IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 15th Feb to 21st Feb, 2016

  • February 22, 2016
  • 6
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, PIB
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Signing of BRICS MoU on cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest)

About- Signing of BRICS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and innovation.

Objectives –

  • To establish a strategic framework of cooperation in STI to address the common global, and regional socio-economic challenges utilizing shared experiences and complementarities in STI among the BRICS countries
  • To co-generate new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes etc.

India signed BRICS MoU on cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation (STl) in March 2015 at Brasilia, Brazil on the sidelines of 3rd BRICS STI Ministerial meeting.


MoU signed between India and Sweden on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest)

About- MoU signed between Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation of the Kingdom of Sweden on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector

 Areas of Cooperation-

  • Benchmark Railways policy- Development + Regulations + Organization + Specific characteristics for each country
  • Exchange of knowledge – Technical expertise + Innovation + Technology + Sustainable solutions and Research
  • Other cooperation projects– Tilting coaches/trains + Capacity Allocation (time tabling) + Optimisation of maintenance + Improved freight/combination traffic
  • Training and continuing education program- In reliability and maintenance of Rail transport system for Railway engineers and managers



  • To develop cooperation activities in the Railway area to promote-
  • Efficiency and sustainability
  • Achieve concrete results with regard to— Bilateral trade + Investment + Research + Technology Transfer


  • Remain in force for 5 years from the date of signing
  • Can be extended for a further period of 5 years with the written consent of both sides


MoU signed with various countries for cooperation in the field of Agriculture & Allied sectors 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest)

MoU signed between: India and various countries for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors


  • Help in the nature of capacity building
  • Knowledge exchange through visits of scientists and technicians,
  • Exchange of genetic resources aiding development of appropriate technologies and farm practices for enhancing agriculture productivity at farmers’ field
  • Expertise and technology so developed is applied all over the country as per felt needs.

Expenditure – Incurred on implementation of such MoU is managed within the “financial allocation made for the Department


  • Under Transaction of Business Rules (1961)- Cases involving negotiations with foreign countries on treaties, agreements and other important matters need to be brought before the Cabinet for approval.
  • Earlier, prior approval under Rule 12 of the above rules was obtained in certain cases and subsequent Cabinet approval could not be obtained.
  • Therefore, ex-post-facto approval in respect of MoUs signed with 13 countries namely, Netherlands, Nepal, Cyprus, Israel, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Tanzania, Surinam, Zambia, Syria, Bhutan, Chile and Mauritius is being obtained.


Cabinet approves Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest)

About- Union approved the Proposal for Notification of Commitments under the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of World Trade Organization (WTO)

It is for- Ratification and acceptance of the Instrument of Acceptance of Protocol of TFA to the WTO Secretariat and constitution of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF)


  • Contains provisions for expediting the: Movement + Release + Clearance of goods including goods in transit.
  • Sets out measures for: Effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues
  • Precondition: TFA shall enter into force for the notified members upon acceptance by two-third WTO Members

Objective- In consonance with India’s “Ease of Doing Business” initiative



Both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the Agreement, a National Committee on Trade Facilitation would be set up under the Joint Chair of Secretary, Department of Revenue and Secretary, Department of Commerce.


India and Armenia Sign MoU on Agriculture Cooperation 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest)

About- Meeting was held between Union Agriculture Minister and Armenian Agriculture Minister in New Delhi.

Areas of interest for cooperation emphasized on-

  • Catalyzing trade and investment prospects and also sharing the knowledge that the two countries have accumulated over the years.

MoU envisaged-

  • Priority sectors such as-
  • Plant-breeding- including agricultural crop seed-breeding and plant protection
  • Buffalo-breeding and poultry- including pedigree
  • Exchange of experience on agricultural organization in dry lands
  • Milk production and processing
  • Development of new forms of farming in agro-food complex
  • Agrarian education, training for agricultural specialists
  • Exchange of experience in irrigation and water management (rain water) progressive technology systems exchange of fruit-trees, germplasm (apricot, grapes, apples, pears etc.)
  • Exchange of technical expertise and research in fruit-tree disease management
  • Exchange of information on technologies in mechanization of agricultural farming
  • Hi-tech horticulture including irrigation and water management technology
  • Exchange of information on technologies in processing sector;
  • Phytosanitary measures during export and import of plant and plant materials;
  • Animal husbandry including cattle identification
  • Cooperation in the field of Agricultural Census.


MoU provides-

  • Establishment of Joint Working Group and preparation of Work Plans
  • Further identified sectors such as cattle identification, cooperatives, agriculture machinery, plant breeding and exchange of agro-scientist and students, as the priority areas and resolved to constitute the JWG at the earliest to move the agreement


India-UK explore pact on information exchange on criminals

(Topic- Bilateral, regional and grouping and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest)

About- India will explore the possibility of signing an agreement with the United Kingdom on exchanging information about criminals


  • The issue was raised because as many as 131 pending requests from New Delhi on extradition of wanted persons under the Extradition Treaty.
  • UK Minister clarified these matters were for the British courts to decide.
  • Obstruction- Provision of death penalty in India and the European Commission’s provisions on Human Rights proved to be hurdles in acceding to the requests
  • Assurance- Cooperation was assured and a team of experts may examine the pending issues on case-to-case basis.

India’s Concern

  • India will cooperate but needs to verify the Indian citizens amongst such illegal immigrants
  • Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) set up by the UK that might impede those Indians travelling to the UK for travel and work

British Government-

  • Not reached a conclusion yet on its recommendations and said the UK in fact encourages Indian students to visit Britain for higher education.
  • Also, 20,000 jobs are being offered to students and this will largely benefit the Indian students.
  • British delegation pointed out limitations on making payment for online e-Tourist Visa to visit India.
  • India assured that the payment gateway is being upgraded to facilitate the same.


Swachh Survekshan -2016

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for developments in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

About- Under ‘Swachh Survekshan-2016’, 73 cities surveyed for cleanliness have been categorized based on the marks scored by each of them.

Survey- Conducted for total marks of 2000 and on the basis of percentage of marks obtained cities are categorized as-

  • Leaders- 15 cities, scores in the range of more than 70%
  • Aspiring Leaders– 20 cities, scores in the range of 60%-70%
  • Acceleration required– 18 cities, scores in the range of 50%-60% (need to accelerate efforts)
  • Slow Movers -20 cities, scores in ranges of less than 50% (need to work harder to improve sanitation)

Leaders: Top Rank City-

  • Mysuru
  • Chadigarh
  • Tiruchirapalli
  • New Delhi Municipal council

Mysuru declared cleanest city in India


Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley inaugurates the Non-Tax Receipt Portal (NTRP)

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for developments in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

About- Union Finance Minister inaugurated the Non-Tax Receipt Portal (NTRP)

Developed by- Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA)

Initiative taken by- Controller General of Accounts + Department of Expenditure + Ministry of Finance under the Digital India campaign


  • Provides a one-stop platform to citizens /corporates/other users for making online payment of Non-Tax Receipts to Government of India
  • Annual collection of Non Tax Receipts is over Rs. 2 lakh crores.
  • Biggest share flows from Dividends paid by PSUs, RBI etc.
  • Other major items of Non Tax Receipts are-
  • Interest receipts,
  • Spectrum charges,
  • Royalty,
  • License fee,
  • Sale of forms,
  • RTI application fee etc.


  • Provides an end to end solution for complete value chain of non-tax receipts, including-
  • Online user interface,
  • Payment at the Payment Gateway Aggregator and reconciliation and accounting of receipts by Government Departments/Ministries.
  • Common users/citizens from the hassle of visiting bank premises for issue of drafts, and later to Government offices to deposit the instrument for availing services.
  • Avoidable delays and remittance of these instruments into Government account as well as eliminate undesirable practices in the delayed deposit of these instruments into bank accounts.
  • Online payment to the Government using either a Credit Card, a Debit Card or through Net Banking with the Payment Gateway Aggregator (PGA)


Cabinet approves Agreement for collaborative activities in the area of Traditional Medicine between Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization

(Topic: Issues related to development and management of social sectors/ services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources)


About- Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Agreement for collaborative activities in the area of Traditional Medicine.

Agreement signed between- Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and the World Health Organization, Geneva.

Collaboration Features-

  • Long-term collaboration with WHO would help in-
  • Improving International acceptability and branding of Ayush systems,
  • Facilitate awareness generation regarding AYUSH systems of Medicine by means of education + Skill development + Workshops + Publications
  • Exchange programs between AYUSH and WHO for capacity building-
  • Facilitate advocacy and dissemination of information on AYUSH systems amongst the Member States
  • Collaboration with third Parties for creating synergies in implementation of WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 particularly in the context of AYUSH systems
  • Expenditure for carrying out collaborative activities will be met from the allocated budget under the existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.

Benefit- Agreement between WHO and AYUSH is expected to benefit the practitioners of AYUSH systems.


  • Mandate to promote, propagate and globalize the recognized Traditional and Complementary Systems of Medicine (T&CM) including Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homeopathy, proposes to collaborate and cooperate with the World Health Organization
  • Within the United Nations framework, World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority for health
  • Provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.


  • Ministry needs to seize the opportunities for taking a lead in the world at a time when holistic health care has gained currency
  • India should strive to compete with China, when it comes to export of herbal medicine.
  • Emphasized that roadmap be prepared to establish India’s credentials in holistic health-care, including preparation of authoritative and credible literature.



Agreement for Commercialisation of an Ayurvedic Formulation for Treatment of Malaria and an Ayurvedic Formulation for Treatment of Diabetes

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for developments in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)                  

About- Agreements for commercialization of Ayush-64 (an Ayurvedic formulation for treatment of Malaria) and Ayush-82(an Ayurvedic Formulation for management of  Diabetes)

Developed by- Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), New Delhi, an Autonomous body of the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy)

Ayurvedic Drug-


  • Ayush-64-
  • Effective for the treatment of Malaria which is one of the most prevalent; destructive widely spread disease, well known to Ayurvedic Physicians as Visama Jvara from ancient times
  • A poly-herbal non-toxic developed by- CCRAS after carrying out extensive pharmacological, toxicological and Clinical studies
  • Ayush-82
  • An anti diabetic drug also developed by CCRAS is a combination of known and tested hypoglycemic drugs


  • Use of these two drugs would help millions of people suffering from Malaria and Diabetes.


Amendment to the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950 regarding delimitation of constituencies in West Bengal consequent upon exchange of the territories between India and Bangladesh 

(Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure)

About- Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend Section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

Enable- Election Commission to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituency (ies) in the Cooch Behar District of West Bengal consequently, upon the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves respectively between India and Bangladesh, with effect from 31st July, 2015.

In Pursuance of- Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015 and also allows for introduction of a Bill, namely, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.


  • In a historic pact between India and Bangladesh, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (Chhitmahals) in Indian Territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory were exchanged with effect from 31st July, 2015.
  • Move altered the geography and demography of the district of Cooch Behar in West Bengal.
  • With a view to carry out consequential geographic and demographic alterations vis-à-vis the electoral mosaic of the affected areas, the Election Commission requested to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 to enable it to carry out limited delimitation of constituencies in the affected areas.
  • Since the newly acquired area consequent upon the exchange of territory between India and Bangladesh has become the part of the Indian Territory, it is required to make delimitation exercise within the limited constituency area before the ensuing State Assembly elections in West Bengal.
  • Accordingly, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been proposed for enactment.



All 360 toll plazas in India to have e-tolling system by April 

(Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency and accountability and institutional and other measures)

About- Union Minister for Shipping announced e-Tolling system on all the 360 toll plazas in the country will be operational by April this year

Aim- Reduce waiting time at toll plazas and save cost and fuel

Steps taken-

  • Ministry focusing on Hybrid Annuity and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) models for development of road projects
  • Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed to implement this project




Tremendous Potential in NE States for Development of the Horticulture Sector

(Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management)

About- There exists tremendous potential in NE states for development of the horticulture sector and need to ensure focused attention for harnessing available potential through scaling up ongoing interventions under various schemes.


  • To complement the sector with-
  • Food processing,
  • Agro logistics,
  • Agri-business,
  • Input related services and
  • Agricultural lending
  • Although have achieved a substantial breakthrough in production, the challenge lies in converting this into gains for farmer.


  • Grower associations and farmer producer organisations should also be taken on board, from planting material to post harvest management and issues of logistics and price discovery.
  • Setting up of market infrastructure to link with reforms in APMC act for permitting direct marketing of horticulture produce.

Steps Taken-

  • Creation of infrastructure for post harvest management and value addition are high priority area with focus on creating cold chain networks.
  • Horticulture mechanization is being promoted to bring in efficiency in horticulture production and harvesting operations.


Jharkhand gets its First Mega Food Park 

(Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management)

About- First Mega Food Park in the State promoted by M/s. Jharkhand Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd.


  • To give an impetus to the growth of the Food Processing Sector in Jharkhand
  • Creating a modern infrastructure
  • Encouraging private investment for arresting post-harvest losses of horticultural and non-horticultural produce
  • Provide impetus to the growth of food processing sector in Jharkhand.

Features of Food Park-

  • Park has facilities of-
  • Multi Chamber Cold Storage,
  • Dry Warehouse,
  • Vegetable Dehydration Line,
  • Modern Quality Control & Testing Laboratory and other processing facilities for fruits & vegetables
  • Mega Food Park has a Central Processing Centre (CPC) at Ranchi and six Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) are being set up to provide strong backward linkages.



  • Help in providing better prices to farmers
  • Reduce wastage of perishables
  • Add value to agricultural produce
  • Create huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the State
  • Expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000-30,000 farmers in its catchment area

Mega Food Park Scheme- 

  • Implemented by Ministry of Food Processing Industries in the country to give a major boost to the Food Processing Sector along the value chain from the farm to the market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.
  • Focusing on boosting the Food Processing Industry so that agriculture sector grows exponentially and becomes the engine of growth to drive the “Make in India” initiative.


NRDC inks MoA with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkatta on Technology Transfer

(Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life)

About- National Research Development Corporation, an Enterprise of Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, New Delhi (NRDC) has entered into Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkatta.

Aim- For commercialization of technologies/ intellectual properties developed at IACS


  • Provide its services in IP Evaluation/Valuation in terms of their commercial potential.
  • Working for more than six decades in-
  • Development
  • Promotion and commercialization of technologies emanating from R&D organization and academia


  • An autonomous and oldest research institute in India.
  • Devoted to the pursuit of fundamental research in the frontier areas of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Energy, Polymer and Materials.

Partnership between IACS and NRDC would lead to successful commercialization of Technologies developed at IACS.



Union Minister of Steel & Mines Launches ‘Operation Khanij Khoj’ of GSI Targeting Deep Seated and Concealed Mineral Deposits 

(Topic: Government policies and mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment)

About- Union Minister of Steel & Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar launched ‘Operation Khanij Khoj’ of Geological Survey of India (GSI).


  • Exploration of minerals and mining is crucial for the development of the country for increase in the GDP growth and employment generation
  • GSI has initially identified 100 blocks for reconnoitory survey
  • Once the NMEP is approved, these blocks will be put on e-auction for undertaking regional exploration by private companies
  • GSI has planned two projects in –
  • Northern parts of Arravalies and Bundelkhand craton
  • Western and Eastern Dharwad cratons.

Coordinated efforts of GSI, MECL and state governments were emphasized for accelerating the exploration activities in the country.

Operation Khanij Khoj-

  • State-of-the-art project of GSI launched today in the 55th meeting of CGBP
  • Targeting concealed and deep seated mineral deposits
  • To be implemented in two selected areas in the country

 Focused on-

  • Probing for deep seated/concealed mineral deposits
  • Characterizing India’s geological cover, investigating-
  • Lithospheric architecture,
  • Resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution,
  • Detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore deposits


Cabinet grants ‘in-principle’ approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal 

(Topic: Achievements in science and technology, indigenization of technology and developing new technology)

About- Union Cabinet has given its ‘in principle’ approval to the LIGO-India (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.

Piloted by– Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Approval– Coincides with the historic detection of gravitational waves that opened up of a new window on the universe to unravel some of its greatest mysteries

LIGO-India project-

  • Establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in India in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the U.S. run by Caltech and MIT
  • Project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier
  • Bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for the Indian industry which will be engaged in the construction of eight kilometre long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.
  • Motivate Indian students and young scientists to explore newer frontiers of knowledge, and will add further impetus to scientific research in the country


Environment Minister launches ENVIS portal 

(Topic: Conservation, environment pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

Launch of- Environment Information System (ENVIS) portal

Aim- To reach out to the people on environmental issues and creating more awareness among them

ENVIS Portal-

  • New initiative,runs parallel with the Digital India objective
  • Works on improving the digital literacy in the environment sector and deliver services digitally all over the country
  • Digitization of valuable data covering the broad spectrum of subjects on environment will serve as an asset in generating feature rich repository of information.
  • Bringing all ENVIS Centres under one roof will also facilitate convergence in data dissemination.



  • Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry has been implemented since 1982
  • Purpose of the scheme is to-
  • Integrate country-wide efforts in environmental information collection + collation+ storage + retrieval + dissemination through ENVIS websites, which are dedicated to different interesting themes
  • Major users of ENVIS include-
  • Central and State Governments,
  • Institutes and individual scientists, researchers, students and agencies carrying out environmental impact assessment of projects, as well as public


National Capital goods policy 2016 unveiled

(Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employments)


About- Government has unveiled the National Capital Goods Policy


  • Increasing production of capital goods from ~Rs. 230,000 Cr in 2014-15 to Rs. 750,000 Cr in 2025 and raising direct and indirect employment from the current 8.4 million to ~30 million
  • Increasing exports from the current 27% to 40% of production
  • Increasing share of domestic production in India’s demand from 60% to 80%, thus making India a net exporter of capital goods
  • To create game changing strategies for the capital goods sector
  • To facilitate improvement in technology depth across sub-sectors, increase skill availability, ensure mandatory standards and promote growth and capacity building of MSMEs.

Some of the key issues addressed include-

  • Availability of Finance,
  • Raw Material,
  • Innovation and Technology,
  • Productivity,
  • Quality and Environment Friendly Manufacturing Practices,
  • Promoting Exports and Creating Domestic Demand

Key policy recommendations

  • To enhance the export of Indian made capital goods through  a ‘Heavy Industry Export & Market Development Assistance Scheme (HIEMDA)’
  • Launching a Technology Development Fund , upgrading the existing and setting up new testing & certification facilities, making standards mandatory in order to reduce sub-standard machine imports are other measures envisaged
  • To provide opportunity to local manufacturing units by utilising their installed capacity and launching scheme of skill development for CG sector.


National Capital Goods Policy-

  • It is a unique Government led- industry driven manoeuvrefor scripting a new growth narrative in the history of industrial development.
  • Department of Heavy Industry had set up a Joint Taskforce with Confederation of Indian industry (CII) as an attempt to ensure that the formulation of the Capital Goods Policy is done in the most democratic manner.
  • Recommendations carve out a roadmap for Capital Goods sector to become a part of global value chains apart from mere supply chains.
  • Policy has been framed after extensive stakeholders’ consultations with industry, academia, different ministries etc.


Department of Biotechnology Takes Steps to Strengthen International Linkages for Research on Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Development 

(Topic: Awareness in the field of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology)

About- Future strategy for Indo – US Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) discussed at a Joint Working Group held recently in New Delhi.


  • Discussions on progress of various initiatives being implemented under VAP
  • To add new Vaccine Development Programmes, including for development of affordable vaccines for dengue, respiratory syncytial virus, malaria etc.
  • Department of the Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science & Technology also initiated the partnership proposal for research on human infectious diseases with an international body called Infect-ERA NET
  • Body comprises research organizations from Europe and one from Israel.
  • Infect-ERA NET aims to- Fund joint transnational and translational research by bringing together basic and technology driven applied research approaches for addressing human infections.


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