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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 8th Feb to 14th Feb, 2016

  • February 15, 2016
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, PIB
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GS-1

Ganga Sanskriti Yatra

(Topic: Indian Heritage Culture)

Ganga Sanskriti Yatra-

Showcasing & discovering culture heritage of Ganga will begin at Gangotri on 14 February, 2016 (at the time of sunrise)

  • Concentrating on pursuing of cultural exchange
  • Art forms from confluence
  • During the Yatra, a survey and documentation on the art forms and cultural heritage of Ganga will be published at the commencement of the series

 

Objective-

  • To showcase and discover the cultural diversity and heritage of Ganga river basin
  • To spread necessary awareness to the masses about its safeguarding and rejuvenating
  • To safeguard the cultural heritage festival namely,Ganga Sanskriti Yatra” has been planned

 

Organised from– Gangotri to Gangasagar (14 Feb-13 March, 2016) in 262 different venues connecting with over 2.5 crore people

 Main Concentration of the festival-

  • To present art forms of Ganga basin which are deeply associated with the river, including Folk songs, Folk dances, Folk Theatre, Dance Drama, Documentary/ Films Shows, Street Plays, Kavi sammelan, Photography exhibitions, film shows, quiz competitions, seminars and Poster campaigns
  • Cultural diversity and heritage of Ganga river basin and challenges for its safeguarding will be discussed

Ganga-

  • One of the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent
  • Ganga is the lifeline and national heritage of India and is also the multiple streams of Indian Culture
  • Longest river in India and flows for around 1,569 miles (2,525 KM) from the Himalayan Mountains to the Bay of Bengal and heavily populated with over 400 million people living in the basin
  • From origin to confluence, the Ganga flows through the state of Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal are under the EZC
  • Declared as a National Heritage by Government of India and above all is the River of India

History-

  • Ganga has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history
  • Story of Ganga is the history of Indian civilization and culture
  • Great Janapadas and Empires flourished on the bank of Ganga
  • Ganga is also the river of creation and cultural diversity of the Ganga basin is highly considerable In the mythology and epics, Ganga has been considered as a holy river and is regarded by all religions and paths

EZCC-     

  • Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC) under Union Ministry of Culture has Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands as the member States
  • Every Zonal Culture Centres have to organize a series of festivals namely (as per scheme)- Cultural Yatra, beyond their zone
  • Swach Bharat Abhiyan has also been taken up by EZCC

 

GS-2

Conference of Governors

(Topic: Governance, Constitutional posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies)

Conference deliberated on the following agenda items-

  • Security: Internal and External with special focus on terrorism and insurgency activities
  • Creating jobs for youths: Special focus on skill development for school dropouts
  • Implementation of flagship programmes: Government programmes like-
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Housing for all by 2022 and Smart Cities
  • Improving quality of Higher Education
  • Giving impetus to “Make in India” programme and employability
  • Act East Policy and development of North Eastern Region

 

Make in India Week

(Topic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their design and Implementation)

About-     

  • Event to provide greater momentum to the Make in India initiative, to showcase to the world the achievements of the nation in its manufacturing sector and to promote India as preferred manufacturing destination globally
  • Week long calendar would offer-
  • Unprecedented access,
  • Insights and opportunities to connect and collaborate with India and global industry leaders,
  • Week would spark a renewed sense of pride in India’s manufacturing and take corporate and public participation to the next level
  • Creating a confluence of Policymakers + Industry + Entrepreneurs + Academia
  • It is to- Showcase, Connect and Collaborate, as well as Highlight the people, policies and partnerships driving India’s new manufacturing revolution
  • Delegation from– 49 nations and business delegations from 68 countries during the Week

Week-long event organized to-

  • Showcase India’s manufacturing prowess
  • Drawing the attention towards the Centre’s view on States being partners to realize the nation’s potential for achieving higher rates of growth and creating employment for masses
  • FDI in India is growing at 48 per cent while globally there is a sharp fall
  • To showcase the nation’s accomplishments in manufacturing and position India as investment, innovation and manufacturing hub
  • Emphasizing that the world has now started to recognise India as a trusted investment destination

 

Event Highlights-

  • Leading Institutions from the world over would come together and develop solutions to address problems in three important areas –
  • Water,
  • Transportation and
  • Energy
  • For entrepreneurship spirit of India’s youth and to catalyse start up community to drive the entire value chain from innovation to manufacturing in India, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion and Qualcomm India would organize India’s largest start-up contest “QPrize™ Make in India” awarding Rs. 2 Crore in equity investment as prize money for the winning company

Make in India Week help in-

  • Forging enormous global engagement with Indian industry in the form of partnerships and investments paving the path for a transformation of the world’s largest democracy into the world’s most powerful economy
  • Serve as a crucible of ideas and innovation with industry-academia interaction featuring manufacturing success stories

 

 ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’ 

(Topic: Government Authority, Structure, Organisation and Functioning)

TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA (TRAI) issued the ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’

It is to- Disallow service providers to offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content being accessed by a consumer

Highlights-

  • TRAI had earlier issued a Consultation Paper on ‘Differential Pricing for Data Services’ in December, 2015
  • Consultation primarily sought the views of the stakeholders on whether the service providers should be allowed to charge differential tariffs based on the websites/applications/platforms being accessed on the internet
  • Based on the responses received and the internal deliberations, the Authority has now issued these Regulations
  • There were views suggesting both in support and against ex ante steps for regulating differential tariff for data services based on content
  • After careful examination of all the comments and feedback, the Authority has decided that ex ante regulation, rather than a case by case tariff intervention regime would be more appropriate as it would give the much needed certainty to industry participants
  • Such a step is also warranted in view of the high costs of regulation in terms of time and resources that will be required for investigating each case of tariff discrimination

 

Aim-

  • Ensuring that consumers get an unhindered and non-discriminatory access to the internet
  • Intend to make data tariffs for access to the internet non discriminatory on the basis of the content

Authority mandated the following: 

  • No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content
  • No service provider shall enter into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory tariffs for data services being offered or charged by the service provider for the purpose of evading the prohibition in this regulation
  • Reduced tariff for accessing or providing emergency services at times of public emergency has been permitted
  • Financial disincentives for contravention of the regulation have also been specified

TRAI will keep a close watch on the implementation of the mandate by the service providers and may undertake a review after two years or at an earlier date as it may deem fit.

 

DESTINATION NORTH EAST – 2016

 (Topic: Government Policies and its Implementation)                    

Aim-

  • To bring the rest of India closer to North East India
  • North East will play an important role in India’s Act East Policy
  • To ‘Act East’ effectively on foreign policy, it is necessary to ‘Act East’ within our borders

Destination North East

  • To showcase the richness of North-East to the rest of India
  • Event include theme specific Business Summit consisting of sectors like-
  • Tourism,
  • Agriculture,
  • Food Processing,
  • Skill Development & Entrepreneurship,
  • IT,
  • Handloom & Handicrafts,
  • Livelihood,
  • Micro-Finance and Start ups
  • Enable various Ministries to showcase their initiatives in North East India
  • Cultural programmes to showcase the rich culture and folk dances of North East India
  • Next venues for Destination North East will be Mumbai and Bengaluru, followed by other parts of the country

Each State of North-East India will be known by its distinct identity and for its uniqueness such as Mizoram as Bamboo State and Sikkim as Organic State

 

Government urges Banks to pitch in for Swachhta Mission

(Topic: Government Policies and Schemes and its Implementation)

Government asked the Banks and Micro-Finance institutions to-

  • Come forward in a big way for credit-disbursal to achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat Mission of making India Open Defecation Free by 2019
  • Incentive of Rs 12,000 for toilet construction for BPL families
  • To achieve the universal coverage, there is need for easy financing by banks and other financial institutions
  • Included water and sanitation as new sectors for priority sector lending by commercial banks

Sanitation is closely linked with poor health, low education status, malnutrition and poverty

 

SMB-

  • Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014, more than 14.7 million toilets were constructed in the rural areas, but still close to 50 percent of our rural population still does not have access to a toilet
  • Solid and liquid waste management component of the Swachh Bharat Mission, provides scope for small and medium private sector institutions to engage in waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure
  • Need for creating strong synergy between: Self Help Groups + Swachh Bharat Mission across the country

 

 (MoU)—Ministry of Railways and Governments of Chhattisgarh

(Topic: Agreements involving development in various sectors)

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between- Ministry of Railways and State Government of Chhattisgarh

It is for-Formation of Joint Venture Companies for Development of Railway Infrastructure in the State of Chhattisgarh”

Help- Joint Venture Companies with the State Governments will go a long way in faster commissioning of critical rail infrastructure projects as it will—

  • Help in mobilization of funds
  • Facilitating various clearances and land acquisition

MoU-

  • In view of the growing demands for railway lines in various states and huge requirement of funds to execute them, Minister for Railways announced in his budget speech regarding setting up of Joint Ventures with states for focused-
  • Project development,
  • Resource mobilization,
  • Land acquisition,
  • Project implementation and
  • Monitoring of critical rail projects
  • 17 State Governments consented for formation of Joint Venture Companies in collaboration with the Ministry of Railways for development of rail infrastructure in their respective States
  • MoUs have already been signed by the Ministry of Railways with the State Governments of Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh

Signing of MOU

  • To be a stepping stone for formation of JV companies
  • Envisages formation of a Joint Venture companies having 51% stakes of the respective State Government and 49% stakes of Ministry of Railways
  • JV companies shall be fully owned by the Government
  • Companies will primarily identify projects and possible financing avenues in addition to Govt. of India and the State Government

SPVs-

  • After finances for a project are tied up, project specific SPVs or special purpose vehicles shall be formed
  • SPVs can have other stake holders from Industries, Central PSUs, State PSUs etc
  • JV companies shall be  mandatory stake holders with minimum 26% shares in the SPVs
  • Most important aspect of this MoU is that the ownership of the land shall vest with the SPVs which is a departure from previous practice
  • Give financial leverage to the company to exploit commercial potential of the land
  • Likely to result in making project viable which are otherwise not viable
  • At the end of concession period, the railways will have option to take over the assets at a nominal price
  • Ministry of Railways will sign a concession agreement of 30 years with the project SPV for-

+ Safe and Sound operation

+ Revenue sharing

+ Providing technical & marketing logistics to the SPV

Revenue Sharing- Based on already established formulas being used for inter zonal apportionment of revenue

Indian Railway-

  • Indian Railways has been playing a major role in national integration by connecting the remotest places and bringing people closer to each other
  • Railways receive a large number of demands for network expansion as a railway line acts as an engine of growth for the area it serves
  • To expedite the projects, Railways have been trying to mobilize resources through other than Gross Budgetary Support

 

Aquifer Mapping


(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/ Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources)

  • Advanced technologies like heli-borne geophysical surveys are being used for mapping in certain areas
  • Sophisticated softwares like RockWorks, ARC GIS, Modflow, Map Info etc have been used in preparation of Management plans
  • States selected inter-alia in the first phase include
    • Andhra Pradesh,
    • Gujarat,
    • Haryana,
    • Karnataka,
    • Punjab,
    • Rajasthan,
    • Tamil Nadu and
    • Telangana; where the ground water situation has reached a critical level
  • As a precursor, pilots were launched in five States of
    • Bihar,
    • Rajasthan,
    • Maharashtra,
    • Karnataka and
    • Tamil Nadu; which has helped in proving the efficacy of various techniques in aquifer mapping
  • Intensive and unregulated groundwater pumping in many areas has caused rapid and widespread groundwater decline, including in the northern “bread basket” states where an estimated 15% of India’s food-grains is being produced

 

Aquifer Mapping and Management (NAQUIM)-

  • NAQUIM activities to involve and create awareness about the programme to potential players in the water sector
  • To bring the programme in Mission mode with clearly defined timelines and financial outlays
  • Efforts of CGWB in mapping of aquifers and preparation of management plans, re-emphasized the importance of this programme which would usher in security to sustainable level of food grain production

Target-

  • Focus would be on use of IT tools and ITES in monitoring of-
  • Ground water levels,
  • Water quality,
  • Data processing & analytics and data dissemination / sharing
  • Significant portion of the proposed works will be outsourced which include generation of-
  • Geophysical data,
  • Geochemical data and
  • Drilling of bore-wells / tube-wells

Help-                                                                 

  • An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock, from which groundwatercan be extracted
  • Mapping would assist in estimating the quantity and quality of ground water in an aquifer and would help in assessment of sustainable level of ground water extraction
  • Helps in making the Country climate change resilient
  • Mapping is being undertaken by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)
  • To prepare Management Plans, in consultation with stakeholders and State Governments, this will identify the recharge and other measures to replenish the declining trend of groundwater
  • Help in predicting the ground water scenario, the recharge potential and possibilities and would also help in educating the stakeholders in water use efficiency

 

India Handloom Brand Goes Online

(Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, success, limitation, and potential; citizens charters, transparency and accountability and institutional and others)

Integrated website of ‘India Handloom’ Brand www.indiahandloombrand.gov.in launched by, Ministry of Textiles

Website-

  • One stop platform for all services to consumers, bulk buyers and handloom producers
  • Provide full details of all registered India Handloom producers which will facilitate verification of genuine India Handloom product by customers
  • Able to verify the genuineness of the Brand logo through the registration no. which is printed on every label on the produce
  • Provide information about the retail stores and e-commerce platform from where India Handloom branded products can be purchased
  • Contain brief description of every product category and tips to identify genuine products
  • Contact details of India Handloom Brand producers are available for bulk buyers like retail stores, garment manufacturers who will able to directly access the handloom producers registered under the Brand
  • Section where handloom producers can apply online for registration under the Brand and can also track status of their application

Government Efforts-

  • Committed to raise the market positioning of handloom products for development of handloom industry and for increasing wages of handloom weavers
  • Website will be an important platform for achieving these objectives and would be user- friendly both for consumers as well as handloom producing agencies

‘India Handloom’ Brand

  • Launched on 7thAugust, 2015, the first National Handloom Day, to endorse the quality of handloom products in terms of-
  • Raw material,
  • Processing,
  • Embellishment,
  • Weaving,
  • Design and other parameters besides social and environment compliance
  • Main objective is to promote the production of quality products with new designs for winning the trust and confidence of customers by giving particular attention to defect free, hand woven, authentic niche products with zero defect and zero impact on environment
  • Registration under the brand is given after stringent testing of samples in Govt. of India laboratory
  • Several e-commerce platforms and leading retail stores have been engaged for marketing of India Handloom branded products

 

Employment and Handlooms-

  • More than 43 lakh persons are engaged in this sector with annual production of 720 crore sq.mtrs which is 14% of the total textile sector
  • Provides livelihood to large number of rural women and backward sections of the society
  • Supported by 28 Weavers’ Service Centres and 10 Indian Institutes of Handloom Technology
  • National Handloom Development Corporation is responsible for supply of quality yarn, dyes and chemicals
  • In order to address the main challenges of competition from power-loom sector, concerns of consumers about quality, and stagnant wages for weavers, new strategy aims at increasing production ofhigh value good quality products leading to consumers satisfaction and remunerative earnings to the weavers
  • Block Level Cluster Approachto support quality production and ‘India Handloom’ Brand for market positioning are two key elements of new strategy
  • Number of handlooms along with new jobs have increased wherever market linked design intervention has been taken up for supporting weaving of quality handloom products
  • Such efforts are being further strengthened by launch of ‘India Handloom’ Brand

 

India-Australia Collaboration: Mining Skill Development for Labour Safety, Health and Efficiency 

(Topic: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests)

About-

  • Union Minister of State (IC) for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy held an industry and academia roundtable on Skill development and initiated collaboration Queensland government’s centre for virtual mining SIMTARS (Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station)
  • India is co-chairing 3rd India-Australia energy security dialogue in Brisbane, Australia

Highlight-

  • Significant opportunities for skill development in India
  • Prime Minister’s vision of affordable energy access for all and consequent doubling of output of Coal India

India – Australia Collaboration-

  • Current, skill development engagement with Australia was at a scale of 20 people per year which will be scaled up to thousands through combination of-

Setup of Indian centres + e-learning + on-site training

  • Include leadership training as well as training on mine operations and safety

 

SIMTARS-

  • Virtual mining training showcased at SIMTARS included-
  • Labour safety,
  • Mine planning and
  • Refinery operations
  • Such training centres can significantly improve productivity while minimizing mine and plant accidents
  • Original plan was to setup one Indian centre in collaboration with SIMTARS and ISM, a larger collaboration with more than six centres in each of the large mining states esp. in East India
  • Help- Workers in these states to ramp up their skills and fully benefit from the fruits of development
  • Sports was also identified as a key enabler for the health of workers as well as bring significant benefits even at the workplace

Central Coalfields Limited (CCL):

  • A subsidiary of Coal India Limited has committed to setup a sports university in Ranchi and is also upgrading 14 stadiums in the city
  • CCL will collaborate with sports institutes in Australia with an aim to produce 100 Olympians from India in 10 years
  • Help- Bring the best sports training practices from Australia to India as well as promote traditional Indian sports like Kabaddi and Kho-kho back in Australia

 

India Exploring Australian Gas Supplies for Clean and Affordable Power 

(Topic: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests)

 

Aim-

  • To meet its objective to providing affordable and clean energy for all
  • Collaboration on LNG and CBM is a big outcome focused step towards achieving this objective

Highlights-

  • Government of India is willing to consider long term fixed price contracts for the supply of gas which will enable power producer to enter into a power supply contract at an affordable price
  • Opportunities to control the entire value chain right from gas production, liquefaction, shipping, re-gasification and power generation can be evaluated at the current historic low prices of many of these activities
  • India is running one of the world’s largest renewable energy programme which aims to increase the capacity 5 times to 175 GW over the next seven years
  • It requires gas based plants which can act as spinning reserve and supply power during deficit times of day (like evenings) when renewable energy production reduces while stabilizing the grid
  • Since coal based power is available in India at less than 5 cents per unit, the LNG providers should consider supplying gas to India at a price that is comparable
  • India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world
  • India has developed sufficient infrastructure in-
  • Pipeline transportation,
  • Regasification facilities
  • End consumers facilities such as gas based power plants
  • Facilities enable the consumption of around 300 MMSCMD, whereas the present consumption is less than 50% of the same
  • Provides good opportunities to countries which have a surplus of Natural Gas provided it is available at affordable prices
  • In order to explore the opportunities to affordably supply Australian LNG to India, an LNG sub-group has been created

 

Australian Companies highlighted

  • Technologies have been highlighted to reduce cost of producing natural gas and clear shipping routes between Australia and India provide ample opportunities to provide LNG to India at competitive rates
  • Additionally, with large increase in coal exploration and production in India, Australian companies can provide Coal Bed Methane (CBM) technologies to India

 

GS-3

Improving Ease of doing Construction Business

(Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth)

Progress reported towards enhancing the ’ease of doing of construction business’ in urban areas by-

Streamlining the-

  • Procedures,
  • Adoption of appropriate technology and
  • By empowering urban local bodies to accord a wide range of approvals

 

Colour Coded Zonal Maps

  • To begin with CCZMs will be evolved for four such airports viz., Pune, Jamnagar, Chandigarh and Bagdogra by April, 2016
  • Enable respective urban local bodies accord height clearances in respect of almost all cases, doing away with the need to approach AAI for the same
  • Works of Defence Act, 1903 will be suitably amended to remove hurdles for construction activities near defence establishments
  • Distance from the actual storage point will be considered for restricting the construction instead of from the boundary wall of ammunition storage dumps at present, which will bring down the zone of restriction
  • (No Objection Certificate Application System) eliminating human interface and enabling faster issue of NOC through automatic calculations of permissible heights in airport zones with applicants being able to track the status

 

Personalised take away bedrolls service launched in Indian Railways 

(Topic: Government Schemes, Railways Development Models)

e-Bedrolls-

  • Bedrolls are disposable, passengers can take them home after journey
  • Type 1 – Bedroll kit packed in a non-woven fabric bag consisting of two cotton bed sheets and one pillow at a cost of Rs.140
  • Type 2 – Blanket kit packed in a non-woven bag consisting of one blanket at a cost of Rs.110
  • Cost is inclusive of all taxes and uniform across stations over Indian Railways

 

Government to support Ethanol blending of Petrol in a big way

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

National Seminar aimed at- Accelerating the EBP programme in the country and to draw up a roadmap for establishing ethanol industry from lignocellulosic route thus

  • Reducing the foreign exchange outflow,
  • Generate rural employment and
  • Protect environment

Ethanol blended petrol-

  • It will not only help in value addition for the farmer’s produce but will also reduce foreign exchange expenditure
  • Benefits employment generation, entrepreneurship promotion and environment protection
  • Ethanol blended petrol was introduced in 2003 but the process got impetus only in 2014-15 when new government took policy decisions to incentivize petrol blending
  • There is a demand for Ethanol for blending with petrol but there are technological and financial challenges which needs to be overcome
  • Various departments of Government, State Governments, Academic and Research Institutions needs to work together to find solution to these challenges
  • Molasses to Ethanol conversion is already going on and the Government has taken up second generation of lignocelluloses to Ethanol production to utilize agricultural residues/wastes, and achieve the target of 10% Ethanol blending

 

NHAI aims for conservation and protection of wildlife 

(Topic:  Environment, Wildlife, Conservation)

About-    

  • With a view to mainstream Sustainable Development and Environmental Management into highway development projects
  • National Highways Authority of India has taken the lead in creating a platform for dialogue where development goals and conservation needs can be resolved across the table by all stakeholders

NHAI

  • Initiated the dialogue with the representatives from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Ministry of Environment, and Forest & Climate Change last month
  • NHAI propose using space technology for planning and monitoring of conflict zones and putting in place mitigation measures for environmental protection and conservation along the highways
  • Conservation of wildlife is the focus of attention
  • NHAI has assured to undertake all necessary measures to-
  • Avoid,
  • Minimize, and
  • Mitigate any impact on wildlife that may result in the course of development of National Highways
  • Provide the coordinates of all NH projects to WII for developing a Geological Information System (GIS) enabled map of all National Highways passing through Protected Areas
  • Emphasized the necessity of scientific designing of mitigation measures, so that the project designs could be optimized, safeguarding wildlife while maintaining the cost-effectiveness of the projects on long term basis
  • Expects to reduce the time factor in consultations, clearances and finalization of mitigation plans thereby saving huge costs to the society

 

National Research Development Corporation inks MOU with Indian Institute of Chemical Biology to Promote Entrepreneurship

(Topic: Agreements involving development in research and others)

National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indian Institute of Chemical Biology to promote entrepreneurship

CSIR – Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata

  • Engaged in research on diseases and certain biological problems of global interest
  • To spin out these R&D outcomes and with a view to contribute country’s Startup movement, CSIR-IICB established a Translational Research Unit of Excellence (TRUE) which includes an Incubation Centre of about 10,000 sq. ft.

Help-

  • ‘TRUE’ and the Incubation Centre would help in research getting translated into viable products
  • Partnership between NRDC and CSIR-IICB contributes to the “Startup India” and “Make in India” Missions of Govt. of India by way of promoting Entrepreneurships, Incubation, IPRs, Technology Transfer

 

National Framework for Elimination of Malaria 

(Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of social sector/ services relating to health)

Health Minister launched National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) 2016-2030

                                                  

Aim-

  • Elimination of the disease by 2030
  • Contribute to improved health and quality of life and alleviation of poverty

Outcome-    

  • Eliminating Malaria will result in cutting down on expenditure on diseases control programme
  • Help in reducing out-of-pocket expenditure too

NFME-

  • India has sturdy health systems with trained manpower, and the learning from the Polio and Elimination of Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus will help in eliminating Malaria too
  • Necessary guidance is expressed for rolling out the strategies and related interventions in each State/UT as per respective epidemiological situation

Objectives of the NFME are-

  • Eliminate malaria from all low (Category 1) and moderate (Category 2) endemic states/UTs (26) by 2022
  • Reduce incidence of malaria to less than 1 case per 1000 population in all States/UTs and the districts and malaria elimination in 31 states/UTs by 2024
  • Interrupt indigenous transmission of malaria in all States/ UTs (Category 3) by 2027
  • Prevent re-establishment of local transmission of malaria in areas where it has been eliminated and to maintain malaria-free status of the country by 2030
  • Milestones and targets are set for 2016, 2020, 2022, 2024, 2027 and 2030 by when the entire country has sustained zero indigenous cases and deaths due to malaria for 3 years and initiated the processes for certification of malaria elimination status to the country
  • NFME 2016-2030 also defines key strategic approaches such as programme phasing considering the varying malaria endemicity in the country

An enabled environment and necessary resources would remain critical to realize the objectives in the pathway to malaria elimination

Target-

  • By end of 2016: All states/UTs are expected to include malaria elimination in their broader health policies and planning framework
  • By end of 2017: All states are expected to bring down API to less than 1 per thousand population
  • By end of 2020: 15 states/UTs under category 1 (elimination phase) are expected to interrupt transmission of malaria and achieve zero indigenous cases and deaths due to malaria
  • Envisaged that in states with relatively good capacity and health infrastructure, such as, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra, accelerated efforts may usher malaria elimination sooner – within two to three years
  • As per the targets under the 12th Five Year Plan, the country is to achieve API<1 at state and district level by 2017 and pave way to malaria elimination in subsequent years

 

National Organic Farming Research Institute (NOFRI) at Gangtok, Sikkim 

(Topic: Major cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems and related constraints, e-technology in the aid of famrers)

  • During 87th Annual General Meeting of Indian Council of Agricultural Research announced establishment of National Organic Farming Research Institute (NOFRI) at Gangtok, Sikkim
  • Sikkim has recently been declared as the first organic state in the country

NOFRI

  • Institute will provide research and technological backstopping to Organic Production System in the country in general and North East Hills Region in particular
  • Institute will undertake basic, strategic and adaptive research on efficient, economically viable and environmentally sustainable organic farming systems for improving productivity, resource use efficiencies and quality of produce
  • It will impart vocational and advanced training to stakeholders for promotion of organic farming in the country
  • Required financial resources, manpower and infrastructure facilities will be made available accordingly

 

Counter IED Strategy 

(Topic: Science and Technology)       

Theme- “National Counter IED Strategy”

Provides a platform to the national and international experts of police and armed forces/law enforcement/ security/ intelligence/ forensic agencies and other allied organizations for exchange of expertise, ideas and experiences

 

NBDC- It has been the pioneer in collection, collation and analysis of various IED incidents since it came into being in 1988 which in turn helps in discerning the modus operandi of different terrorist organizations which help in formulating strategies to effectively counter the activities of such groups

 

Delegates from- Leading security agencies of India, experts from the US, Israel, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam will be attending the seminar

 

Australian Clean Coal Technologies for Affordable and Clean Power in India 

(Topic: Technology, Clean Energy, Environmental, Conservation, Pollution and Degradation)

 

Highlights-

  • During the roundtable extensive discussions were held over-
  • Efficient mining practices,
  • Exploration
  • Mining technologies for opencast as well as underground
  • Reclamation and rehabilitation of mined out areas,
  • Mine safety,
  • Clean Coal Technologies and Coal beneficiation etc.
  • In view of the proposed enhancement of coal production in the next five years India is focusing on-
    • Technological development
    • Modernization
    • Safety improvement
    • Skill development
  • In addition to coal mining there was also a focus on clean coal technologies, including- Coal washing + Coal bed methane development + Underground coal gasification
  • Australian companies presented their capabilities in different areas and highlighted the projects they are engaged in particularly Clean Coal Technologies (CCTs) viz-
  • Coal Bed Methane (CBM),
  • Coal Mine Methane (CMM),
  • Underground Coal Gasification (UCG),
  • Safety improvement,
  • Reclamation of mined out areas etc.
  • Taking the process forward and also to augment availability of domestic coal thereby reducing dependence on imported coal, the Government has finalised the methodology of allocation of coal mines for commercial mining to Central/State PSUs
  • Many of these blocks can explore usage of Australian clean coal technologies thus helping reduce emissions while also helping reduce cost of production thus helping meet the aim of affordable power for all

 

Railway Minister inaugurates three IT enabled projects

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

  1. Paperless unreserved ticketing through mobile phone in suburban section of South Central Railway
  2. Pilot Project of hand Held Terminals for TTEs on Northern Railway and
  3. E-booking of disposable linen on trains at New Delhi Railway Station and Nizamuddin Railway Station

Hand Held Terminals for TTEs- 

  • With the help of Hand held Terminals for TTEs, after all allotments, remaining vacant berths will be sent back to HHT Application Servers and can be viewed on PRS terminal as well as web site (indianrail.gov.in)
  • Information of all NT passengers will be sent to coaching refund system to get speedier refund and eliminate the preparation of manual Exception Data Reports (EDR)
  • Occupancy chart can be viewed on HHT device to dispense with the manual preparation of food-chart/occupancy chart

Outcome of the Project are-

  • Revenue Yield Maximization, by making onboard accommodation availability visible to downstream Stations so that they can do current bookings against these vacant seats, realizing additional revenue against the same as presently these seats usually go vacant up to the terminal stations due to non-availability of this information with the prospective Passengers
  • Application ensures greater transparency in the allotment of Accommodation onboard
  • Ensure better productivity norms amongst TTE’s as the process of ticket checking will get simplified considerably

Paperless Unreserved Ticketing Mobile Application

  • To move forward in line with Digital India, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) has developed a paperless Unreserved Ticketing Mobile Application “UTSONMOBILE”,both for Android and Windows platforms
  • Application, features enable booking of paperless unreserved journey tickets, season tickets and platform tickets through mobile phones

Outcome of Project-

  • Application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during the booking process
  • Payment for the ticket is done through the “Railway Wallet” feature in the “App”.
  • After booking the ticket, the passenger will get the ticket confirmation screen which contains limited information of the ticket
  • Paperless tickets will be stored in the local mobile application database in the encrypted form which cannot be tampered with
  • Ticket booked in paperless mode cannot be cancelled in order to prevent claiming of refund after travel
  • Journey ticket has distinct colorscheme on daily basis and it is embedded
    with Quick Response (QR) code

 E-booking of Disposable Linen on Trains 

  • Pilot project of E-Bedroll allows passengers to avail bedroll kits through online booking and from over the counter at select outlets set up by the IRCTC on the stations
  • Facility can be availed by passengers having confirmed e-tickets at the time of ticketing or up to four hours prior to the scheduled departure of the train on the basis of online payment

 

Minister for Telecom & IT to Launch Electronics Development Fund (EDF) 

(Topic: Advancement in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, bio-technology)

Electronics Development Fund (EDF)-

  • Aninitiative of IT Department is formulated as a “Fund of Funds” to participate in “Daughter Funds” which in turn will provide risk capital to companies developing new technologies in the area of electronics, nano-electronics and Information Technology (IT)
  • EDF therefore enables creation of an ecosystem for providing risk capital to both industry and academia to undertake research and development in these technology areas
  • Enrich the intellectual property in the country and encourage more entrepreneurs towards product and technology development
  • Target beneficiaries of the EDF will be Daughter Funds (set up to achieve the objectives of the EDF policy) registered in India and abiding by the relevant rules and regulations including the SEBI regulations on Venture Funds
  • Corpus of a Daughter Fund will be determined by market requirements and the capacity of its Fund Manager to cater to the requirements of the Fund
  • Supported Daughter Funds will promote innovation, R&D and product development within the country in the specified fields of electronics, nano-electronics and IT
  • Support acquisition of foreign companies and technologies for products imported in India in large volume
  • Core focus of the Daughter Funds would be to develop domestic design capabilities
  • Daughter Funds supported will create a resource pool of IP within the country in the specified fields

 

Madhya Pradesh 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)                                                                                  

Mega Food Park

  • Park will have facilities of 3000 MT Cold Storage, 9000 MT Dry Warehouse, Instant Quick Freeze (IQF) 5 MT per hour, modern Quality Control lab and other processing facilities for fruits and vegetables
  • Create a modern infrastructure for arresting post-harvest losses of horticultural and non-horticultural produce and provide impetus to the growth of food processing sector in Madhya Pradesh
  • Help in providing better prices to farmers, reduce wastage of perishables, add value to agricultural produce and create huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the State
  • Mega Food Park is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000 to 30,000 farmers in its catchment area.

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