DESIRE IAS PIB Mains SPECIAL OCTOBER -2018 Monthly compilation




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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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



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.


  • 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.


  • 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”


  • 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).


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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”.


  • 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.


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


  • 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).


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.



12th ASEM Summit


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


Top 100 Bank Frauds


  • 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.



  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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’.


  • 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.


  • 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.



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.



  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.




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