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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 14th March to 20th March, 2016

  • IASbaba
  • March 22, 2016
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs March 2016, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, PIB
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Steps to prevent road accidents as per details mentioned under:

(Topic- Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways)

 

  • The Government has approved a National Road Safety Policy.This Policy outlines various policy measures such as promoting awareness, establishing road safety information data base, encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws etc.
  • The Government has constituted the National Road Safety Council as the apex body to take policy decisions in matters of road safety.
  • The Ministry has requested all States/UTs for setting up of State Road Safety Council and District Road Safety Committees, and to hold their meetings regularly.
  • The Ministry has formulated a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on 4 ‘E’s viz. Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles), Enforcement and Emergency Care.
  • Road safety has been made an integral part of road design at planning stage.
  • Road Safety Audit of selected stretches of National Highways has been taken up.
  • High priority has been accorded to identification and rectification of black spots (accident prone spots) on national highways. Around 700 such black spots have been identified for improvement.
  • The threshold for four laning of national highway has been reduced from 15,000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) to 10,000 PCUs. About 52,000 Km of stretches of State Highways has been identified for conversion to national highways.
  • Setting up of model driving training institutes in States and refresher training to drivers of Heavy Motor Vehicle in the unorganized sector.
  • Advocacy/Publicity campaign on road safety through the electronic and print media.
  • Tightening of safety standards for vehicles like Seat Belts, Power-steering, anti-lock braking system etc.
  • Providing cranes and ambulances to various State Governments under the National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme for development on National Highways. National Highways Authority of India also provides ambulances at a distance of 50 Km. on each of its completed stretches of National Highways under its Operation & Maintenance contracts.
  • Launch of pilot projects for providing cashless treatment of road accident victims on Gurgaon – Jaipur, Vadodara – Mumbai stretch of National Highways No. 8 and Ranchi – Rargaon – Mahulia stretch of National Highway No. 33

 

Effectiveness of Measures by Bureau of Energy Efficiency 

(Topic- Environment conservation)

 

The following measures initiated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency have yielded tangible results in the field of energy efficiency and contribute significantly in achieving the vision of     24 x 7 power to all households in the country

  1. Prescribing reduction in specific energy consumption norms for energy intensive industries notified
  2. Star labeling of 21 appliances for improved energy efficiency
  3. Fuel efficiency standards prescribed for passengers cars to reduce fuel consumption.
  4. Energy Conservation Building Codes (ECBC) formulated for energy efficiency improvement in commercial buildings.
  5. Prescribing Design Guidelines for Energy Efficient Multi-Storey Residential Buildings.
  6. Promotion of energy efficient LED lamps through Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) & Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)
  7. Nationwide campaign for energy conservation.

 

Promotion of Khadi 

(Topic- Marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints)

 

Khadi and Village Industries Commission has been re-established with an objective to promote, facilitate and assist in establishment and development of Khadi and Village Industries in rural areas.

  • Strengthening of Infrastructure of existing Weak Khadi Institutions.
  • Market Promotion and Development Assistance.
  • Interest Subsidy Eligibility Certification scheme for providing bank loans for khadi and polyvastra at 4% rate of interest.
  • Workshed Scheme for khadi artisans for providing assistance for construction of worksheds.
  • Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) under which assistance for replacement of obsolete equipments, setting up common facility centres, product development, market promotion and other support is provided in clusters of traditional industries including khadi industries.
  • Khadi Reforms and Development Programme (KRDP) to revitalize the khadi sector.

 

Promotion of MSME 

(Topic- Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.)

 

Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM) :  a simple one-page registration Form. This is an important step to promote ease of doing business for MSMEs in India as the UAM replaces the filing of Entrepreneurs’ Memorandum with the respective States/UTs.

Framework for revival and rehabilitation of MSMEs: Provides a mechanism for revival and rehabilitation with a definite voice to the Entrepreneurs and is expected to balance the interest of debtors and creditors.

A Scheme for Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE): To promote Innovation & Rural Entrepreneurship through rural Livelihood Business Incubator (LBI), Technology Business Incubator (TBI) and Fund of Funds for start-up creation in the agro-based industry.

National Small Industries Commission (NSIC) under the Ministry of MSME is implementing the Raw Material Assistance Scheme which aims at helping MSEs by way of financing the purchase of Raw Material (both indigenous & imported).

Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs): To facilitate easy flow of credit to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is a credit linked subsidy scheme, for setting up of new micro-enterprises and to generate employment opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of the country through KVIC, State Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB) and District Industries Centre (DIC)

Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI): Making Traditional Industries more productive and competitive by organizing the Traditional Industries and artisans into clusters.

MSME is also implementing various schemes and programmes for promotion and development of MSME sector.

The major schemes/programmes include

  • Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP).
  • Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)
  • Credit Guarantee Scheme.
  • Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS).
  • National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme.
  • Micro & Small Enterprises – Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP).
  • Marketing Development Assistance.
  • Skill Development Programmes.
  • International Cooperation Scheme, etc.

 

Gram Vikas Yojana

(Topic- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes)

 

  • Implemented by Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • It is programme for integrated development of forest villages with a view to raise the Human Development Index (HDI) of the inhabitants of the forest villages and for providing basic facilities and services.
  • The programme was implemented as a part of the Special Area Programme ‘Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan.
  • It includes infrastructure works relating to basic services and facilities like health, education, roads, drinking water, sanitation, irrigation, rain water harvesting.

 

Progress of Clean Ganga Mission 

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

 

  • Ganga action plan plase one in the year 1983 à cleaning started
  • Ganga action plan plase two in the year 1993
  • The Central Government set up the ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority’ (NGRBA) in 2009 as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating conservation authority for the Ganga River.
  • Core Schemes include Interception and diversion (I&D)
  • Non-Core Schemes include Providing Low Cost Sanitation (LCS) at community and individual levels like Installation of Crematoria, River Front Development (RFD), Afforestation, awareness campaign etc
  • Namami Gange Programme to improve the quality of water of river Ganga by the year 2020.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitors the quality of water at 57 monitoring stations along the river Ganga regularly
  • Cleaning of river Ganga and its tributaries is being undertaken by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
  • Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) has been supplementing the efforts of the State Governments in abatement of pollution in identified stretches of various rivers

 

Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India 

(Topic- Growth, development and employment.)

 

  • Ministry of Tourism has launched a Comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) for three major segments of tourism industry, namely Tour Operators, Accommodation and Beaches, Backwaters, Lakes & Rivers sectors. The criterion has been adopted by the stakeholders.
  • The tour operators approved by Ministry of Tourism have to sign a pledge for commitment towards Safe & Honourable Tourism and Sustainable Tourism to fully implement Sustainable Tourism practices, consistent with the best environment and heritage protection standards, such that the present tourism resource requirements optimize both local community benefit and future sustainable uses.

 

Parytak Mitra Programme of M/O Tourism

(Topic- Growth, development and employment.)

 

  • It is a Programme open to college going students to inculcate in them appropriate tourism traits and knowledge, to enable them to act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Parytak Mitra).

 

Funds for R&D of New and Renewable Energy Technology  

(Topic- Conservation of environment)

 

Against the budget of Rs. 513.28 crore allocated by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for research and development (R&D) of new and renewable energy technology, a total expenditure of Rs. 435.95 crore was incurred during the last three years and the current year.

 Steps taken to promote use of renewable energy

  • Government policy initiatives   involving R&D, academic, industry and financial institutions for technology demonstration, training, resource assessment, publicity and awareness.
  • Providing various fiscal and financial incentives, such as capital/interest subsidy, generation based incentives, accelerated depreciation, concessional excise and customs duties, preferential tariff for purchase of power generated from renewable sources.
  • A separate financing institution, namely, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has been set up as a public sector undertaking for market development and financing of renewable energy projects.
  • In addition, the Ministry organized the Global Renewable Energy Investors Promotion Meet (RE-INVEST 2015) on 15-17th February 2015 at New Delhi as an attempt exploring proliferating public/private sector investment to give boost to use of renewable energy.

 

High Sulphur Content in Petroleum Coke 

(Topic- Science and Technology)

 

  • Petroleum Coke is generally used as industry fuel by Cement, Steel, Graphite, Aluminium (etc) industry as per techno-economic considerations.  However, the industry is required to adhere to stipulated emission standards.
  • IOCL has informed that the domestic Pet coke may be consumed even with higher sulphur content to sustain refinery production/viability as the same gets produced due to introduction of BS-4/BS-5 fuels to reduce pollution and protect our environment

The sulphur contents in Petroleum Coke, Coal and Fuel Oil are as following:

  • Petroleum Coke Coal – 0.6 to 1.5%*
  • Fuel Oil – 6 to 7%*
  • Produced from low sulphur crude – 0.2 to 4.5%#
  • Produced from high sulphur crude – 3.5 to 4.5%#

 

 Scheme for new Entrepreneurs 

(Topic- Growth and development, Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

 

An Action Plan has been prepared for 22 sectors under ‘Make in India’ initiative to promote new entrepreneurs in the country. An Investor Facilitation Cell has been created in Invest India to assist and handhold investors.  Further, a Start-up Action Plan has been released by the Government to create a conducive environment for start-ups in India which includes:-

  1. Simplification and Handholding
  • Simple Compliance Regime for start-ups  based on Self-certification
  • Launch of Mobile app and Portal for compliance and information exchange
  • Start-up India Hub to handhold start-ups during various phases of their development
  • Legal support and fast-tracking patent examination at reduced costs
  • Relaxed norms of public procurement for start-ups
  • Faster exit for start-ups
  1. Funding support and Incentives
  • Providing funding support through a Fund of Funds with a corpus of Rupees 10,000 crore
  • Credit guarantee fund for start-ups
  • Tax exemption on capital gains invested in Fund of Funds
  • Tax exemption to start-ups for 3 years
  1. Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation
  • Organizing Start-up Fests to showcase innovations and providing  collaboration platforms
  • Launch of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) with Self –Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) Program of NITI Aayog
  • Harnessing private sector expertise for setting up incubators
  • Setting up of 7 new research parks modelled on the Research Park at IIT Madras
  • Launching of innovation focused programs for students.
  • Annual Incubator Grand Challenge to promote good practices among incubators.

 

Steps Taken Towards Vocational Education 

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

 

Initiatives taken in the field of higher education

  • Expansion of premier institutions like IITs/IIMs.
  • Provision of scholarships/fellowships to socially backward students.
  • The SWAYAM project for providing online learning.
  • The ranking framework for assessing the quality of institutions.
  • The  accreditation of the institutions after verification of the educational outcomes
  • Promoting research through the IMPRINT and Uchhatar Avishakar Yojana- are being undertaken in this direction.

As far as skilling and vocationalisation is concerned. 

  • MHRD Ministry is spearheading the initiative. Working in tandem with the Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
  • Skills Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY) that provides seamless movement from education to skill.
  • PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY). This initiative is being led by the AICTE in all the technical institutions and is expected to impart skills for about 10 lakh youth in the next three years.

 

Policy to adopt World Heritage Sites 

(Topic- Indian Heritage)

 

  • UNESCO, with the help of 21 member World Heritage Committee and advisory bodies such as International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), within the framework of its Operational Guidelines, decides about the cultural and natural sites to be included on the World Heritage list. Such cultural and natural sites must display the necessary Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), fulfil one or more out of 10 prescribed criteria (as given below), maintain the condition of authenticity and integrity and should be in a good state of conservation.
  • There are 32 sites from India declared as World Heritage properties as follows.

 

(Under Protection of Archaeological Survey of India)

S.No Name of Site State
1. Ajanta Caves (1983) Maharashtra
2. Ellora Caves (1983) Maharashtra
3. Agra Fort (1983) Uttar Pradesh
4. Taj Mahal (1983) Uttar Pradesh
5. Sun Temple, Konarak (1984) Odisha
6. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) Tamil Nadu
7. Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) Goa
8. Group of Temples, Khajuraho (1986) Madhya Pradesh
9. Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) Karnataka
10. Group of Monuments, FatehpurSikri (1986) Uttar Pradesh
11. Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987) Karnataka
12. Elephanta Caves ( 1987) Maharashtra
13. Great Living Chola temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004) Tamil Nadu
14. Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) Madhya Pradesh
15. Humayun’s  Tomb, Delhi (1993) Delhi
16. Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi (1993) Delhi
17. Prehistoric Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) Madhya Pradesh
18. Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004) Gujarat
19. Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007) Delhi
20. Hill Forts of Rajasthan

(Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts)      (2013)

(Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums)

Rajasthan
21. Rani ki Vav (2014) Gujarat

Under Protection of Ministry of Railways 

22. Mountain Railway of India ( Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla(2008) West Bengal,  Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
23. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) Maharashtra

Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee 

24. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya (2002) Bihar

Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums Department 

25. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010) Rajasthan

NATURAL SITES

Under Protection of Ministry of Environment & Forest

26. Kaziranga National Park (1985) Assam
27. Manas Wild Life Sanctuary (1985) Assam
28. Keoladeo National Park (1985) Rajasthan
29. Sunderban National Park (1987) West Bengal
30. Nanda Devi  and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005) Uttarakhand
31. Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
32. Great Himalayan National Park (2014) Himachal Pradesh

Health Minister Shri J P Nadda launches project ‘Clean Street Food’ 

(Topic- Growth and development, Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

 

  • It is the project of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) aims at to raise the safety standards of foods sold on streets across the capital city of New Delhi by training 20,000 roadside vendors on aspects of health and hygiene, in the first phase.
  • As part of Project Clean Street Food, FSSAI will partner with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to train street food vendors at more than 40 centres across Delhi under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) category of the Government’s flagship skills training scheme- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
  • Under the Delhi Project, 20,000 food street vendors would be trained, assessed and certified by seven training partners over the next four weeks at 40 training centres set up for the purpose across Delhi.
  • Delhi Food Safety Commissioner and the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) are engaged in mobilization of street vendors across Delhi.
  • The Tourism and Hospitality Sector Skill Council (THSC), an affiliate of the National Skill Development Corporation, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship will be the training provider under the Project.
  • Food vendors will receive Smart Skill-cum-Registration cards on completion of the training.

 

Measures to Reduce Anaemia in Women 

(Topic- Various interventions for vulnerable sections)

 

  • As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – III (2005-06), prevalence of anaemia in women is 55.3%.
  • “National Iron Plus Initiative” as a comprehensive strategy to combat the public health challenge of Iron Deficiency Anaemia prevalent across the life cycle.
  • Universal screening of pregnant women for anaemia is a part of ante-natal care and all pregnant women are provided iron and folic acid tablets during their ante-natal visits through the existing network of sub-centres and primary health centres and other health facilities as well as through outreach activities at Village Health & Nutrition Days (VHNDs).
  • Every pregnant woman is given iron and folic acid, after the first trimester, to be taken 1 tablet daily for 6 months during ante-natal and post-natal period.  Pregnant women, who are found to be clinically anaemic, are given additional tablet for taking two tablets daily.
  • Government of India has given directions to the States for identification and tracking of severely anaemic cases at all the sub centres and PHCs for their timely management.
  • Health and nutrition education through IEC & BCC to promote dietary diversification, inclusion of iron foliate rich food as well as food items that promotes iron absorption.
  • To tackle the problem of anaemia due to malaria particularly in pregnant women and children, Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) and Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (ITBNs) are being distributed in endemic areas.
  • Health management information system & Mother Child tracking system is being implemented   for reporting the cases of anaemic and severely anaemic pregnant women.
  • MCP Card and Safe Motherhood Booklet are being distributed to the pregnant women for educating them on dietary diversification and promotion of consumption of IFA.

 

Steps taken towards elimination of Kala-Azar 

(Topic- Various interventions for vulnerable sections)

 

To achieve the Kala-azar elimination goal by 2017 set by the WHO, the following steps have been taken:

  • National Roadmap for Kala-azar Elimination (2014) has been circulated to states with clear goal, objectives, strategies, timelines with activities and functions at appropriate level. This document has been developed for focused intervention at national, state, district and sub-district  and village levels.
  • Treatment of Kala-azar patient with single day single dose Liposomal Amphotericin B (AmBisome) injection has improved treatment compliance. Unintrupted  free supply of AmBisome  is ensured by WHO.
  • Regular supply of diagnostic kit (rapid diagnostic test) and drugs in states is ensured.
  • Funds are provided to states for incentive of Rs. 500/- to Kala-azar patient and Rs. 2,000/- to PKDL case from GoI  to compensate loss of wages.
  • Incentive of Rs. 300/- to ASHA /health volunteer to bring Kala- azar suspected case to health facility and to ensure  complete treatment. ASHA is also being paid Rs. 200/- during  indoor residual spray for social mobilization and community acceptance to allow spray in their rooms.
  • Active search of Kala azar and  Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) case and IEC/BCC with the help of development partners.
  • All endemic Kala-azar villages are covered with focal spray where new case is found during non IRS period. Hand Compression pumps are being used for spraying.
  • of India is closely working with development partners like  Bill Melinda Gates Foundation(BMGF); KalaCORE Consortium; Rajendra Memorial Research Institute (RMRI); National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Patna and World Health Organisation (WHO) for achieving the desired goal of elimination.
  • The Kala-azar Elimintion is being reviewed on monthly basis by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and higher officials of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

 

Effective Measures to Check Female Foeticide 

(Topic- Various interventions for vulnerable sections)

  • Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy entailing
  • Schemes and programmes
  • Awareness generation/advocacy measures to build a positive environment for the girl child through gender sensitive policies
  • Provisions and legislation.
  • Intensified effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994
  • Financial support to the States and UTs for operationalization of PNDT Cells, Capacity Building, Orientation &Sensitisation Workshop, Information, Education and Communication campaigns
  • Organising workshops.
  • National campaign “BetiBachao, BetiPadhao” was launched in 100 gender critical districts in partnership with the Ministry of Woman and Child Development and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • Strict Implementation of supreme court ruling for ensuring compliance.
  • States have been advised to focus on Districts/Blocks/Villages with low Child Sex Ratio to ascertain the causes, plan appropriate behaviour change communication campaigns and effectively implement provisions of the PC & PNDT Act.

 

Addressing the Problems of Rural Health 

(Topic- Various interventions for vulnerable sections)

 

The government has already taken steps towards provision of free services for maternal health, child health, adolescent health, family planning.

  • Universal immunization programme, for major diseases such as TB, vector borne diseases such as Malaria, dengue and Kala Azar, leprosy etc.
  • Other major initiatives for which states are being supported include
    • JananiShishuSurakshaKaryakram (JSSK)
    • RashtriyaBalSwasthyaKaryakram (RBSK)
    • RashtriyaKishorSwasthyaKaryakram (RKSK)
  • Implementation of National Health Mission Free Drugs Service Initiative
  • National Health Mission Free Diagnostics Service Initiative.
  • Strengthening District Hospitals and implementation of National Quality Assurance Framework.
  • To address health inequities, 184 High Priority Districts have been identified for enhanced fund allocation and focused attention.

 

Reduction in Time Taken for Incorporation of a New Company

(Topic- Liberalisation)

  • The Government is trying to bring down the average number of days required for incorporation a new company.
  • A Central Registration Centre (CRC) has been set up, which clears applications for name availability within the next working day.
  • In addition, an integrated form INC-29 has been introduced.
  • Minimum Paid up Capital requirement has been done away with. Common Seal affixation has been made optional.
  • Declaration form for Commencement of Business is no longer required.

 

88 drugs and surgical and consumables are included in Jan Aushadhi Scheme  

(Topic- Government interventions for vulnerable sections of population.)

 

  • Objective of Jan Aushadhi: Making available quality medicines at affordable prices
  • It is a countrywide campaign for ensuring  availability of generic medicines at  affordable prices to all, in the name of “Jan Aushadhi”, was launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals in the year 2008.

 

MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of India for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism 

(Topic- Environment conservation and development)

 

  • What the MOU is all about: To take its commitments to Responsible and Sustainable tourism to the next level
  • Through this MOU, it is expected that sustainable tourism and Responsible Tourism will take the forefront and achieve the commitments of the Ministry’s action plan.
  • The Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) was established in 2008 at the behest of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) as a non-profit organization to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country. This national body was formed by a group of eminent professionals from the tourism industry, Government, Parliament and environmentalists& Conservationists.
  • The Society hasover the past eight years attempted to spread awareness and educate tourism service providers as well as local government officials on the urgent need to ensure sustainable tourism practices. 13 workshops have been conducted across the country in this context

 

Connectivity for Development of North East 

(Topic- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability,)

  • Improvement in road, rail, air, communication, waterways and telecom network are essential for development for North East States.
  • To improve the telecom capacity in the country, the Government has set up International Internet Gateway (IIG) at Agartala, After the formal opening of the International Internet Gateway, Tripura will be the third state in the country to have such a gateway after Mumbai and Chennai. All the North Eastern States are going to benefit from this internet gateway.
  • Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for North-Eastern Region at a cost of Rs.5336.18 crore under implementation under which mobile connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and 2 Districts of Assam and in other States of North East
  • Full scale Effective implementation of Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East (SARDP-NE), for up gradation of 10141 km road stretches of National Highways and State Roads
  • Ministry of Railways has taken up 19 major railway projects consisting of 12 new lines, 3 gauge conversions and 4 doubling projects in North Eastern Region
  • Ministry of DoNER, through North Eastern Council (NEC), has approved seven important airport development projects through viability gap funding to improve the air connectivity.
  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (M/o Shipping) has taken up the following major/important works in North East States: A permanent New Ro-Ro terminal at Dhubri, Construction of Ship Repair facility at Pandu, Guwahati, and 106 new National Waterways has been declared by the Government in which 20 rivers of NER has also been included in this list.

 

Thorium based Reactors 

(Topic- Science and tech)

Research & Development on Thorium utilisation continues to be a high priority area of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE):

  • On account of physics characteristics of Thorium, it is however not possible to build a nuclear reactor using Thorium alone.
  • It has to be converted to Uranium-233 in a reactor before it can be used as fuel.
  • With this in view, a three-stage nuclear power programme, based on a closed nuclear fuel cycle has been chalked out to use thorium as a viable and sustainable option, right at the inception of India’s nuclear power programme.
  • The three stage nuclear power programme aims to multiply the domestically available fissile resource through the use of natural uranium in Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, followed by use of plutonium obtained from the spent fuel of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in Fast Breeder Reactors.
  • Large scale use of Thorium will subsequently follow making use of the Uranium-233 that will be bred in Fast Breeder Reactors, when adequate capacity has been built in the country.
  • The third stage of Indian nuclear power programme which contemplates making use of Uranium-233 to fuel Thorium Uranium-233 based reactors can provide energy independence to the country for several centuries. All efforts towards technology development and demonstration are being made now, so that a mature technology is available in time.
  • India has abundant quantity of thorium resources contained in the mineral monazite occurring in the beach sand placer deposits along the eastern and western coasts of the country as well as the inland placers in parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
  • The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) through its Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research (AMD) has carried out exploration activities over the past six decades, which have resulted in establishing in situ resources of 11.93 million tonnes of monazite as on February 2016 in the country.
  • Indian Monazite contains about 9-10% of Thorium oxide (ThO2) which in turn results in about 1.07 million tonnes of Thorium oxide (ThO2).
  • A three stage nuclear power programme has been devised to efficiently utilise this large reserve of thorium. The energy potential of this thorium reserve is estimated to be more than 155,500 GWe-years.

 

Bed and Breakfast Scheme 

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

 

  • Main objective of the scheme is to provide a clean and affordable place for foreigners and domestic tourists alike including an opportunity for foreign tourists to stay with an Indian family to experience Indian customs and traditions and relish authentic Indian cuisine.

The scheme’s salient features are:

  • The classification for Approval and Registration of Incredible India Bed and Breakfast/Homestay Establishments will be given only in those cases where the owner/promoter of the establishment along with his/her family is physically residing in the same establishment and letting out minimum one room and maximum six rooms (12 beds).
  • The scheme will be on bed and breakfast basis and charges will have to be levied accordingly.
  • Classification will be valid for two years from the date of issue of orders.
  • The quality of facilities and services of the Bed and Breakfast/Homestay Establishment will be inspected and evaluated by the Regional Classification Committee.
  • Two categories of classification namely,   ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ are given under the scheme.

 

Promotion of Silk Route Tourism 

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

 

  • The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Silk Road Programme is a collaborative platform of 33 member states dedicated to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road route.
  • India at present is not member of this programme.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has received a communication dated 22.2.2015 from the UNWTO requesting for official partnership between India and the Silk Road Programme.
  • The matter has been referred to Ministry of External Affairs.

 

Impact of ‘make In India’ Programme 

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

 

  • The Prime Minister of India launched the “Make in India” global initiative on 25th September 2014.
  • It aims at promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing design and innovation.
  • The “Make in India” initiative is based on four pillars, which have been identified to give boost to entrepreneurship in India, not only in manufacturing but also other sectors. The four pillars are (i) New Processes, (ii) New Infrastructure, (iii) New Sectors and (iv) New Mindset.

Measures taken by government to promote Ease of doing business:

  • Simplification and rationalization of existing rules.
  • Introduction of information technology to make governance more efficient and effective.
  • Ministries and State Governments have been advised to simplify and rationalize the regulatory environment through business process reengineering and use of information technology.
  • Other measures include integration of 20 services on e-biz portal to function as single window portal for obtaining Government clearances.
  • Integration of the process of incorporation of the company.
  • Application for Director’s Identification Number (DIN).
  • Removal of requirements of minimum paid-up capital and common seal of companies.
  • Simplification of the procedure for Industrial License (IL) and Industrial Entrepreneur’s Memorandum (IEM), excluding a number of parts/ components from the purview of Industrial Licensing
  • To attract investment Government has set up ‘invest India’, a joint-venture company between the Department of Industrial policy & Promotion and FICCI, as a not-for-profit, a single window facilitator, for prospective overseas investors, to act as a structured mechanism for attracting investment.

 

Impact:

  • The ‘Make in India’ programme has received a very positive response.
  • FDI inflow has increased 29% during the period October 2014 to December 2015
  • FDI equity inflow has increased 36%.
  • Improvement in business environment with the initiatives taken to improve Ease of Doing Business under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
  • UNCTAD World Investment Report (WIR) 2015, in its analysis of the global trends in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows, ranking India as the third top prospective host economies for 2015-2017.
  • On the basis of response received from these investors and data provided by FDI Markets (a service of The Financial Times Limited),India ranked number one FDI destination in the world during the 1st half of 2015.

 

Forecasting of natural disasters 

Topic- Disaster management and disaster reduction

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is carrying out the following pilot projects in the Himalayan region on experimental basis to develop methodology for enabling forewarning of natural disasters.

  • Heavy Rainfall/ cloud burst alerts for western Himalaya: Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO has developed a model, for heavy rainfall / cloud burst alerts, which is being experimentally carried out for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh regions. The information is made available on ISRO’s MOSDAC (Meteorological & Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) website.
  • Rainfall triggered landslide alerts for the Uttarakhand Region: An experimental early warning system for rainfall triggered landslides is developed for use along the pilgrimage route corridors leading to Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath as well as along the Pithoragarh-Malpa route in Uttarakhand. The forewarning is generated based on the statistical relation between the terrain (geological, morphological) and temporal (primarily long term rainfall events) factors.
  • Flood Early Warning System for Assam State: The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) of ISRO has developed the Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS) as a Research & Development (R&D) project in Assam State in association with Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). FLEWS, is a terrain-specific model, which employs satellite based inputs, in-situ data on rainfall and river discharge data at critical locations to provide advance information on flood events as an input to disaster preparedness. The FLEWS model is being used in all 25 flood prone districts of Assam.
  • Snow-melt run-off: ISRO has developed snow melt runoff models for Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Yamuna, Sutlej, Beas and Chenab basins to provide information on short-term (16 day) snow melt runoff during summer months i.e. April to June.

 

Anti-Diabetic Drug ‘Ayush-82’ to be commercialised 

(Topic- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health.)

 

  • The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) of the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology signed a License Agreement with Kudos Laboratories India for commercialization of Ayush-82, an ayurvedic formulation for prevention and management of  Diabetes.
  • It has been developed by Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), New Delhi, an apex organization for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).

 

Dr Jitendra Singh launches new portal of community radio network 

(Topic- Government interventions for vulnerable sections)

  • Why- Rapid mushrooming of TV channels across the country, radio still has its reach to remote and peripheral areas where television is not available, either for lack of electricity or for lack of signal. As many as nearly 15,000 Panchayats in the country today are deprived of optical fibre facility.

 

India Signs USD 35 Million Loan Agreement with the World Bank for Madhya Pradesh Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project 

Topic- India and international agencies, Development process

 

  • The objective of the project :
    • To improve access and quality of public services in Madhya Pradesh through implementation of the 2010 Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act.
    • The project is expected to deliver key results in terms of improving access to services and citizen outreach, simplification of Government services, performance management and strengthening the capacity of implementing agencies.
    • The project has been designed as a result based financing programme, under which funds will be released on achievement of agreed results.

 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signed Between Ministry of Railways and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Under Department of Space 

(Topic- Science and technology)

 

Objective: “Effective Use of Space Technology in Remote Sensing and Graphic Information System (GIS) based Governance Application for Indian Railways”

  • Signing of this MoU with the ISRO is of a great importance which will solve all the day to day problems of Indian Railways by using best technology provided by the ISRO.
  • Big challenge for the Indian Railways to keep pace with the latest technology and Railways is now ready to adopt new technologies.
  • Railways want to keep it modernized with the new technological innovations and some of the most difficult solutions could be found by using latest technology.

 

Depot Online System to bring FCI foodgrain management and distribution online launched

(Topic- Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security;)

 

  • Highlights of the Depot Online System
  • The system will automate/streamline all the activities during the stock inflow/outflow by road.
  • The system will provide an efficient way to monitor & track the movement of items by rail.
  • Godown operation such as dumping management, stack management, spillage management, stack suggestion, storage loss calculation etc. will be automated. Stock position/occupancy of the shed will also be available on real time basis.
  • The application will integrate with the weighbridge installed within the depot.
  • The system will track chemical spraying, fumigation & procurement quality check.
  • The system will keep track of all the millers/Agency that are associated with the depots. Miller/Agency will be able to log in into the system & enter required details.
  • The system will provide a tracking of gunny, chemical & equipment, using technologies like RFID.
  • System will provide Dash board for managerial staff along with basic MIS reports such as daily stock receipt, daily stock issue, quality related reports etc.
  • Facilitate the depot management for FCI, help in speeding up operations, Free up manpower from laborious data collation and report preparation. Thus, saving operational costs by proper planning & optimizing the administrative.
  • Integrated view of end to end processes, use of workflow, notification and alerts and seamless connection between depots and district/regional offices of FCI.
  • Capture data at source and in real time through Handheld Devices, reduce redundancy.
  • SMS alerts will help field staff to take timely action.
  • Will help save costs and prevent leakages.

 

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