PIB Analysis

Desire IAS PIB September 2018 Prelim Special

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Desire IAS

PIB

September 2018

Prelim Special

 

Index

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

 

 

Recent Mobiles Apps or Portals Launched 

 Chinta Se Mukti“ mobile app

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

 

NeVA-mobile app

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

Background:

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

 

Jan Dhan Darshak

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

Features of this app:

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

 

Agmark online system

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

 

Launching of two portals to strengthen Women Safety

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

 

Leveraging IT for Mobility

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

About Aapoorti:

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

 

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

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

 

Application of GIS (Geographic Information System) in Disaster Management

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

Aim:

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

About:

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

 

All India Radio Streaming Services on Amazon Alexa Smart Speakers

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

 

New Scheme or Campaign   Launched

Rashtriya Poshan Maah

Event Details:

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

About:

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

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

PM launches “Swachhata Hi Seva”

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

 

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

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

Aim:

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

 

Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign

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

Campaign Objectives

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

Cleaning of Iconic Places

  • Focus on the 30 Swachh Iconic Places for cleanliness activities

Corporate Sector                                                                       

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

Media                                                            

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

 

Paryatan Parv

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

Paryatan Parv 2018

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

 

Parakram Parv

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

 

Paryatan Parv

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

Components of Paryatan Parv are:

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

 

 

Mera School Digital School

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

Rail Heritage Digitisation Project

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

Background:

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

 

Ambassadors of Skill India Campaign

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

About:

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

 

SATAT initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas

Aim:

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

Background

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

 

National Mission on Government e Marketplace (GeM)

Context:

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

Background:

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

 

DIGIVAARTA Launched

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

Aim:

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

 

REINVEST- 2018

Aim:

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

Objective:

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

 

Pradhan MantriAarogyaMitra (PMAM)

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

 

Benefits under the scheme:

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

 

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

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

 

Background

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

 

Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana in alliance with the States:

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

 

 

Important Days

52nd International Literacy Day

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

Background

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

 

24th World Ozone Day Celebrations

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

About: The Montreal Protocol

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

 

Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha

Context

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

 

What was the objective?

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

 

Details

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

 

Polity & Health

NITI Aayog’s MOVE Cyclathon

 Context

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

‘Mobility Week’

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

 

Model International Center for Transformative AI (ICTAI)

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

Aim:

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

 

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

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

 

Medical Cyclotron Facility Cyclone-30

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

Benefit:

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

 

Locate Public Toilets on Google Maps

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

 

Economy

 

PM launches India Post Payments Bank(IPPB)

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

Background

What is IPPB?

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

What are the features?

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

Benefits of IPPB:

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

 

challenges?

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

 

Coffee Connect & Coffee KrishiTharanga

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

Coffee Connect:

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

Coffee KrishiTharanga:

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

Background:

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

 

National Mission on GeM

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

About:

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

Benefits:

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

Apsara

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

About:

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

 

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

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

Components of PM-AASHA:

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

Details:

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

 

Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna

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

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

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

 

ASHA Benefit Package

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

 

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

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

Aim:

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

 

National Digital Communications Policy-2018 

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

Impact:

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

Objectives:

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

These objectives are to be achieved by 2022.

Features:

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

Strategy:

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

 

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

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

About: Ease of Living Index

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

 

PM inaugurates Pakyong Airport

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

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

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

Context:

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

Benefits:

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

 

I.R.

Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)-India and Singapore

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

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

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

 

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

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

 

24th RCEP Auckland Round

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

In Goods:

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

In Services:

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

In Investment:

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

Background: 

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

 

Three projects in Bangladesh

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

Projects include:

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

BIMSTEC

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

Aim:

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

 

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

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

Strengthening the Defense and Security Partnership

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

Partners in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond

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

Promoting Prosperity and People-to-People Ties

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

 

MOBILISE YOUR CITY” (MYC)

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

About:

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

Aim:

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

The main components of the proposed assistance are:

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

 

Defence

Yudh Abhyas 2018

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

Context:

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

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

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

KAZIND 2018

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

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

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

Exercise Aviaindra-18

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

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

Successful Flight Test of Prahar

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

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

 

Tit bits-

NATIONAL SPORTS AWARDS -2018

About:

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

(i)         Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2018

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

 

(ii)        Dronacharya Awards 2018

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

 

(iv)      Dhyan Chand Award 2018

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

 

(vi) Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar 2018

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

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

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

 

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