PIB ( 1st to 15th August)
Important News for Prelims
1-Cabinet approves Re-structuring of the Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board (ASRB)
- The ASRB will now be a 4 Member body instead of 3 Members. It will have a Chairperson and 3 Members.
- ASRB would be for a period of three years or till attainment of 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
- For the purpose of autonomy, secrecy, accountability and efficient functioning ASRB shall be delinked from ICAR and to be attached with Deptt. of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
- The budget head for ASRB may also be delinked from ICAR and be created under DARE, and the ASRB may have its own cadre of administrative staff in the secretariat and have independent administrative control.
- The four Member body comprising of one Chairperson and three Members would help in expediting the work and functioning of ASRB.
- It would support in expediting the recruitment process which would be beneficial for the agrarian community and agriculture at large.
- Moreover, it will ensure more transparency and efficiency in recruitment of meritorious scientists to various scientific positions in lCAR, the premier agency for agricultural research and education in the country.
2-Solar Charkhas to Generate Direct Employment to One Lakh Persons
- Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched the Mission Solar Charkha for implementation of 50 Solar Charkha Clusters across the country for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- The scheme will generate direct employment to nearly one lakh persons.
- Solar Charkha Units have been classified as village industries.
- includes World Bank Loan of USD 200 Million.
3-Nationwide ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ released;
- State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ has been released by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).
- Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Haryana have been categorised in the second best category of ‘achiever’ states.
- The State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index will help in implementing national energy efficiency initiatives in states and meet both State as well as national goals on energy security, energy access and climate change.”
- The State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index has 63 indicators across Building, Industry, Municipality, Transport, Agriculture and DISCOM with 4 cross-cutting indicators.
- States are categorised based on their efforts and achievements towards energy efficiency implementation, as ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’ and ‘Aspirant’.
- The ‘Front Runner’ states in the inaugural edition of the Index are: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan based on available data.
- The Index examines states’ policies and regulations, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures and energy savings achieved.
Energy conservation guidelines for energy intensive industries
- Bureau under the aegis of Ministry of Power is implementing many initiatives for energy efficiency in the energy intensive industries.
- Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme is a flagship scheme of Government of India to improve energy efficiency of large energy consuming industries.
- As a part of Indo-Japan Energy Dialogue, Energy Conservation Centre of Japan (ECCJ) and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)have developed Energy Conservation Guidelines for energy intensive industries covering both large as well as MSMEs.
- These guidelines will enable the industries to establish a systematic mechanism to improve the energy efficiency for major energy consuming utilities.
- These guidelines would serve a ready reference of standard and target benchmarked energy performance values for major energy consuming equipment which will improve the overall energy performance of the industry.
5-Cabinet approves Policy Framework for exploration and exploitation of Unconventional Hydrocarbons
- unconventional hydrocarbons such as Shale oil/gas, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) etc.
- It will be carried out under the existing Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), CBM contracts and Nomination fields to encourage the existing Contractors in the licensed/leased area to unlock the potential of unconventional hydrocarbons in the existing acreages.
- This policy will enable the realization of prospective hydrocarbon reserves in the existing Contract Areas which otherwise would remain unexplored and unexploited.
- With this policy dispensation, new investment in Exploration and Production (E&P) activities and chances of finding new hydrocarbon discoveries and resultant increased domestic production thereof is expected.
- Exploration and exploitation of additional hydrocarbon resources is expected to spur new investment, impetus to economic activities, additional employment generation and thus benefitting various sections of society.
- This will lead to induction of new, innovative and cutting-edge technology and forging new technological collaboration to exploit unconventional hydrocarbons.
- As per existing contractual regime of PSCs, existing Contractors are not allowed to explore and exploit CBM or other unconventional hydrocarbons in already allotted licensed/leased area.
- Similarly, CBM Contractors are not allowed to exploit any other hydrocarbon except CBM.
- Acreages held at present by various Contractors in PSCs and CBM blocks and National Oil Companies (NOCs) in nomination regime constitute a significant part of India’s sedimentary basin.
- IRNSS-1I spacecraft was successfully launched aboard PSLV-C41 on April 2018. The spacecraft was the replacement for IRNSS-1A and is providing intended navigation services.
- However, IRNSS-1A continues to provide messaging services like disaster alerts and other societal applications.
- The subsequent launches include GSLV-MK III that is planned to launch GSAT-29, PSLV-C42 launch and Chandrayaan-2 Mission.
More about IRNSS-1I ( Team Desire IAS input)
- The IRNSS-1I is overall eighth satellite to join ISRO’s NavIC navigation satellite constellation.
- It replaced IRNSS-1A, the first of seven navigation satellites of IRNSS series that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed.
- IRNSS-1I was made by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies in collaboration with ISRO.
- The IRNSS-1I was having lift-off weight of 1,425 kg and has life span of 10 years.
- It carried two types of payloads: Navigation and Ranging.
- They are L5 and S-band navigation payloads and C-band ranging payloads.
- It also has corner cube retroreflectors for LASER ranging.
- It will be stationed in Geosynchronous Orbit at 36,000 km height.
IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. Simply put, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to the GPS (global positioning system) of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe as well as China’s Beidou. It consists of a constellation of seven satellites.
- It is a constellation of total 7 satellite launched in space and a ground facility on land to receive signals from space satellites. 3 of its satellite Located in Geostationary orbit and 4 are inclined to geosynchronous orbit. However full NAVIC system has 9 satellite, 2 on ground in standby mode.
- It covers whole India and region surrounding it up to 1500 km.
- It provide accuracy up to 20m as claimed by ISRO.
- Its apogee(farthest point) is 20,657km and Perigee is 284 km
- The satellite weighs average 1330 kg approx. and each have solar panels to generate 1400wt.
- A master control facility is set up on land to receive signals from these satellites.
Applications of IRNSS:
- Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
- Disaster Management.
- Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
- Integration with mobile phones.
- Precise Timing.
- Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
- Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
- Visual and voice navigation for drivers.
7-Electric Propulsion System
- ISRO is working on Electric Propulsion System (EPS) which can reduce the dependence on chemical propellant.
- The EPS system was first flown on South Asia Satellite (SAS) – GSAT-9 launched in the year 2017 and is working satisfactory.
- With the help of EPS, satellite weight can be reduced as the chemical propellants are replaced by electrical system, the weight of which is not so significant compared to chemical propellant.
- GSAT-9is a planned Indian geostationary communications satellite. It will be utilized to serve also the neighbouring countries of the SAARC (except Pakistan, which opted out) as South Asian Satellite.
- Similar to the Insat 4C/4CRsatellites, it will carry 12 high powered Ku-band transponders with India coverage beam and two beacon transmitters. The satellite is planned with a mission life of 12 years and is to be positioned at 48º East longitude. This I-2K (I-2000) Bus satellite has a liftoff mass of 2195 kg and payload power of 2300 W. It will also test an electrical propulsion system.
8-Airports to have GI Product Stalls:
GI will give the rightful share of intellectual property to the artisan and the place of origin of the product.
- GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen. India’s rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.
- Minister stated that he will ensure that major airports of the country have stalls displaying GI and self-help group products and discussion are also on with NABARD for setting up a portal for GI and self-help group products.
- The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had launched a Logo and a Tagline Contest for Geographical Indications of India on 18thOctober, 2017, through mygov.in platform.
- The tagline Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India ,represents the spirit of Geographical Indications of India and will be helpful in effective branding and promotion of GIs.
- This will also help in engaging more people on the subject of GIs and making them aware about the benefits of a GI tag.
What is Geographical Indication?
- Geographical Indication is a genre of Intellectual Property.
- GI tag is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
- The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.
- These could be naturally grown crops like Assam Chilies or manufactured products like Jaipur Pottery.
- GI tags are given on the basis of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
- The registration of GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed.
- Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law.
9-Government launches the scheme ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’
The Ministry of Culture, Government of India has launched the new scheme namely ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’ for Financial Years 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- The Union Ministry of Culture on June 1, 2018 introduced a new scheme called ‘SevaBhojYojna’ to reimburse the central share of CGST and IGST on items for food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by charitable religious institutions.
About the Yojana:
- The scheme seeks to reimburse the central government’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) on purchase of raw items such as ghee, edible oil, atta, maida, rava, flour, rice pulses, sugar and jaggery, which go into preparation of food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by religious institutions.
- The main objective of the scheme is to lessen the financial burden of such charitable religious institutions, which provide free of cost without any discrimination to the general public and devotees.
- The charitable religious institutions including temples, gurudwara, mosque, church, dharmik ashram, dargah, monasteries, which fulfill the following criteria are eligible for the grant:
- The institutions that have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
- The institutions that serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month.
- The institutions covered under Section 10( 23BBA) of the Income Tax Act or those registered as Society under Societies Registration Act ( XXI of 1860) or as a Public Trust under any law for the time being in force of statuary religious bodies constituted under any Act or institutions registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act.
10-Reusable Launch Vehicle
- India became the fifth nation to successfully conduct the flight demonstration of a scaled down version of a winged-body reusable launch vehicle, thereby validating the critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management.
- This flight represented the first baby step towards the realisation of a future fully reusable Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) space transportation system.
- expected to reduce the launch cost by approximately 50 – 60% when compared to that of an expendable launch vehicle.
- A reusable launch system(RLS, or reusable launch vehicle, RLV) is a space launch system intended to allow for recovery of all or part of the system for later reuse. To date, several fully reusable sub-orbital systems and partially reusable orbital systems have been flown
11-Making of Green Propellant
- ISRO is developing green propellants for use in future rocket & satellite propulsion systems.
- to minimise environmental impact while improving overall efficiency and economy.
- ISRO has made a beginning by developing an eco-friendly solid propellant based on Glycidyl Azide Polymer (GAP) as fuel and Ammonium Di-Nitramide (ADN) as oxidizer at the laboratory level, which will eliminate the emission of chlorinated exhaust products from rocket motors.
12-Ballistic Missile Interceptor AAD Successfully Flight Tested
- DRDO conducted the successful test of the Ballistic Missile Interceptor Advanced Area Defence from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
- The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms was launched against multiple simulated targets of 1500 km cl Ballistic Missile Interceptor ballistic missile.
- One target among simultaneously incoming multiple targets was selected on real time, the weapon system radars tracked the target and the missile locked on to it and intercepted the target with a high degree of accuracy.
- The complete event including the engagement and interception was tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems, radars and telemetry stations. All the mission objectives were successfully met.
13-SAATHI Initiative Launched
- Ministries of Power and Textiles have joined hands under a new initiative SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries).
- Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.
- The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis.
- To kick start the implementation, cluster wise demonstration projects and workshops will be organized in key clusters such as Erode, Surat, Ichalkaranji, etc.
- The use of these efficient equipment would result in energy savings and cost savings to the unit owner and he would repay in installments to EESL over a 4 to 5 year period.
- This is the aggregation, bulk procurement and financing model that EESL has successfully deployed in several sectors like LED bulbs, Smart Meters and Electric Vehicles.
- The unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipments and cost savings.
- The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement will also lead to reduction in capital cost, benefits of which will be passed on to the Powerloom units so that their repayment amount and period would reduce.
- The Powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country.
Atal Bhujal Yojana
- The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore scheme, for sustainable management of ground water.
- The funding pattern is 50:50 between Government of India and the World Bank.
- The scheme is to be implemented over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23.
- The identified over-exploited and water stressed areas for the implementation of the scheme fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
14-NITI Aayog launches Move Hack, global mobility hackathon to crowdsource solutions for future of mobility in India
Total prizes of more than Rs. 2 crores, top 30 solutions to be mentored in Singapore
- Mobility that ranges from pedestrian and personal transport to public transit and freight movement is extremely critical and impacts rural and urban daily lives.
- The hackathon has two-pronged campaign approach: (a) “Just Code It”: aimed at solutions through innovations in technology / product / software and data analysis, and (b) “Just Solve It”: innovative business ideas or sustainable solutions to transform mobility infrastructure through technology.
- Move Hack is open to individuals from all nationalities, making it a truly global hackathon.
15-Implementation of E-Pashudhan Haat Scheme
- Government has launched e-Pashu Haat portal for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.
- Through the portal farmers can obtain information on location of quality indigenous germplasm in the form live animals, semen doses and embryos.
- This portal is playing crucial role in development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
About E-Pashudhan Haat Portal
- It is launched under the National Mission on Bovine Productivity for connecting breeders and farmers of indigenous breeds.
- This portal helps farmers to be aware about breed wise information on indigenous breeds. Farmers/breeders can
16-GeM to ensure transparency in public procurement
- As an initiative to improve transparency in procurement, Government has set up Government e- Marketplace as a 100% Government owned company registered under the Companies Act, 2013 for providing online platform for procurement of common use goods and services by government organizations.
- Government e- Marketplace (GeM) is an online platform for government users which was launched on August, 2016.
- It leverages technology to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value of their money. It is paperless, cashless and contactless platform giving end to end solution.
- All the State Governments are utilising the services offered by Government e-Marketplace
17-NITI Aayog indentified 117 districts as Aspirational Districts for RUSA Scheme
- NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as ‘Aspirational Districts’.
- These districts have been selected on the basis of composite index which includes published data of deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census, Health &Nutrition, Education and Basic Infrastructure.
- During the second phase of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA), central assistance is provided for opening of new Model Degree Colleges(MDCs) in ‘Aspirational Districts’ identified by NITI Aayog and in unserved & underserved districts in North Eastern and Himalayan States.
What is RUSA?
- Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2013.
- Its aim was to increase enrolment in higher education by 30%.
- It primarily provides strategic funding to eligible State higher educational institutions.
18-Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes for benefit of North Eastern Students
- Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes are being implemented for the students of North Eastern region.
- Ishan Vikas is coordinated by IIT, Guwahati and under the programme, selected school children from North Eastern States are brought in close contact with the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) during the vacation period to motivate them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to facilitate internship opportunities for the engineering college students in various institutes of national importance.
- Ishan Uday Scholarship Scheme is administered by University Grants Commission (UGC). Under the scheme, scholarship is provided to the economically backward students from the North East Region for pursuing general degree courses, technical and professional degree courses. It is envisaged to provide 10000 scholarships annually.
19-Launches Bidder Information Management System and Bhoomi Rashi – PFMS Linkage Portals
- Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari launched Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) and Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage – two IT initiatives of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry that are aimed at expediting pre construction processes relating to bidding and land acquisition respectively.
- The pre-qualification of bidders can be assessed from data already stored in the portal, so that technical evaluation can be carried out much faster.
- It is estimated that BIMS portal will significantly reduce the procurement time for projects through an objective and transparent online evaluation system thereby leading to accelerated project implementation.
- Bhoomi Rashi,the portal developed by MoRTH and NIC, comprises the entire revenue data of the country, right down to 6.4 lakh villages.
- Bhoomi Rashi portal has been instrumental in reducing the time taken for approval and publication of notifications pertaining to land acquisition
- Integration of Public Financial Management System (PFMS)with Bhoomi Rashi is one of the key functionalities to facilitate payment related to compensation for land acquisition to all the beneficiaries directly through the Bhoomi Rashi system.
- PFMSis a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA). to facilitate sound public financial management system for Government of India (GoI) It provides various stakeholders with a real time, reliable and meaningful management information system and an effective decision support system, as part of the Digital India initiative of GoI.
20-TRAI integrates its Mobile App DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform with the objective of reaching out to consumers and safeguarding their interests
- Policy initiatives of TRAI, over the years, have been to protect the interests of the consumers. Recognizing the importance of reaching out to the consumers and to safeguard their interests, TRAI has now integrated its Mobile Apps namely DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform.
- UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is developed by National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
- UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen centric services.
- It provides a unified approach where citizens can install one application to avail multiple government services. From now onwards, TRAI’s Mobile Appsnamely DND 2.0 &MyCall shall also be available on Umang Platform.
Certain key features of these applications are:
(a) TRAI MyCall App
- TRAI MyCall is an intuitive and user friendly application for Crowdsourced Voice Call Quality Monitoring. The Application helps Mobile phone users to rate their experience about voice call quality in real time and help TRAI gather consumer experience data along with Network data.
- A pop up requests the user to rate the call after it ends. Callers simply select their rating in the form of stars and indicate if the calls were made in indoor, outdoor or while travelling.
- Callers can also provide additional details such as noise or audio delay or mark a call-drop.
(b) DND 2.0 App
- DND (Do Not Disturb) Services App enables smart phone users to register their mobile number under DND and report spam messages or calls to avoid Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)/Telemarketing Calls/SMS.
21-Rehabilitation of Bru Migrants
- In a major breakthrough on repatriation of displaced Bru persons from Mizoram since 1997, an Agreement has been signed by Government of India, Government of Mizoram, Government of Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) on 3.7.2018.
- 5407 families comprising of 32,876 persons presently in temporary camps in Tripura will be repatriated to Mizoram before 30thSeptember, 2018.
- Government of India will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Brus in Mizoram, such as Financial Assistance @ Rs. 4 Lakh / per family, Cash Assistance @ Rs. 5000/ per month per family for 2 years, Housing Assistance @ 1,50,000 / per family, Free Ration @ 600 gm /300 gm, adult/minor for 2 years, utensils & blankets @ Rs. 3,500/ per family and security cost, and address their issue of security, education, livelihood, etc. in consultation with Government of Mizoram and Tripura.
- Reang are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura. The correct nomenclature for this ethnic group is actually Brualthough the name Reangwas accidentally incorporated by the Indian government during a census count.[
- The Bru can be found all over the Tripura state in India. However, they may also be found in Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Bangladesh. They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.
21-launch Mobile App Niryat Mitra
- The app developed by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is available both on Android and on IOS platforms.
- It provides wide range of information required to undertake international trade right from the policy provisions for export and import, applicable GST rate, available export incentives, tariff, preferential tariff, market access requirements – SPS and TBT measures.
- The most interesting part is that all the information is available at tariff line.
- The app works internally to map the ITC HS code of other countries with that of India and provides all the required data without the users bothering about the HS code of any country. Presently the app comes with the data of 87 countries.
22-Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve Becomes 11th Biosphere Reserve from India to be Included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
- The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve has become the 11thBiosphere Reserve from India that has been included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).
- The decision to include Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in WNBR was taken at the 30thSession of International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO held at Palembang, Indonesia,
- India has 18 Biosphere Reserves and with the inclusion of Khangchendzonga, the number of internationally designated WNBR has become 11, with 7 Biosphere Reserves being domestic Biosphere Reserves.
- Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level.
- It includes a range of ecolines , varying from sub-tropic to Arctic, as well as natural forests in different biomes, that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats.
23-Swachh Manch web portal
- Swachh Manch, a web-based platform which aims to bring together every stakeholder contributing to the Swachh Bharat Mission under a common platform. Swachh Manch will enable uploads of pictorial evidence of citizens and organizations participating in the initiatives, as well as record the number of hours volunteered, as acknowledgement of citizens’/organisations’ efforts and contributions to the cause of ‘swachhata’.
- The Swachh Manch will also be integrated with the existing Swachhata App to act as a citizens’ grievance redressal platform.
24-Ease of Living Index
- The Ease of Living Index will also be launched along with an Ease of Living Index dashboard.
- Apart from presenting the overall national ranking of 111 cities, the dashboard will present ranking of the cities across pillars, category, geographical zone and population classifications.
- Ease of Living framework comprises four pillars namely Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical which are further broken down into 15 categories and 78 indicators.
- The Ease of Living Index is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to help cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis global and national benchmarks and encourage cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management.
- The Ease of Living assessment standards are closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will provide a strong impetus to India’s effort for systematic tracking progress of SDGs in the urban areas.
25-PM to attend event to mark World Biofuel Day 2018
- Biofuels can help reduce import dependency on crude oil. They can contribute to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and generate employment in rural areas.
- Therefore, biofuels have synergies with various Government initiatives, including enhancing farmers’ incomes, and Swachh Bharat.
- As a result of the efforts of the Union Government, ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14, to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18. The Government also approved the National Policy on Biofuels in June 2018.
- A biofuel is any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from organic matter in a short period of time. This is in contrasts with fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form and with other types of fuel which are not based on hydrocarbons like nuclear fuels.
- The structure of the biofuel itself does not change between generations, but rather the source from which the fuel is derived changes.
- First Generation Biofuels were directly using the food crops like wheat and sugar for making ethanol and oil seeds for bio diesel by conventional method of fermentation. These fuels emitted more greenhouse gases.
- Second Generation Biofuels used non-food crops and feedstock instead of food crops as used in first generation. Wood, grass, seed crops, organic waste are used in fuel preparation.
- Third Generation Biofuels use specially engineered Algae whose biomass is used to convert into biofuels. The greenhouse gas emission here will be low in comparison to others.
- Since first generation completely depends on food directly; high volume of food grains were directed away from food market and used in the energy market. As every country is energy starved and good remuneration for farmers awaited everyone was attracted to production of raw materials for biofuels causing damages to the food security aims.
The third generation biofuels have advantages like:
- Cost: The Algae are cultured to act as a low-cost alternative. It gives high-energy and entirely renewable feedstock.
- Energy: The Algae will have the potential to produce more energy per acre than conventional crops.
- Eco-Friendly: Algae can also be grown using land and water which are unsuitable for food production, therefore reducing the strain on already depleted water sources
- Range: In Algae based biofuels is that the fuel manufactured can be used for a wide range of fuels such as diesel, petrol and jet fuel.
- However Algae, even when grown in waste water, requires large amounts of water,nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. Also it requires large amount of fertilizers increasing GHG emissions and hence will be much costlier.
- The fourth generation biofuel may in future reduce the greenhouse emission. It is a ray of hope for mankind which could be nurtured further by sustainable development thus to secure a better future for upcoming generations.
Bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas are a class of Bio Fuels.
- Bio ethanol: It is produced from fermentation of carbohydrate and cellulosic material of crops and other plants and grasses. It is generally used as an additive to increase octane number of fuel.
- Bio Diesel: It is a methyl or methyl ester of fatty acids produced by trans esterification of oils and fats obtained from plants and animals. It can be directly used as fuel.
- Bio gas: Biogas is methane produced by anaerobic digestion of organic material by anaerobes. It can be produced either from biodegradable waste materials or by the use of energy crops fed into anaerobic digesters to supplement gas yields.
Our Bio fuel production is based mostly on Jatropa. To popularize Bio fuel Government has taken following initiatives:
- Making 10% blending compulsory for transport sector and declaring intended target of 20% blending by 2017 in National Bio Fuel policy.
- Making availability of blended fuel at all major cities.
- Allowing major transport sectors to purchase biofuel directly.
- Jatropha incentives of Government have been identified as a part of achieving energy independence. SBI has signed an MoU to provide loans for Jatropha cultivation. Various platforms for spreading awareness, such as Cinema halls are being utilized to popularize the uses of Jatropha.
- Indian Railways have started using bio diesel mixed with its fuel with great success.
- Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announces the opening of various outlets for High-Speed Diesel mixed with Bio Diesel.
- Karnataka government has started biofuel parks to supply biofuel to transport corporations.
26-Project “SWAYAM” of HRD Ministry provides one integrated platform and portal for online courses
- ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM), which will provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
- This covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.
- The objective is to ensure that the every student in our country has access to the best quality higher education at the affordable cost.
- Academicians from hundreds of institutions throughout the country are involved in developing & delivering MOOCs through SWAYAM in almost all disciplines from senior schooling to Post Graduation wherein it is intended to develop world class content.
27-Global Innovation Index, GII- 2018 launched in India
NITI Aayog to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII
- Government and industry must synergise their efforts to promote R&D and innovation in the country.
- India’s rank on the Global Innovation Index (GII) has improved from 60 in 2017 to 57 in 2018. India has been consistently climbing the GII ranking for the past two years.
- It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organizations and institutions.
- It ranks nations based on 80 indicators.
- India’s Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is one of the knowledge partners which assists GII team in bringing out the annual ranking.
- GII is published annually since 2007 and is considered leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into state of innovation around the world
28-Operation ‘Madad’ by Southern Naval Command
- Operation “Madad” has been launched by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi since 09 Aug 2018 for assisting the state administration and undertaking disaster relief operations due to the unprecedented flooding experienced in many parts of Kerala, owing to incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams.
29-Cage Farming in Karnataka
- The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries approved by the Government in December 2015 inter-aliaprovides financial assistance for
- open sea cage culture and
- (ii) installation of cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies.
- The Government of Karnataka reported the installation of 8 marine cages with an expenditure of Rs. 29.9 lakh for Seabass and Cobia culture
About Cage Farming
- Cage aquaculture involves the growing of fishes in existing water resources while being enclosed in a net cage which allows free flow of water.
- It is an aquaculture production system made of a floating frame, net materials and mooring system (with rope, buoy, anchor etc.) with a round or square shape floating net to hold and culture large number of fishes and can be installed in reservoir, river, lake or sea.
- A catwalk and handrail is built around a battery of floating cages.
There are 4 types of fish-rearing cages namely:
- i) Fixed cages,
- ii) Floating cages,
iii) Submerged cages and
- iv) Submersible cages.
- Economically speaking, cage culture is a low impact farming practice with high returns and least carbon emission activity.
- Farming of fish in an existing water body removes one of the biggest constraints of fish farming on land, ie., the need for a constant flow of clean, oxygenated water.
- Cage farms are positioned in a such way to utilize natural currents, which provide the fish with oxygen and other appropriate natural conditions.
- In view of the high production attainable in cage culture system, it can play a significant role in increasing the overall fish production in India.
30-PARIVESH” – an environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances launched
- PARIVESH(Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) on the occasion of World Biofuel
- PARIVESH is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.
- the launch of PARIVESH, the vision of the Prime Minister for E-Governance and enhancing Ease of Doing Responsible Business is being translated into action by MoEF&CC.
- PARIVESH, MoEFCC has become more of a facilitator, than a regulator.
- the main highlights of PARIVESH include – single registration and single sign-in for all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ), unique-ID for all types of clearances required for a particular project and a single Window interface for the proponent to submit applications for getting all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forests, Wildlife and CRZ clearances).
- “PARIVESH enables project proponents, citizens to view, track and interact with scrutiny officers, generates online clearance letters, online mailers and alerts to state functionaries in case of delays beyond stipulated time for processing of applications
31-Handfan “Pankha” made by tribals for invitees attending the Independence Day flag hosting ceremony at the Red Fort tomorrow
- In a unique initiative, Trifed has supplied the handfans “Pankha” to Ministry of Defence for those invitees who will attend the Independence Day flag hosting ceremony at Red Fort in Delhi. The Ministry of Defence placed an order for supply of 1000 handfans (Pankha) made by tribals and distribute the same to the invitees.
- These fans have been made by Mahali tribe of Malda, West Bengal.
- The Mahli are a scheduled tribe in India, in the states of Jharkhandand West Bengal.
- They mostly reside in Dumka districtand certain other regions of Jharkhand, and in the adjoining areas of West Bengal.
- Their population is dwindling. Mahli people traditionally earned their livelihood by selling articles made of bamboo. Some typical articles made by them are: Machi(a small bench), umbrellas, soop (used in kitchen, to remove dust from cereals), sop and chatai (for lying down and sleeping), raincap (special cap covering head, and upper back for protection from rains during work).
- Mahli people typically have a tattooof their name on their hand.
32-Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to MT Kamet (7756m)
- In pursuit of achieving greater heights in the field of mountaineering, Indian Army is planning to attempt Mt Makalu (8485M), the fifth highest mountain peak in the world in 2019.
- As a precursor to it, an expedition to Mount Kamet (7756M), Joshimath District Chamoli, Uttarakhand is being conducted under the aegis of Army Adventure Wing in August-September 2018.
- Mt Kamet is the 3rdhighest peak of India after Kanchanjanga & Nandadevi and is the only highest peak available to climb within the country.
33-First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ in Manipur
- The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.
- It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.
- Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur.
- The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur. Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation
- Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought. Under the project a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake has been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore.
34-India’s only lab for conservation of endangered species
- The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES), a dedicated facility of CSIR’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad uses modern biotechnologies for conservation of endangered wildlife.
- the efforts of scientists at CCMB in producing off-springs of blue rock pigeon, spotted deer and blackbuck, which were on the verge of extinction, through artificial insemination of cryopreserved sperm. CCMB scientists in collaboration with Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad have now rescued Indian Mouse Deer from extinction through successful conservation breeding programme.
- CCMB-LaCONES is the only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wildlife and successfully reproducing endangered blackbuck, spotted deer and Nicobar pigeons.