runner: 65-99
  • Achiever: 100
OVERALL Aspirant Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
Performer Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur,
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Delhi and Lakshadweep
Front Runner Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh and Puducherry
Achiever NA

Overall Findings:

  • Himachal Pradesh ranks high on providing clean water & sanitation, in reducing inequalities & preserving mountain ecosystem
  • Kerala’s top rank is attributed to its superior performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality & providing quality education
  • Chandigarh leads because of its exemplary performance in providing clean water & sanitation, affordable & clean energy, generating decent work & economic growth, & providing quality education



Samagra Shiksha Scheme


Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education has been launched throughout the country as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with effect from the year 2018-19


  • This programme subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • The major interventions 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; and (xi) Strengthening of Teacher Education and Training.
  • The major features of Samagra Shiksha are as under:-
  • Annual Grant of Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000/- per school for strengthening of Libraries.
  • Composite school grant increased from Rs. 14,500-50,000 to Rs. 25,000-1 Lakh and to be allocated on the basis of school enrolment.
  • Annual Grant for sports equipments at the cost of Rs. 5000 for Primary Schools, Rs. 10,000 for upper primary schools and up to Rs. 25,000 for secondary and senior secondary schools.
  • Allocation for children with Special Needs (CwSN) increased from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 3,500 per child per annum including a stipend of Rs. 200 per month for CWSN girls to be provided from Classes I to XII – earlier it was only for classes IX to XII.
  • Allocation for uniforms enhanced from Rs. 400 to Rs. 600 per child per annum.
  • Allocation for textbooks enhanced from Rs. 150/250 to Rs. 250/400 per child per annum.
  • Upgradation of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) from Class 6-8 to Class 6-12.
  • Strengthening Teacher Education Institutions like SCERTs and DIETs to improve the quality of teachers with SCERT as the nodal institution for in-service and pre-service teacher training
  • Enhanced use of digital technology in education through smart classrooms, digital boards and DTH channels.


19th Hornbill Festival


Unani Day 2019

The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM), will launch a 50-day countdown for Unani Day 2019.


  • The birthday of great Unani researcher Hakim Ajmal Khan i.e. 11th February is celebrated as Unani Day. Hakim Ajmal Khan was eminent Indian Unani physician who was versatile genius, freedom fighter, educationist and founder of scientific research in Unani Medicine. This year it was 150th Birth Anniversary of Hakim Ajmal Khan.
  • Unani Medicine has been playing an important role in public health especially in combating NCDs, lifestyle disorders and various chronic diseases by providing cost effective Unani treatment and quality products for patient healthcare.
  • Unani system of medicine is the term for Perso-Arabic traditional medicine as practiced in Mughal India and in Muslim culture in South Asia and modern day Central Asia. It had originated in Greece.


Difference between Ayurveda ,Unani and Siddha:

Ayurveda:The doctrine of Ayurveda aims to keep structural and functional entities in a functional state of equilibrium, which signifies good health. Any imbalance due to internal and external factor causes disease and restoring equilibrium through various techniques, procedures, regimes, diet and medicine constitute treatment. The philosophy of Ayurveda is based on the theory of Pancha bhootas (five element theory) of which all the objects and living bodies are composed of.

Siddha:Siddha system of medicine emphasize that medical treatment is oriented not merely to disease, but also has to take into account the patient, environment, age, habits, physical condition. Siddha literature is in Tamil and it is largely practiced in Tamil speaking parts of India and abroad.

Unani: Unani System of medicine is based on established knowledge and practices relating to promotion of positive health and prevention of diseases. Although Unani system originated in Greece, passed through many countries, Arabs enriched it with their aptitude and experience and the system was brought to India during Medieval period. Unani System emphasize the use of naturally occurring, most herbal medicines, though it uses ingredients of animal and marine origin.