PIB – November 20 , 2019


GS-2nd Paper

TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

National AYUSH Mission (NAM)

Context

Cultivation of Medicinal Plants along the Banks of River Ganga

About

  • The Ministry of AYUSH, for promoting cultivation of medicinal plants, is implementing “Medicinal Plants” under “National AYUSH Mission” (NAM) since 2015-16 throughout the country.
  • Ministry of AYUSH under its “Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants” has also supported a project titled “Dissemination of Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) agrotechnology in flood-prone contaminated area of Ganga river of Uttar Pradesh” to Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow.
  • Under the project Vetiver plantation has been done in catchment area of river Ganga in different location of Kanpur and Varanasi districts.

About National Ayush Mission (NAM)

  • Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan for im­plementing through States/UTs.
  • The basic objective of NAM is to promote-
  • AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services,
  • strengthening of educational systems,
  • facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU &H) drugs
  • Sustainable availability of ASU & H raw-materials.

Vision

  • To provide cost effective and equitable AYUSH health care throughout the country by improving access to the services.
  • To revitalize and strengthen the AYUSH systems making them as prominent medical streams in addressing the health care of the society.
  • To improve educational institutions capable of imparting quality AYUSH education
  • To promote the adoption of Quality standards of AYUSH drugs and making available the sustained supply of AYUSH raw-materials.

Objectives

  • To provide cost effective AYUSH Services, with a universal access through upgrading AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries, co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs).
  • To strengthen institutional capacity at the state level through upgrading AYUSH educational institutions, State Govt. ASU&H Pharmacies, Drug Testing Laboratories and ASU & H enforcement mechanism.
  • Support cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so as to provide sustained supply of quality raw-materials and support certification mechanism for quality standards, Good Agricultural/Collection/Storage Practices.
  • Support setting up of clusters through convergence of cultivation, warehousing, value addition and marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs.

Expected Outcomes from National Ayush Mission

  • Improvement in AYUSH education through enhanced number of AYUSH Educational Institutions upgraded.
  • Better access to AYUSH services through increased number of AYUSH Hospital and Dispensaries coverage, availability of drugs and manpower.
  • Sustained availability of quality raw-materials for AYUSH Systems of Medicine.
  • Improved availability of quality ASU &H drugs through increase in the number of quality Pharmacies and Drug Laboratories and enforcement mechanism of ASU&H drugs.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic- Issues related to food security

National Food Security Mission (NFSM)

Context

Six more states selected for promoting pulses and oilseeds cultivation

About

  • The Government is implementing the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) – Oilseeds and Oil Palm to increase production of oilseeds and domestic availability of edible oils.
  • The NFSM–(OS&OP) is under implementation in 29 States and has three subcomponents namely, Oilseeds, Oil palm and Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs).
  • The main objective- is to increase oilseeds production & productivity and area expansion under oil palm & TBOs cultivation.
  • More than 12 per cent of total cropped area in the country is used for cultivation of oilseeds.

The states under the mission

  • To reduce import dependency Government is implementing NFSM (OS&OP).
  • Government of India is promoting pulses and oilseeds cultivation in rice fallow areas of six eastern states (Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal) since 2016-17.
  • From 2019-20, six more states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) have been included to bring additional area and production of pulses and oilseeds.

About NFSM

  • National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is a Central Scheme of GOI launched in 2007 for 5 years.
  • It was launched to increase production and productivity of wheat, rice and pulses on a sustainable basis so as to ensure food security of the country.
  • The aim is – to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic- Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

Zero Budget Natural Farming

Context

Pilot study on Zero Budget Natural Farming initiated at 4 locations

About

  • Government has been promoting organic farming under the dedicated scheme of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
  • It encourages all kinds of chemical free farming systems including Zero budget Natural Farming.
  • ICAR-Indian Institute of Farming Systems Research has initiated a study on Evaluation of Zero Budget Natural Farming practices in Basmati/ coarse rice-wheat system from Rabi Season 2017 at 4 locations namely Modipuram, Pantnagar, Ludhiyana, Kurukshetra .

Zero Budget Natural Farming in India

  • Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a set of farming methods.
  • It is a method of chemical-free agriculture drawing from traditional Indian practices.
  • It is a unique model that relies on Agro-ecology.
  • It is also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.
  • It has attained wide success in southern India, especially the southern Indian state of Karnataka where it first evolved.
  • It was originally promoted by agriculturist Subhash Palekar, who developed it in the mid-1990s as an alternative to the Green Revolution’s methods that are driven by chemical fertilizers and pesticides and intensive irrigation.
  • It aimsto bring down the cost of production to nearly zero and return to a pre-green revolution style of farming.

Four key Pillars of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

The “four Pillars” of ZBNF are ‘Jiwamrita’, ‘Bijamrita’, ‘Mulching’ and ‘Waaphasa’.

Jiwamrita

  • It is a fermented mixture of cow dung and urine (of desi breeds), jaggery, pulses flour, water and soil from the farm bund.
  • This isn’t a fertiliser, but just a source of some 500 crore micro-organisms that can convert all the necessary “non-available” nutrients into “available” form.

Bijamrita

  • It is a mix of desi cow dung and urine, water, bund soil and lime that is used as a seed treatment solution prior to sowing.

Mulching

  • Covering the plants with a layer of dried straw or fallen leaves, is meant to conserve soil moisture and keep the temperature around the roots at 25-32 degrees Celsius, which allows the microorganisms to do their job.

Waaphasa

  • Providing water to maintain the required moisture-air balance, also achieves the same objective.

Benefits of ZBNF

  • The ZBNF method promotes soil aeration, minimal watering, intercropping, bunds and topsoil mulching and discourages intensive irrigation and deep ploughing.
  • In ZBNF there is the need to spend money or take loans for external inputs, the cost of production could be reduced and farming made into a “zero budget” exercise.
  • This would break the debt cycle for many small farmers and help to envisage the doubling of farmer’s income by 2022.
  • At a time when chemical-intensive farming is resulting in soil and environmental degradation, a zero-cost environmentally-friendly farming method is definitely a timely initiative.
  • Profits in most areas under ZBNF were from higher yield and lower inputs.
  • Model ZBNF farms were able to withstand drought and flooding.
  • Planting multiple crops and border crops on same field provides varied income and nutrient sources.
  • It suits all crops in all agro-climatic zones.

Needs to be done

  • Sikkim (India’s first organic state), has seen some decline in yields following conversion to organic farming.
  • While ZBNF has definitely helped preserve soil fertility, its role in boosting productivity and farmers’ income isn’t conclusive yet.
  • ZBNF advocates the need of an Indian breed cow, whose numbers are declining at a fast pace.
  • Low expenditure by the government is matter of concern.
  • Whereas the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, which was meant to promote organic farming and soil health has been allocated Rs 325 crore only.
  • If ZBNF is practiced in isolation, the crop grown would be vulnerable to attacks by insects and pests which may move there from fields where chemical pesticides are being sprayed.
  • The government should step in and reduce dependence on middle men.

For prelims

IMD World Talent Ranking- 2019

Context

The 2019 World Talent Ranking has been released.

Highlights

  • IMD World Talent Ranking is released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
  • IMD is a business education school based in Switzerland.
  • The ranking is based on the performance in three main categories — investment and development, appeal and readiness.
  • Switzerland in the first and Denmark in the second position firmly lead the ranking for the seventh year in a row.
  • It is followed by Sweden, Austria and Luxembourg.
  • India has slipped 6 places to 59 rank.
  • This is due to low quality of life and expenditure on education.
  • India is also lagging behind fellow BRICs countries – China ranked 42nd on the list, Russia (47th) and South Africa (50th).

PIB – November 19 , 2019


GS-2nd Paper

TopicImportant International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)

Context

The Plenary meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is being hosted by India, in New Delhi.

What is the Kimberley Process?

  • It is an international certification scheme which came into force in 2003 to regulate trade in rough diamonds.
  • The Kimberley Process (KP) unites administrations, civil societies, and industry in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds – ‘rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments’ – around the world.
  • It aims to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds, while helping to protect legitimate trade in rough diamonds.

Kimberley and India

  • India is founding member of KPCS.
  • India is currently the Chair of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) since 1st January 2018.
  • It was handed Chairmanship by the European Union during KPCS Plenary 2018, which was held in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The chair oversees the implementation of The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and operations of the working groups, committees and administration that activate The KP.

Key Features of KPCS

  • The Kimberley Process is also described in the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.
  • The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) outlines the rules that govern the trade in rough diamonds. T
  • KPCS has developed a set of minimum requirements that each participant must meet.
  • The KP is not an international organization. It has no permanent offices or permanent staff.
  • It relies on the contributions – under the principle of ‘burden-sharing’ – of participants, supported by industry and civil society observers.
  • The Kimberley Process (KP) is a binding agreement that imposes extensive requirements through the national legislations of its participants.

Conflict diamonds

  • “Conflict Diamonds” means rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.
  • It is also known as ‘blood’ diamonds.
  • The KP defines conflict diamonds as ‘rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments’ – around the world.

How does KPCS work?

  • The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’.
  • It prevents conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade.
  • Participating states must put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data.
  • Participants can only legally trade with other participants who have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme.
  • The international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.

GS-2nd Paper

Topic-  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

Context

As per the information received from National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), 1,821 cases filed by homebuyers against builders under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

What is Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code?

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is the bankruptcy law of India which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy.
  • This was enacted for reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons.

Aim of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016, provides for a time-bound process to resolve insolvency.
  • When a default in repayment occurs, creditors gain control over the debtor’s assets and must make decisions to resolve insolvency within a 180-day period.
  • To ensure an uninterrupted resolution process, the Code also provides immunity to debtors from resolution claims of creditors during this period.
  • The Code also consolidates provisions of the current legislative framework to form a common forum for debtors and creditors of all classes to resolve insolvency.
  • It Consolidate and amend all existing insolvency laws in India.
  • It aims to promote entrepreneurship.
  • To get the necessary relief to the creditors and consequently increase the credit supply in the economy.
  • To set up an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

Agencies involved in insolvency resolution under the Code

  • National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) – The adjudicating authority (AA), has jurisdiction over companies, other limited liability entities.
  • Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT)- has jurisdiction over individuals and partnership firms other than Limited Liability Partnerships.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) – apex body for promoting transparency & governance in the administration of the IBC; will be involved in setting up the infrastructure and accrediting IPs (Insolvency Professionals (IPs) & IUs (Information Utilities).
  • The Insolvency Professionals– These professionals will administer the resolution process, manage the assets of the debtor, and provide information for creditors to assist them in decision making.
  • Insolvency Professional Agencies– insolvency professionals will be registered with insolvency professional agencies. The agencies conduct examinations to certify insolvency professionals and enforce a code of conduct for their performance.
  • Information Utilities– Creditors will report financial information of the debt owed to them by the debtor. Such information will include records of debt, liabilities and defaults.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill 2019

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019 amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • The Code provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.
  • Under the Code, a financial creditor may file an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for initiating the insolvency resolution process.
  • The NCLT must find the existence of default within 14 days.
  • Thereafter, a Committee of Creditors (CoC) consisting of financial creditors will be constituted for taking decisions regarding insolvency resolution.
  • The CoC may either decide to restructure the debtor’s debt by preparing a resolution plan or liquidate the debtor’s assets.
  • The CoC must approve a resolution plan, and the resolution process must be completed within 180 days. This may be extended by a period of up to 90 days if the extension is approved by NCLT.
  • If the resolution plan is rejected by the CoC, the debtor will go into liquidation.

The Bill addresses three issues.

  • First- it strengthens provisions related to time-limits.
  • Second- it specifies the minimum payouts to operational creditors in any resolution plan.
  • Third– it specifies the manner in which the representative of a group of financial creditors (such as home-buyers) should vote.

GS-2nd Paper

Topic-  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Company Law Committee

Context

Company Law Committee-2019 submits its report to Finance Minister

About

  • The Company Law Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in September, 2019.
  • It was aimed to further decriminalise the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 based on their gravity.
  • It was to take other concomitant measures to provide further Ease of Living for corporates in the country.
  • Shri Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, chaired the Committee.

About Company Law Committee

  • Government of India has constituted Company Law Committee in September 2019.
  • It was aimed for examining and making recommendations on various provisions and issues pertaining to implementation of the Companies Act, 2013 and the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008.

The terms of reference

  • To analyze whether any of the offences could be re-categorized as ‘civil wrongs’ along with measures to optimize the compliance requirements under the Companies Act, 2013 and concomitant measures to provide further Ease of Doing Business;
  • Examine the feasibility of introducing settlement mechanism, deferred prosecution agreement, etc., within the fold of the Companies Act, 2013;
  • Study the existing framework under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 and suggest measures to plug the gaps;
  • Propose measures to further de-clog and improve the functioning of the NCLT; and
  • Suggest measures for removing any bottlenecks in the overall functioning of the statutory bodies like SFIO, IEPFA, NFRA, etc. under the Act.

The main recommendations of the Committee

  • re-categorising 23 offences out of the 66 remaining compoundable offences under the Act, to be dealt with in the in-house adjudication framework wherein these defaults would be subject to a penalty levied by an adjudicating officer.
  • In addition, the quantum of penalties recommended is lower than the quantum of fines presently provided in the Act.
  • Omitting, altogether, 7 compoundable offences; limiting punishment for 11 compoundable offences to only fine by removing provision for imprisonment and recommending that 5 offences be dealt under alternative frameworks;
  • Reducing the quantum of penalties in respect of 6 provisions, which were shifted to the in-house adjudication framework through the recently passed Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019;
  • Retention of status-quo in case of the non-compoundable offences.
  • Power to exclude certain class of companies from the definition of ‘listed company’, mainly for listing of debt securities, in consultation with SEBI;
  • Clarifying the trial court’s jurisdiction on the basis of place of commission of offence under Section 452, for wrongful withholding of property of a company by its officers/employees;
  • Extending exemptions from filing of certain resolutions to certain classes of non-banking financial companies under Section 117 in consultation with RBI;
  • Providing power to enhance the thresholds which trigger applicability of Corporate Social Responsibility provisions;
  • Non-levy of penalties for delay in filing the annual returns and financial statements in certain cases.

For Prelims

The Roar of the Sea

Context

Joint Exercise between the Qatari Emiri Navy and the Indian Navy Forces (the Roar of the Sea)

Highlights

  • The Roar of the Sea is Joint Exercise between the Qatari Emiri Navy and the Indian Navy Forces.
  • The inaugural edition of the Bilateral Maritime Exercise Za’ir-Al-Bahr (Roar of the Sea) being conducted in Doha, Qatar.
  • The Exercise will include a three-day Harbour Phase and Two days Sea Phase.
  • The Sea Phase will include a Tactical Maritime Exercise involving the domains of Surface Action, Air Defence, Maritime Surveillance and Interdiction Operation and anti-terrorism.
  • India and Qatar have traditionally enjoyed warm and friendly relation, sharing common developmental and cultural values.
  • The inaugural edition of the Bilateral Maritime Exercise between the two navies would further strengthen the robust defence co-operation between the two countries, Especially in the fight against terrorism, maritime piracy and maritime security.

PIB – November 18 , 2019


Gs-2 Paper

TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Water Quality Report

Context

Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution releases Water Quality Report for State Capitals & Delhi as analysed by BIS.

About

  • Water Quality Report for State Capitals & Delhi was released by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • The report is in line with Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide tap water to all households by 2024.
  • Department of Consumer Affairs decided to undertake a study through the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) on the quality of piped drinking water being supplied in the country.
  • The study was aimed to ensure that clean and safe drinking water is provided to all.
  • It also ranks the States, Smart Cities and even Districts based on the quality of tap water.

Criteria

  • The study was conducted in two phases.
  • In the first phase, the samples of drinking water were drawn from various locations across Delhi.
  • In the second phase samples were drawn from 20 State capitals and sent for testing as per Indian Standard set by the BIS.
  • Tests were conducted on various parameters such as Organoleptic and Physical Tests, Chemical test, Toxic substances and Bacteriological tests in the first stage.
  • A vast majority of the samples have failed to comply with the requirements of IS 10500:2012 in one or more parameters.

Key Findings or the report

  • In Delhi, all the 11samples drawn from various places did not comply with the requirements of the Indian Standard& failed on several parameters.
  • All the 10 samples drawn from Mumbai were found to comply with the requirements.
  • The best performing cities where almost all the samples were up to the standard were Ranchi, Shimla, Bhubaneshwar, Amravati and Raipur.
  • None of the samples drawn from 13 of the State Capitals i.e. Chandigarh,Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, Bhopal, Guwahati, Bengaluru, Gandhinagar, Lucknow, Jammu, Jaipur, Dehradun, Chennai, Kolkata complied with the requirements of the Indian Standard.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

  • BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 2016.
  • BIS is set up for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • BIS has its Headquarters at New Delhi.
  • Its 05 Regional Offices (ROs) are at Kolkata (Eastern), Chennai (Southern), Mumbai (Western), Chandigarh (Northern) and Delhi (Central).
  • BIS has been providing traceability and tangibility benefits to the national economy in a number of ways –
  1. Providing safe reliable quality goods;
  2. Minimizing health hazards to consumers;
  3. Promoting exports and imports substitute;
  4. Control over proliferation of varieties etc.

Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016

  • The BIS Act, 2016 establishes the BIS as the National Standards Body of India for the purpose of standardization, marking and certification of articles and processes.
  • It has broaden BIS’s ambit and allows central government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles, processes, etc to carry the standard mark.
  • BIS act provides enabling provisions for making hallmarking of precious metal articles mandatory.
  • The new Act also allows multiple types of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against standard which will provide simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards.
  • The Act enables Centre to appoint any authority, agency, in addition to BIS, to verify conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.
  • There is a provision for repair or recall, of the products (bearing Standard Mark) that do not conform to the relevant Indian Standard.
  • New areas identified in standardization are:
  1. Alternate fuels
  2. E-mobility
  3. Medical Devices
  4. Smart Cities
  5. Digital Technologies (e.g. Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain etc.)
  6. New and Renewable energy.

Gs-3 Paper

Topic Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Winter-Grade Diesel

Context

Union Home Minister launched the the first Winter-Grade Diesel outlet for Ladakh region.

About

  • The first Winter-Grade Diesel outlet was launched for Ladakh region.
  • It will help to address the problem faced by people due to loss of fluidity in Diesel fuel during extreme winter conditions.
  • Motorists in high-altitude sectors like Ladakh, Kargil, Kaza and Keylong face the problem of freezing of diesel in their vehicles when winter temperatures drop to as low as -30o Celsius.
  • The winter grade diesel is produced by Panipat Refinery of State-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC).

What is Winter-Grade Diesel?

  • Winter diesel fuel, also known as winter diesel, refers to diesel fuel enhanced to prevent it from gelling in cold weather conditions.
  • In general it is achieved by treatment with additives that change the low temperature characteristics of the fuel.
  • Winter-Grade Diesel remains unfrozen at minus 33 degree Celsius.

Significance

  • The fuel would help provide year-round access to snow-capped border regions, and is part of India’s efforts to speed up strategic road connectivity.
  • This new fuel will help Indian security forces to stock up on crucial supplies and ammunition that gets cut off due to bad weather in winters.

GS-2 Paper

Topic- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme (PMILP)- ‘DHRUV’

Context

Union HRD Minister launched the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- ‘DHRUV’ from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Headquarters at Bengaluru,

About PMILP

  • Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme is being started to identify and encourage talented children to enrich their skills and knowledge.

Objective

  • The objective of the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme (PMILP) would be to allow talented students to realize their full potential and contribute to society.
  • In centres of excellence across the country, gifted children will be mentored and nurtured by renowned experts in different areas, so that they can reach their full potential.
  • It is expected that many of the students selected will reach the highest levels in their chosen fields and bring laurels to their community, State and Nation.

Key features of PMILP

  • The programme will be called DHRUV (after the Pole Star) and every student to be called ‘DHRUV TARA’.
  • The students will thus both shine through their achievements and light a path for others to follow.
  • It will cover two areas e. Science and Performing Arts.
  • There will be 60 students in all, 30 from each area.
  • The 60 students come from across the country.
  • The students will be broadly from classes 9 to 12, from all schools including government and private.
  • This is only the first phase of the programme which will be expanded gradually to other fields like creative writing etc.

For Prelims

Sri Lanka President

Highlights

  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been elected as the president of Sri Lanka.
  • He will be sworn in as Sri Lanka’s seventh executive President.
  • He defeated Mr. Sajith Premadasa.
  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka’s former wartime defence chief.

[ PFG – Update ] Entrance Test


Frequently asked questions regarding PFG entrance test:-

Student 1– How many questions will come in the entrance test?

Bot: – 100 questions on the pattern of UPSC- Prelims, Static and Current Affairs both.

Student 2 – What’s the test timing?

Bot: – {Offline 11 am to 6 pm, Online:- 11 am to 8 pm}.

Student 3– When will admit card be released?

Bot: – There is no such system.

For offline: – You may directly visit center with an ID card and payment slip.

Registration for the Entrance Test ( Fee – 200)- CLICK HERE

For online:-

Step 1:- Visit https://chromeias.com/

Step 2:- click LOGIN then select PRELIMS or link – http://chromeias.testseriespanel.com/login

Step 3:- Create new account.

Step 4:- Fill in your details and you will receive an OTP on your registered number.

Step 5:- Your unique portal will be activated.

Step 6:- You can attempt the test at your respective portal from 11am to 8 pm (only once).

Student 4:- When will result be out?

Bot: – 20th November at 6 pm (72 hours after submission of the test).

Student 5:- What will be the cutoff?

Bot: – Cutoff for the scholarship will depends upon how you guys perform, Top 50 students are getting the Monthly scholarship so mark of 51th student will be the cutoff.

Any further Query – 9990356664


[ PFG 2020 ] MOCK DRILL Series


Much awaited PFG-2020 is going to start from 2nd December. Just to review your preparedness in the syllabus of first month i.e. Polity and Modern History, we have brought up a new Mock Drill Series which will contain the UPSC Previous year questions of last 25 years.

Objectives:-

  • To familiarize aspirants with the true nature of UPSC prelims.
  • To warn aspirants to not get diverted from the UPSC syllabus.
  • To enable aspirants to practice quality questions.

Mock Drill Series 1:-

 How comfortable you are in the 25% of the UPSC Prelims syllabus? Review your readiness in the module of Polity and Modern History by attempting the UPSC PREVIOUS YEAR Questions from these two modules.

Link for attempting Polity/Modern History module:- CLICK HERE

Disclaimer:-

  • Ultra-easy questions have been avoided: – Uncritical satisfaction with oneself is unworthy and unscrupulous.
  • Bit-tougher questions have been included: – Aim for the star, if you fail, you’ll land on the moon Aim for brighter star.
  • Ultra-tough questions have been included: – You have to learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

We via our flagship PFG program want to assure aspirants that these previous year questions forms the base of our question making procedure. Best wishes!

Link for PFG program Entrance Test  Registration :- CLICK HERE


PIB – November 16 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

International Conference on Agricultural Statistics

Context

The 8th International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS-VIII) will be organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in New Delhi.

About

  • International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS) is a series of conferences.
  • It is sponsored by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Bank (WB), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other international development agencies.
  • ICAS was started in 1998 in response to overarching need for better agricultural data worldwide.
  • It is held every three years to address issues of agricultural statistics (information/data) development.
  • United States, Italy, Mexico, China, Uganda and Brazil have been the host countries for ICAS in the past
  • The conference is being organized jointly by ICAR-Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (ICAR-IASRI), Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics (ISAS) and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) under the auspices of International Statistical Institute (ISI), Committee on Agricultural Statistics (ISI-CAS).
  • The other collaborators are the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, ISI-CAS, FAO, the USDA, ADB, World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Eurostat, AfDB and various other organizations.

Theme

The theme of this year’s ICAS is ‘Statistics for Transformation of Agriculture to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous organization.
  • It works under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
  • It was formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research.
  • It was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in pursuance of the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
  • It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • The ICAR has its headquarters at New Delhi.
  • The Council is the apex body for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.

Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics (ISAS)

  • ISAS is scientific society.
  • Its aims are to promote the study of and research in Statistical Theory in the widest sense of the term and its applications to Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Agricultural Economics and allied problems.

ICAR-Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI)

  • ICAR-Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) is a pioneer Institute of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  • It undertakes research, teaching and training in Agricultural Statistics, Computer Application and Bioinformatics.
  • ICAR-IASRI has been mainly responsible for conducting research in Agricultural Statistics and Informatics to bridge the gaps in the existing knowledge.
  • It has also been providing education/ training in Agricultural Statistics and Informatics to develop trained manpower in the country.

GS-3rd Paper

TopicConservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Indian Forest Act

Context

Government clears misgivings of amendment in the Indian Forest Act, 1927

About

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) finalised the first draft of the comprehensive amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA).

The Mizoram government has rejected the Centre’s proposed amendment to Indian Forests Act, 1927, on the ground that it violates the special provisions guaranteed to the state under Article 371G of the Constitution.

Article 371(G) of the Constitution states that the Parliament cannot decide on the matters of the religious and social practices of the Mizos, civil and criminal law of the land, land ownership transfer, and customary law procedure without the consent of the Assembly.

Key highlights of the amendment Draft

  • This legislation is to facilitate increase of forest cover from about 24% now to 33% (a stated directive of government policy).
  • The amendment defines community asa group of persons specified on the basis of government records living in a specific locality and in joint possession and enjoyment of common property resources, without regard to race, religion, caste, language and culture”.
  • Forest is defined to include “any government or private or institutional land recorded or notified as forest/forest land in any government record and the lands managed by government/community as forest and mangroves, and also any land which the central or state government may by notification declare to be forest for the purpose of this Act
  • “Village forests”, according to the proposed Act, may be forestland or wasteland.
  • It will be the property of the government and would be jointly managed by the community through the Joint Forest Management Committee or Gram Sabha.
  • The preamble of IFA, 1927, said the Act was focused on laws related to transport of forest produce and the tax on it.
  • While the amendment has increased the focus to “conservation, enrichment and sustainable management of forest resources and matters connected therewith to safeguard ecological stability to ensure provision of ecosystem services in perpetuity and to address the concerns related to climate change and international commitments”.
  • The Amendment has increased role of states.
  • The amendments say if the state government, after consultation with the central government, feels that the rights under FRA will hamper conservation efforts, then the state “may commute such rights by paying such persons a sum of money in lieu thereof, or grant of land, or in such other manner as it thinks fit, to maintain the social organisation of the forest dwelling communities or alternatively set out some other forest tract of sufficient extent, and in a locality reasonably convenient, for the purpose of such forest dwellers”
  • The legislation has proposed a forest development cess of up to 10% of the assessed value of mining products removed from forests, and water used for irrigation or in industries.
  • The amendment also introduces a new category of forests — production forest.
  • These will be forests with specific objectives for production of timber, pulp, pulpwood, firewood, non-timber forest produce, medicinal plants or any forest species to increase production in the country for a specified period.

Concerns

  • The draft says that the state governments could take away the rights of the forest dwellers if the government feels it is not in line with “conservation of the proposed reserved forest” by payment to the people impacted or by the grant of land.
  • The Bill reinforces the idea of bureaucratic control of forests, providing immunity for actions such as use of firearms by personnel to prevent an offence.
  • It proposed to penalise entire communities through denial of access to forests for offences by individuals.
  • Such provisions of the draft invariably affect poor inhabitants, and run counter to the empowering and egalitarian goals that produced the Forest Rights Act.
  • Impact assessment reports have mostly been reduced to a farce, and the public hearings process has been
  • The exclusion of ‘village forestry’ from the preview of Forest Right Act (forest official supersedes Gram Sabha) is legally contradictory and would add confusion on the ground.

Indian Forest Act, 1927

  • The act sought to consolidate and reserve the areas having forest cover, or significant wildlife.
  • It also aimed to regulate movement and transit of forest produce, and duty leviable on timber and other forest produce.
  • It also defined the procedure to be followed for declaring an area as Reserved Forest, Protected Forest or a Village Forest.
  • The act has detailed definition of what a forest offence is, what are the acts prohibited inside a Reserved Forest, and penalties leviable on violation of the provisions of the Act.

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Development Council for Bicycle

Context

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), has set up a Development Council for Bicycle.

About

  • DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has set up a Development Council for Bicycle.
  • The council will envision planning in design, engineering and manufacturing of lighter, smarter, value added, safe and faster premium bicycles which are comparable with global standards for exports and domestic market.

Composition of Council

  • A Twenty-three-member Council will be headed by Secretary DPIIT.
  • The constitution of the Council is for a period of two years.
  • Joint Secretary, Light Engineering Industry Division in DPIIT will be Member-Secretary.
  • The Council will have 9 ex-officio members.
  • The Council will also have 7 expert domain members and 4 nominated.
  • The terms of ex-officio members shall be co-terminus with their official posting.
  • Others members may be co-opted, as required, by the Chairperson of the Council.

Functions

The Council will stimulate value chain and fuel accelerated demand growth of Make-in-India through the following activities-

  • To improve competitiveness and level of services.
  • To transform Indian bicycle technology and its value chain.
  • To ensure development of holistic eco-system through close, coordinated and continuous stakeholder persuasion.
  • To undertake all possible measures for leveraging bicycle demand, it may inter-alia include ensuring enabling (safe and segregated) cycling infrastructure and operations.
  • To enhance export competitiveness of bicycle through support of schemes and favourable trade policies.
  • To popularize the incredible benefits of cycling through the campaigns piloted by the concerned Ministries/ Departments of Government of India such as Ministry of Health (health benefits), Ministry of Environment and Forest (air/ noise pollution free benefits), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (energy saving benefits), Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (decongestion benefits).
  • Development of medium and small industries to usher in a new mind-set through innovative schemes in a structured and synergetic way.
  • Development of skilled human resources development for bicycle manufacturing and repair shops.
  • To identify and study best international practices and successful story to adopt for bicycle manufacturing, recycling and infrastructure development in India.

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

Context

First ever International Buyer- Seller Meet in Arunachal Pradesh

About

The first ever international buyer seller meet on Agriculture & Horticulture produce is being organized by APEDA in Arunachal Pradesh.

Ten International buyers from seven countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, UAE, Sultanate of Oman and Greece participated in the meet and interacted with exporters.

Why is it being organized?

  • APEDA and Government of Arunachal Pradesh organised the Conference cum International Buyer- Seller Meet in Itanagar.
  • It is to promote export of agricultural products and to facilitate market linkages for agri- exports from the North Eastern Region (NER) especially Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This conference was held to provide a platform for B2B and B2G meetings of international buyers with the importers and exporters and the progressive farmers and growers from the North East Region (NER).
  • It provides for to explore the opportunities and prospects of agriculture and horticulture exports.

About APEDA

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act-1985.
  • The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).
  • Its Headquarter is in Delhi.
  • APEDA has marked its presence in almost all agro potential states of India and has been providing services to agri-export community through its head office, five Regional offices and 13 Virtual offices.

Functions

In accordance with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985, (2 of 1986) the following functions have been assigned to the Authority.

  • Development of industries relating to the scheduled products for export by way of providing financial assistance or otherwise for undertaking surveys and feasibility studies, participation in enquiry capital through joint ventures and other reliefs and subsidy schemes;
  • Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products on payment of such fees as may be prescribed;
  • Fixing of standards and specifications for the scheduled products for the purpose of exports;
  • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughter houses, processing plants, storage premises, conveyances or other places where such products are kept or handled for the purpose of ensuring the quality of such products;
  • Improving of packaging of the Scheduled products;
  • Improving of marketing of the Scheduled products outside India;
  • Promotion of export oriented production and development of the Scheduled products;
  • Collection of statistics from the owners of factories or establishments engaged in the production, processing, packaging, marketing or export of the scheduled products or from such other persons as may be prescribed on any matter relating to the scheduled products and publication of the statistics so collected or of any portions thereof or extracts therefrom;
  • Training in various aspects of the industries connected with the scheduled products;
  • Such other matters as may be prescribed.

For Prelims

Sisseri River bridge

Context

Raksha Mantri inaugurates Sisseri River bridge connecting Dibang Valley and Siang in Arunachal Pradesh

Highlights

  • Sisseri River bridge connects Dibang Valley and Siang in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The 200-metre long bridge between Jonai-Pasighat-Ranaghat-Roing road will provide connectivity between Dibang Valley and Siang.
  • It would cut down the travel time from Pasighat to Roing by about five hours.

PIB – November 15 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

11th BRICS Summit

Context

Prime MinisterShri Narendra Modi attended the 11 BRICS summit.

About 11th BRICS Summit

  • The 11th BRICS Summit is being held in Brasília, Brazil.
  • PM Modi met with Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of Russian Federation on the margins of 11th BRICS Summit,
  • PM Modi met with Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China on the margins of the 11th BRICS Summit,
  • PM Modi met with Mr. Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil on the margins of the 11th BRICS Summit.

Theme

  • The 2019 Brazilian Presidency focuses on the theme, ‘BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future’.
  • The new areas of BRICS cooperation spearheaded by Brazil, are-
  1. Strengthening of cooperation on science, technology and innovation; enhancement of cooperation on digital economy; invigoration of cooperation on the fight against transnational crime, especially against organized crime, money laundering and drug trafficking;
  2. encouragement to the rapprochement between the New Development Bank (NDB) and the BRICS Business Council.

What is BRICS?

  • BRICS is the group composed by the five major emerging countriesBrazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • It together represents about 42% of the population, 23% of GDP, 30% of the territory and 18% of the global trade.
  • The acronym BRIC was coined by by economist ‘Jim O’Neill’ of Goldman Sachs in 2001 to indicate the emerging powers that would be, alongside the United States, the five largest economies of the world in the 21st century.
  • In 2006, BRIC countries started their dialogue, which since 2009 takes place at annual meetings of heads of state and government.
  • In 2011, with South Africa joining the group, the BRICS reached its final composition, incorporating a country from the African continent.

Structure

  • BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings.

Objectives

  • The BRICS seeks to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development.
  • To emerge as a new and promising political-diplomatic entity with diverse objectives, far beyond the original objective of reforming global financial institutions.
  • The BRICS countries act as one to promote a more legitimate international system, including advocating reform of the UN Security Council.
  • The BRICS group is a South-South framework for cooperation.
  • BRICS takes into consideration each member’s growth, development and poverty objectives to ensure relations are built on the respective country’s economic strengths and to avoid competition where possible.
  • To assist developing countries in gaining an advantage in trade and climate change negotiations, as well as on issues related to the export of manufacturing products.
  • The BRICS also formed an information-sharing and exchange platform that expands beyond economic cooperation to also involve educational, cultural, and environmental engagement.
  • To provide an alternative of the current governance of Western financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for that they have announced the establishment of the bank.

New Development Bank

  • New Development Bank(NDB) is a multilateral development bank operated by BRICS states.
  • NDB is headquartered in Shanghai.
  • At the Fourth BRICS Summit in New Delhi (2012) the possibility of setting up a new Development Bank was mooted.
  • During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014) the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • Fortaleza Declaration stressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development thus contributing to sustainable and balanced growth.

The main objectives of NDB operations are

  • Fostering development of member countries
  • Supporting economic growth
  • Promoting competitiveness and facilitating job creation
  • Building a knowledge sharing platform among developing countries
  • To fulfill its purpose, the Bank will support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.

What will NDB do?

  • The bank’s primary focus of lending will be infrastructure projects.
  • The bank will have starting capital of $50 billion, with capital increased to $100 billion over time
  • Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will initially contribute $10 billion each to bring the total to $50 billion
  • The NDB functions on a consultative mechanism among the BRICS members with all the member countries possessing equal rights.
  • Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital shares, here each participant country will be assigned one vote, and no country will have veto power.
  • Countries apart from the BRICS countries will also be members- the bank will have some countries from ‘the south’ on a rotational basis, on the board of the bank, and they will be allowed to vote.
  • The bank will allow new members to join but the share of BRICS countries cannot drop below 55%
  • NDB’s key areas of operation – are clean energy, transport infrastructure, irrigation, sustainable urban development and economic cooperation among the member countries.

BRICS on global institutional reforms

  • The BRICS was formed initially for co-operation to start among the BRICs nation was the financial crises of 2008.
  • The crises raised doubts over sustainability of the dollar-dominated monetary system.
  • The BRICs called for the “the reform of multilateral institutions in order that they reflect the structural changes in the world economy and the increasingly central role that emerging markets now play”.
  • BRICs managed to push for institutional reform which led to International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform in 2010.

Challenges before BRICS

  • The marked dominance of big three Russia-China-India is challenge for the BRICS.
  • To become a true representative of large emerging markets across the world, BRICS must become pan-continental.
  • Its membership must include more countries from other regions and continents.
  • The BRICS will need to expand its agenda for climate change and development finance, aimed at building infrastructure dominates agenda.
  • As BRICS moves forward foundational principles of BRICS i.e. respect for sovereign equality and pluralism in global governance are liable to be tested as the five member countries pursue their own national agendas.
  • The issue such as, the military standoff between India and China on the Doklam plateau, is a threat to the notion that a comfortable political relationship is always possible amongst the BRICS members.

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic– Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Competition Commission of India (CCI)

Context

CCI approves the acquisition of shareholdings in Mumbai International Airport Limited (“MIAL”) by Adani Properties Private Limited (“APPL”)

About

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the acquisition of shareholdings in Mumbai International Airport Limited (“MIAL”) by Adani Properties Private Limited (“APPL”).
  • The proposed combination relates to acquisition of 23.5 percent equity stake of MIAL by APPL from BSDA and ACSA.
  • APPL proposes to acquire 13.5 percent equity shares of MIAL from BSDA and 10 percent equity shares of MIAL from ACSA.

About Competition Commission of India (CCI)

  • Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a quasi-judicial statutory bodyof the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002.
  • Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) were established under the Competition Act, 2002.
  • It was established on 14 October 2003.
  • It became fully functional in May 2009.

Composition of CCI

  • The CCI is composed of a Chairperson and 6 members.
  • The members of CCI are appointed by the Central Government.
  • The CCI acts as a market regulator to check on the ill competitive practices in India.
  • Objectives
  • To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition.
  • Make the markets work for the benefit and welfare of consumers.
  • To promote and sustain competition in markets.
  • To protect the interests of consumers.
  • Ensure fair and healthy competition in economic activities in the country for faster and inclusive growth and development of economy.
  • Implement competition policies with an aim to effectuate the most efficient utilization of economic resources.

The Competition Appellate Tribunal

  • The Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) was formed in 2009.
  • It is a fully empowered body by the Constitution of India.
  • The final appeal after this tribunal can be made in the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Competition Act, 2002
  • The idea of Competition Commission was conceived and introduced in the form of The Competition Act, 2002.
  • It was enacted to promote competition and private enterprises especially in the light of 1991 Indian economic liberalization.
  • The Competition Act, 2002, is amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007.
  • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and Merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Unique ID Number Aadhaar

Context

Norms of Aadhaar KYC are eased.

About KYC norms

  • Norms of Aadhaar KYC are eased for opening of bank account.
  • It was not eased for the change of address in Aadhaar.
  • A self-declaration about a local address or any address other than the one on Aadhaar card will be sufficient as address proof to open bank account with Aadhaar KYC.
  • This amendment brings in convenience especially for the migrant people.

What is Aadhaar?

  • It is a 12 digit individual identification number issued by UIDAI (Unique identification authority of India) on behalf of Government of India
  • It will serve as identity and address proof anywhere in India.
  • Aadhaar is meant to help benefits reach the marginalised sections of the society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also from community point of view.

Eligibility for Aadhaar ID

  • Any resident (a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar) of India irrespective of age, sex, class can avail it.
  • The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhaar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request.
  • A requesting entity (an agency or person that wants to authenticate information of a person) has to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his information.

Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

  • The Parliament has passed the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity.
  • The existing Aadhar act provides for the use of Aadhaar number as proof of identity of a person, subject to authentication.
  • The Bill replaces this provision to state that an individual may voluntarily use his Aadhaar number to establish his identity, by authentication or offline verification.
  • The Bill states that authentication of an individual’s identity via Aadhaar, for the provision of any service, may be made mandatory only by a law of Parliament.

The key features of the amendments Bill are-

  • It provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar number holder.
  • Provides for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number of an individual.
  • Gives an option to children, who are Aadhaar number holders, to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years.
  • The authentication is permitted under any law made by Parliament or is prescribed to be in the interest of State by the Central Government.
  • Allows the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
  • Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication.
  • Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund.
  • Provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Unique Identification Authority of India

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a statutory authority.
  • It was established on 12 July 2016 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all the residents of India.
  • The UIDAI was initially set up by the Government of India in January 2009, as an attached office under the aegis of the Planning Commission.

For prelims

39th India International Trade Fair (IITF)

Context

39th India International Trade Fair inaugurated in Delhi

 Highlights

  • Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME inaugurated the 39th India International Trade Fair(IITF).
  • The theme -for this edition of the Fair is “Ease of Doing Business”.
  • The theme is inspired by the unique achievement of India of rising up to the 63rd rank on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index from 142nd rank in year 2014.
  • The IITF India International Trade Fair is an international consumer goods fair.
  • Due to its wide range of different areas this fair is an audience magnet and very popular among exhibitors.

Golden Leaf Award

Context

Tobacco Board Receives 2019 Golden Leaf Award

Highlights

  • Tobacco Board of India has been awarded the Golden Leaf Award in the Most Impressive Public Service Initiative category for the year 2019.
  • It was given for – its efforts to initiate various sustainability (green) initiatives in Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco cultivation in India.
  • The award was given at Tab Expo 2019 event in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Golden Leaf Awards

  • The Golden Leaf Awards were created to recognize professional excellence and dedication in the tobacco industry by Tobacco Reporter, an international magazine in the year 2006.
  • The golden leaf awards is australia’s premier tea awards event.
  • This exciting competition offers you an incredible opportunity to get your unique and beautiful teas out into the Australasian marketplace, and recognised globally.

Tobacco Board of India

  • The Tobacco Board was constituted as a statutory body on 1st January, 1976 under Section (4) of the Tobacco Board Act, 1975.
  • The Board is headed by a Chairman with its headquarters at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh and is responsible for the development of the tobacco industry.
  • The primary function of the Board – is export promotion of all varieties of tobacco and its allied products, its functions extend to production, distribution (for domestic consumption and exports) and regulation of Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco.

Tobacco in India

  • Tobacco is an important commercial crop grown in India.
  • It occupies the third position in the world with an annual production of about 800 Million Kgs.
  • Of the different types grown, flue-cured tobacco, country tobacco, burley, bidi, rustica and chewing tobacco are considered important.
  • India stands 3rd in production of tobacco and in exports, Brazil and USA are ahead of India.
  • Tobacco and tobacco products earn approx Rs.20,000 Cr. to the national exchequer by way of excise duty, and approx.Rs.5000 Cr. by way of foreign exchange every year.

PIB – November 14 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

India and Switzerland Relations

Context

India and Switzerland discussed enhanced cooperation in fight against tax evasion.

About

  • Fighting the menace of Black Money stashed in offshore accounts is a key priority area for the Government of India.
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Swiss President ‘Mr Ueli Maurer’ signed an agreement for enhanced cooperation in the fight against tax evasion.

Key aspects of bilateral relations between India and Switzerland

  • Switzerland has a close and dynamic relationship with India that is reflected in numerous treaties and agreements and in frequent high-level diplomatic visits.
  • The broad-based cooperation between the two countries covers areas including trade, science, education and culture.

Diplomatic Relations

  • India is one of Switzerland’s principal partners in Asia. Regular high-level meetings and visits have strengthened relations between the two countries.
  • Switzerland and India have signed numerous bilateral agreements covering a range of areas (trade, development cooperation, education and vocational training, visas, migration, air traffic, investment, finance, taxation and scientific and technological cooperation).
  • In 2018 Switzerland and India celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship signed between the two countries in 1948.
  • Both India and Switzerland represent democratic and plural societies that believe in the principles of “respect for differences” and “unity in diversity”.

Economic cooperation

  • India is Switzerland’s fourth-largest trading partner in Asia and the largest in South Asia.
  • Switzerland is an important trading partner for India outside the EU
  • In 2018 Swiss exports to India amounted to USD 17.56 billion and comprised mainly precious metals, machinery, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
  • Imports from India, mainly of chemicals, textiles, precious metals and agricultural products, amounted to USD 1.84 billion in 2018.
  • At the end of 2016 Swiss direct investment in India totalled USD 4.7 billion.
  • Some 250 Swiss companies have a presence in India in the form of joint ventures, subsidiaries or branches.
  • About 100 Indian companies have invested about USD 1.2 billion between 2012 and 2014 in Switzerland.
  • This placing it among the top five European investment destinations and top-ten places globally for Indian investors.

Cooperation in education, research and innovation

  • Switzerland and India signed a science and technology agreement in 2003 and a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the social sciences in 2012.
  • The activities covered in these agreements fall within the scope of the Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme- ISJRP.
  • Swissnex India, located in Bangalore, connects Switzerland and India in the fields of science, education, arts and innovation.
  • India is a priority country for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists, which are aimed at young researchers.
  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists SERI.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has contributed to India’s development since 1961.
  • Traditional bilateral development cooperation was phased out a few years ago but the SDC remains active in India through its global programmes.
  • Its current activities focus on issues related to climate change.
  • Switzerland aims to contribute to climate-compatible development in India.
  • The SDC also promotes cooperation on global issues such as food security, water and urban search and rescue (USAR).

Energy

  • India and Switzerland share common priorities in boosting the share of renewables in their energy mix.
  • A number of joint projects are already under way in energy efficiency and renewable energies and holds further potential as well.
  • Switzerland is helping municipal authorities in India to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Black money

  • Fighting the menace of Black Money stashed in offshore accounts is a key priority area for the Government of India.
  • The agreement has signed between Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Swiss President “Mr Ueli Maurer” for enhanced cooperation in the fight against tax evasion.
  • The recent joint declaration on the mutual automatic exchange of financial account information gains ground on India’s fight against black money.

Cultural exchange

  • Switzerland and India have a long tradition of cultural relations.
  • Many Swiss artists and researchers have been active in India, including the architect Le Corbusier and the painter, sculptor and art historian Alice Boner.
  • On the Indian side, producers like Yash Chopra have set popular Bollywood films in the Alps, bringing the two countries closer together.
  • The opening of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia liaison office in New Delhi in 2007 gave additional impetus to cultural relations between Switzerland and India.

Way forward

  • Switzerland’s experience in major rail infrastructure projects (like Gotthard tunnel) can best be used by India for its public transport vision.
  • The two countries need to pursue closer business partnerships in priority sectors such as precision and high technology manufacturing, infrastructure and clean-tech research.
  • There is scope for creating partnerships between R&D labs and institutions.
  • There should be further deepening of the cooperation between both the countries to work for the benefit of both the countries and addressing global challenges.
  • Both countries must seize the opportunities and promote free trade and economic agreements.
  • Cooperation in the fields of transport, energy, vocational education and training, digitalization is important.
  • Switzerland is a global leader in innovation and technology and hence can contribute to the growth of Indian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

International Seed Treaty

Context

Union Agriculture Minister attends the Eighth Session of Governing Body of Seed Treaty “International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)” at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

About

  • The eighth session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is being held in Rome, Italy
  • The Governing Body ITPGRFA sessions are held biennially.
  • India highlighted the need for conservation of plant genetic resources and the uniqueness of Indian legislation Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act to address the related issues.

About the ITPGRFA

  • The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the 31st Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001.
  • Seed Treaty is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA).
  • India is a signatory to the treaty.

The Treaty aims at

  • Recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
  • Establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
  • Ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.

Objectives

Multilateral system- The Treaty’s truly innovative solution to access and benefit sharing,

  • The Multilateral System puts 64 of our most important crops – crops that together account for 80 percent of the food we derive from plants – into an easily accessible global pool of genetic resources that is freely available to potential users in the Treaty’s ratifying nations for some uses.

Access and benefit sharing

  • The Treaty facilitates access to the genetic materials of the 64 crops in the Multilateral System for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture.
  • Those who access the materials must be from the Treaty’s ratifying nations and they must agree to use the materials totally for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture.
  • The Treaty prevents the recipients of genetic resources from claiming intellectual property rights over those resources in the form in which they received them.
  • It ensures that access to genetic resources already protected by international property rights is consistent with international and national laws.
  • Those who access genetic materials through the Multilateral System agree to share any benefits from their use through four benefit-sharing mechanisms established by the Treaty.

 Farmers’ rights

  • The Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution farmers have made to the ongoing development of the world’s wealth of plant genetic resources.
  • It calls for protecting the traditional knowledge of these farmers, increasing their participation in national decision-making processes and ensuring that they share in the benefits from the use of these resources

Sustainable use

  • Most of the world’s food comes from four main crops – rice, wheat, maize and potatoes.
  • However, local crops, not among the main four, are a major food source for hundreds of millions of people and have potential to provide nutrition to countless others.
  • The Treaty helps maximize the use and breeding of all crops and promotes development and maintenance of diverse farming systems.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001

  • PPV&FR Act, 2001 aims to protect Farmers’ and breeder’s rights.
  • According to the act, a farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 except the brand name.
  • It is in conformity with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978.

Farmers’ Rights under the Act

  • A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
  • Farmers variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
  • A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
  • Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
  • Farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.

Breeders’ Rights under the Act

  • Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety.
  • Breeder can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.
  • Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiment or research.
  • This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs prior permission of the registered breeder.

For Prelims

Exercise Dustlik 2019

Context

Indo-Uzbekistan Joint Field Training exercise (FTX)-2019 Exercise Dustlik-2019 culminated.

Highlights

  • Exercise DUSTLIK-2019 was held between India and Uzbekistan Army.
  • The joint military exercise focused on counter-terrorism was commenced in Tashkent.
  • The exercise will enable sharing of best practices and experiences between the Armed Forces of the two countries and would lead to greater operational effectiveness.

Exercise Shakti-2019

Context

Indo-French Joint Exercise Shakti-2019 culminated.

Highlights

  • ‘Exercise SHAKTI’ between India and France commenced in year 2011.
  • It’s a biennial exercise and is conducted alternately in India and France.
  • The bilateral training exercise will be conducted at Foreign Training Node at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, Rajasthan.
  • The joint exercise will focus on Counter Terrorism operations in backdrop of semi-desert terrain under United Nations Mandate.
  • The training will focus primarily on high degree of physical fitness, sharing of drill at tactical level and learning of best practices from each other.
  • The exercise aims at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the two Armies.