Essential Facts (Prelims): 18 December, 2018


  • For the first time, an An-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew with blended bio-jet fuel produced from Jatropha oil.
  • This bio-jet fuel technology was developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 2009.

Ujjwala Yojana

  • The Union Cabinet approved the expansion of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which aims to provide deposit-free LPG connections to all poor households.
  • So far, the scheme targeted the poor and underprivileged so listed in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, 2011.
  • Now, poor people will be able to opt for the scheme even if they so far were not eligible.
    J & K
  • Since J & K has a separate Constitution, in such cases, six months of Governor’s rule is compulsory under Article 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, under which all the legislature powers are vested with the Governor.
  • The Governor has to dissolve the Legislative Assembly after the tenure of six months is over and the State will directly come under the President’s rule for following six months during which elections have to be declared in State.
  • In case the elections are not declared, President’s rule can be extended by another six months.
  • No Presidential proclamation shall in any case remain in force for more than three years except for the intervention of the Election Commission of India, which has to certify that the continuance in force of the Proclamation is necessary on account of difficulties in holding elections to the Legislative Assembly.


  • Israeli is to launch the country’s first spacecraft to the moon.
  • The spacecraft is called Beresheet, or Genesis in Hebrew, and weighs some 585 kg.
  • It will be sent via a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX .
  • Israel would be the fourth country to land on the moon.


  • The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) policy was launched in 2000.
  • The Special Economic Zones Act was passed by Parliament in 2005.
  • The SEZs Rules came into effect in 2006.
  • The salient features of the SEZ scheme are:-
  • A designated duty free enclave to be treated as a territory outside the customs territory of India for the purpose of authorised operations in the SEZ
  • No licence required for import;
  • Domestic sales subject to full customs duty and import policy in force;
  • No routine examination by customs authorities of export or import cargo;
  • In addition to seven Central Government Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 11 State/Private Sector SEZs set-up prior to the enactment of the SEZs Act, approvals have been accorded to 420 proposals for setting up of SEZs in the country.
  • Of 355 notified SEZs, 230 SEZs are operational.
  • SEZs are primarily private investment driven.
  • No funds are sanctioned by the Central Government for setting up of SEZ. However, fiscal concessions and duty benefits have been allowed to developers and units.
  • The Government had constituted a Group of eminent persons under the Chairmanship of Shri Baba Kalyani to study the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Policy of India in June 2018.  One of the terms of the reference for the group was to make the SEZ Policy WTO compatible.

Make in India

  • The ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched in 2014 with the objective of promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub in manufacturing, design and innovation.
  • Some of the major achievements under Make in India initiative are:
  • India has become a net exporter of electricity – exported to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Asia’s largest MedTech Zone (AMTZ) has been set up in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Three textile mega clusters in Bareilly, Lucknow and Kutch are being set up, thereby benefitting 14505 artisans.
  • Initially under Make in India initiative action plans for 25 sectors had been prepared and which after review is now focused on 27 sectors.
  • Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion coordinates action plans for 15 manufacturing sectors while Department of Commerce coordinates 12 service sectors.
  • Investment promotion activities after launch of Make in India initiative are being undertaken by several Central Government Ministries, Departments and various State Governments from time to time.

Project ‘Mausam’

  • Project ‘Mausam’ is the initiative of Ministry of Culture to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI.).
  • This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean.
  • The main objective of the project is to inscribe places and sites identified under Project Mausam as trans-national nomination for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.


  • The Government has approved “Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022”, as per which the scope of institutions to be funded through Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been enlarged to encompass School Education and Medical Education institutions, apart from Higher Education.
  • The total authorized equity capital of HEFA has been raised to Rs.10,000 crore, with the facility to leverage additional resources from the market, based on requirement.
  • A total Government equity of Rs. 6,000 Crore, has been approved.
  • All funds for educational infrastructure in centrally funded educational institutions will henceforth be in the form of ten year loans through HEFA to the institution, the interest liability of which would be borne by the Government.
  • The principal repayment would be undertaken by the institutions in part or full depending on their age profile and financial capability.
  • For new institutions and those which have limited internal fund generating capacity, the entire principal and interest repayment would be undertaken by the Government.
  • There is an additional window of financing for school and medical education institutions where the sponsoring Department would undertake to repay the principal and interest to HEFA.


  • The Government of India, in August 2018, had sanctioned the scheme “Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS)”.
  • Under the Scheme, 1500 research projects will be awarded for 2 years to support the social science research in the higher educational institutions and to enable research to guide policy making.

  • APY

    In the case of Atal Pension Yojana (APY), depending upon the pension plan selected, each subscriber under APY shall receive a guaranteed minimum pension of Rs. 1000 per month or Rs. 2000 per month or Rs. 3000 per month or Rs. 4000 per month or Rs. 5000 per month, after the age of 60 years until his/her death.

  • Under National Pension System (NPS), there is no ceiling fixed for minimum pension.
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is implemented by Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance with primary objective of developing the micro enterprise sector in the country by extending various supports including financial support so as to achieve the goal of “funding the unfunded” and for financial assistance under PMMY prospective entrepreneurs apply on the Udyami Mitra portal.


  • Pradhan Mantri Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyan (PM-YUVA) is an ongoing scheme of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • Under the scheme, entrepreneurship education is given to encourage entrepreneurship and help people to become self employed within the country.

Ramyana Circuit

  • Ramayana Circuit is one of the fifteen thematic circuits identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism.
  • The Ministry has initially identified fifteen destinations for development under the Ramayana Circuit theme namely Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga (Bihar), Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Nashik & Nagpur (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).


  • In the context of establishing quality residential schools for the promotion of education, Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) for ST students are set up in States / UTs with provisioning of funds through “Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution”.
  • The establishing of EMRSs are based on demand of the concerned States/UTs with availability of land as an essential attribute.
  • As per the budget 2018-19, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022.


  • More than 1.03 crore LPG consumers have voluntarily surrendered their LPG subsidy under ‘GiveItUp’ campaign.

Swadhar Griha

  • The Women and Child Development Ministry runs ‘Swadhar Griha’ as temporary rehabilitation centres for adult women survivors of domestic violence and trafficking, as well as for women who have nowhere to go after being freed from jail.


  • India declared a financial package of $1.4 billion for the Maldives.