Link Postal Account with Aadhaar to Facilitate DBT Role out Revenue from E-Commerce up 36 Percent
(GS 2- Good Governance and GS 3- Financial Inclusion)
- GOI said that with a vast network of Post Offices at its disposal, the proposed Post Bank should become a game-changer in Indian banking sector.
- The Post Bank should become a local agency for the recently announced MUDRA Bank.
- Also, the Post Bank accounts should be Aadhaar seeded so that various Government schemes for Direct Benefit Transfer could be rolled out through the Post Bank.
- Department should step up its efforts to ramp up its capabilities to book, process, transmit & deliver e-Commerce articles.
Harder Days for those Involved in Illegal and Illicit Transfer of Money across the Border.
(GS 3- Money Laundering and Issues)
- Various Steps Taken by the Present Government to Squeeze the Black Money Including Undisclosed Assets within and Outside the Country.
- World economy has moved quite closer in recent years and the countries across the world have decided through G-20 and other international forums to cooperate and coordinate with each other in such cases.
- Government has taken various steps to squeeze the black money including undisclosed assets within and outside the country.
- The focus is on reasonable tax rates and ease of doing business for incentivizing people to abide by laws and avoid evasion of taxes etc.
- The three major challenges especially with regard to black money are Hawala transactions through trade based money laundering, accommodation entry cases through fake companies and Ponzi schemes.
Japan Government’s Highest Civilian Award to Professor C.N.R. Rao
(GS 3- Role and contribution of Scientists)
- Highest Civilian Award of Japan, that is conferred on academicians, politicians and military officers- the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star”, will be conferred on Professor C.N.R. Rao for his ‘contribution to promoting academic interchange and mutual understanding in science and technology between Japan and India’.
- He had been bestowed with about 70 honorary doctorates and had received the highest civilian award of India, Bharat Ratna.
- Professor Rao had made substantial contributions to the development of Science in India and the Third World.
(GS 2- Bilateral Relations and GS 3- Security issues)
- Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly.
- The scope of Exercise VARUNA included the entire gamut of maritime operations ranging from Aircraft Carrier Operations, Anti Submarines Warfare Exercises, Maritime Interdiction Operations to multi-ship replenishment exercise.
- With the establishment of strategic partnership in 1998, there has been significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation and exchanges including naval exercises.
- The Indian Navy and the French Navy have been conducting naval exercises since 1983 and following the establishment of a strategic partnership, these exercises were christened as ‘VARUNA’ in 2001.
- Till date, thirteen such exercises have been conducted and the last exercise is VARUNA 12
First Observatory for Eastern India
(GS 3- Space Technology and development)
- Eastern India’s first observational astronomy institute is to come up in the Ayodhya Hills of Purulia district of West Bengal.
- Land for the facility has been acquired and necessary clearances have been obtained.
- N.Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), will be implementing this project. The centre supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has already recruited a couple of talented, young astronomers.
- This is under a scheme announced in last year’s budget for setting up new Technology Research Centers.
Comprehensive Policy for Promotion of AYUSH Practices
(GS 2- social Sector Initiatives- Health)
- The Government has laid down the national policy on Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy-2002 which inter aliaenvisage overall growth and development of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy.
- The Government of Indiaformulated the programmes and operational measures for promotion of AYUSH medical practices like Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy through Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) and various Central Sector Schemes as per the details furnished below:
- National AYUSH Mission (NAM)
- Central Sector Scheme for promotion of Information, Education and Communication
- Central Sector Scheme for “Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants”:
- Centre of Excellence Scheme
- Public Health Initiatives
Uniformity in Prices of Drugs
(GS 3- Manufacturing Industries )
- Under DPCO, 2013, ceiling prices fixed and notified in generic name of medicines are applicable to all brands of the same medicines as specified in Schedule-I of the said order.
- No person is authorized to sell any scheduled formulation (medicine) to a consumer at a price exceeding the price notified by the NPPA.
- In respect of medicines not under price control, manufacturers are allowed to increase maximum retail price (MRP) by 10% annually.
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP) was notified on 7th December, 2012 with the objective to put in place a regulatory framework for pricing of drugs so as to ensure availability of required medicines –“essential medicines” at reasonable prices even while providing sufficient opportunity for innovation and competition to support the growth of pharmacy industry thereby meeting the goals of employment and shared economic well-being for all.
Health Scheme for Rural Children
(GS 2- Health Issues, Social Sector, Government Schemes)
Under National Health Mission (NHM), the provision of health care to children particularly in rural areas is given priority attention.
The details of the interventions to improve the health of children are as below.
- Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK)
- Facility Based Newborn Care (FBNC)
- Home Based New Born Care (HBNC
- India Newborn Action Plan (INAP)
- Newer interventions to reduce newborn mortality
- Integrated Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (IAPPD)
- Management of Malnutrition
- Appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding
- Village Health and Nutrition Days (VHNDs)
- Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS
- Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK)
- Under National Iron Plus Initiative (NIPI)
- Capacity building of health care providers
- Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
- To sharpen the focus on vulnerable and marginalized populations in underserved areas, 184 High Priority Districts
Approval for GSAT-18 communication satellite and launch services
(GS 3- Space and Development)
- This is a communication satellite, weighing about 3425 Kg, for providing replacement capacity.
- The satellite structure will be similar to the GSAT-10 satellite.
- The GSAT-18 spacecraft will provide replacement capacity supporting the existing television, telecommunication, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and VSAT services in the country.
- The proposal to build the GSAT-18 is part of the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) efforts towards protecting services of existing users.
India’s Stand at WTO on Food Security
(GS 2- Policies affecting India, International Organization)
- Together with other developing countries, India proposed an amendment to the relevant rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) relating to public stockholding for food security purposes.
- At the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO held in Bali in December 2013, Ministerial Decisions were taken on this and other issues including a Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
- Subsequently, concerned at the lack of progress in implementing the Ministerial Decision on public stockholding for food security purposes, India decided not to join the consensus in the WTO on next step for the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement till its concerns were addressed.
Approval to operationalization of the Atal Pension Yojna (APY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)
(GS 2- Government Schemes)
- Approval of the Cabinet was given to extend funding support for implementing the APY and apprise the Cabinet on operationalisation of the PMJJBY and the PMSBY.
- Approval was also given to provide Rs. 50 crore per annum for the next 5 years as the Government contribution for publicity / awareness creation related expenditure for PMJJBY and PMSBY.
- Under the APY, subscribers would receive a fixed minimum pension of Rs. 1000 per month, Rs. 2000 per month, Rs. 3000 per month, Rs. 4000 per month, Rs. 5000 per month, at the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which itself would vary on the age of joining the APY.
- Under PMJJBY, annual life insurance of Rs. 2 lakh would be available on the payment of premium of Rs. 330 per annum by the subscribers. The PMJJBY will be made available to people in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account from where the premium would be collected through the facility of “auto-debit”.
- Under PMSBY, the risk coverage will be Rs. 2 lakh for accidental death and full disability and Rs. 1 lakh for partial disability. The Scheme will be available to people in the age group 18 to 70 years with a bank account, from where the premium would be collected through the facility of “auto-debit”.
Scrapping of Official Secrets Act, 1923
(GS 2- Indian Constitution, Laws, Acts)
- The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), in its Report of June 2006, had, inter-alia, recommended that the Official Secrets Act (OSA), 1923 should be repealed, and substituted by a chapter in the National Security Act, containing provisions relating to official secrets.
- The ARC had made this recommendation ostensibly on the ground that the Law Commission had recommended in 1971 that an ‘umbrella Act’ should be passed to bring together all Acts/Laws relating to national security.
- However, in 1980, the National Security Act (NSA) was enacted only to provide for preventive powers to deal with likely threats to maintenance of public order and security of the country etc., besides maintenance of essential services.
- In such a situation, the Government decided not to repeal the OSA as the other enactments relating to national security such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, Chapters 6 and 7 of the Indian Penal Code etc. have also not been merged in the NSA.
New Scheme for Women
(GS 2- Schemes and policies for vulnerable section)
- The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has been implementing two special schemes for women
- Mahila Udyam Nidhiwhich is an exclusive scheme for providing equity to women entrepreneurs and
- Mahila Vikas Nidhiwhich offers developmental assistance for pursuit of income generating activities to women.
- Further, SIDBI has also taken initiative to set up an informal channel for credit needs on soft term giving special emphasis to women including training for credit utilization and credit delivery skills for the executives of voluntary organizations working for women.
New Schemes for Development of Tourism in the Country
(GS 2- Governance and GS 3- Infrastructure and Economy)
The Ministry of Tourism has launched two new schemes in the last financial year:
- Swadesh Darshanfor Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around Specific Themes.
- National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) to beautify and improve the amenities and infrastructure at pilgrimage centers of all faiths.
- Under Swadesh Darshan, the following five circuits have been identified for development:-
- North East Circuit
- Buddhist Circuit
- Himalayan Circuit
- Coastal Circuit
- Krishna Circuit
- Under PRASAD, initially twelve cities have been identified namely Ajmer, Amritsar, Amravati, Dwarka, Gaya, Kedarnath, Kamakhaya, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Puri, Varanasi and Velankanni.
Chandrayaan-2 planned to be launched during 2017-18
(GS 3- Space Development)
- The Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, has Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration.
- It is planned to be launched during 2017- 2018 timeframe by Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
Environment Stewardship Programme of NPCIL
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India, is engaged in nuclear power generation.
A Passionate Programme: In Admiration of Nature
The areas around the Indian nuclear power plants shelter a plethora of wildlife. As a responsible corporate citizen NPCIL took decisive steps for the stewardship of this serene nature. In 2006, it set off a special initiative called Environment Stewardship Programme (ESP) with its nature-loving employees as members. ESP follows a three-fold approach to make things happen professionally:
- Association with premier nature conservation institutions for technical know-how;
- Imparting training to its members to keep them up to date on nature watch and conservation; and
- Sensitizing the members of public to the importance of environment.
The Exclusion Zones: Where Nature Abounds
According to the studies conducted in collaboration with premier nature conservation institutions, the exclusion zones of Indian nuclear power plants are home to hundreds of plants, over 200 varieties of birds, about 70 species of butterflies, several mammals and reptiles, and a wide range of aquatic species. NPCIL’s ESP helps to preserve these precious ecosystems. The members of ESP at each NPCIL site help preserve the nature around their respective region.
Nature Clubs: To Help Preserve the Ecosystem
While launching the Environment Stewardship Programme, NPCIL has instituted seven nature clubs, one at each of its sites. The clubs were named after a threatened bird found in that region.
The club activities were birds-centric in the beginning, as birding was an easiest way to get close to nature and understand it.