PIB – October 11 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic- Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders. 

‘India International Cooperatives Trade Fair (IICTF)’

Context

The first ever ‘India International Cooperatives Trade Fair’ (IICTF) was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

About IICTF

  • ‘India International Cooperatives Trade Fair’ (IICTF) is unique initiative that provides single platform to farmers, artisans & other members of cooperatives directly to global trade arena.
  • It is conceived as a major platform to promote exports of Indian cooperative produce and is packed with exhibitions, Business to Business meetings, conferences, cultural programmes etc.

Objective

  • IICTF is aimed at the vision and goal of doubling farmers’ income by promoting cooperative-to-cooperative trade within India & abroad.
  • To promote exports of key agriculture commodities and products leading to enhanced rural and farm prosperity.

Background

  • This IICTF initiative is part of Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) 2018.
  • Agriculture Export Policy 2018 aims at doubling agriculture export and integrating Indian farmers and agriculture products with global value chains.
  • As per AEP 2018, the Cooperative sector has big role to play in doubling agriculture exports from present $30 billion to $60 billion by 2022.

Organisers and Participants

  • The Fair is jointly organised by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) in association with the Bangkok based international organization Network for the Development of Agricultural Cooperatives (NEDAC).
  • 3 Central Ministries, 4 State Governments and several apex level Indian cooperative organizations.

Key Initiative at IICTF

YuvaSahakar-­Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme 2019

  • National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has formulated ‘YuvaSahakar-­Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme 2019’.
  • It is in line with Government’s focus on programmes like Start-up India and Stand-up India aimed at young entrepreneurs with new and innovative ideas.

‘Simply desi’

  • Sahakar Bharati, launched their brand ‘Simply desi’ which will provide good marketing and branding opportunities for cooperatives.
  • Sahakar Bharati is the single largest organisation focusing on enlightening masses about the benefit of cooperative movement.

Significance

  • IICTF offers a huge opportunity for the industry and business houses from India and abroad to build alliances, business networking, product sourcing.

 For Prelims-

‘The order of the Green Crescent’

Context

India and Comoros sign MoUs on Defence Cooperation, health, culture and arts.

Highlights

  • The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu visited to Comoros and Sierra Leone by declaring that India accorded highest priority to deepening its engagements with African nations.
  • India and Comoros today signed 6 MoUs including one on defence cooperation.
  • The Comorian President conferred the ‘Order of the Green Crescent’ on the Vice President of India.
  • ‘Order of the Green Crescent’ is the highest civilian honour of the Union of Comoros.

IN-BN CORPAT

Context

India – Bangladesh Navies Undertake Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) in North Bay of Bengal.

Highlights

  • The second edition of Indian Navy(IN) –Bangladesh Navy(BN) Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) commenced in Northern Bay of Bengal.
  • The two-day CORPAT will be followed by the maiden edition of IN-BN Bilateral Exercise at Visakhapatnam.
  • The IN-BN CORPAT was commenced in 2018.
  • It is aimed at upgrading to a bilateral exercise with the navies engaging in seamanship evolutions, flying exercises with integral helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft at sea.
  • Exercises entailing the development of mutual communication and sharing of best practices would also be undertaken, adding a new dimension to the Indo – Bangladesh maritime relations.
  • India and Bangladesh share a common territorial boundary of over 4000 km and a maritime boundary.
  • Navies of both the counties aim to practice and hone their mutual cooperation whilst patrolling near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) during the current edition of CORPAT.

Kayakalp awards

Context

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare gives away Kayakalp awards to Public and Private Health Facilities for high standards of sanitation and hygiene.

Highlights

  • The Kayakalp Award was instituted as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on 15th May 2015.
  • The Kayakalp award was envisioned as a national initiative to recognize and felicitate public health facilities that demonstrate high levels of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control measure on promoting cleanliness in public spaces.
  • Kayakalp has played a pivotal role in reinstating and reconfirming trust and confidence of the community in public health facilities.
  • Under the Central Government Hospitals A category, the first prize of Rs. 3 crore was given to the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.
  • JIPMER, Puducherry was judged as the runner-up in this category with Rs. 1.5 crore prize money,
  • Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER),Chandigarh and Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi won the Commendation Award of Rs. 50 Lakh each.
  • In the group B category, the winner was VBCH, Silvassa winning Rs. 2 crore,
  • AIIMS Bhubaneswar as the runner-up winning Rs. 1 crore.
  • NEIGRIHMS, Shillong, LGBRIMH, Tezpur and AIIMS, Bhopal each won Rs. 50 lakhs as Commendation Award.
  • Over the period, the number of facilities under Kayakalp rose from 750 health facilities in 2015-16 to more than 26000 facilities in 2018-19.

“mHariyali” App

Context

Mobile App, “mHariyali” Launched for ‘Environment Protection in Government Colonies’ Website.

Highlights

  • Minister of State(I/c) for Housing & Urban Affairs launching the mobile app, “mHariyali,”
  • The app is aimed to encourage Public engagement in planting trees and other such Green drives.
  • The App provides for automatic geo-tagging of plants.
  • This app will also enable nodal officers to periodically monitor the plantation. The App is user friendly and works on any android mobile phone.

SARAS Aajeevika Mela

Context

The Ministry of Rural Development is organising SARAS Aajeevika Mela at India Gate Lawns in October.

About SARAS Aajeevika Mela

  • SARAS Aajeevika Mela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
  • The Mela is organised by the marketing arm of the Ministry, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).

Objectives

  • To bring the rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed with support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform to show-case their skills, sell their products and help them build linkages with bulk buyers.
  • Through participation in SARAS Aajeevika Mela, these rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers.

PIB – October 10 , 2019


GS- 2 Paper

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

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Context

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways to attend the 9th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial meeting to be held on at Bangkok in Thailand. 

About 9th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial meet

  • The 9th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) intersessional Ministerial meeting is to be held in Bangkok, Thailand
  • This will be the last Ministerial before the 3rdLeaders Summit to be held on November 4th2019 in Bangkok.
  • The 9thIntersessional Ministerial Meeting comes at a crucial stage where the RCEP is scheduled to be announced as concluded in November 2019.
  • The focus and emphasis of the meetings chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister was on putting in place appropriate safeguards including auto-trigger mechanism against sudden surge in imports from RCEP countries.
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with six partners namely People’s Republic of China (ACFTA), Republic of Korea (AKFTA), Japan (AJCEP), India (AIFTA) and Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA).

About RCEP

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • The member countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Its six FTA partners are China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • RCEP is the world’s largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy.
  • The RCEP negotiations were launched by leaders from 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and 6 ASEAN FTA partners (Australia, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand).

Objectives

  • The objective of launching RCEP negotiation is to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s FTA partners.
  • RCEP aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers.
  • To provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates.
  • It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.

Significance of RCEP for India

  • RCEP is considered as an alternative to the other important multilateral treaty named Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
  • The TPP agreement excludes two of the important Asian powers – China and India.
  • The RCEP provides an opportunity to establish greater economic stature of India among the other South Asian countries.
  • It can play an important role in the success of India’s Act East policy.
  • RCEP agreement would complement India’s existing free trade agreements with ASEAN nations and some of its member countries.
  • India will have access to vast regional markets of these countries thereby helping its economy.

Importance of RCEP

  • In 2017, prospective RCEP member states accounted for a population of 3.4 billion people with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP, PPP) of 49.5 trillion USD, approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP.
  • It is combined GDPs of India and China making up more than half that amount.
  • RCEP is the world’s largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy.
  • It is estimated that by 2050 the GDP of RCEP member states is likely to amount to nearly 250 trillion USD with the combined GDPs of India and China making up more than 75 percent of the amount.

Concerns of India

  • India’s main concern is that agreeing to eliminate tariffs altogether will mainly help China.
  • India is worried that China would dump its low-cost steel and other products and thus it will cause serious harm to its domestic industries.
  • India has got massive trade deficit with China. Under these circumstances, India proposed differential market access strategy for China.
  • There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.

GS-2 Paper

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

Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW)

Context

Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurates 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW).

About CCHFW

  • The Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW) was set up under Article 263 of the Constitution.
  • It aims to provide support and advice to the Department of Health on policy formulation.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in collaboration with the WHO Country Office for India has compiled and digitized the proceedings of all Central Council meetings held from the year 1988 upto 2010.

13th conference of CCHFW

  • The 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The CCHFW meeting was aimed at building consensus on national health priorities i.e. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through Ayushman Bharat, eliminating TB and other priority agenda such as strengthening medical infrastructure.
  • The conference also aims to promote steps towards the target of National Health Policy 2017, that is, to allocate 2.5% of GDP to health by 2025.

Key points of the Conference

The conference is to be focused on 4 pillars of healthcare-

  1. Universal Health Coverage
  2. Mission mode interventions
  3. Quality and accessible affordable healthcare services
  4. Adequate Infrastructure
  • The Union Health Minister released the reports on-
  • National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey India (2015 – 19).
  • Report on National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy survey India (2015 – 19).
  • Leaflets on Suicide Prevention marking the World Mental Health Day was released.
  • SUMAN – Surakshit Matritva Aashwasam – A new initiative for zero preventable maternal and new born deaths was launched.

For Prelims-

India Carpet Expo

Context

The Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) is organizing the 38thIndia Carpet Expo.

Highlights

  • The Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) is organizing the 38thIndia Carpet Expo (15thin Varanasi).
  • It aims to promote the cultural heritage and weaving skills of Indian hand-made carpets.
  • India carpet expo is a platform for international carpet buyers, buying houses, buying agents, architects.
  • The Expo is organized twice a year in Varanasi and Delhi.
  • India Carpet Expo is one of the largest handmade carpet fairs in Asia.
  • The major carpet producing centres in India are in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, North East Region of India, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
  • India exports 85-90% of its total carpet production.
  • India is exporting its handmade carpets to more than 70 countries in the world, mainly to the USA, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, France, Italy and Brazil. Recently, exports have also started to China.
  • Germany and other European countries were the traditional markets for export of Indian products followed by USA.
  • The European markets have been fully developed and have reached saturation point.
  • Indian Handmade Carpet Industry is highly labour intensive and provides employment to over 20 lakh workers and artisans especially women directly or indirectly in the rural areas.

 

PIB – October 9 , 2019


GS-2 Paper

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

National Health Mission (NHM)

Context

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Progress under National Health Mission (NHM) and Decisions of the Empowered Programme Committee and Mission Steering Group of the NHM.

Key features of NHM Progress

  • There has been acceleration in decline of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) and the IMR since the launch of the NRHM/NHM.
  • At the current rate of decline, India should able to reach its SDG target (MMR-70, U5MR-25) much before the due year i.e. 2030.
  • Malaria cases have declined by 49.09% and 50.52% in 2013 respectively compared to 2017.
  • Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has been significantly strengthened and intensified.
  • Amongst the new vaccines, Tetanus and adult Diphtheria (Td) vaccine replaced Tetanus Toxoid (TT) vaccine under universal immunization programme in 2018 to ensure Diphtheria immunity among adults.
  • In 2018, Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination drive was conducted in 17 additional States, thereby covering 30.50 Crores children till March 2019.
  • During 2018-19, Rotavirus vaccine (RVV) was introduced in additional two States. Till today, all the States/UTs are covered with RVV.
  • During 2018-19, Pneumococcal Conjugated Vaccine (PCV) was expanded to MP, Haryana and the remaining districts of Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The routine and recurring incentives of ASHAs got increased from 1000 per month to 2000 per month.
  • Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Abhiyaan was launched under POSHAN Abhiyaan in April 2018.
  • Home Based Care for Young Child (HBYC) programme was introduced under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • The scheme for awarding States/UTs/Districts for achieving disease free status in TB/Leprosy/Malaria/Kala-Azar/Lymphatic-Filariasis/Cataract was approved.
  • National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme was approved for prevention, management and treatment of Hepatitis to A, B, C and E and rollout was initiated. This would benefit an estimated 5 crore patients of Hepatitis.

About NHM

  • National Health Mission (NHM) was launched by the government of India in 2013.
  • It subsumes the National Rural Health Missionand the National Urban Health Mission.
  • It was further extended in March 2018, to continue till March 2020.
  • The main programmatic components include Health System Strengthening in rural and urban areas for – Reproductive-Maternal- Neonatal-Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A), and Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases.
  • The NHM envisages achievement of universal access to equitable, affordable & quality health care services that are accountable and responsive to people’s needs.

The NHM have six components-

  1. National Rural Health mission ( now calledNRHM- RCH flexipool)
  2. National Urban Health Mission flexipool for population above 50000.
  3. Flexible poll for communicable diseases.
  4. Flexible poll for non- communicable diseases including injury and trauma.
  5. Infrastructure maintenance.
  6. Family welfare central sector component.

GS- 3rd Paper

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

Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI)

Context

Government today launched the GEMINI device for seamless and effective dissemination of emergency information and communication on disaster warnings, Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen.

About GEMINI

  • The satellite based communication is the solution for the dissemination of such emergency information.
  • GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite system is being utilized by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to transmit the PFZ, OSF and disaster warnings to fishermen.
  • The GAGAN system is consisting of three geosynchronous satellites (GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15). 
  • GAGAN foot-print covers the entire Indian Ocean round the clock.
  • To receive the messages transmitted through the GAGAN satellites, INCOIS together with AAI developed a low-cost GAGAN system-enabled GEMINI (GAGAN Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information) device.
  • It is electronically designed and manufactured by a private industry M/S Acord, Bangalore under Make in India Program.
  • The GEMINI device receives and transfers the data received from GAGAN satellite/s to a mobile through Bluetooth communication.
  • A mobile application developed by INCOIS decodes and displays the information in nine regional languages. 

Benefits of GEMINI

  • While PFZ Advisories provide information on the probable locations on fish aggregation in the seas, OSF provide the accurate state of the ocean.
  • Ocean State Forecasts include the forecasts on winds, waves, ocean currents, water temperature, etc. at every 6 hrs on daily basis for next 5 days.
  • It helps fishermen in maximizing their earnings, ensuring safety and in planning of fishing activities.

GS-2 Paper

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

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

Context

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

About PMILP

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

Objective

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

Key features of PMILP

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

For Prelims-

India International Cooperatives Trade Fair (IICTF)

Context

First ever ‘India International Cooperatives Trade Fair’ to be held with the aim at achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income.

Highlights

  • The first ever ‘India International Cooperatives Trade Fair’(IICTF) is going to be held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
  • IICTF is aimed at furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government’s vision and goal of doubling farmers’ income by promoting cooperative-to-cooperative trade within India & abroad.
  • To promote exports of key agriculture commodities and products leading to enhanced rural and farm prosperity.
  • IICTF also offers a huge opportunity for the industry and business houses from India and abroad to build alliances, business networking, product sourcing.
  • The Fair is jointly organised by NCDC in association with the Bangkok based international organization (NEDAC).

Yuva Sahakar ­Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme 2019

  • National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has formulated Yuva Sahakar ­Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme 2019.
  • The Scheme has an annual outlay of 100 crores. 
  • The Scheme is liberal to cooperatives in the North Eastern Region, cooperatives registered and operating in Aspirational Districts as identified by NITI Aayog, cooperatives with 100 % women/SC/ST/ PwD members.

 

PIB – October 8 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

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

India-France Relations and cooperation

Context

Strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability: Raksha Mantri

Raksha Mantri formally received the new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) from France.

Background of India- France Relationship

  • Among the P-5 countries, France along with Russia has been extremely supportive of India s candidature of the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member.
  • France has lent support to India in its fight against cross-border terrorism at the regional level in South Asia.
  • France has time and again called on countries to stop terrorism originating from their territories in the South Asian region.
  • Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s when India acquired the Ouragan aircraft.
  • France also provided and continued with the Mystères, Jaguar (Anglo-French), Mirage 2000.
  • Both countries started joint naval exercises ‘Varuna’ in 1983.
  • France was the first western country with which India established a Strategic Partnership.
  • France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site assisted in engine development and hosting of payloads.
  • France made India its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean Region.

Defence Cooperation

  • Defence cooperation between India and France increased Since 1980s after India adopted the policies of diversify its military procurement to reduce over-reliance on USSR.
  • The new commitment to go beyond the buyer-seller relationship in the field of weapons procurement.
  • Synergies between India’s large defence market and the French strengths in armament production.

Major defence deal with France

  • India signed a deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets through government to government deal
  • Under P-75 Scorpene Project six Scorpene submarines were to be built with technology transfer agreement.
  • The first two submarine Kalvari and Khanderi have been built.
  • Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) manufacturing facility set up at Mihan in Maharashtra.
  • DRAL is a joint venture between French aerospace firm, Dassault Aviation, and India’s Reliance Group.
  • It is the first private facility for production of Rafale fighter jets and Falcon civilian aircraft.
  • India and France involved in regular defence exercises, namely Exercise Shakti (Army), Exercise Varuna (Navy), Exercise Garuda(Air Force)

Space Cooperation 

  • ISRO and the French Space Agency (CNES) are cooperating for many decades.
  • ISRO launched its GSAT-17 from French Launchpad Kourou in 2017.
  • France is a major supplier of components and equipment for the Indian space programme.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation

  • India-France relationship progressed through many landmark agreements like Strategic Partnership agreement 1998 and Civil Nuclear agreement 2008.
  • After the 1998 nuclear test by India, France was the major nuclear country which understood India’s security compulsions for its nuclear test.
  • France was the first country with which India entered into civil nuclear agreement following NSG waiver.
  • General Framework Agreement and the Early Works Agreement between NPCIL and AREVA for the implementation Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) were signed in 2010.

Economic relation

  • The India-France Administrative Economic and Trade Committee (AETC) provide an appropriate framework to assess and find ways to further promote bilateral trade and investment.
  • India’s trade relationship with EU is mired in many roadblocks which are reflected in the stalled FTA negotiations with EU. This inertia also affects trade relation with France.
  • Trade is highly concentrated in certain niche areas like defence supplies.
  • In the backdrop of Brexit, France can act as an entry point for Indian businesses in Europe.

Way forward

  • The defence cooperation with France focus to equip Indian Air Force and enhance its capabilities.
  • The new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger and will give a boost to its air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region.
  • The strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability.
  • French social security laws, long-term student visas, and the facility to work for two-three years to pay off student loans are some of the areas that need to be worked out so that more effective cooperation can take place between the two countries.

For Prelims-

Rafale Combat Aircraft

Context

The first Rafale handing over Ceremony to India was held in Merignac, France.

Highlights

  • The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale aircraft procurement was signed between the Government of India and Government of France on 23 September, 2016.
  • Rafale was introduced in 2001, is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft designed and built by French company Dassault Aviation.
  • The aircraft is considered one of the most potent combat jets globally.
  • The fighter jet is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
  • The aircraft is fitted with an onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS) which suppresses the need for liquid oxygen re-filling or ground support for oxygen production.
  • It is capable of carrying out a wide range of missions including air-defence/air-superiority, reconnaissance, close air support dynamic targeting, air-to-ground precision strike/interdiction, anti-ship attacks, nuclear deterrence and refueling.
  • The aircraft is available in three main variants
  1. Rafale C single-seat land-based version,
  2. Rafale B twin-seat land-based version
  3. Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.

Significance

  • The Rafale is referred to as an ‘omnirole’ aircraft by Dassault.
  • The company claims that it has the capability to perform several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles at a very low altitude, air-to-ground and interceptions during the same sortie.

PIB – October 7 , 2019


GS- 2 Paper

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

Competition Commission of India (CCI)

Context

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) received the first green channel combination filed under the Competition Act, 2002

About CCI

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

Composition of CCI

  • The CCI is composed of a Chairperson and 6 members.
  • The members of CCI are appointed by the Central Government.
  • The CCI acts as a market regulator to check on the ill competitive practices in India.

Objectives

  • To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition.
  • Make the markets work for the benefit and welfare of consumers.
  • To promote and sustain competition in markets.
  • To protect the interests of consumers.
  • Ensure fair and healthy competition in economic activities in the country for faster and inclusive growth and development of economy.
  • Implement competition policies with an aim to effectuate the most efficient utilization of economic resources.

The Competition Appellate Tribunal

  • The Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) was formed in 2009.
  • It is a fully empowered body by the Constitution of India.
  • The final appeal after this tribunal can be made in the Supreme Court of India.

The Competition Act, 2002

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

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

BS VI vehicular emission norms

Context

India to shift to BS VI vehicular emission norms by April next year: Union Environment Minister.

About BS Norms

  • Bharat stage Emission Standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and Spark-ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • These norms are mandatory for automotive manufacturers to sell their vehicles in India.
  • These norms are applicable to all two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and construction equipment vehicles.
  • The Central government recently notified that India will leapfrog from the Bharat Stage (BS) IV emission norms that are now in force, to the BS VI norms from 1st April 2020.
  • Besides, under BS VI, particulate matter emission for diesel cars and nitrogen oxide levels are expected to be substantially lower than in BS IV.

Difference between BS VI and BS IV

  • The major difference between the existing BS-IV and forthcoming BS-VI norms is the presence of sulphur in the fuel.
  • BS-VI fuel will bring down sulphur content by 5 times from the current BS-IV levels. It has 10 ppm of sulphur as against 50 ppm in BS-IV.
  • In BS-VI fuel, the volume of PM 2.5 ranges from 20 to 40 micrograms per cubic metre whereas in BS-IV fuel it is up to 120 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • The harmful NOx from diesel cars can be brought down by nearly 70%. In the petrol cars, they can be reduced by 25%.
  • With BS-VI fuel, for every one kilometre, a car will emit 80% less particulate matter and nearly 70% less nitrogen oxide.
  • Air pollutants in BS-VI fuel are much less as compared to BS-IV fuel.

GS- 3rd Paper

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

National e-Assessment Centre

Context

Revenue Secretary inaugurates National e-Assessment Centre of IT Department.

About National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC)

  • NeAC will be an independent office that will look after the work of e-Assessment scheme which is recently notified for faceless e-assessment for income tax payers.
  • There would be a NeAC in Delhi to be headed by Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax.
  • There are 8 Regional e-Assessment Centres (ReAC) set up atDelhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
  • Cases for the specified work shall be assigned by the NeAC to different units by way of automated allocation systems.

About Faceless e-Assessment

  • e-Assessment scheme is to facilitate faceless assessment of income tax returns through completely electronic communication between tax officials and tax payers.
  • Under the new system of faceless e-Assessment, tax payers will receive notices on their registered emails as well as on registered accounts on the web portal with real time alert by way of SMS.
  • This new initiative of faceless assessment is expected to increase ease of compliance for taxpayers as the cost and anxiety of taxpayers are likely to be greatly reduced.
  • No human interface with the Department would be a game changer.
  • This is another initiative by CBDT in the field of ease of compliance for our tax payers.

Benefits of Faceless Assessment

  • NeAC eliminates human interface between Assessing Officer and Assessee.
  • New System optimises the utilisation of resources through economies of scale.
  • NeAC introduces team based assessment with dynamic jurisdiction.
  • Ease of compliance for taxpayers.
  • Brings transparency and efficiency, thus improves quality of assessment and monitoring.
  • Functional specialisation as only one agency dealing with faceless assessment.
  • Expeditious disposal of cases.
  • Standardisation and quality management.

For Prelims-

Ganga Aamantran

Context

Jal Shakti Minister launched Ganga Aamantran – a unique initiative to connect with Ganga’s Stakeholders

Highlights

  • The ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’ is a pioneering and historic exploratory open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River.
  • It will Start at Devprayag and culminating at Ganga Sagar, the expedition will cover the entire streatch of over 2500 kms of the Ganga River.
  • The expedition will encompass the five Ganga basin states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Benga.
  • It will have with stops at Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata.

Awareness exercises along the expedition

  • Bal Ganga Mela, painting and slogan competition on the theme of water conservation and Ganga rejuvenation
  • Interaction with colleges & universities by NMCG officials
  • Educating students/youth on water footprint, wetlands and biodiversity conservation
  • Test the water campaign by IITR, water testing kits
  • Celebrating festivals during the expedition
  • Exclusive tie-up with Rotary International for public outreach within community and schools
  • Public outreach by WII, IITR, GIZ, Ganga Praharis, IAF, Army, Ganga Vichar Manch during the expedition

PIB – October 5 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic- India and its neighborhood- relations.

India-Bangladesh Relations

Context

MoUs/Agreements exchanged during Official Visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India.

About India- Bangladesh Relations

  • India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state and established diplomatic relations with the country immediately after its independence in December 1971.
  • The relationship between India and Bangladesh is anchored in history, culture, language and shared values of secularism, democracy, and countless other commonalities between the two countries.
  • It is based on sovereignty, equality, trust, understanding and win-win partnership that goes far beyond a strategic partnership.
  • In the last couple of years, the relationship has been further strengthened including through cooperation in new and high-technology areas.

MoUs/Agreements exchanged between Bangladesh and India

Major MoUs/Agrrements were signed during Official Visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India.

  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports
  • MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni river by India for drinking water supply, scheme for Sabroom town, Tripura, India
  • Agreement concerning implementation of GoI Line of Credits (LOC) extended to Bangladesh
  • MoU between University of Hyderabad and University of Dhaka
  • Cultural Exchange Programme- Renewal
  • MoU on Co-operation in Youth Affairs
  • MoU on providing Coastal Surveillance System

Importance of Bangladesh to India

Bangladesh is important neighboring country of India. There are numerous reasons of its importance. Such as-

Border sharing and Connectivity

  • India and Bangladesh have signed several pacts, so India can send goods and passengers over land across Bangladesh, connecting Bengal to Tripura.
  • Chittagong port is now open to Indian vessels and will ease supply of goods, meaning India is much more connected to the northeast than before.
  • Akhaura-Agartala rail project will provide a major boost to development and economy of eastern Bangladesh and north eastern India.

Border Security and Management

  • Both the countries are resolved to zero-tolerance policy against terrorism.
  • Both sides emphasized simplifying people-people movement between the two countries.
  • Both leaders agreed that closer cooperation against extremist and radical groups, terrorists, smugglers, smuggling of fake currency, and organized crime remain a shared priority.
  • It was Sheikh Hasina who proactively cracked down on groups like the JMB that had a free-run in the previous regime of Begum Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
  • India’s relationship with Bangladesh is also linked to its relationship with China. India does not want Bangladesh to become a pearl in China’s “String of Pearls” strategy to hem in India by using its neighbours.

Trade Ties and Industry

  • Bangladesh is India’s largest trading partner in South Asia with an annual turnover of around $9 billion plus an estimated informal trade of around $8-9 billion.
  • To enable the flow of Bangladeshi exports into India, duty-free entry was granted in 2011 under the South Asian Free Trade Area.
  • Given Bangladesh’s GDP and economic growth, the Indian industry is taking a serious interest in investing in the country.
  • Sheikh Hasina has helmed an economic upswing in the country which the industry hopes will continue.

Capacity Building

  • India offers a number of training courses for interested Bangladesh officials/nationals including personnel of administration, police, judiciary, nuclear scientists, teachers etc.
  • Capacity building under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme is an important strand in bilateral ties and people-to-people interaction.
  • Improvement in bilateral ties has led to newer areas of cooperation such as cyberspace.

Challenges in the Bilateral Relations

  • Illegal immigration has always been a primary problem for India since the partition of Bengal.
  • Cattle smuggling is another issue, which is considered to be one of the losses for India of losing its indigenous variety and trade.
  • Terrorist Infiltration has been a matter of concern for India.
  • Fake Indian Currency Notes– Duplicate notes have been found along the border, which is a threat to cripple the Indian Economy.

River Water Sharing – Teesta

  • Teesta waters issue remains a big problem due to continuous protest by the Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal government.
  • Bangladesh is unhappy about the lack of resolution on all the common rivers.
  • Mamata Banerjee is of the view that with Bangladesh having its largest irrigation project, the Teesta Barrage, running, they do not deserve more water.
  • The treaty is particularly important for the Bangladesh government to show that there has been genuine progress in bilateral relations.
  • Bangladesh is also very keen about a Ganga Barrage.

GS- 3rd Paper

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

National e-Assessment Centre

Context

Finance Minister to inaugurate National e-Assessment Centre of Income Tax Department.

About National e-Assessment Centre

  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs inaugurates National e-Assessment Centre ( NeAC) in New Delhi .
  • The Income Tax Department is ushering in a paradigm shift in its working by introducing faceless e-assessment.

Objective

  • To impart greater efficiency, transparency and accountability in the assessment process.
  • To better taxpayer service, reduction of taxpayer grievances in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and promotion of ease of doing business.

Key features

  • There would be no physical interface between the tax payers and the tax officers.
  • Under the new system, tax payers have received notices on their registered emails as well as on registered accounts on the web portal.
  • The replies to the notices can be prepared at ease by the tax payers at their own residence or office and be sent by email to the National e-Assessment Centre by uploading the same on the designated web portal.
  • This is another initiative by CBDT in the field of ease of compliance for our tax payers.

For Prelims-

Paryatan Parv 2019

Context

Nationwide “Paryatan Parv 2019” to promote tourism concludes  in New Delhi.

Highlights

  • The Minister of Petroleum &Natural Gasand Minister of Steel, inaugurate the nationwide  “Paryatan Parv 2019”.
  • The idea of Paryatan Parv is to propagate the message of ‘DekhoApna Desh’, with the objective to encourage Indians to visit various tourist destinations of the country and also to spread the message of ‘Tourism for All’.
  • This was the 3rd edition of Paryatan Parv.
  • Paryatan Parv 2019 is dedicated to 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The three components of Paryatan Parv, are–

  1. Dekho Apna Desh
  2. Tourism for All
  3. Tourism & Governance

Goa Maritime Conclave – 2019

Context

The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) 2019, which was conducted by the Naval War College, Goa concluded.

Highlights

  • The Indian Navy will host‘Goa Maritime Conclave – 2019’ in its bid to foster friendly relations with maritime neighbours.
  • Naval War College, Goa, is hosting the eventwhich is follow-on to the maiden Goa Maritime Conclave held in 2017.
  • Theme-The theme for the conclave is “Common Maritime Priorities in IOR and need for Regional Maritime Strategy”.
  • The conclave will facilitate interaction between the participating navies and maritime agencies in the IOR on common issues of maritime interest.
  • It will play a constructive role in bringing together stakeholders that have a role in evolving strategies, policies and implementation mechanisms in the maritime domain.
  • Goa Maritime Conclave, participated by the heads of the navies of ten nationsfrom the Indian Ocean region –
  • Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand

PIB – October 4 , 2019


GS- 3rd Paper

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

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme

Context

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2019-20 (Series V) – Issue Price.

About Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme (SGB)

  • Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme was launched by Govt in November 2015, under Gold Monetisation Scheme.
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds are Government securities denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold.
  • They are substitute for investment in physical gold.
  • RBI Notifies the terms and conditions for the scheme from time to time.

Objective

  • To reduce the demand for physical gold by shifting a part of the demand for physical gold into investment in Gold Bonds.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to develop a financial asset as an alternative to purchasing metal gold.

Key features of the Scheme

  • Sovereign Gold Bond Bonds will be issued by RBI on behalf of govt.
  • It will be sold through bank, post offices and Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited.
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds will be issued on payment of rupees and denominated in grams of gold.
  • Customers can buy gold bonds which will be relatable to the weight of gold.
  • The bonds will be issued in various denominations for 5-7 years with a rate of interest to calculated on the value of the metal at the time of investment.
  • The scheme is available only for Indian citizen and institutions.
  • Capital gains tax treatment will be the same as for physical gold for an ‘individual’ investor.
  • Rate of interest under the scheme will be decided by government.
  • The bonds will be issued in denominations of 5,10,50,100 grams of gold or other denominations.
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds can be used as collateral for loans.

Significance

  • With the Reserve Bank of India issuing these gold bonds, it brings in transparency and trust, providing an avenue wherein people can own gold without having to worry about its storage or safety.
  • This scheme aims to reduce the demand for physical gold, thereby keeping a tab on gold imports and utilising resources effectively.
  • Gold and crude oil have significant role in India’s widening current account deficit.
  • The government, however, chose not to increase import duty on gold when it raised duty on non-essential imports to narrow the current account deficit, fearing a surge in gold smuggling.

GS- 3rd Paper

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

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

Context

Government has noted the reduction in repo rate from 5.40 percent to 5.15 percent announced by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Highlights

  • Government has reduced repo rate from 5.40 percent to 5.15 percent.
  • This will complement the recent measures taken by government to accelerate growth.
  • Revised growth projections of the MPC at 6.1 percent for 2019-20 along with growth projections made by other bodies including the IMF, ADB etc.
  • Higher projection of headline inflation by MPC for 2019-20, is within the band of 3-4 percent and well within the target range.

About Monetary Policy Committee

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the Central Bank in India (Reserve Bank of India), headed by its Governor.
  • Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • The formation of the monetary policy committee was mooted by the Urjit Patel committee.
  • The final decision on monetary policy should not lie with the RBI governor alone but on a group of people.
  • The MPC replaces the current system where the RBI governor, with the aid and advice of his internal team and a technical advisory committee, has complete control over monetary policy decisions.
  • Targeting inflation is to be the core objective of the central bank, and it will be answerable to law-makers if it failed to achieve the target.
  • MPC will meet four times in 1 year and will announce its decisions publicly after each meeting.

Constitution of the MPC

The Central Government constitutes the MPC through a notification in the Official Gazette.

MPC have six members

  1. The RBI Governor (Chairperson),
  2. the RBI Deputy Governor in charge of monetary policy,
  3. One official nominated by the RBI Board
  4. Three members would represent the Government of India.
  • The members appointed by the govt. will be appointed based on the recommendations by the search-cum-selection committee which will be headed by the cabinet secretary.
  • Decisions in the MPC will be taken by majority vote with each member having a vote.
  • The governor will not enjoy a veto power to overrule the other panel members, but will have a casting vote in case of a tie.
  • No government official will be nominated to the MPC.

GS-2 Paper

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

“Eat Right India” Movement

Context

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the “Trans Fat Free” logo of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

About “Eat Right India” Movement

  • The Eat Right India Movement is a year-long social and mass media campaign of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • It is the new healthy eating approach which places citizens at the centre of a Health Revolution through food and fitness.
  • This movement is aligned with the government’s flagship public health programmes such as POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anemia Mukt Bharat, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Swachh Bharat Mission.

Aims

  • The movement aims to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years.
  • It aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.

Key features

  • The FSSAI has put in place robust regulatory measures under three major pillars: Eat Safe, Eat Health and Eat Sustainably for the programme.
  • FSSAI has prescribed a limit for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) at 25% in cooking oil to avoid the harmful effects of reused cooking oil.
  • As part of ‘Eat Right India’ campaign, FSSAI has trained about 1.7 lakh food safety supervisors for capacity building under the Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) initiative.
  • They will sensitise people and food vendors on food safety.

Need of the campaign

  • The country is in need of a movement on preventive health for all in the backdrop of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, widespread deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and rampant food-borne illnesses.
  • The Eat Right India movement acts as a crucial preventive healthcare measure to trigger social and behavioural change.

GS-2 Paper

Topic- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

Context

“Trans Fat Free” logo of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was launched at the 8th International Chefs’ Conference (ICC VII).

About

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.

Objectives

  • It consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
  • To lay down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006

  • The Act also aims to establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards, by moving from multi- level, multi- departmental control to a single line of command.
  • The Act establishes an independent statutory Authority – the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India with headquarter at Delhi.
  • FSSAI Act, 2006 consolidates various acts & orders that had earlier handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments, such as–.
  1. Various central Acts like Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1954,
  2. Fruit Products Order , 1955,
  3. Meat Food Products Order,1973,
  4. Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947,
  5. Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation)Order 1988,
  6. Solvent Extracted Oil, De- Oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967,
  7. Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 etc will be repealed after commencement of FSS Act, 2006.

Functions of FSSAI

  • Framing of regulations to lay down the standards and guidelines of food safety.
  • Granting FSSAI food safety license and certification for food businesses.
  • Laying down procedure and guidelines for laboratories in food businesses.
  • To provide suggestions to the government in framing the policies.
  • To collect data regarding contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
  • Creating an information network across the country about food safety.
  • Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.

For Prelims-

Goa Maritime Conclave– 2019

Context

The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)-2019 was inaugurated at Goa on 4th October 2019.

Highlights

  • The Indian Navy will host ‘Goa Maritime Conclave – 2019’ in its bid to foster friendly relations with maritime neighbours.
  • Naval War College, Goa, is hosting the event which is follow-on to the maiden Goa Maritime Conclave held in 2017.
  • Theme- The theme for the conclave is “Common Maritime Priorities in IOR and need for Regional Maritime Strategy”.
  • The conclave will facilitate interaction between the participating navies and maritime agencies in the IOR on common issues of maritime interest.
  • It will play a constructive role in bringing together stakeholders that have a role in evolving strategies, policies and implementation mechanisms in the maritime domain.
  • Goa Maritime Conclave, participated by the heads of the navies of ten nations from the Indian Ocean region –
  • Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

World Cotton Day

Context

Union Textiles Minister represented India at World Cotton Day celebrations in Geneva.

Highlights

  • World Cotton Day being observed from 7th October in Geneva.
  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is organizing World Cotton Day event.
  • WTO is hosting the event at the request of the Cotton – 4 countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali to celebrate their official application for the recognition of 7th October as World Cotton Day by the United Nations.
  • World Cotton Day will also serve to shed light on the challenges faced by cotton economies around the world because cotton is important to least developed, developing and developed economies worldwide.

The objective of observing October, 7 as World Cotton Day is-

  • To give exposure and recognition to cotton and all its stakeholders in production,
  • Transformation and trade; to engage donors and beneficiaries and strengthen development assistance for cotton;
  • Seek new collaborations with the private sector and investors for the cotton related industries
  • Production in developing countries and promote technological advances
  • Further research and development on cotton.

PIB – October 3 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

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

National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC)

Context

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced the re-designation of NHSRC, as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy.

About

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is collaborated with World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Both have announced the re-designation of National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy.

Mandate

The mandate of the Division of Healthcare Technology at NHSRC is-

  • To draw up technical specifications for technologies procured under National Health Mission,
  • Draft policies for medical device maintenance and management,
  • Undertake evaluations of health product innovations,
  • Conduct Health Technology Assessments (HTA),
  • Support the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on issues related to diagnostics initiative,
  • National Dialysis Program and other technology intensive services.

About National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC)

  • National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) has been set up under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) of Government of India to serve as an apex body for technical assistance.
  • It is a technical Support Institute with National Health Mission.
  • NHRC was established in 2006.

Mandate

  • It is mandated to assist in policy and strategy development in the provision and mobilization of technical assistance to the states and in capacity building for the Ministry of Health.

Objective

  • The goal of this institution is to improve health outcomes by facilitating governance reform, health systems innovations.
  • To improve information sharing among all stake holders at the national, state, district and sub-district levels through specific capacity development and convergence models.

NHSRC with WHO

  • In the past, NHSRC as a collaborating centre has supported WHO in formulating technical specifications for medical devices such as oxygen concentrators and resuscitation devices.
  • It supported in evaluation of innovations for WHO’s compendium on innovative devices.
  • NHSRC developed a guidance document for the Ministry’s free diagnostics initiative to further strengthen the agenda of Universal access to affordable diagnostics.
  • NHSRC also works with WHO on development of technical specification of Blood pressure measuring devices, In vitro diagnostics and devices for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Future collaboration includes work on International Classification and Nomenclature for Medical Devices, which would improve access to affordable health technologies.

Significance

  • Such global collaborations in the area of health technology will ensure that scientific and technological advances, research and development.
  • It will ensure innovative technologies play a substantial supportive role in healthcare and enable us to reach the public health goals and achieve universal health coverage.

GS- 3rd Paper

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

PRAKASH portal

Context

Union Government launched PRAKASH portal for transparency and better coordination in coal supplies to power plants.

About PRAKASH portal

  • Government launched PRAKASH (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony) portal.
  • It is lunched jointly by The Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and the Union Minister for Coal, Mines.
  • The Portal aims– at bringing better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders viz – Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, Coal India, Railways and power utilities.
  • The Portal is designed to help in mapping and monitoring entire coal supply chain for power plants, viz –
  1. Coal Stock at supply end (mines),
  2. Coal quantities/ rakes planned,
  3. Coal quantity in transit and
  4. Coal availability at power generating station.

Benefits of Portal

The portal makes available following information on a single platform

  • Coal company will be able to track stocks and the coal requirement at power stations for effective production planning
  • Indian Railways will plan to place the rakes as per actual coal available at siding and stock available at power stations.
  • Power stations can plan future schedule by knowing rakes in pipe line and expected time to Reach.
  • Stock at power generating station
  • Ministry of Power /Ministry of Coal/ CEA/ POSOCO can review overall availability of coal at thermal power plants in different regions.

Significance

  • This is an important step in ensuring adequate availability and optimum utilization of coal at thermal power plants.
  • It would help in better planning.

For Prelims-

KAZIND -2019

Context

The 4th edition of annual military exercise KAZIND 2019 between India and Kazakhstan army started at Pithoragarh (Uttrakhand).

Highlights

  • Exercise KAZIND-2019 is the fourth edition of an annual event which is conducted alternatively in Kazakhstan and India.
  • The aim of this exercise is– joint training of troops in Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorism operations in both Jungle and Mountainous terrain.
  • During the exercise, aspects of emerging trends of global terrorism and hybrid warfare have also been included.
  • Exercise KAZIND 2019 can be termed as a facade of long standing strategic ties between India and Kazakhstan.
  • Hybrid Warfare – refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain war-fighting approach that aims to disrupt and disable an opponent’s actions without engaging in open hostilities.
  • Hybrid Warfare involves a combination of activities, including disinformation, economic manipulation, use of proxies and insurgencies, diplomatic pressure and military actions.

Ex Ekuverin – 19

Context

Tenth edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force will be organised from 07 to 20 October 2019.

Highlights

  • Tenth edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force will be organised at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • The Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin since 2009.
  • Exercise Ekuverin meaning ‘Friends’ in the Dhivehi language.
  • The 14 days Joint Exercise held alternatively in India and Maldives.
  • The focus of the exercise will be on sharing of best practices and acquainting each other with the operating procedures being followed while undertaking counter insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
  • The last exercise was held in 2018 at Northern Area Headquarters, Lh. Maafilaafushi of Maldives.
  • India shares very close ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial ties with the Maldives.
  • Exercise Ekuverin will assist in further strengthening of these ties between the two nations.

Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2019

Context

14th edition of Indo – Mongolian joint military training, Exercise Nomadic Elephant-XIV, is being conducted from 05 Oct 2019.

Highlights

  • 14th edition of Indo – Mongolian joint military training, Exercise Nomadic Elephant-XIV, is being conducted at Bakloh.
  • The Mongolian Army is being represented by officers and troops of the elite 084 Air Borne Special Task Battalion while Indian Army is being represented by a contingent of a battalion of RAJPUTANA RIFLES.
  • Nomadic Elephant-XIV is aimed – at training troops in counter insurgency &counter terrorism operations under United Nations mandate.
  • The Joint Exercise will enhance defence co-operation and military relations between the two nations.
  • It is an ideal platform for the armies of both the nations to share their experiences & best practices and gain mutually during the joint training.

PIB – October 1 , 2019


GS- 2 Paper

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

Ayushman Bharat

Context

Prime Minister launched a new mobile application for the Ayushman Bharat, on completiton of one year of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana PM-JAY.

About

  • A two-day event, Arogya Manthan , was organized by the National Health Authority, to mark the completion of one year of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY.
  • The purpose of the Arogya Manthan is to provide a platform to meet for all the important stakeholders of PM-JAY to meet and discuss the challenges faced in the implementation of the scheme in the past year.

About Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)

  • National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) is also knowan as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan.
  • It is also known as Ayushman Bharat or the or Modicare,.
  • It was launched on 25 September, 2018.
  • PM-JAY is the world’s largest health insurance scheme aimed at securing the health of over 10.70 Crore Poor families in the country.
  • PM-JAY is meant only for poor and economically-deprived people.
  • Everyone is noteligible to get free medical insurance under Ayushman Bharat scheme

. Key Features of PM-JAY

  • PM-JAY is a government-sponsored health insurance scheme .
  • It provides free coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year at any government or even empanelled private hospitals all over India for secondary and tertiary medical care facilities.
  • Modicare will be available for 74 crore beneficiary families and about 50 crore Indian citizens.
  • The expenditure incurred in premium payment will be shared between Central and State Governments in a specified ratio.
  • The funding for the scheme will be shared – 60:40 for all states and UTs with their own legislature,.
  • Northeast states and three Himalayan states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand will share in ratio of 90:10.
  • Center will fund 100% UTs without legislature.
  • The NHPS will draw additional resources from the Health and Education Cess.
  • The premiums are expected to be in the range of `Rs 1,000 – ` 1,200 per annum.

Benefits of AB-PMJAY

  • AB-PMJAY provides a defined benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. This cover will take care of almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures.
  • To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme.
  • The benefit cover will also include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.
  • All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy. A defined transport allowance per hospitalization will also be paid to the beneficiary.
  • Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
  • The beneficiaries can avail benefits in both public and empanelled private facilities.
  • All public hospitals in the States implementing AB-PMJAY, will be deemed empanelled for the Scheme.

Eligibility for AB-PMJAY

AB-PMJAY is an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.

The different categories in rural and urban areas include-

  • families having only one room with kucha walls and kucha roof;
  • families having no adult member between age 16 to 59;
  • female headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59;
  • disabled member and no able bodied adult member in the family;
  • SC/ST households;
  • landless households deriving major part of their income from manual casual labour,

Families in rural areas having any one of the following-

  • Households without shelter,
  • destitute,
  • living on alms,
  • manual scavenger families,
  • primitive tribal groups,
  • legally released bonded labour.

For urban areas-

11 defined occupational categories are entitled under the scheme

Occupational Categories of Worker sare-

  1. Rag picker,
  2. Beggar,
  3. Domestic worker,
  4. Street vendor/ Cobbler/hawker / Other service provider working on streets,
  5. Construction worker/ Plumber/ Mason/ Labour/ Painter/ Welder/ Security guard/, Coolie and another head-load worker,
  6. Sweeper/ Sanitation worker / Mali,
  7. Home-based worker/ Artisan/ Handicrafts worker / Tailor,
  8. Transport worker/ Driver/ Conductor/ Helper to drivers
  9. conductors/ Cart puller/ Rickshaw puller,
  10. Shop worker/ Assistant/ Peon in small establishment/ Helper/Delivery assistant / Attendant/ Waiter, Electrician/ Mechanic/ Assembler/ Repair worker,
  11. Washerman/ Chowkidar.

Health and Wellness Centres

  • 5 lakh existing sub centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people in the form of Health and wellness centres.
  • These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.

Services to be provided at Health & Wellness Centre

  • Pregnancy care and maternal health services
  • Neonatal and infant health services
  • Child health
  • Chronic communicable diseases
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Management of mental illness
  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Geriatric care Emergency medicine

Challenges

  • The National Health Protection Mission (NHPM) scheme, which primarily offers support for clinical services such as hospitalization, fails to address the broken public health system in the country.
  • The limited and uneven distribution of human resources at various levels of health services, with up to 40% of health worker posts lying vacant in some states.
  • The growth of a for-profit care sector poses the additional challenge of arriving at a basic care package for those who are covered by the NHPS, at appropriate costs.
  • Most primary health care centres suffer from a perennial shortage of doctors and even district hospitals are without specialists.
  • The poor condition of public sector healthcare is largely unacceptable, forcing patients to go to the private sector.
  • The proper training and quality Medicare in public sector health care is essential to make a success for PM-JAY.

GS- 2 Paper

Topic-  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications.

Documentation Identification Number (DIN) system

Context

DIN system of CBDT launched ; About 17500 Communications with DIN Generated on First day.

About Documentation Identification Number (DIN) system

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has launched a computer-generated Document Identification Number (DIN) to ensure greater transparency and accountability in tax administration.
  • The DIN system became operative from 1 October 2019.
  • It will be applied to all kind of communications from Income Tax (IT) Department, whether it is related to investigation, assessment, rectification, appeals and penalty among other things.
  • The DIN system will enable every CBDT communication will have to have a documentation identification number.
  • Any communication from IT Department without a computer-generated DIN, be it a notice, letter, order and summon or any other correspondence, would be treated as invalid and shall be deemed as if it has never been issued.
  • Also, all such communications with DIN would be verifiable on e-filing portal and no communication would be issued manually without DIN.
  • The only exceptional circumstances is in the case if the communication is issued manually and it would have to be uploaded and regularised on the system portal within 15 days of its issuance.

Benefits

  • The DIN system would ensure greater accountability and transparency in tax administration.
  • Earlier there have been instances where it was not possible to maintain the audit trail of the manually issued communication which caused inconvenience to taxpayers sometime.
  • This development would also help taxpayers detect fake notices and letters as the notice would be verifiable on e-filing portal of department.

For Prelims-

Consumer App

Context

Union Consumer Affairs Minister launched ‘Consumer App’: A one stop solution for consumer grievance redressal at the palm of every consumer across the nation.

Highlights

  • Consumer App’is launched in order to fast-track consumer grievance redressal process .
  • The app aims to provide a one stop solution for consumer grievance redressal at the palm of every consumer across the nation via mobile phones.
  • To provide an effective forum for consumers to give their valuable suggestions to the Department on consumer related issues.

Paryatan Parv 2019

Context

Nationwide “Paryatan Parv 2019” to promote tourism to be inaugurated in New Delhi.

Highlights

  • The Minister of Petroleum &Natural Gasand Minister of Steel, inaugurate the nationwide  “Paryatan Parv 2019”.
  • The idea of Paryatan Parv is to propagate the message of ‘DekhoApna Desh’, with the objective to encourage Indians to visit various tourist destinations of the country and also to spread the message of ‘Tourism for All’.
  • Paryatan Parv 2019 is dedicated to 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The three components of Paryatan Parv, are

  1. Dekho Apna Desh
  2. Tourism for All
  3. Tourism & Governance

“Digital Gandhi Gyan-Vigyan”

Context

Digital Exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi titled “Digital Gandhi Gyan-Vigyan” inaugurated.

Highlights

  • Bringing a scientific context to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, an exhibition titled “Digital Gandhi Gyan Vigyan Exhibition” was inaugurated.
  • The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with a technology start-up under incubation by IIT, namely, M/s Vizara Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Delhi.

 

PIB – September 30 , 2019


GS- 3rd Paper

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

Eight Core Industries

Context

Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2011-12=100) August, 2019, released.

About Core Industries

  • The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 128.2 in August, 2019.
  1. Coal (weight: 10.33 per cent)
  2. Crude Oil (weight: 8.98 per cent)
  3. Natural Gas (weight: 6.88 per cent)
  4. Refinery Products (weight: 28.04 per cent)
  5. Fertilizers (weight: 2.63 per cent)
  6. Steel (weight: 17.92 per cent)
  7. Cement (weight: 5.37 per cent)
  8. Electricity (weight: 19.85 per cent)

Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity, manufacturing, etc.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation six weeks after the reference month ends.
  • The Base Year of the Index of Eight Core Industries has been revised from the year 2004-05 to 2011-12 from April, 2017.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

IPCC Meet on Climate Change

Context

India is hosting the Second Lead Author Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III Sixth Assessment Report at New Delhi.

About IPCC

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  • It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988.
  • IPCC currently has 195 members. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC.

Aims

  • It aims to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The IPCC has three working groups

  • Working Group I– dealing with the physical science basis of climate change;
  • Working Group II– dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability;
  • Working Group III– dealing with the mitigation of climate change.
  • It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.

GS- 3rd Paper

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

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme

Context

Government of India, in consultation withthe Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds.

The Sovereign Gold Bonds will be issued in six tranches from October 2019 to March 2020.

About Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme

  • Sovereign Gold Scheme is a scheme to provide an alternate option when it comes to owning gold.
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds are government securities denominated in grams of gold.
  • They are substitutes for holding physical gold.
  • The sovereign gold bond scheme was launched in November 2015 to reduce the demand for physical gold and shift a part of the domestic savings, used for the purchase of gold, into financial savings.

Objectives

  • The main objective of the scheme is to develop a financial asset as an alternative to purchasing metal gold.
  • This scheme aims to reduce the demand for physical gold, thereby keeping a tab on gold imports and utilising resources effectively.

Significance

  • With the Reserve Bank of India issuing these gold bonds, it brings in transparency and trust, providing an avenue wherein people can own gold without having to worry about its storage or safety.
  • Gold and crude oil have significant role in India’s widening current account deficit.
  • The government, however, chose not to increase import duty on gold when it raised duty on non-essential imports to narrow the current account deficit, fearing a surge in gold smuggling.

GS-2nd Paper

Topic- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Electoral Bond Scheme 2018

Context

Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018.

About Electoral Bond Scheme

  • Electoral Bond refers a bond which has its specified face value, mentioned on it like a currency note.
  • These bonds can be used by the individuals, institutions and organizations to donate money to the political parties.
  • These electoral bonds will be available in the denomination of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 1 lac, Rs. 10 lacs and Rs. 1 crore.

Key features of Electoral Bond Scheme

  • Any citizen or institution or any company in India can purchase electoral bonds to fund registered political parties.
  • Every party which is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 and has secured at least 1% votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or State election will be eligible to receive fund through electoral bonds.
  • Every donor has to provide his KYC detail to the banks.
  • Name of electoral bond purchaser will be kept confidential by the banks.
  • Electoral bonds will be valid for 15 days from the date of purchase.
  • No interest will be given by the banks on these bonds.
  • These bonds can be bought from selected branches of State Bank of India only.
  • The banks will have full information about the purchasers of the Electoral bonds.
  • The bonds will be available for purchase for a period of 10 days each in the beginning of every quarter. In the year of Lok Sabha elections; 30 days extra will be provided.
  • Bonds can be purchased in January, April, July and October months of each year.
  • Political parties will also have to inform election commission that how much money they got from Electoral bonds.

For Prelims-

‘Singapore India Hackathon 2019’

Context

PM addressed second edition of joint international hackathon ‘Singapore India Hackathon 2019’.

Highlights

  • India will host the second edition of joint international hackathon ‘Singapore India Hackathon 2019’ at IIT Madras.
  • 20 teams with 6 team members each (3 members from India and 3 members from Singapore) to participate.
  • Each team to have 2 mentors (1 from India and 1 from Singapore).
  • The Team with the most innovative solution will be presented with the prize money of $10,000.
  • The second, third and fourth winning teams will win $8,000, $6,000 and $4,000 respectively.
  • There will also be the ‘Prize of Encouragement’ for 6 more teams with $2,000 per team who will come up with solutions which have high potential to take forward.

Themes

  • This year the hackathon is focused on three themes–
  1. ‘Good Health and well-being’,
  2. ‘Quality Education’
  3. ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’.

Exercise Maitree – 2019

Context

Exercise MAITREE-2019 culminated on 29 Sep 2019 at Foreign Training Node, Umroi (Meghalaya).

Highlights

  • Exercise MAITREE-2019, the joint military training exercise between Indian Army (IA) & Royal Thailand Army (RTA) was held at Foreign Training Node, Umroi (Meghalaya).
  • It is an annual training event that is conducted in India and Thailand alternatively, since 2006.
  • The scope of this exercise covers company level joint training on insurgency & counter-terrorism operations in jungles and urban scenarios.
  • The joint military exercise between the Indian Army (IA) and the Royal Thailand Army (RTA) will give a boost to the defence cooperation and bilateral relations between the two nations.
  • The Royal Thailand Navy and the Indian Navy have been participating in Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs) in the Indian Ocean region since 2005.