Essential Facts (Prelims): 21 December, 2018

Dam Safety Bill

  • Of India’s 5,254 large dams, some 75% are over 25 years old, and 164 more than 100 years old.
  • The legislation provides for a National Committee on Dam Safety, to be headed by the CWC chairperson and with members nominated by the Centre; there will be representatives of the Centre and states (through rotation) as well as dam safety experts.
  • The committee will formulate policies and regulations, which are to be implemented by a centrally appointed National Dam Safety Authority, headed by an officer of at least Additional Secretary rank.
  • The authority will also resolve issues between State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs) or between a SDSO and any individual dam owner, lay down regulations for dam inspection and for accreditation to construction and designing agencies.
  • In cases where a dam is owned by one state and located in another, or extends over multiple states, or is owned by a central public sector undertaking, the Bill provides that the National Dam Safety Authority will act as the SDSO.


  • As per International Energy Agency (IEA), India was the third largest coal producer in the world during 2016-17.
  • As per the current import policy, coal is kept under Open General License (OGL) and consumers are free to import coal from the source of their choice as per their contractual prices on payment of applicable duty.
  • The all India raw coal production has increased from 565.77 MT in 2013-14 to 676.48 MT in 2017-18.


  • An ‘e-Drishti’ interface has been unveiled for the Union Railway Minister, Minister of State and Board Members.
  • This software includes an interface which provides summary information on punctuality of trains for the previous day.
  • There is also an interface which provides information on current train running on the Indian Railway network.
  • In addition, there are interfaces providing details of freight earning, freight loading and passenger earnings for the previous day & month and cumulative for the year, in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year.

SDG India Index

  • The NITI Aayog has released the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index.
  • The index comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
  • NITI Aayog has the twin mandate to oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country, and also promote Competitive and Cooperative Federalism among States and UTs.
  • The SDG India Index tracks progress of all States and UTs on 62 Priority Indicators selected by NITI Aayog.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are the top performers on the index.
  • The Index spans 13 out of 17 SDGs.


  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram(PMJVK) is an area development programme implemented in identified Minority Concentration Areas (MCAs) of the country for the remaining period of 14th Finance Commission.
  • Earlier, it was known as Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP).
  • The MCAs are relatively backward areas having substantial population of minority communities.
  • The objective of the scheme is to bring the identified MCAs at par with the national average by providing infrastructure related to education, skill, health etc


  • Assam is the third largest silk producing state in the country, having potential for production of 3 varieties of silk (mulberry, eri and muga), sharing around 15% of country’s total raw silk production.
  • Muga silk of Assam is the unique golden-yellow silk produced only in India.
  • Central Silk Board (CSB) has been implementing a Central Sector Scheme “Silk Samagra” for development of sericulture in the country, which mainly focuses on improving quality and productivity of domestic silk thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imported silk.

Start-up Ranking

  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced results of thefirst ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018.
  • Best Performer is Gujarat.


  • Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is an indigenously-designed heavy artillery gun.
  • It is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.


  • While a vaccine against Zika would create protective antibodies against the virus, antibodies against Zika virus can worsen dengue virus infection.
  • Known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of disease, this phenomenon has been an obstacle to the development of effective and safe dengue virus vaccines.


  • Two major tributaries, Pandu and Varuna, are increasing pollution load of the river.