PIB – September 16 , 2019


GS- 3rd Paper

Topic covered Disaster and disaster management

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)

Context

NCMC meeting to review flood situation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

About NCMC

  • National Crisis Management Committee is a committee set up by the Government of India in the wake of a natural calamity for effective coordination and implementation of relief measures and operations.
  • It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.
  • NCMC has been constituted in the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • At the national level, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) are the key committees involved in the top-level decision-making for Disaster Management (DM).

Key functions

  • It deals with major crisis which have serious or national ramifications.
  • It oversees the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response.
  • Give direction to the Crisis Management Group (CMG) as deemed necessary.

Composition

  • It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.

Other members include

  • Secretary to Prime Minister Member,
  • Secretary (MHA) Member, Secretary (MCD) Member,
  • Director (IB) Member,
  • Secretary (R&AW) Member,
  • Secretary (Agri & Coopn.) Co-opted Member,
  • An officer of Cabinet Secretariat.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic covered Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

NIRVIK scheme

Context

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has introduced a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called NIRVIK

About NIRVIK

  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry through Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has introduced a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called NIRVIK.
  • The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) provides credit guarantee of up to 60 percent loss.
  • Under the new ‘NIRVIK’ scheme, the insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90 percent of the principal and interest.
  • The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit.

Key features of NIRVIK scheme

  • The Finance Ministry has increased the insurance cover for banks up to 90 percent for working capital loans and moderation in premium incidence for the MSME sector.
  • It is to provide additional support to the banks in the wake of a global slowdown and rising NPAs.
  • It will catalyze the banks to enhance the volume of export credit lending, especially to the MSME Sector with optimal pricing due to capital and risk optimization.
  • All standard accounts covered under ECGC on the date of transition shall be eligible for the insurance cover under the ECIS.
  • The scheme will be in force for a period of 5-years and on the conclusion, the standard ECGC covers will be made available to the Banks with its regular features.
  • Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4%and 8% respectively for exporters.
  • Under ECIS, insurance cover percentage has also been enhanced to 90% from the present average of 60% for both Principal and Interest.
  • Further, the scheme will mandate inspection of bank documents and records by ECGC officials for losses exceeding Rs.10 crore as against the present Rs 1crore.

Objectives

  • It aims to enhance loan availability and ease the lending process.
  • The scheme also aims to simplify the procedure for settlement of claims and provisional payment of up to 50 percent within 30 days on production of proof of end-use of the advances in default by the Insured Bank.

Benefits

  • It will enhance accessibility and affordability of credit for exporters.
  • It will help make Indian exports competitive and make ECGC procedures exporter friendly.
  • Benefit MSME exporters with a new scheme for reimbursing taxes, reduced insurance cost and ease of doing business.

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC)

  • The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is a fully government-owned company.
  • It was established in 1957 to promote exports by providing credit insurance services.
  • The ECGC provides Export Credit Insurance to Banks (ECIB).
  • ECIB protect the banks from losses on account of export credit at the Pre and Post-Shipment stage given to exporters due to the risks of insolvency or protracted default of the exporter borrower.

GS-2 Paper

Topic covered- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019

Context

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT).

About Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019

  • A National Initiative “Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP)” was launched to design and deliver a structured scheme of leadership development for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
  • LEAP is a three weeks leadership development training programme.
  • 2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.

Objectives

  • It aims to build higher managerial capabilities of existing higher education leaders and administrators and to draw fresh talent into the management of higher education systems,
  • The main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads that are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.

LEAP is being implemented through the following 15 institutions-

  • Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  • Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
  • Banaras Hindu University
  • Jamia Miliia Islamia
  • Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata
  • University of Hyderabad
  • NIT Trichy
  • University of Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Indian Institute of Technology BHU
  • TISS Mumbai (CALEM)
  • AMU (CALEM)
  • NIEPA (CALEM)

Eligibility

The mandatory eligibility conditions are-

  • Minimum 8 years of experience as Professor;
  • 3 years administrative experience;
  • Impeccable Integrity;
  • High academic standing preferably 30 publications in ‘SCOPUS’ indexed international journals or UGC approved journals;
  • Age below 58 years.

GS-2 Paper

Topic coveredIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)-2019

Context

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)-2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT).

About ARPIT

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) in November, 2018.
  • ARPIT is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.
  • For implementing ARPIT, discipline-specific National Resource Centers (NRCs) are identified.
  • These are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
  • ARPIT course of 40 hours/duration is treated as equivalent to one Refresher Course for Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) for promotion.
  • The course is a 40 hour module with 20 hours of video content and 20 hours of non-video content.
  • They are offered in a highly flexible format and can be done at one’s own pace and time.
  • There are built-in assessment exercises and activities as part of the academic progression in the course.
  • At the end of the course, there will be a terminal assessment which can be either online or a written examination.
  • All faculties who have successfully completed the online refresher course will be certified.
  • For ARPIT 2019, 51 discipline specific NRCs have been notified covering 46 disciplines.

Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT)

About

  • The Scheme of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching is the culmination of the Government of India efforts in launching a comprehensive umbrella scheme.
  • It aimed at improving the quality of education at all levels by infusing quality and excellence in our teachers and teaching. Teachers are the backbone and the core of the education system.

For Prelims-

INS Tarkash

Context

In continuation of the Indian Navy’s overseas deployment to Africa, Europe and Russia, Indian Naval Ship Tarkash made a port call at Walvis Bay, Namibi.

Highlights

  • INS Tarkash (F50) is the second Talwar-class frigate constructed for the Indian Navy.
  • She is part of the second batch of Teg-class frigates ordered by the Indian Navy.
  • These are modified Krivak III-class frigates built by Russia.
  • These ships use stealth technologies and a special hull design to ensure a reduced radar cross section.
  • The main difference between Tarkash and the earlier Talwar-class ships is the use of BrahMos missiles in place of the Klub-N missiles in the earlier ships.
  • She was built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia.

IN-RSN-RTN Trilateral Exercise

Context

Maiden IN-RSN-RTN Trilateral Exercise Commences

Highlights

  • A maiden trilateral exercise, involving Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Royal Thailand Navy (RTN) and Indian Navy (IN) has commenced at Port Blair.
  • This is five-day-long exercise.
  • It is aimed at bolstering the maritime inter-relationships amongst Singapore Thailand and India.
  • It also aims to contribute significantly to enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.

‘Jaldoot’ Exhibition

Context

Unique Travelling Exhibition ‘JALDOOT’ flagged off by I & B Minister will encourage people’s participation for Water Conservation.

Highlights

JALDOOT is a travelling exhibition arranged by Regional Outreach Bureau, Pune under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

It is a Travelling Exhibition on Jalshakti Abhiyan.

The Regional Outreach Bureau, ROB, in association with MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) is launching the Jaldoot campaign.

The ROB has redesigned the bus, to create the Jaldoot : Travelling Exhibition on Jalshakti Abhiyan.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

It is a time-bound, mission-mode campaign that would focus on 1,592 “water-stressed” blocks in 257 districts.

The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019.

The JALSHAKTI ABHIYAN focus on five key aspects-

  1. Water Conservation and Rain Water Harvesting
  2. Renovation of Traditional and other Water Bodies
  3. Reuse of Water and Recharging of structures
  4. Watershed Development
  5. Intensive Afforestation

Essential Facts (Prelims) – September 12 & 13 , 2019


World Oil Demand Report

Category: International

  • India’s oil demand will rise at the fastest pace globally this year and the next, even as its economic expansion has slowed down.
  • This was revealed in OPEC’s ‘World Oil Demand’ report.
  • It said India’s oil demand is projected to rise by 3.21% in 2019. In 2020, it will further rise by 3.36%. This outpaces China’s oil demand growth of 2.73% in 2019 and 2.37% in 2020.
  • China, however, is the world’s second-biggest oil consumer in 2019, behind only the U.S.

Boreas is the largest flying animal of all time

Category: Sc/tech

  • Scientists unveiled a new species of pterosaur, the plane-sized reptiles that lorded over primeval skies above T-rex, Triceratops and other dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous.
  • With a wingspan of 10 m and weighing 250 kg, Cryodrakon boreas rivals another pterosaur as the largest flying animal of all time.
  • Its remains were first discovered more than 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, yet elicited scant excitement because of the misclassification. But a closer look at the fossil remains left no doubt that a new species had been discovered.
  • Like other winged reptiles living at the same time, about 77 million years ago, C. boreas was carnivorous and probably fed on lizards, small mammals and even baby dinosaurs.

Fedor

Category: Sc/tech

  • It’s mission over for a robot called Fedor that Russia blasted to the International Space Station, the developers admitting he could not replace astronauts on space walks.
  • Fedor, or Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, was built to assist space station astronauts.
  • The silvery anthropomorphic robot cannot fulfil its assigned task to replace human astronauts on long and risky space walks.
  • Fedor turned out to have a design that does not work well in space — standing 180 cm tall, its long legs were not needed on space walks.

Valley’s apple growers welcome govt.’s scheme

Category: Agricultue

  • J & K Government announced market intervention scheme to buy crop worth ₹8,000 crore directly from the farmers in Kashmir.
  • The decision of the Union government to revoke J&K’s special status resulted in a communication blockade, affecting the traders’ ability to tie up with wholesale buyers outside or line up with transport companies.
  • Kashmir produces 75% of the total apple crop in the country at 20 lakh metric tonnes.
  • The government’s market intervention, the first of its kind in J&K, will allow the apples produce to be bought from the doorsteps of the orchardists.

NATGRID wants to link social media accounts to central database

Category: Security

  • The ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project wants to link social media accounts to the huge database of records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details among others.
  • The project, initially started in 2009 with a budget of ₹2,800 crore, is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them on one platform.
  • At least 10 central agencies like Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and others will have access to the data on a secured platform.
  • The proposal has received resistance from the intelligence agencies, whose officials fear that linking the social media accounts to sensitive government data could expose the system to “trojan attacks.”
  • NATGRID links intelligence and investigation agencies. The 10 user agencies will be linked independently with certain databases that would be procured from 21 providing organisations and include telecom, tax records, bank, immigration, etc. to enable the generation of intelligence inputs.

Water found in atmosphere of habitable exoplanet

Category: Sc/tech

  • Water has been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with earth-like temperatures that could support life as we know it.
  • Eight times the mass of earth and twice as big, K2-18b orbits in its star’s “habitable zone” at a distance — neither too far nor too close — where water can exist in liquid form.
  • Of the more than 4,000 exoplanets detected to date, this is the first known to combine a rocky surface and an atmosphere with water.
  • Most exoplanets with atmospheres are giant balls of gas, and the handful of rocky planets for which data is available seem to have no atmosphere at all.
  • Discovered in 2015, K2-18b is one of hundreds of so-called “super-earths” — planets with less than ten times the mass of ours — spotted by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
  • They found the unmistakable signature of water vapour. Exactly how much remains uncertain, but computer modelling suggested concentrations between 0.1 and 50 %. By comparison, the percentage of water vapour in earth’s atmosphere varies between 0.2% above the poles, and up to 4% in the tropics.
  • K2-18b orbits a red dwarf star about 110 light years distant — a million billion kilometres — in the Leo constellation of the Milky Way.

PIB – September 14 , 2019


GS-2nd Paper

Topics Covered- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Community Radio Stations

Context

118 new Community Radio Stations are to be set-up.

About Community Radio Stations

  • Community radio is a type of radio service that caters to the interests of a certain area, broadcasting content that is popular to a local audience.
  • These are small (low power) FM radio stations with a coverage area of around 10-15 Km radius, depending on the geography of the area.
  • Presently, there are more than 180 community radio stations across India, broadcasting in languages like Bundelkhandi, Garhwali, Awadhi and Santhali — tongues that typically find little or no space on television.

Applications of Community Radio Stations (CRS)

  • Community Radio Stations act as essential communication channels for enhancing last mile of outreach of government.
  • CRS play a significant role in dissemination of agriculture related information, government schemes for people’s welfare, weather forecast etc.
  • Plans are underway to ensure expansion of the community radio network to each district of the country.

Aims

The Community Radio Support Scheme aims to achieve following objectives-

  • To strengthen new and existing CR Stations with resources, capacity and technology so that they could provide access and voice to marginalized communities.
  • To promote growth of CRS, especially in remote and rural areas, so that people living in these areas could have access to a meaningful medium of broadcast
  • To promote socio-economic and cultural development of communities as CRS is a powerful medium for social mobilization

Who can apply for a Community Radio Station?

As per the 2006 policy of the Government, followings are the desired condition for an organisation to operate a Community Radio Station (CRS)-

  • The Community Radio Station should serve a specific well-defined local community.
  • It should be a ‘non-profit’ organisation and must have at least three years of service experience to the local community.
  • The ownership and management structure should reflect the community which it serves.
  • It should only broadcast programmes that cater to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community.
  • The organization must be a Legal Entity. It should be registered (under the registration of Societies Act or any other such act relevant to the purpose).

Challenges against CRS

  • Community Radio Stations are facing lack of journalistic and technical skills.
  • The adequate technological and journalistic trainings are required to work CRS properly.
  • Community Radio Stations require right attitude, skills and equipment for its strength and popularity.
  • The lack of management skills, as well as some knowledge of financial management and income generation, is biggest hurdles for Community Radio to operate.
  • Community Radio Stations are small and often situated in locations where basic services, like a constant supply of electricity, are lacking.
  • Due to these conditions equipment suffers and needs to be vigorously maintained and/or regularly replaced.
  • There is also an absence of a clear regulatory framework in which Community Radio operates.

 Way forward

  • To work CRS effectively the community participation is essential.
  • For this at least 50% of content shall be generated with the participation of the local community, for which the station has been set up.
  • Programmes should preferably be in the local language and dialect(s).
  • The CRS license thus given by the government entitled them to operate a 100-watt (Effective Radiated Power) radio station, with a coverage area of approximately a 12-km radius.

GS- 2ndPaper

Topics coveredSalient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Uniform Civil Code

Context

Uniform Civil Code is enshrined in the article 44 of Indian Constitution.

About Uniform Civil Code

  • The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
  • It is a generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Uniform Civil Code is enshrined in the article 44 of Indian Constitution.
  • It is in the Part fourth and under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) of constitution of India.
  • According to Article 44-
  • “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”.
  • Since the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are only guidelines for Stat so it is not mandatory to employ them.

Reasons for a Uniform Civil Code in India

  • A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  • Uniform Civil Code is crucial for gender justice.
  • The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
  • Many religious traditions and practices are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
  • Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.

 The Pros and cons of Uniform Civil Code

The Pros

  • UCC provide equal status to all citizens of India.
  • It promotes gender justice.
  • It supports national integration.
  • It accommodates the aspirations of young population.
  • It bypasses the issues of reforming the existing personal laws.

The Cons

  • The application of UCC is practically difficult due to diversity of India.
  • The UCC can be seen as encroachment of religious freedom.
  • It enables the State interference in personal matters.
  • It is sensitive and tough task to implement.

Need of the hour

  • Need of the hour is the codification of all personal laws.
  • So that prejudices and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and can be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution.
  • By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritise equity rather than imposition of a Uniform Code.
  • It would discourage many from using the law altogether, given those matters of marriage and divorce can also be settled extra-judicially.

For prelims-

Jan Soochna Portal-2019

  • The first-ever public information portal has been launched in Rajasthan.
  • It aims to provide information about government authorities and departments suo motu to the public in the true spirit of the Right to Information Act.
  • The portal would ensure compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act mandating the public authorities to disclose information in the public domain.
  • It will make to make government accountable and for that the people need not file applications under the law to obtain information.

Hindi Diwas 2019

Context

  • National Hindi Divas or Hindi Day is observed every year on September 14.
  • The Hindi Day is a celebration of the Hindi language and its cultural heritage and values among the people of the country and abroad.
  • On September 14, 1949 the Constituent assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the country under Article 343.
  • Hindi is the fourth largest spoken language of the world.

Essential Facts (Prelims) – September 10 & 11 , 2019


Tamil Nadu ranks lowest in coverage of iodised salt

Category: GS 2 (Health)

  • Tamil Nadu has the lowest consumption of iodised salt despite being the third biggest producer of salt in the country, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey to measure the coverage of iodised salt.
  • The study shows that 76.3% of Indian households consumed adequately iodised salt, which is salt with at least 15 parts per million of iodine.
  • The survey was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD).
  • The survey tested the iodine content in samples of cooking salt from households to estimate the coverage of iodised salt.
  • Iodine is a vital micro-nutrient for optimal mental and physical development of human beings.
  • Deficiency of iodine can result in a range of disabilities and disorders such as goitre, hypothyroidism, cretinism, abortion, still births, mental retardation and psychomotor defects.
  • Children born in iodine deficient areas may have up to 13.5 IQ points less than those born in iodine sufficient areas.
  • Rajasthan, which is the second largest producer of salt, also figured among the five worst covered States.
  • Gujarat produces 71% of salt in the country, followed by Rajasthan at 17% and Tamil Nadu at 11%. The rest of the country accounts for a mere 1% of salt produced.
  • India made fortification of salt with iodine mandatory for direct human consumption in 1992. This was relaxed in 2000 and then reimposed in 2005. In 2011, the SC, too, mandated universal iodisation for the control of iodine deficiencies.
  • 13 out of 36 States have already achieved Universal Salt Iodisation.

India to restore more degraded land

Category: Geography

  • India has raised by 10% the area of degraded land that the country has agreed to restore by 2030.
  • India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation. About 29%, or about 96.4 million hectares, of its land is considered degraded.
  • This January, India became part of the “Bonn Challenge”, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
  • At the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge and pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.

Registration of steel and iron imports, a must

Category: Economy

  • In a bid to clamp down on the dumping of iron and steel imports, and also the over-and under-invoicing of these products, the government has removed these items from the ‘free’ category and has made it mandatory for importers to apply in advance for a registration of their import.
  • The new system will come into effect from November 1. This comes at a time when India has been at the receiving end of large amounts of steel dumping due to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.
  • The import of 284 item lines under the steel and iron category has been re-designated from ‘free’ to ‘free subject to compulsory registration under Steel Import Monitoring System’.
  • This Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) will require the importer to submit advance information on an online portal for the import of the items mentioned in the notification and obtain an automatic registration number.
  • This number can be obtained by paying a minimum fee of ₹500 and maximum of ₹1 lakh, depending on the value of the imports.
  • Indian imports of steel and iron had contracted 31% in 2016-17, the financial year before U.S. imposed higher import duties on steel.

Two new species of ginger discovered in Nagaland

Category: Ecology

  • Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered two new species of Zingiber, commonly referred to as ginger, in Nagaland.
  • While Zingiber perenense has been discovered from the Peren district of Nagaland, Zingiber dimapurense was found in the Dimapur district of the State.
  • Of the two species, Zingiber dimapurense is taller in size, with leafy shoots measuring 90-120 cm high, whereas the leafy shoots of Zingiber perenense reach up to 70 cm in height.

Kashmir apples to escape lockdown via Central route

Category: Agriculture

  • Kashmir’s famed apple is battling to get exported outside the State this year.
  • Kashmir produced 20 lakh metric tonnes of apple in 2018, contributing 73% to the total apple production in the country.

Essential Facts (Prelims) – September 08 & 09 , 2019


Merged PSBs must cut stake in insurers

Category: Economy

  • After the merger of 10 public sector banks (PSBs) into four, two of them will hold over 15% stake in two different insurance companies, individually.
  • According to insurance regulations, a bank cannot hold more than 15% stake in more than one insurance company.
  • Having more than 15% stake in an insurance company gives the status of the promoter to the entity.
  • One entity cannot be a promoter of two insurance companies.So, the banks have to completely exit one insurance company or cut stake to 15%.

₹100 lakh-crore infra projects

Category: Economy

  • The government has constituted a high-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for ₹100 lakh-crore worth investment to be made by 2024-25 as India aims to become a $5-trillion economy.
  • This would include greenfield and brownfield projects costing above ₹100 crore each.
  • The task force will comprise secretaries from different Ministries, senior officials and the NITI Aayog CEO.
  • It will identify technically feasible and financially/economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in 2019-20.
  • To achieve the target of scaling India’s GDP to $5 trillion by 2024-25, the country needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (₹100 lakh crore) from the fiscal 2019-20 to 2024-25 on infrastructure.
  • In the past decade (fiscal 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion in infrastructure.
  • Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech, had said that ₹100 lakh crore would be invested in infrastructure over the next five years. These will include social and economic infrastructure projects.

3D-printed cookies

Category: Sc/tech

  • Scientists have used 3D-printing to make automobile parts and prosthetics before but now 3D-printing food is becoming a reality.
  • Researchers from the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), Thanjavur, have printed a nutritious snack using millets, green gram, fried gram and ajwain seeds.
  • Taking just five to seven minutes to print, followed by a microwave drying process, this technology may help in customising food according to the individuals’ nutritional requirements.
  • Earlier this year, the team had earlier made egg yolk and egg white into a printable form.
  • Though this may not be a solution to any food crisis or help altering the food manufacturing process, it may prepare ourselves for the future.
  • Perhaps one day this method may help print food at the International Space Station or any such environment.
  • Instead of increasing the shelf life, printing food when and where needed can be a better option.

Black spots

Category: Governance

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued new guidelines to State governments for identifying accident ‘black spots’ on national highways and rectifying them.
  • A black spot is defined as a stretch not more than 500m in length where five accidents have taken place or where ten fatalities have happened in the last three years.
  • Recently, Minister for Road Transport and Highways said the government had prepared a ₹14,000-crore plan to identify black spots.
  • The Ministry has reached out to the World Bank for funds after approval from the Ministry of Finance.

Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Category: Sc/tech

  • There has been a huge increase in Chinese deep-sea fishing trawlers in the southern Indian Ocean far from the Chinese coast which has raised concerns.
  • The trawlers were, however, not in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but beyond.
  • Occurrences are recordings of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) aboard trawlers and ships recorded when they are activated. So a trawler can be recorded multiple times based on its AIS signature.
  • The maritime movements in the region are tracked at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram, which is the single-point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains and other inputs along the coastline.
  • The AIS information comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination and so on. This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite based receivers.
  • To address this, the National Maritime Domain Awareness initiative aims to integrate fishing, ports, customs so that the database is available to everyone. Currently, the States have their databases.
  • There has been a national effort to install AIS systems on ships under 20m for which a pilot study has been carried out.
  • AIS works through satellite and the ISRO has already delivered 1000 transponders for trails in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

PIB – September 13 , 2019


GS-3rd Paper

Topics coveredScience and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub

Context

India has joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member.

 About AMR Research and Development Hub

  • The Global AMR R&D Hub was launched in May 2018 in the margins of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly, following a call from G20 Leaders in 2017.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub supports global priority setting and evidence-based decision-making on the allocation of resources for AMR R&D through the identification of gaps, overlaps and potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and leveraging in AMR R&D.

Secretariat

  • The operation of the Global AMR R&D Hub is supported through a Secretariat, established in Berlin.

Funds

  • The Global AMR R&D Hub currently financed through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).

Members

16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).

Objectives

  • It aims to further improve the coordination of international efforts and initiatives to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance while further increasing investments into R&D for AMR.
  • It enforces the One Health Approach by including environmental aspects and veterinary medicine against antimicrobial resistance.
  • It integrates human and animal health, worldwide food safety and environmental factors.

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

  • AMR is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe.
  • Today, the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance continues unabated around the world.

Concerns

  • Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs.
  • Infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.

Benefits for India

  • By partnering with the Global AMR R&D Hub, India looks forward to working with all partners to leverage their existing capabilities, resources and collectively focus on new R&D intervention to address drug resistant infections.
  • Given the important and interdependent human, animal, and environmental dimensions of antimicrobial resistance, India considers it reasonable to explore issues of antimicrobial resistance through the lens of One Health approach.
  • which should be supported by long-term commitments from all stakeholders.

Concerns

  • Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs.
  • Infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.

GS-3rd Paper

Topics covered- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Maritime Communication Services

Context

Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice launched the maritime communication services at Mumbai.

Inflight and Maritime Telecom Connectivity

  • Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications had notified the Flight and Maritime Connectivity (FMC) Rules, 2018 on 14th December, 2018.
  • It permits voice and data service provisioning in flights and ships.
  • The policy intent of the Government is to open the airspace and territorial waters for telecommunication services for general public which was not possible earlier due to lack of enabling rules.

Key FMC Rules

  • Indian satellite bandwidth has to be utilised. If a foreign satellite is used, it has to be approved by ISRO.
  • Only the authorized IFMC service provider, can provide wireless voice or data or both type of services on ships within Indian territorial waters and on aircraft within or above India or Indian territorial waters.
  • Territorial waters are 12 nautical miles from baseline of the coast and beyond that is the Exclusive Economic Zone upto 200 nautical miles (1 nautical mile is 1.852 Kms.).
  • 7 Companies have taken the authorisation to provide Inflight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) services till date.

 About Maritime Communication Services

  • Maritime Connectivity will enable high-end support to those in sea by providing access to Voice, Data and Video services while traveling on sailing vessels, cruise liners, ships in India.
  • It uses satellite technology for this.
  • Nelco, India’s leading VSAT solutions provider is the first Indian company that will now provide quality broadband services to the maritime sector.
  • Nelco will help Energy, Cargo and Cruise vessels by enhancing operational efficiency, improving crew welfare and enabling customer services.
  • Nelco has global partnerships, infrastructure including transponder capacity on satellite of ISRO Indian Space Research Organization) and a comprehensive service portfolio.

What is In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC)?

  • In December 2018, the Government of India announced the licenses for In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC) that allows voice and internet services while flying over the Indian skies and sailing in Indian waters, both for international and Indian aircrafts and vessels.
  • The IFMC license is a key initiative of the Telecom Ministry, a move to liberalise satellite communication services in India.
  • The IFMC licence has not only enabled connectivity for on-board users on ships but also brings operational efficiencies for shipping companies which were less evolved until now.

Issues regarding Inflight telecom services

  • For inflight services, Indian airline companies do not have on-board equipment for delivering the services.
  • The equipment has to be retrofitted to the aircraft.Retrofitting is costly and will entail grounding of aircraft.
  • Presently, other than Spice Jet none of the airlines are ready. Inmarsat equipment are available on few of the Spice Jet aircraft (13 numbers).
  • Services will be available on these aircraft once BSNL gateway is ready and ISRO permission is available for Inmarsat satellite bandwidth.
  • Airlines have been requested to start the services in coordination with the IFMC service providers at the earliest.

GS-3rd Paper

Topics covered- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI)

Context

Shri Prasad also launched a web portal for reporting of stolen mobiles.

About

  • International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is supposed to be a unique identity of a mobile phone device.
  • Generally, a phone with one/two slots of SIM card is programmed with one/two IMEI number as the case may be.
  • IMEI number being programmable, some miscreants do reprogram the IMEI number, which results in cloning of IMEI causing multiple phone devices with same IMEI number.

Need

  • As on date, there are many cases of cloned/duplicated IMEI handsets in the network.
  • If such IMEI is blocked, a large number of mobile phones will get blocked being handsets with same IMEI causing inconvenience to many genuine customers.
  • Thus, there is a need to eliminate duplicate/fake IMEI mobile phones from the network.

Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)

A project called Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) system has been undertaken by the DoT for addressing security, theft and other concerns including reprogramming of mobile handsets.

The major objectives of the project-

  • Blocking of lost/stolen mobile phones across mobile networks thus discouraging theft of mobile phones
  • Facilitate in tracing of such reported lost/stolen mobile phones
  • Prevention of mobile devices with duplicate and fake IMEIs in the network
  • Curtail the use of counterfeit mobile devices
  • Reduced health risks to the users with the control of use of counterfeit mobile phones
  • Improved QoS and reduced call drops with reduction in use of counterfeit mobile devices

GS-3rd Paper

Topics Covered- Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Biological warfare

Context

Raksha Mantri said the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare adds to the complexity of the existing challenges.

 What is biological warfare?

  • Biological warfare is a form of war techniques where there is the intentional release of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, or other germs).
  • This is also referred to as germ warfare.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define bioterrorism as “the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs that can sicken or kill people, livestock, or crops.”
  • Bioterrorism incident can be achieved in a number of ways, such as: via aerosol sprays; in explosive devices; via food or water; or absorbed or injected into skin.
  • Because some pathogens are less robust than others, the type of pathogen used will define how it can be deployed

Biological warfare as a means of terrorism

  • Biological weapons are difficult to detect, economical and easy to use, making them appeal to terrorists.
  • The cost of a biological weapon is estimated to be about 0.05 percent the cost of a conventional weapon in order to produce similar numbers of mass casualties per kilometer square.
  • Moreover, their production is very easy as common technology can be used to produce biological warfare, like that used in production of vaccines, foods, spray devices, beverages and antibiotics.
  • A major factor about biological warfare that attracts terrorists is that they can easily escape, before the government agencies or secret agencies have even started their investigation.
  • This is because the potential organism has incubation period of 3 to 7 days, after which the results begin to appear, thereby giving terrorists a lead.

Concerns

  • Biological warfare is using non-human life to disrupt or end human life.
  • The living organisms can be unpredictable and incredibly resilient.
  • The biological weapons are difficult to control, potentially devastating on a global scale, and prohibited globally under numerous treaties.
  • The threat of bioterrorism is increasing as a result of-
  1. Rise of technical capabilities,
  2. Rapid expansion of the global biotechnology industry,
  3. Growth of loosely sophisticated networks of transnational terrorist groups that have expressed interest in bioterrorism.

 Consequences

  • The use of biological weapons against livestock populations or agricultural crops could have potentially disastrous spillover effects on wild species of plants and animals.

For Prelims-

‘Rudrashila’

Context

White Water Rafting Expedition – ‘Rudrashila’ Flagged off at Jaisalmer.

Highlights

  • It is the white water Rafting Expedition being undertaken by Kalidhar Battalion under the aegis of Battle Axe Division.
  • It has been organised to commemorate the 75th Raising day of the Kalidhar Battalion.
  • ‘Rudrashila’ takes its name from the famed Rudraprayag tributary of the Ganges River in the Mountains of Uttarakhand.

28TH Indo-Thai Corpat

Context

Closing ceremony of the 28th cycle of the Indo-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (INDO-THAI CORPAT) in Port Blair.

Highlights

  • 28th cycle of the Indo-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (INDO-THAI CORPAT) was held in Port Blair.
  • During the sea phase of the CORPAT from 06 to 12 September 2019, units of both the navies undertook coordinated maritime patrolling in their respective sectors of the International Maritime Boundary Line.
  • Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities.

PIB – September 12 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topics Covered– Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

6th schedule of the constitution

Context

NCST Writes to Union Home Minister & Union Tribal Affairs Minister Conveying Its recommendation to Include Union Territory of Ladakh Under 6th Schedule of Constitution of India.

 About

  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) took note of the fact that the newly created Union Territory of Ladakh is predominantly a tribal region in the country.
  • The total tribal population in Ladakh region is more than 97 percent. The region is inhabited by following Scheduled Tribes-
  1. Balti
  2. Beda
  3. Bot, Boto
  4. Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin
  5. Changpa
  6. Garra
  7. Mon

Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution

  • It deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram as per Article 244.

Key provisions

  • The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
  • If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
  • Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the Governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  • The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  • Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
  • The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction.
  • They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on.
  • All such laws require the assent of the Governor.
  • The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes.
  • They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of High Court over these suits and cases is specified by the Governor.
  • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
  • The Governor can appoint a commission to examine and report on any matter relating to the administration of the autonomous districts or regions.
  • The Governor may dissolve a district or regional council on the recommendation of the commission.

Why Ladakh should be in 6th schedule?

  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) recommends that the Union Territory of Ladakh be brought under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The Commission feels that this will help in-
  1. Democratic devolution of powers;
  2. Preserve and promote distinct culture of the region.
  3. Protect agrarian rights including rights on land
  4. Enhance transfer of funds for speedy development of Ladakh region.

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic covered- Issues relating to poverty and hunger. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

One Nation One Ration Card Scheme

Context

Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution asserted that Indian Standards should be set as per global benchmarks and just like other countries enforce their standards on imported products.

About the Scheme

  • Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, recently announced One Nation One Ration Card Scheme, which all states needs to implement by July 2020.
  • One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme seeks to provide portability of food security benefits all across the nation.

Aims

  • It aims that no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised food grains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another.
  • It also aims to remove the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.

Key features of the Scheme

  • One Nation One Ration Card scheme is to ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.
  • This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.
  • Inter-state portability will enable beneficiaries from either States’ cluster to avail the benefits accruing to them under the National Food Security Act from any of the two States.
  • The poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country but for that their ration cards must be linked to Aadhaar.
  • Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre, which include rice sold at Rs. 3/kg and wheat at Rs. 2/kg,.
  • It would not include subsidies given by their respective state government in some other state.

National Food Security Act

  • Government of India enacted National Food Security Act (NFSA) in July, 2013.
  • It gives legal entitlement to 67% of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas) to receive highly subsidized foodgrains.
  • Under the Act, foodgrain is allocated @ 5 kg per person per month for priority households category and @ 35 kg per family per month for AAY families at a highly subsidized prices of Rs. 1/-, Rs. 2/- and Rs. 3/- per kg for nutri-cereals, wheat and rice respectively.
  • Coverage under the Act is based on the population figures of Census, 2011.
  • The basic concept of food security globally is to ensure that all people, at all times, should get access to the basic food for their active and healthy life and is characterized by availability, access, utilization and stability of food.
  • Food security can also be derived from the fundamental right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, as it may be interpreted to include right to live with human dignity, which may include the right to food and other basic necessities.

GS- 2nd Paper

Topic coveredWelfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons

Context

Prime Minister launches National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons.

About the Scheme

  • The Prime Minister of India launched the National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons in Ranchi.
  • It is a pension scheme for the Vyaparis (shopkeepers/retail traders and self-employed persons) with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 1.5 crore.

Key features

  • Under this scheme all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum monthly pension of Rs. 3,000/- month after attaining the age of 60 years.
  • All small shopkeepers and self-employed persons as well as the retail traders with GST turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore and age between 18-40 years, can enroll for this scheme.
  • To take the benefits of this scheme, the applicants should not be covered under the National Pension Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and the Employees’ Provident Fund or be an Income Tax assessee.
  • The scheme would benefit more than 3 crore small shopkeepers and traders.
  • The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except Aadhaar and bank account.
  • Interested persons can enrol themselves through more than 3,25,000 Common Service Centres spread across the country.
  • The Government of India will make matching contribution in the subscribers’ account.

For Prelims-

Exercise Maitree – 2019

Context

Indo-Thailand Joint Military Exercise Maitree – 2019

Highlights

  • Joint Military Exercise MAITREE-2019 between India and Thailand will be conducted at Foreign Training Node, Umroi (Meghalaya).
  • Indian and Royal Thailand Army (RTA) comprising 50 soldiers each will participate in the exercise.
  • Exercise MAITREE is an annual training event which is being conducted alternatively in Thailand and India since 2006.
  • Significance– Exercise MAITREE with Thailand is a significant in terms of the security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of changing facets of global terrorism.
  • The scope of this exercise covers company level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.

Government e Marketplace (GeM)

Context

GeM and Punjab Government sign MoU for Setting up Project Management Unit.

Highlights

  • GeM is a state-of-the-art national public procurement platform of Ministry of Commerce and Industries.
  • It uses technology to remove entry barriers for bonafide sellers and has created a vibrant e-marketplace with a wide range of goods and services.
  • GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
  • It facilitates online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs.
  • It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value for their money.

PIB – September 10 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic coveredIndia and its neighborhood- relations.

ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting

Context

Along with 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting 7th East Asia Economic Ministers Summit and 16th ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting are also being held in Bangkok.

About 16th ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting

  • Economic Ministers from ten ASEAN Member States and the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of India (“the Ministers”) met at Bangkok in Thailand for the sixteenth AEM-India Consultations.
  • India and 10-member block of South-East Asian nations have agreed to review their free trade agreement, signed in 2009, to make it more business-friendly and boost economic ties.
  • The India-ASEAN trade in goods pact came into force from January 2010.
  • Under the pact, two trading partners set timelines for eliminating duties on the maximum number of goods traded between the two regions.
  • The bilateral trade between the two sides has increased to $ 80.8 billion in 2018 from $73.6 billion in 2017.

India and ASEAN

  • The 10 ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.
  • India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of her foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy.
  • India and ASEAN already has wide range of Dialogue Partnership and Summit Level interaction along with Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.

Economic Cooperation– ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner.

  • ASEAN India-Business Council (AIBC) was set up in 2003 to bring key private sector players from India and the ASEAN countries on a single platform.
  • India is ASEAN’s sixth largest trading partner and sixth largest source of FDI among ASEAN Dialogue Partners.
  • The FDI inflow into India from ASEAN in 2018 was USD 16.41 billion, approximately 36.98 per cent of total FDI flow into India.
  • The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been completed.
  • Political Security Cooperation- Faced with growing traditional and non-traditional challenges, politico-security cooperation is a key and an emerging pillar of our relationship.
  • India’s partnership with ASEAN seeks to craft a response that relies on coordination, cooperation and sharing of experiences at multiple levels.
  • Socio-Cultural Cooperation– Inviting ASEAN students to India, Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentarians, etc. Programmes have been initiated to boost People-to-People Interaction with ASEAN.
  • Funds- ASEAN Multilateral Division offers project-based financial assistance to ASEAN countries. Financial assistance has been provided to ASEAN countries from the following Funds
  1. ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund
  2. ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund (AISTDF)
  3. ASEAN-India Green Fund
  • Delhi Declaration-To identify Cooperation in the Maritime Domain as the key area of cooperation under the ASEAN-India strategic partnership.
  • Delhi Dialogue– India has an annual Track 1.5 event Delhi Dialogue, for discussing politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India.
  • Since 2009, India has hosted ten editions of this flagship Conference.
  • The 10th edition of Delhi Dialogue was hosted by the MEA on 19-20 July 2018 in New Delhi, with the theme, “Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Advantage”.
  • ASEAN-India Centre (AIC)– To undertake policy research, advocacy and networking activities with organizations and think-tanks in India and ASEAN.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic coveredIndian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

National Infrastructure Pipeline

Context

A task force to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the financial years from 2019-20 to 2024-25 has been constituted.

About the National Infrastructure Pipeline

National Infrastructure Pipeline will ensure that infrastructure projects are adequately prepared and launched.

It would include Greenfield and brownfield projects costing above Rs 100 crore each.

Each Ministry/ Department would be responsible for the monitoring of projects so as to ensure their timely and within-cost implementation.

It will help in stepping-up annual infrastructure investment to achieve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $5 trillion by 2024-25.

Need and Significance

  • To achieve the GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs. 100 lakh crore) over these years on infrastructure.
  • In the past decade (FY 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure.
  • The challenge is to step-up annual infrastructure investment so that lack of infrastructure does not become a binding constraint on the growth of the Indian economy.
  • Infrastructure projects will include social and economic infrastructure projects.
  • To implement an infrastructure program of this scale, it is important that projects are adequately prepared and launched. In pursuance of this, an annual infrastructure pipeline would be developed.
  • A task force to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the financial years from 2019-20 to 2024-25 has been constituted.
  • The Task Force is chaired by the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

Terms of Reference of the Task Force

  • To identify technically feasible and financially/ economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in FY 2019-20.
  • To list the projects that can be included in the pipeline for each of the remaining 5 years between FY 2021-25.
  • To estimate annual infrastructure investment/capital costs.
  • To guide the Ministries in identifying appropriate sources of financing.
  • To suggest measures to monitor the projects so that cost and time overrun is minimized.

For Prelims-

Motihari-Amlekhganj (Nepal) pipeline

Context

PM Modi and PM Oli of Nepal jointly inaugurated a cross-border petroleum products pipeline via video conference.

Highlights

  • Motihari-Amlekhganj is the South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline.
  • It is between from Motihari (Bihar) in India to Amlekhgunj in Nepal.
  • Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline is of 69 km in length and having a capacity of 2 million metric ton per annum.
  • It will provide cleaner petroleum products at affordable cost to the people of Nepal.

Golden Arrows Squadron

Context

IAF resurrects 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ for Rafale.

Highlights

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’.
  • It will operate the first squadron of Rafale fighter jets.
  • 17 Squadron was formed at Ambala on 01st Oct 1951.
  • It was then equipped with Harvard-II B aircraft.
  • By 1957, Hawker Hunter aircraft were flown by the ‘Golden Arrows’. The Squadron converted to the Mig-21 M in 1975.
  • The Squadron actively participated in Goa Liberation Campaign in Dec 1961 and in 1965 operations as a reserve force.
  • 17 Squadron took part in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and flew close air support, counter air and fighter recce missions, getting numerous gallantry awards.
  • Golden Arrows participated actively in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ in 1999.
  • On Nov 1988, the Squadron was presented ‘Colours’ by then honourable President of India.

PIB – September 11 , 2019


GS- 1st Paper

Topic coveredIndian Heritage and Culture

Context

PM greets the people on Kerala’s major festival ONAM.

The Onam Festival

  • The festival of Onam is celebrated, during the months of August-September, across Kerala and by Malyalees living across India.
  • This harvest festival is one of the major annual festivals in Kerala.
  • It includes festivities such as boat races, tiger dances, elaborate flower arrangements and a mask dance.

History

  • According to legend, king Mahabali practiced great penance and became all-powerful.
  • Vishnu took the incarnation of a Brahmin dwarf, Vamana and asked the king to give him all the land he could cover in three steps as alms.
  • The king agreed. At this Vamana grew to super-human proportions. Covering the earth and heaven in two steps, Vamana asked where he should place his third step. Mahabali offered his own head and was pushed into the nether world (or Patalam).
  • In recognition of his piety, Mahabali was made King of Patalam. He is allowed to return to his former kingdom once a year in an invisible form.
  • Onam is celebrated to assure King Mahabali that all remains well in his land, and that his people are happy and prosperous.
  • On the eve of Tiruonam, the second and the most important day of the 4-day Onam festival, everything is cleaned and decorated in preparation for king Mahabali’s visit. Auspicious saffron colour cloths are presented to friends and relatives.

When is Onam Celebrated?

  • Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham).
  • The most important day of Onam is known as Thiru Onam. Rituals commence approximately 10 days before Thiru Onam, on Atham.

Onam Games

Onam games exhibits the bravado of the machos in a terrific manner in Kerala state.

The main games play on Onam are-

  • Onakalikal
  • Talappanthukali
  • Kayyankali
  • Attakalam
  • Ambeyyal
  • KutuKutu

Dances

  • Some of the best known Kerala dances are performed on the occasion of Onam.
  • Most remarkable of them all are Kathakali, Kaikottikali and Thumbi Thullal.
  • The other enchanting folk dances performed on the occasion of Onam include Kumattikali and Pulikali or Kaduvakali.

GS- 3 Paper

Topics CoveredIssues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

National Artificial Insemination Programme

Context

National Animal Disease Control programme as well as the National Artificial Insemination Programme was launched in Mathura.

About

  • PM launched National Artificial Insemination Programme in Mathura.
    Acountry wide workshop in all the Krishi VIgyan Kendras(KVKs) in all the 687 Districts of the country on vaccination and disease management, Artificial Insemination and Productivity will be initiated.
  • Prime Minister launched a major six-month drive to promote artificial insemination in cattle in 687 Districts which have less than 50% coverage of the technology.
  • Currently, the national coverage is only 30%, though some States such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu use artificial insemination rates for more than 70% of their cattle.

Artificial insemination

  • Artificial insemination can triple milk production rates, especially for the vast majority of non-descript indigenous cows, and improve the overall quality of the cattle.
  • However, using sex-sorted semen — which increases the possibility of a female calf to about 90% — also drastically increases the cost of insemination, as the technology is still new in India.
  • The government-subsidised price of a single semen dose is only ₹20; sex-sorted semen, on the other hand, can cost ₹500 to 600 per dose.
  • Of the 11.9 crore semen doses produced in the country every year, only 10 lakh are sex-sorted.
  • Currently, only four centres — including two owned by the government — produce such semen.
  • Government would soon open 11 such centres across the country to promote widespread adoption of the technology and reduce costs.

National Animal Disease Control Programme

Context

Prime Minister launched the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) for eradicating the foot and mouth disease and brucellosis in livestock on Wednesday.

Aims

  • The programme aims to control the livestock diseases by 2025 and eradicate these by 2030.
  • The programme aims at vaccinating over 500 million livestock including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs against the FMD.
  • The programme also aims at vaccinating 36 million female bovine calves annually in its fight against the brucellosis disease.

Funding

  • NADCP project will cost ₹12,652 crores for a period of five years till 2024,.
  • It will be funded entirely by the government.

Significance

  • The Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis are common among livestock such as- cow, buffaloes, bulls, pigs, sheep and goats. Both the diseases have a direct negative impact on trade of milk and other livestock products.
  • As per government data if a cow or buffalo gets infected with FMD, the milk loss is up to 100% which could last for4-6 months.
  • In case of Brucellosis, the milk output reduces by 30% during entire life cycle of animal and animal and also causes infertility among animals.
  • The infection of brucellosis can also be transmitted to farm workers and livestock owners.

GS- 3 Paper

Topics covered- Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

Fall Armyworm (FAW)

Context

Maize crops falling victim to fall armyworm in Bihar.

About  FAW

Fall Armyworm (FAW), an insect indigenous to the Americas, has been spreading across the globe harming crops.

It migrated to Africa in 2016 and India in June 2018.

It has also spread to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Southern parts of China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Fall Armyworm in India

It was reported in India for the first-time in Karnataka.

Within a span of only six months, almost 50 per cent of the country, including Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, has reported FAW infestations.

Danger of Fall Armyworm

  • It is the polyphagous (ability to feed on different kinds of food) nature of the caterpillar.
  • It has ability of the adult moth to fly more than 100 km per night.
  • Nearly 80 different crops ranging from maize to sugarcane are under threat of FAW attack.
  • It can spread across large tracts of land as it can fly over large distances. This explains the quick spread of the pest across India.

Integrated Pest Management of FAW

  • IPM is an integrated strategy of pest control.
  • It aims at prevention of pests and its damage through a combination of techniques such as chemical, biological, new cropping system, modification of cultural practices, use of resistant varieties and through mechanical methods.
  • IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.

For Prelims-

MPATGM missiles

Context

DRDO successfully flight-tests indigenously developed low weight, fire & forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile.

Highlights

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today successfully flight tested indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in the ranges of Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The missile was launched from a man portable Tripod launcher and the target was mimicking a functional tank.
  • This is the third series of successful testing of MPATGM.
  • The missile is incorporated with state-of-the-art Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics.
  • The test paves the way for the Army to have developed 3rd generation man portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile indigenously.

Indian Institute of Skills, Mumbai

Context

Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, lays Foundation Stone for Indian Institute of Skills, Mumbai.

Highlights

  • Indian Institute of Skills (IISs) in line with Institutes of Eminence including IITs and IIMs.
  • Tata Group to invest Rs. 300 crore in setting up the 4.5 acres campus at Sion.
  • IIS aims to enroll 5,000 students per year with campus placement of 70% trainees.
  • The Union Cabinet had given its nod to set up Indian Institute of Skills (IISs) in three locations of the country — Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Kanpur, to give wings to the Skill India Mission.
  • These institutes will be constructed & operated on a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model and in not-for-profit basis.

PIB – September 9 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic covered– Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

UNCCD COP 14

Context

14th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) is being held in New Delhi.

About COP14

  • The 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is being held in Greater Noida.
  • India is presiding COP for the next two years until the next COP is hosted in 2021.
  • An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 Parties are expected.
  • One of the primary functions of COP-14 is to review reports submitted by Conference of Parties to convention and detailing how they are carrying out their commitments.

Significance

  • It is essential to establish a responsible land governance to provide an enabling environment for ecosystem restoration and biodiversity protection.
  • Responsible land governance is also a key to land use-based adaptation and for improving the livelihoods of many small-scale farmers.
  • At the UNCCD COP 14, there is an opportunity to adopt an ambitious resolution on land tenure for Land Degradation Neutrality.
  • Parties to the convention must use this opportunity to empower communities to better adapt to the impacts of the climate emergency.

About UNCCD

  • The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an international agreement on good land stewardship.
  • It helps people, communities and countries to create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food and water and energy, by ensuring land users have an enabling environment for sustainable land management.
  • It was established in 1994.
  • UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
  • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
  • The Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively.
  • It works together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought.
  • The UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.
  • The permanent Secretariat of the UNCCD is located in Bonn, Germany since January 1999.
  • It was established during the first Conference of the parties (COP 1) held in Rome in 1997.

Bonn Challenge

  • The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
  • It was launched in 2011 by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and later endorsed and extended by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.
  • At COP-13 (2015) in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge and had committed towards restoring 13 million hectares (MH) of degraded and deforested land by year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares (MH) by 2030.
  • India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.

India and UNCCD

  • Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a flagship project which is a part of a larger international initiative called ‘Bonn Challenge’.
  • The project is aimed at enhancing India’s capacity for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR).
  • During the pilot phase of project (initial 3.5 years), it will be implemented in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka.
  • Initially, the project will be aimed at developing and adapting best practices and monitoring protocols for country, and building capacity within 5 pilot States.
  • The project will be implemented by MoEFCC in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

GS- 3rd Paper

Topics Covered Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP)

Context

Prime Minister shall be launching the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) for eradicating the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis in the livestock.

About NADCP

  • The National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis is a new Central Sector Scheme.
  • It is a 100% centrally funded programme, with a total outlay of Rs. 13,343.00 crore from 2019 to 2024.
  • It aims to control Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by 2025 with vaccination and eventual eradication by 2030.

It has the following components-

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control programme

  • The programme envisages 100% vaccination coverage of cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats and pigs at six months interval in the entire country.
  • Further, animals will be identified using unique animal identification ear tags.
  • The programme also includes de-worming of the targeted population of livestock twice a year as one of its activities.

Brucellosis control programme

  • The programme envisages 100% vaccination coverage of female cattle and buffalo calves (4-8 months of age) once in a lifetime.
  • The total cost of the Scheme has been proposed at Rs.13,343.00 crore for five years (2019-24) and the proposed allocation for the Financial Year 2019-20 is Rs2,683.00 crore.

About Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)

  • It is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease.
  • It affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids.
  • FMD is not recognised as a zoonotic disease.

Symptoms

  • The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
  • Other frequent symptoms are depression, hypersalivation, loss of appetite, weight loss, growth retardation and a drop in milk production, which can persist even after recovery.
  • The virus responsiblefor the disease is a picornavirus, the prototypic member of the genus Aphthovirus.

Concerns

  • Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has severe implications for animal farming.
  • It is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.

Effect on Humans

  • Humans can be infected with foot-and-mouth disease through contact with infected animals.
  • The virus that causes FMD is sensitive to stomach acid, it cannot spread to humans via consumption of infected meat, except in the mouth before the meat is swallowed.
  • Symptoms of FMD in humans include malaise, fever, vomiting, red ulcerative lesions (surface-eroding damaged spots) of the oral tissues, and sometimes vesicular lesions (small blisters) of the skin.

GS-2nd Paper

Topic covered– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

Context

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shall launch the Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana on the 12th of September at Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Salient features of PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

  • The Scheme shall secure the lives of 5 Crore Small and Marginal Farmers by providing a minimum pension of Rs 3000 per month to those who attain 60 years of age.
  • The scheme has an outlay of Rs 10,774 Crores for the next three years.
  • All the small and marginal farmers who are currently between the ages of 18 to 40 years can apply for the scheme.
  • The farmers will have to make a monthly contribution of Rs.55 to Rs.200, depending on their age of entry, in the Pension Fund till they reach the retirement date i.e. the age of 60 years.
  • The Central Government will also make an equal contribution of the same amount in the pension fund.
  • The spouse is also eligible to get a separate pension of Rs.3000/- upon making separate contributions to the Fund.
  • The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) shall be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.

Family Pension

  • During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension.
  • Family pension is applicable only to spouse.
  • In case of death of the farmer before retirement date, the spouse may continue in the scheme by paying the remaining contributions till the remaining age of the deceased farmer.
  • If the spouse does not wish to continue, the total contribution made by the farmer along with interest will be paid to the spouse.
  • If there is no spouse, then total contribution along with interest will be paid to the nominee.
  • After the death of both the farmer and the spouse, the accumulated corpus shall be credited back to the Pension Fund.
  • The beneficiaries may opt voluntarily to exit the Scheme after a minimum period of 5 years of regular contributions.
  • The farmers, who are also beneficiaries of PM-Kisan Scheme, will have the option to allow their contribution debited from the benefit of that Scheme directly.

Enrolment Process under PM-SYM

  • The subscriber will be required to have a mobile phone, savings bank account and Aadhaar number.
  • The eligible subscriber may visit the nearest CSCs and get enrolled for PM-SYM using Aadhaar number and savings bank account/ Jan-Dhan account number on self-certification basis.
  • Enrollment agencies: The enrolment will be carried out by all the Community Service Centers (CSCs).
  • Facilitation Centres:All the branch offices of LIC, the offices of ESIC/EPFO and all Labour offices of Central and State Governments will facilitate the unorganised workers about the Scheme, its benefits and the procedure to be followed, at their respective centers.

Significance of the scheme

  • The PM – SYM is a crucial scheme to provide social securityto vulnerables.
  • It will in effect provide wage protection, job security, social security to the workers and ultimately alleviate the hardships they face.
  • Eventually it will boost the overall economic growth of the country.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic covered– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Crop Residue Management

Context

National Conference on Crop Residue Management for the farmers

In Situ Crop Residue Management

The Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of agricultural mechanization for In-Situ management of crop residue in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and National capital territory of Delhi’ has been launched.

Objective of the Schemes

  • To reduce the air pollution and preventing loss of nutrients and soil microorganisms caused by burning of crop residue.
  • To promote in-situ management of crop residue through the use of appropriate mechanization inputs.
  • To promote Farm Machinery Banks (FMB) for custom hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery.
  • Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration of crop residue management methods and capacity building activities.
  • To educate for effective utilization and management of crop residue.

Key Features of Scheme

  • Under this scheme, the proceeds from central fund will be used to establish Farm Machinery Banks (FMBs) for Custom Hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery.
  • Government will provide 80% financial assistance of project cost to cooperative societies of farmers, FPOs, SHGs, registered farmers societies or farmers groups, private entrepreneurs and group of women farmers.
  • It will also provide 50% financial assistance to farmers for procurement of agriculture machinery and equipment for in-situ crop residue management.
  • Beneficiaries will be identified and selected for establishment of Farm Machinery Bank for Custom Hiring and procurement of machines on individual ownership basis by state nodal department/DLEC.
  • The central fund will also be used to create awareness among farmers about in-situ management of crop residue.

Significance

  • Stubble burning releases particulate matter, CO, CO2, ash and SO2 and these gases affect human health due to general degradation in air quality resulting in aggravation of eye and skin diseases.
  • Stubble burning results not only into loss of nutrients from soil but also alters soil properties like soil temperature, pH, moisture, available phosphorus and soil organic matter.