PIB Analysis

PIB Important News Analysis AUGUST Month 2018 Prelims Special 

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PIB

AUGUST 2018 

(1st to 31st August  Analysis)

Prelims Special 

ECONOMY

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

What is ASRB?

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

Why Re-structuring Needed?

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

What will be the Impact?

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

 

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

Which Ministry Launched?

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

How it will be helpful?

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

About Mission Solar Charkha

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

3-Energy conservation guidelines for energy intensive industries

Which Ministry Is Implementing?

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

Scheme running for increasing energy efficiency

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

About Energy Efficiency Guidelines

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

 

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

What Is Unconventional hydrocarbons?

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

How this policy going to help?

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

Background:

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

 

5-Airports to have GI Product Stalls:

How GI Product Stalls will help?

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

What is Geographical Indication?

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

 

6-GeM to ensure transparency in public procurement

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

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

 

7-Cage Farming in Karnataka

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

What is Cage Farming?

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

There are 4 types of fish-rearing cages namely:

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

 

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

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

Background:

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

 

ENVIRONMENT AND GEOGRAPHY

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

What is in News?

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

About Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve

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

 

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

What are Biofuels?

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

Different Generation Fuel :–

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

Third generation biofuels have advantages like:

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

Bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas are a class of Bio Fuels

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

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

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

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

 

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

About PARIVESH

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

How its going to help?

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

 

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

What they do?

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

Where is the laboratory?

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

How this lab helped?

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

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

What was in news?

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

What is National Crisis Management (NCMC) ?

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

What function NCMC performs?

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

 

6-Cyclone Warning Centre

What was in news?

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

Where are the warning centres?

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

How it helps?

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

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

7-TRIBES India

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

Tribal Artisan Mela (TAM):

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

TRIFED:

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

Background:

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

 

8-World Elephant Day

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

Project Elephant

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

 

10-Lakhwar Multipurpose Project

Purpose:

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

 

11-India’s National Redd+ Strategy

In brief

REDD refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation;

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

 

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

Aim:

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

Background:

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

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1-Electric Propulsion System

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

About GSAT-9

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

 

2-Reusable Launch Vehicle

What was in news?

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

How its going to help?

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

What is reusable launch system?

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

 

3-Making of Green Propellant

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

 

4-Scientists decode complex Wheat Genome

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

Advantage:

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

 

5-Navigation Satellites

What was in news?

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

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

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

About IRNSS:

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

Features:

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

Applications of IRNSS:

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

6-NavIC

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

 

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

What is O-SMART?

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

How its going to help?

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

 

PORTALS Initiative

 

1-Mobile App DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform

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

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

 

Certain key features of these applications are:

(a) TRAI MyCall App

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

(b) DND 2.0 App

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

2-Launch Mobile App Niryat Mitra

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

What is in this app?

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

3-Swachh Manch web portal

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

 

4-Project “SWAYAM

What is SWAYAM?

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

How SWAYAM will help?

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

 

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

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

eFiling:

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

ePay:

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

NSTEP:

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

 

INDICES

1- Nationwide ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ released

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

About Index:

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

 

2- Ease of Living Index to Empower Citizens

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

Features that influence the assessment outcomes and Rankings:

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

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


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

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

About Index:

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

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

GOVERNMENT SCHEME, PROGRAMS, PROJECTS, Etc.

1- Government launches the scheme ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’

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

Context:

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

About the Yojana:

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

 

2- SAATHI Initiative Launched

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

 

3- Atal Bhujal Yojana

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

 

4- Implementation of E-Pashudhan Haat Scheme

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

About E-Pashudhan Haat Portal

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

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

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

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

What is RUSA?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

How BIMS will help?

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

What is PMFS?

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

 

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

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

 

9- MoveHack, NITI Aayog’s global mobility hackathon

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

Aim of MoveHack

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

 

10- Rashtriya Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month)

Which Ministry Organised it?

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

What are the objectives?

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

Background:

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

 

11- Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Which ministry launched it?

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

What is purpose of Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan?

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

What are the changes in Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0?

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

12- India’s Energy Efficiency Program

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

The Key Components of the Operation include:

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

About Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)

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

 

DEFENCE

1-Ballistic Missile Interceptor AAD Successfully Flight Tested

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

 

2-Operation ‘Madad’ by Southern Naval Command

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

 

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

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

 

4-Exercise Pitch Black

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

Objective

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

 

5-Anti-Tank Guided Missile ‘HELINA’

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

What is HELINA?

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

 

What is NAG?

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

 

6-Exercise Maitree 2018

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

Significance

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

 

7-INS Khanjar visits Yangon, Myanmar

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

 

IN NEWS (PERSON, PLACE, ETC)

1-Rehabilitation of Bru Migrants

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

2-Handfan “Pankha” made by tribals

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

3-Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away

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

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

 

4-Krishna Kutir

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

About:

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

5- 6th International Buddhist Conclave

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

Aim:

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

Background:

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

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