(Topic: Indian Culture, Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)
About- Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under Ministry of Culture has intimated that a committee has recommended creation of a Special Force for protection of Museums, objects and protected monuments as part of a comprehensive security policy
- Provide security to public places including places of religious and/or cultural importance- rests primarily with the State Governments/Union Territory (UT) Administrations
- Threat inputs, if any, received by the Union Government through the Central Security Agencies should be promptly shared with the State Governments/UT Administrations concerned
- Central Security Agencies to carry out periodic security reviews of important places, including places of religious or cultural importance
- Reports of such security reviews to be forwarded to the State Governments/UT Administrations concerned for necessary action
- In order to augment the security arrangements made by the State Governments/UT Administrations for important places and / or important events, festivals etc, based on the requests made by them; Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel are to be placed at the disposal of the State Governments / UT Administrations.
MoUs with Japan and Russia – Railways
(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)
About- Union Cabinet apprised of the following MoC and MoUs-
- MoC signed between- Ministry of Railways (MoR) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Japan on technological cooperation in Rail Sector.
- MoU signed between- Ministry of Railways and Joint Stock Company “Russian Railways” on technical cooperation in railway sector.
- MoU signed between- Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) and Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI), Japan on technological cooperation in railway sector.
Areas of cooperation include-
- High speed corridors,
- Speed raising of existing routes,
- Development of world class stations,
- Heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc.
- Provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector
- Exchange of- Technical experts + Reports and technical documents+ Training and seminars/workshops
- Focusing on – Specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing
ASEAN Plus Multinational Field Training Exercise ‘Ex Force 18’ commences at Pune
(Topic: Important International institution, agencies and further structure, mandate)
- Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) – Exercise FORCE 18, involving ASEAN Plus countries commenced at Pune
- Largest Ground Forces Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil and would be conducted from 02 to 08 March 2016
Themes- ‘Humanitarian Mine Action’ and ‘Peacekeeping Operations’
- Over 28 foreign trainers were trained by the Indian Army from 24 Feb to 01 Mar 2016
- Trainers will form the training backbone for the conduct of ‘Exercise FORCE 18’.
Importance of ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus forum-
- To meet the regional aspirations of à Peace+ Security + Addressing issues related to mitigating the effects of Mine Menace in many of the South East nations
- Exercise FORCE 18, would build common understanding and achieve interoperability amongst the 18 ASEAN Plus countries.
Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Programme to be Launched
(Topic: Government policies and initiatives)
About- ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ programme launched
- To link States and Districts in an annual programme that connects people though exchanges in areas of language, trade, culture, travel and tourism.
- To strengthen understanding of each other, it is proposed to create a closer engagement between States and Districts in a structured manner.
PM launches “Setu Bharatam”
(Topic: Government schemes and policies)
About- PM launched “Setu Bharatam” – an ambitious programme to build bridges for safe and seamless travel on National Highways
- Making all national highways Railway Level Crossing free by 2019
- 208 new “road over bridges / road under bridges” are envisaged for construction, while 1500 bridges will be widened, rehabilitated or replaced
National Dialysis Services Programme to be launched
(Topic: Government schemes and policies)
About- New Health Protection Scheme launched in the Budget 2016-17
Serious illness of family member(s) causes severe stress on the financial condition of poor and economically weak families, shaking the foundation of their economic security.
It is to- Help families (under severe stress due to the poor financial condition); scheme would provide health cover up-to rupees one lakh per family
Beneficiaries- Senior citizens of the age 60 years and above belonging to this category, an additional top-up package up to Rs.30, 000 will be provided.
Key Challenge- Making quality medicines available at affordable price
- Funds available through PPP Mode under the National Health Mission, to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals
- To reduce the cost, proposed to exempt certain parts of dialysis equipment from basic customs duty, excise/CVD and SAD
- To supply generic drugs. 3,000 stores under Prime Minister’s Jan Aushadhi Yojana will be opened during 2016-17
Agreement signed to provide a loan of Rs 1,000 Crore to FACT
(Topic: Agreement signed between various Governmental bodies)
About- Agreement to release Rs. 1000 Crore to the Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT), a Central Public Sector Undertaking, for its revival
- To revive the organisation which has been facing financial crunch for more than a decade
- To ease its liquidity crisis
- Making operational profits, after induction of funds
- Reduction in gas prices
- Clearing long pending dues of the Company, and facilitating much needed working capital, as well as for augmenting production
- FACT to maintain production at optimum level on a sustainable basis in the coming years
- Initiative will not only help in fulfilling the objective of ‘Make in India’ but also meet the mantra of ‘Sabka saath, Sabka vikas’
FACT: Done excellent job in educating the farmers of Southern India about modern inputs for improving productivity
Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/ Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)
About- Financing agreement for IDA credit of US$ 300 (equivalent) for the “Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project” was signed with the World Bank.
- To improve student outcomes especially of disadvantaged groups in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
- To increase the effectiveness of the Higher Education System in Madhya Pradesh
- Grants Support to Higher Education Institutions
- State Level Initiatives
- Improving System Management
- A result based financing programme, implying that funds will be released based on the achievement of specific results or disbursement linked indicators (DLls).
- DLls have been designed to ensure outcomes such as-
- Increase in enrolment of full time students,
- Increase in transition rate,
- Achievement of NAAC accreditation criteria by participating HEls,
- Better transparency in the affairs of participating institutions and strengthening of governance structure
India and United States Partner on Cancer and Traditional Medicine Research Efforts
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/ Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources)
About- First U.S.-India Workshop on Traditional Medicine
- Participants will share current traditional medicine therapies and practices for cancer in U.S. and India
- Review available evidence for AYUSH products and interventions, which could reduce pain/morbidity from cancer treatments and improve the quality of life.
- Scientists will explore opportunities to collaborate on mutually-identified research in the areas of natural products, palliative care and other support studies.
- Professional training and scientific exchanges will be an important aspect of this cooperation.
- Incorporating more scientific inputs from both sides in Traditional Medicines which can help mainstreaming AYUSH systems in patient health care across the globe.
- India is also collaborating with World Health Organization (WHO) in the area of Traditional Medicine which will help in achieving international acceptability and positioning of AYUSH systems
Development of National Waterway-1 under Jal Marg Vikas Project
(Topic: Infrastructure – Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc)
About-Government is developing National Waterway-1 (NW-1) under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank.
- Refers to 1620 km Haldia-Allahabad stretch of River Ganga.
- Phase-I of the project covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch.
- Project includes-
- Development of fairway,
- Multi-modal terminals,
- Strengthening of open river navigation technique,
- Conservancy works,
- Modern River Information System (RIS),
- Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS),
- Night navigation facilities,
- Modern methods of channel marking,
- Construction of a new navigational lock at Farakka etc.
Multimodal Terminals with rail and road connectivity are to be constructed at-
- Haldia and
Indo-Seychelles Joint Training ‘Ex Lamitye’
(Topic: Various security forces and agencies and their mandate)
About- Exercise ‘Lamitye – 2016’, seventh in the series of Indo-Seychelles Joint Training Exercises, was conducted at Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles
Objective-To improve interoperability between both Armies in jointly fighting Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism
‘Exercise Lamitye’ meaning ‘Friendship in Creole’ has been a bridge between the Armed Forces of India and SPDF since 2001
Handling over of Ajadiv Island to the Defence Ministry
(Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organised crime with terrorism)
About- Island called Anjadiv Island off the coast of Goa was given by the State Government of Goa to the Ministry of Defence
- Island was given by the State Government to the Ministry of Defence in the year 1989 with the terms and condition that the Navy should allow on the island the celebration of customary feast of “St Francis de Assis” & “Nossa Senhore de Brotas” subject to security considerations.
- Anjadiv Island has been declared as a prohibited place by the State Government of Goa December 1989 under Official Secrets Act, 1923.
- After completion of North Break Water linking Binaga Point with Anjadiv Island & setting up of sensitive facilities in the vicinity thereof, the permission to hold feasts was withdrawn due to security considerations.
- Project Sea Bird at Karwar is strategically located project of sensitive nature, wherein access of people cannot be allowed freely irrespective of any caste or religion, as apart from creating local law and order problem, it involves serious security implications.
Laser Walls along riverine stretches of India-Pakistan Border
(Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime and terrorism)
About- Border Security Force (BSF) has taken various measures to check the infiltration of the terrorists along Indo-Pakistan border.
- Installing laser walls is one of the integrated measures taken by BSF.
- Laser technology developed by BSF has been designed to cover all the shortcomings experienced in the use of laser wall at various places in the past.
Approach to contain cross border infiltration, includes-
- Strengthening of border management and multi-tiered deployment along the International Border,
- Monitoring of infiltration routes,
- Construction of border fencing including plugging the gaps through technological solutions,
- Weapons and equipments for Security Forces,
- Improved intelligence and operational coordination.
NIDM to organise a two day National Workshop on Management of Animals in Emergencies
(Topic: Disaster and Disaster management)
About- National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) is organizing a two day workshop on ‘Management of Animals in Emergencies’.
Organised by– National Institute of Disaster Management in association with Department ofà Animal Husbandry + Dairying & Fisheries + Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare + Policy Perspectives Foundation (PPF) + World Animal Protection
Aim– To sensitize the key State Government Authorities of State Animal Husbandry Departments in exploring strategies for effectively managing the animal welfare needs during emergencies and protecting the livelihood of communities reliant on them for survival
National Workshop on “Strengthening National Response Capabilities”
(Topic: Disaster and Disaster Management)
About- National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is organizing a National Workshop on “Strengthening National Response Capabilities”.
It is to- Provide a platform and to prepare a roadmap to strengthen national disaster response capabilities.
- To share view on effective disaster response in India-
- Role of NDRF,
- Localizing preparedness at the community level to strengthen National capabilities and preparedness towards Trauma care and CBRN emergencies.
- Committed to make a disaster resilient Nation by providing specialized response to people in distress during disaster not only within the country but also beyond the National boundaries.
- Since 2006, the Force has saved more than 4.73 lakh precious lives during various calamities and crisis.
- Continuously been engaged in community capacity building of masses through its workshop, seminar, awareness programs and training
Bio Pharmaceuticals provide an alternative to Small Molecule Drugs for Novel Treatments of previously Untreatable Diseases
(Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights)
About- Biopharmaceutical drugs are important therapeutic options as they provide an alternative to small molecule drugs for novel treatments of previously untreatable diseases
Help- Drugs provide affordable options for addressing the healthcare needs of humankind.
- Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is supporting cutting edge research for development of new Biopharmaceutical drugs in different universities, research institutes and laboratories across the country
- Through Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) a Public Sector of DBT a number of Start-ups, SMEs and Biotech companies are developing such new drugs.
Conservation of endangered medicinal plants
(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)
About- Government of India has set up National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) under Department of AYUSH (now Ministry of AYUSH) in year 2000.
It is to- Look into all matters related to medicinal plants
- Working towards conservation and development of medicinal plants along with promotion of medicinal plants cultivation on farmers land to meet the ever increasing demand.
- NMPB, Ministry of AYUSH is implementing the following two schemes for overall development of medicinal plants sector in the country
- Central Sector Scheme for Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants
- Conservation of medicinal plants is being carried out mainly through in-situ conservation by way of plantation/ resource augmentation of species in their natural habitat
- Establishing Medicinal Plants Conservation and Development Areas (MPCDAs) etc., and through ex-situ conservation by developing herbal gardens
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM)Aim-
- To reduce the pressure on wild population of medicinal plants species
- Promoting large scale cultivation of medicinal plants on farmers land and in this regard provides financial assistance as subsidy @ 30%, 50% and 75% of cost of cultivation to farmers for cultivation of medicinal plants including endangered species.
Botanical Survey of India (BSI)— Out of 8,000 medicinal plants only 53 species are under threatened categories like Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, etc.
Use of Radiation Technology in FPI
(Topic: Science and Technology- Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life)
About- Government of India has cleared several commodities under new Atomic Energy (Radiation Processing of Food & Allied Products) Rules 2012 in Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 for preservation through irradiation.
- Arresting post-harvest losses of horticulture & non-horticulture produce,
- Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure for grant of financial assistance for setting up inter alia,
- Energy involved in irradiation is not strong enough to cause changes at the atomic level, and since the food is never in contact with a radioactive source, the food cannot become radioactive
- Several extensive reviews of toxicological data by regulatory and health organizations, have determined that food irradiated at doses below 10 kGy is safe.
- Food is safer after being irradiated because the process destroys harmful bacteria that may be present
- Tried to identify problems resulting from eating irradiated foods but failed to disclose any health risks. A joint study group of FAO/IAEA/WHO in 1997 evaluated data on wholesomeness of food irradiated with doses above 10 kGy and recommended that food irradiated with any dose to achieve technical objectives is safe and nutritionally adequate.
- No upper limit, therefore, needs to be imposed as long as food is irradiated based on prevailing good manufacturing practices.
Sagarmala Programme: Over 150 Projects identified as part of National Perspective Plan
(Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, development and employment)
About- More than 150 projects have been identified as part of the National Perspective Plan (NPP) under the ambitious Sagarmala Programme
- Mobilize more than Rs. 4 lac crore of investment and enable creation of 1 crore new jobs, including 40 lac direct jobs, in the next 10 years.
- Projects will be showcased in the maiden Maritime India Summit 2016, for attracting potential investors and their implementation will be taken up starting FY 16-17
- Projects have been identified across the areas of-
- Port Modernization & New Port Development,
- Port Connectivity Enhancement,
- Port-led Industrial Development and Coastal Community Development.
- To promote port-led development in the country by harnessing India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.
- National Perspective Plan has been developed under this programme for the comprehensive development of India’s coastline and maritime sector.
Environment Ministry releases new categorisation of industries
(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)
- Government released a new categorization of industries based on their pollution load.
- New category of White industries which is practically non-polluting will not require Environmental Clearance (EC) and Consent and will help in getting finance from lending institutions
Re-categorization of industries results as- Old system of categorization was creating problems for many industries and was not reflecting the pollution of the industries.
- To ensure that the industry is established in a manner which is consistent with the environmental objectives
- New criteria will prompt industrial sectors willing to adopt cleaner technologies, ultimately resulting in generation of fewer pollutants.
- Feature of the new categorization system lies in facilitating self-assessment by industries as the subjectivity of earlier assessment has been eliminated.
- ‘Re-categorization’ is a part of the efforts, policies and objective of present government to create a clean & transparent working environment in the country and promote the Ease of Doing Business.
- Installation of Continuous Online Emissions/ Effluent Monitoring Systems in the polluting industries,
- Revisiting the CEPI (Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index) concept for assessment of polluted industrial clusters,
- Revision of existing industrial emission/effluent discharge standards,
- Initiation of special drive on pollution control activities in Ganga River basin and many more in the coming days.
Range of Pollution Index-
- Industrial Sectors having Pollution Index score of 60 & above – Red category
- Industrial Sectors having Pollution Index score of 41 to 59 – Orange category
- Industrial Sectors having Pollution Index score of 21 to 40 – Green category
- Industrial Sectors having Pollution Index score incl.&upto 20- White category