IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 21st March to 27th March, 2016

  • March 28, 2016
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs March 2016, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, PIB
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Exhibition ‘Threads of Continuity: Zoroastrian Life and Culture’

(Topic: Indian Culture from ancient to modern times)

About- Inauguration of exhibition ‘Threads of Continuity: Zoroastrian Life and Culture’ at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts in Delhi.



  • Represents a philosophy of life, an ethos which has come down in an unbroken thread from the Bronze Age.
  • Product of almost 2 decades of field work and recordings by Parzor, gives equal weight to Iran and India – Zarthushti life and Parsi life.



Self regulatory code for industry

(Topic: Consumer protection) 


  • To protect the rights of consumers against misleading advertisements, fake and counterfeit products
  • Effective redressal of consumer complaints

Partnership between-Department of Consumer Affairs with Industry Association to implement six points’ agenda

Partnership covers three priority areas-

  • Redressal of consumer grievances
  • Enhancement of consumer awareness
  • Protection and action against misleading advertisements, fake and counterfeit products.


MoU covers-

  • Collaborative programmes on developing and implementing a self-regulated code of fair business practices
  • Establishing a Consumer Affairs division/vertical within the Industry Body
  • Initiating advocacy action against unfair trade practices and preventing fake, counterfeit and sub-standard products and services and adoption of voluntary standards by Industry members.
  • Earmarking of CSR funds for consumer awareness and protection activities,
  • Partnering with the National Consumer Helpline and State Consumer Helplines for grievance redressal
  • Launching joint consumer awareness, education and training programmes under the “Jago Grahak Jago” will also be part of the agenda.
  • Joint Working Group will monitor the implementation of agenda.


Atal Pension Yojana (APY) amended

(Topic: Government schemes, changes and its implementation)

About- Government has decided to give an option to the spouse of the subscriber to continue contributing to APY account of the subscriber, for the remaining vesting period, till the original subscriber would have attained the age of 60 years.


Present provision- Handing-over lump-sum amount to spouse on the premature death (death before 60 years of age) of the subscriber.

Changes made-

  • Spouse of the subscriber shall be entitled to receive the same pension amount as that of the subscriber until the death of the spouse.
  • After the death of both the subscriber and the spouse, the nominee of the subscriber shall be entitled to receive the pension wealth, as accumulated till age of 60 years of the subscriber.


  • To address the longevity risks among the workers in unorganised sector and to encourage the workers in unorganised sector to voluntarily save for their retirement, the Government had launched a new initiative called Atal Pension Yojana (APY) with effect from 1st June, 2015.
  • Each subscriber, on completion of 60 years of age, will get the guaranteed minimum monthly pension, or higher monthly pension, if the investment returns are higher than the assumed returns for minimum guaranteed pension, over the period of contribution.
  • After the subscriber’s death, the spouse of the subscriber shall be entitled to receive the same pension amount as that of the subscriber until the death of the spouse.
  • After the death of both the subscriber and the spouse, the nominee of the subscriber shall be entitled to receive the pension wealth, as accumulated till age of 60 years of the subscriber.
  • In exceptional circumstances, that is, in the event of the death of beneficiary or specified illness, as mentioned in the PFRDA (Exit and withdrawals under the National Pension System) Regulations, 2015, before the age of 60 years, the accumulated pension wealth till date would be given to the nominee or the subscriber as the case may be.


New initiatives to combat TB

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

About- Government of India stands committed to accelerating its efforts to combat tuberculosis in the country.


  • Bedaquiline – new anti-TB drug for Drug Resistant TB as part of the RNTCP
  • Drug is a new anti-TB drug for treatment of MDR-TB.
  • New class of drug is a diarylquinoline that specifically targets Mycobacterial ATP synthase, an enzyme essential for supply of energy to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most other mycobacteria.
  • Drug is indicated for use in the treatment of drug-resistant
  • Also inducted over 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines in the programme.
  • CBNAAT is a revolutionary rapid molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance, simultaneously.
  • Launched the ‘Third line ART programme for People Living with HIV’.
  • Life-saving third line ART costs nearly Rs. 1.18 lakh per patient per year.
  • Providing these free would not only safe lives but improve socioeconomic conditions of the patients.
  • Initiative brings India’s ART programme at par with programmes in the developed countries.


Health Ministry launches Longitudinal Ageing Study in India

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

About- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare launched the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), here today.

Longitudinal Ageing Study-

  • Largest survey of its kind.
  • Survey more than 60,000elderly over 25 years plan
  • Survey will provide scientifically validated data on various issues of the elderly.
  • Contribute greatly to the newly launched the National Programme for Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) and the social and economic security programmes planned to be initiated by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE).
  • Help in expanding the scope of health and social security policy and programmes for older population

In collaboration- International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai with Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Southern California (USC), USA is undertaking the “The Longitudinal Ageing Study in India” under the aegis of the Ministry of Union Health and Family Welfare.


Jointly funded by- Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the United States’ National Institute on Ageing, and the United Nations Population Fund-India

Population ageing

  • Taking place in nearly all the countries of the world.
  • Global share of older people aged 60 years or over increased from 9.2 percent in 1990 to 11.7 percent in 2013 and will continue to grow as a proportion of the world population, reaching 21.1 percent by 2050.
  • Presently, about two thirds of the world’s older persons live in developing countries.
  • By 2050, nearly 8 in 10 of the world’s older population will live in the less developed regions.

Global ageing can be seen as a symbol of-

  • Medical, social, and economic advances and also has major health, social and economic consequences
  • Represents a significant policy challenge
  • Population ageing threatens to topple existing insurance and pension systems and create health system overload; therefore calls for review of existing models of healthcare, familial and social support.
  • Phenomenon of global population ageing has the potential to fundamentally alter disease burdens, economies and trade, and human migration.

India’s Scenario-

  • According to the 2011 census, the 60+ population accounted for 8.6% of India’s total population or 103.84 million elderly.
  • With currently 1.3 billion people, India is projected to become the world’s most populous country within a decade.
  • Several forces driving India’s population growth and changing age structure, including an upward trend in life expectancy.
  • Between 2011 and 2050, the number of oldest old people of age 75 and above is expected to increase by 340%.

Importance of the study-

  • Provide valuable data on their health needs, and issues faced by them given the changing social structures, and help us to draw policy tools to address their issues
  • Provide guidance to move forward in designing schemes for the elderly
  • Lay the foundation for other studies on social justice issues also.
  • Study will help design policies to mainstream the elderly, to reduce their vulnerabilities and enhance access to various services.
  • Will investigate various health structures, and impact of social determinants on health of the elderly
  • Also help in framing evidence-based policy.


National AROGYA Fair

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

About- National level AROGYA Fair organized by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India in association with Goa State Government and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) began in Goa.


AROGYA Fair-                                  

  • On the occasion, the Union Minister of State (IC) for AYUSH, also released the Yoga Protocol for the second International Day of Yoga falling on 21st June, 2016.
  • India has entered into an agreement with World Health Organization to popularize this traditional system of medicine across the world.
  • India has also signed an MoU with America for a Joint Research under AYUSH in the field of Cancer
  • Union Government contemplates to open one AYUSH Hospital in every district of the country.
  • AYUSH Ministry has also plans to establish an All India Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy and a unit of each in Goa in the near future.


  • To create awareness among the members of the public about the efficiency of the AYUSH systems
  • Cost-effectiveness and the availability of herbs and plants used for prevention and treatment of common ailments at their doorstep through various mass media channels to achieve the objective of Health for all.


Launch of Rotavirus vaccine as part of Universal Immunization Programme

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


  • Launch of the Rotavirus vaccine as part of the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) of the country.
  • New milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunization in the country aimed at reducing child mortality


  • To reduce morbidity and mortality in children.
  • Strengthening routine immunization is an essential investment in India’s children and will ensure a healthy future of the country.


  • One of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age, and that every year nearly 80,000 to one lakh children die in the country due to Rotavirus diarrhoea, and about 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital due to episodes of severe diarrhoea with 32.7 lakh cases of OPD
  • Rotavirus vaccine will enable to directly address the problem of diarrheal death
  • Vaccine is being introduced initially in four states viz–
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Odisha (will be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner)
  • Rotavirus Vaccine to reduce out of pocket expenditure in addition to saving hundreds of lives as it is a very cost effective measure.

Four new vaccines are being introduced as part of UIP including-

  • Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV),
  • Rotavirus vaccine, Measles,
  • Rubella (MR) vaccine,
  • Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine.

With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.


World Bank support to Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)

(Topic:  Government schemes and its implementation)

About- Union Cabinet has given its approval to the US $ 1,500 million project of World Bank Support to Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) [(SBM(G)].

Project provides-

  • Incentivising States on the basis of their performance in the existing SBM-G.
  • Incentivisation of States was approved by the Cabinet while approving the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on 24th September, 2014.
  • Current approval provides for the mechanism of such incentivisation through World Bank credit.
  • Performance of the States will be gauged through certain performance indicators, called the Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLIs) which are-
  • Reduction in the prevalence of open defecation: Funds under this result area shall be released to the States on the basis of reduction in prevalence of open defecation amongst rural households in the State, compared to the previous year
  • Sustaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in Villages: Funds under this result area, shall be released on the basis of estimated population residing in ODF villages
  • Increase in percentage of rural population served by improved Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM): Funds under this DL1 will be based on the population served with acceptable level of SLWM services.
  • States will pass on a substantial portion (more than 95 percent) of the Performance Incentive Grant Funds received from the MOWS, to the appropriate implementing levels of districts, Blocks, GPs etc.
  • End-use of the incentive grants will be limited to activities pertaining to the sanitation sector.
  • Accelerate efforts to achieve sustained outcomes in sanitation by 2019.
  • Incentive framework introduced through the project will reorient efforts of States towards the SBM(G) ‘outcomes’ such as reduction in open defecation, sustainable achievement of open defecation – free (ODF) villages and improvement in solid and liquid waste management (SLWM).
  • Put in place a robust and credible independent verification system for annual measurement of improvement in rural sanitation.
  • Support the SBM(G) programme in achievement of its objectives of attaining open defecation- free and clean environment.
  • Since poor sanitation is related to ill-health, malnutrition, poor education and poverty; achievement of SBM(G) objectives will have a beneficial effect on all of these.
  • Ensure a better quality of life for the rural population.


Implementation of the rural housing scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana — Gramin to achieve Housing for All by 2022

(Topic: Government schemes and its implementation)


About- Union Cabinet has given its approval for the implementation of the rural housing scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin.

Scheme– Financial assistance is provided for construction of pucca house to all houseless and households living in dilapidated houses.

Implementation strategy and targets-


Identification of Beneficiaries: Will be done by using information from Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) ensuring total transparency and objectivity

Agency- Gram Sabha using participatory process

Cost of unit assistance:  To be shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio

  • 60:40 in plain areas
  • 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states

Funds: will be transferred electronically directly to the account of the beneficiary


  • Entitled to 90 days of unskilled labour from MGNREGA, this will be ensured through a server linkage between PMAY and MGNREGA
  • Facilitated to avail loan of up to Rs.70,000/- for construction of the house


  • Housing- Locally appropriate designs while incorporating features to address the natural calamities common to the region
  • Shortage of masons: To be addressed by providing training for masons
  • To meet the additional requirement of building materials: Manufacture of bricks using cement stabilised earth or fly ash will be taken up under MGNREGA
  • Intensive capacity building exercise for all the stake holders.
  • Support will be provided at district and block levels for technical facilitationand addressing quality issues in house construction.
  • A National Technical Support Agency will be set up to provide technical support to the Centre and States to facilitate construction of the houses targeted and to ensure their quality.


 Memorandum of Understanding between India and United Arab Emirates

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

About- Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

It is to- Mobilise long term investment into the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

Objective of NIIF- To maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, NIIF would solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners.



  • Help establish a transparent and high-level framework and collaboration platform under which both countries intend to explore ways to facilitate and expand the participation of UAE’s investment institutions in appropriate infrastructure projects and institutions in India including NIIF, in a manner consistent with the established investment criteria and standards in a mutually agreed manner.
  • Joint working group comprising of the concerned representatives of both parties would take forward cooperation under this MOU and to discuss and agree the terms, principles and criteria jointly.


Memorandum of Understanding between India and Lithuania

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

About-Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Lithuania for cooperation in the field of agriculture.



  • Cooperation in the fields of agriculture production including horticulture, post-harvest management, organic farming, cold chain development and agro processing industry, animal husbandry, dairying and aquaculture etc.
  • Cooperation between the two countries shall be undertaken through biennial work plan to be drawn up mutually to give effect to the objectives of the instant MoU

Help in-                                   

  • Capacity building,
  • Knowledge exchange between scientists and technicians,
  • Exchange of genetic resources,
  • Development of appropriate technologies and farm practices for enhancing agriculture productivity at farmer’s field


India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement 

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

About- Union Cabinet has given its approval for India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement, an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Ashgabat Agreement-

  • Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are founding members.
  • Kazakhstan has also joined this arrangement subsequently.
  • Accession to the Agreement would enable India to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region
  • Would synchronise with our efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
  • India’s intention to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement would now be conveyed to the Depository State (Turkmenistan). India would become party to the Agreement upon consent of the founding members.



New Environment Standards for Gensets Notified 

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

About- Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has notified new environment standards for Gensets running on Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) / Natural Gas (NG), Diesel with LPG / NG and Petrol with LPG / NG operated in various cities / towns in the country.

Aim– To control air and noise pollution emanating from the operation of Gensets

Recommended by- Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) after consultations with industries and other stakeholders

Standards for Gensets-

  • Running on LPG / NG, or in combination with diesel/petrol have been notified for the first time.
  • In all, the three fuel modes of operation a three-tier classification has been adopted
  • Control the air and noise emission profile across different category of Gensets and would be revisited in 4-5 years once air and noise emission quality data and technological details pertaining to Gensets are available.
  • Standards have mandated certification for Gensets in terms of ‘Type approval’ and ‘Conformity of Production’ for air emission as well as noise emission.
  • Manufacturers are required to obtain the certification for engine products by empanelled agencies which will help in regulating the unorganised sector thereby help in curbing the illegal import of Gensets in the country, which were observed to have higher air and noise emission values.
  • Ministry had also notified improved environmental standards for Thermal Power Plants TPPs) and Common Effluent Treatment Plants and Sugar Industries (CETPs).


Environment Ministry Notifies E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 

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

 About-Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 in supersession of the e-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011.

E-Waste Rules

  • Norms have been made more stringent and reflect the government’s commitment to environmental governance.
  • Include Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamps, as well as other such equipment
  • Bring the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets.
  • Producers have been made responsible for collection of E-waste and for its exchange.
  • Various producers can have a separate Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) and ensure collection of E-waste, as well as its disposal in an environmentally sound manner.
  • Role of State Governments has been also introduced to ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations.
  • Provision of penalty for violation of rules has been introduced.
  • Process of dismantling and recycling has been simplified through one system of authorization and that the Central Pollution Control Board will give the single authorization throughout the country.
  • Toxic constituents present in E-waste and their disposal mechanism affect human health and lead to various diseases, transportation of E-waste has been made more stringent.





India Russia cooperation in the field of Disaster Management 

(Topic: Disaster and disaster management)

About- India-Russia Joint Commission meeting was held to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Bilateral cooperation-

  • Two countries are linked by geography, history and culture and the linkages in the field of disaster management have continued to grow beyond boundaries.
  • During the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction during March last year in Sendai, Japan had agreed to enhance ongoing cooperation in dealing with emergency situation, natural disasters, research and training.
  • Country is committed for convergence of disaster risk reduction with developmental programmes and disaster management is not an issue of disaster alone rather it has now become more of development issue.
  • Cooperation in the areas such as controlling floods, minimizing its consequences as well as collaboration in capacity building has been rightly highlighted in our Joint Implementation Plan.
  • Signing of the Joint Implementation Plan, the two countries will acquire new character with enhanced levels of cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • Output of this deliberation will pave way for the comprehensive and structured cooperation to build capacities of the first responder and other allied forces.


North East Business Summit – 2016 

(Topic: Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation of resources, growth, development and employment)

About- Preparation of North East Business Summit, 2016 to be organized by the Ministry in Manipur from April 7-9.2016 in collaboration with Govt. of Manipur

Participants from-

  • All the North Eastern States and concerned Ministries of the Government of India are expected to attend the summit.
  • Representatives from the private sector along with Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC) will also attend.
  • Stakeholders in the field of Trade and Commerce, MSME, Horticulture, Flori Culture and food processing industry have been invited for the summit.
  • Participants from handicrafts, handlooms and Ministry of Tourism have also been invited.

Business Summit

  • To explore the possibility of trade and Commerce with ASEAN countries under Act East Policy of the Government.
  • Give a platform to all potential investors in different sectors such as Food Processing, Horticulture, Tourism, Handloom and Handicraft, Startups, Entrepreneurship etc.,
  • To have a better understanding about the investment environment & potential of North East.


Indo- Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti IV/2016 Concludes

(Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organised crime with terrorism)

About- Indo – Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI IV/ 2016 concluded.

Aim- To build and promote positive relations between the armies of India and Indonesia

Joint Exercise-

  • Contributed towards enhancing the ability of both the armies to undertake joint tactical level operations in Counter Insurgency environment under the United Nations Charter.
  • Training comprised of tactical drills wherein the troops of both armies trained jointly sharing each other’s experience in Counter Insurgency operations.
  • Cross training phase was meshed with games and sports to enhance interaction and develop camaraderie.
  • Training culminated in a three day joint training exercise and lessons drawn were consolidated for incorporation in the next edition.
  • Exercise finally concluded with the closing ceremony wherein outstanding performers were awarded and cultural programmes showcasing the rich culture and heritage of both the countries were displayed.
  • Conduct of the joint training exercise ensured greater cooperation and coordination in the employability of a joint platoon group of Indian and Indonesian Army for Counter Insurgency operations in an International environment.
  • Exercise is also a milestone in ensuring the cordial relations between the two great nations in Asia.


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