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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 2nd May to 8th May, 2016

IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs May 2016, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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GS-1

Steps Taken for the Development of Sanskrit Language and Literature

(Topic: Salient aspects of Art forms, literature and architecture from ancient to modern times)

About- Ministry of Human Resource Development had constituted a Committee to suggest a long term vision and road map for the development of Sanskrit.

Government of India is taking all steps for-

  • Nurturing + Protection + Propagation + Preservation and development of Sanskrit language, literature and rare Shastras, by funding three Sanskrit Deemed Universities viz.-
  • Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (RSKS), New Delhi,
  • Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (RSV), Tirupati,
  • Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (SLBSRSV), New Delhi and
  • An autonomous body viz. Maharshhi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP), Ujjain.
  • RSKS sponsors schemes which include financial assistance to Adarsh Sanskrit Mahavidyalayas/ Shodh Sansthans, Shastra Chudamani Scheme, Financial Assistance to Sanskrit teachers, Financial Assistance to NGOs for promotion of Sanskrit, assistance to Sanskrit Scholars in indigent circumstances, award of scholarships to students of Sanskrit, publication of books in Sanskrit etc.

Award and Honour-

  • Scheme for the Presidential Award of the Certificates of Honours to honour the eminent scholars of Sanskrit of over 60 year of age.
  • An International Award for Non Resident Indian or a foreigner is also being conferred under this scheme, envisages a onetime monetary grant of Rs.5.00 lakh to the Scholars.
  • Scheme also provides for Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman for young scholars in the age group of 30 to 45 years in the field of Sanskrit and award carries an amount of Rs.One lakh as one-time payment to each Awardee.

 

MoU between India and Maldives for Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Mosques and other Historical Monuments in Maldives

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

About- MoU b/w India and Maldives for Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Mosques and other Historical Monuments in Maldives

MoU on the subject-“Cooperation in the area of conservation and restoration of ancient mosques and joint research and exploratory survey in Maldives”

MoU proposes-

  • To undertake conservation and restoration of historical mosques and monuments, in Maldives
  • Joint research and exploratory survey
  • Training and capacity building of Maldivian personnel in the areas of heritage conservation etc.

 

GS-2

MoU between India and Qatar for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information Communication Technology

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

Aim- Promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Importance-

  • Result in active cooperation and exchanges between the private entities
  • Capacity building institutions
  • Governments and other public organisations of the two countries in the field of ICT.

 

Renewal of Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Government of India and the European Union

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

Aim- To strengthen the co-operation in research and development activities in science & technology fields of common interest between the research institutions of the European Union Member States and India on the basis of parity, reciprocity and co-investment of resources including funds.

 

Cooperation activities include-

  • Supporting joint research and development projects
  • Exchange of scientists and experts
  • Sharing of advanced research facilities
  • Joint seminars
  • Symposia and workshops
  • Sharing of relevant information on science
  • Technology and innovation policy
  • Program and research & development projects

 

MoU between Reserve Bank of India and Central Bank of United Arab Emirates on co-operation concerning currency swap agreement

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

Importance-

  • Strengthen the close economic relationship and cooperation between India and United Arab Emirates.
  • Swap agreement is also expected to facilitate invoicing of bilateral trade in local currencies

MoU commits that- RBI and Central Bank of UAE will consider signing a bilateral Currency Swap Agreement on mutually agreed terms and conditions, after undertaking technical deliberations, subject to the concurrence of respective Governments.

 

MOU with Foreign Countries

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

About- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) of Department of Space, Government of India has signed MoU/ Cooperative agreements for exploration and use of outer space with 37 countries.

 

Countries are- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Venezuela.

MoUs include-

  • Joint development of advanced scientific instruments to observe earth and universe; joint realization of satellite missions
  • Jointly carrying out calibration and validation experiments; conducting airborne campaign with advanced instruments
  • Deep space navigation and communication support for space science missions
  • Development of advanced technologies for building and launching of spacecrafts for earth observation and space science exploration.

Application possibilities in the field of remote sensing addressed in these MoUs include-Natural resource management + Vegetation biomass estimation + Meteorological & oceanographic applications + Atmospheric parameter retrieval & modelling + Climate monitoring and weather forecasting + Disaster management support

 

India-Japan to sign MOU for Cooperation in Sports

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

MOU-

  • Both sides agreed for exchange of sportspersons, coaches, sports experts, sports administrators etc.
  • In the wake of India hosting Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017, both sides agreed for promotion of football and exchange of players and coaches.
  • Agreed that the two countries will also play friendly football matches.

Aim- To spread values learned through sports and increase awareness of the Olympic and Paralympic movement to people of all generations worldwide.

“World Forum on Sport and Culture” to be held in October 2016 in Tokyo
Government to sign a pact with WHO in the field of traditional medicines

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

About- Union Cabinet in its meeting approved the signing of Agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

India would assign to WHO activities for development of the following WHO Technical documents/publications-

  • Benchmarks for training in Yoga
  • Benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda
  • Benchmarks for practice in Unani Medicine
  • Benchmarks for practice in Panchkarma

 

Help in- Better international acceptability of Indian Systems of Medicines.
Areas of cooperation would help to-

  • Facilitate awareness regarding AYUSH systems of medicine by means of- Education + Training + Skill development + Workshops + Publications and exchange programmes between AYUSH and WHO.
  • It is for-> Capacity building to facilitate advocacy and dissemination of information on AYUSH systems amongst the member states and collaborations with third parties for creating synergies in implementation of WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023.

Steps taken by AYUSH-

  • Launched a scheme for- Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals on 22nd June, 2015 in collaboration with Quality Council of India (QCI).
  • Scheme aims at- Promoting authentic Yoga as a preventive and health promoting drugless therapy and involves certifying the competence level of the professionals to help their deployment within and outside the country.
  • Signing of ‘Country to Country’ MoUs for Cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicine with-> Mongolia + Turkmenistan + China
  • MoUs for setting up of- AYUSH Academic Chairs have been signed with-> Universities in Russia + Indonesia + Slovenia + Thailand + Armenia.
  • AYUSH Information Cells have been set up to disseminate authentic information about AYUSH Systems of Medicine at Dubai, Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Israel, Argentina, Serbia and Sweden.

 

MoU signed between Ministry of Railways and Forest Department of Haryana & Punjab for plantation of trees alongside Railway Track on Railway Land Boundary 

(Topic: Agreement between different ministries of government)               

Programme is in line with- PM’s Swacch Bharat, Swacch Harit Bharat.

Features of Agreement-

  • Railway can contribute substantially towards the Green India Mission.
  • Forest department is involved in the plantation as well as maintenance and disposal of trees, thus bringing in the much needed expertise in afforestation.
  • Plantation along the railway track on railway land boundary by Forest department without declaring such land as protected forest with the provision for resumption of such land at any time by railways thus no hindrance to railway works / developmental projects.
  • Protecting railway land from encroachment.

 

Memorandum of Cooperation to be signed between Ministry of Women & Child Development and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

(Topic: Agreement between different ministries of government)

About- Union Cabinet, chaired by the PM, has approved the signing of MoC between Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for the cooperation in Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and other related technical matters.

MoC help in-

  • Implementation of ICT-RTM of ICDS which will enable the authorities for timely intervention for ensuring proper service delivery.
  • Putting up in place a shared national communication campaign, communications strategy and guidelines, customizing communications, products and material to local contexts along with developing plans for large scale dissemination.
  • Technical support through high quality technical teams of nutrition experts.

MoC would cover- 162 high malnutrition burden districts of eight States namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh
Phase-I of ISSNIP will roll out- ICT-RTM through one Lakh Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) in 162 high burden districts of eight participating States. Children of 0-6 year’s age, pregnant women and Lactating Mothers being the ultimate beneficiaries
Foundation would provide-

  • Technical support at the national and state level for strengthening their capacities to deliver nutrition especially during pre-conception, pregnancy and first two years of life
  • Funding to applicable organisation that meet eligibility criteria as will be mutually agreed upon by the Foundation and MWCD from time to time to provide support and technical assistance for designing, development of Common Application Software (CAS) to drive the Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) and Support System
  • Support to MWCD in developing a shared national communication campaign for maternal and child nutrition for roll out among target population

 

Signing of MoUs by Ministry of Railways’ With Foreign Countries for Technical Cooperation In Rail Sector

(Topic: Agreement between different ministries of government)

MoUs enable- Technical visits + Exchange of technical experts + Reports and documents + Training programme + Feasibility studies/pilot projects etc.

Cooperation projects through these MoUs are as under –

  • China-
  • High Speed Rail feasibility study for Delhi-Nagpur section
  • Feasibility study for upgradation of Speeds to 160 kmph on Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysore corridor
  • Training Programme for Indian Railway Officers on Heavy-haul Technology.
  • South Korea-
  • Feasibility Study for speed rising of Delhi-Mumbai route to 200 km/h.
  • Japan-
  • Mumbai- Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project- Technical and financial assistance
  • France-
  • Technical and Execution Study for upgrading the speed of passenger trains between Delhi-Chandigarh upto 200 kmph
  • Renovation/development study of Ludhiana and Ambala railway stations.
  • Germany-
  • Feasibility study for High Speed Rail of one route as mutually agreed.

 

Measures taken by Government for Popularising Yoga

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

Context- Ministry of AYUSH has launched a scheme for voluntary certification of yoga professionals on 22nd June, 2015 in collaboration with Quality Council of India (QCI) during the valedictory session of ‘International Conference of Yoga for Holistic Health’.

 

Aim- Promoting authentic yoga as a preventive and health promoting drugless therapy

About Scheme-

  • Involves certifying the competence level of the professionals to help their deployment within and outside the country to meet the increased demands.
  • Check misuse of yoga and safeguard/protect India’s Cultural Heritage, Ministry of AYUSH had filed nomination of Yoga for inscription in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for the cycle 2016 by the UNESCO.

 

Start-up India

(Topic:  Government schemes and policies)

About- Action Plan for Start-up India to build a strong eco-system to nurture innovation and Start-ups in the country was launched on 16th January 2016.

Features of the scheme-

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

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

 

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.

Credit Guarantee Fund

  • Initiative provides for creating a credit guarantee fund for start-ups through National Guarantee Trust Company (NCGTC)/SIDBI with a Corpus of Rs.500 crore per year for the next four years.

 

Portal launch for Contract Labour Payment Management System

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

About- Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy launch ‘Contract Labour Payment Management System’- a portal of Coal India Limited
Contract Labour Payment Management System-

  • Portal is created for monitoring compliance of labour payment and other benefits to the contract workers under the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act. 1970.
  • Integrated system for all subsidiaries of CIL
  • In-house developed application will maintain a comprehensive database of all contract workers engaged by different contractors in CIL and all its subsidiaries.
  • Central Mine Planning and Development Institute (CMPDI) the Ranchi based consultancy subsidiary of Coal India Limited shall maintain the portal.
  • System has in-built mechanism to validate minimum wages paid, generate wage slips and employment card etc. of contract workers as required under the Act.
  • Portal provides access to all contract workers, through a Workers Identification Number (WIN), to view their personal details and payment status. Contract workers can also register their grievance through this portal.
  • System extends facility to all citizens of the country to view a snapshot of contract works in CIL and subsidiaries, number of contract workers engaged, payment status, minimum wages paid etc.
  • Nodal Officer at different locations in the company will monitor the process and ensure compliance by all contractors.
  • It has been planned to make payment to the contractors only after submitting a system generated declaration of compliance.
  • Enhance proper monitoring of legal compliances under Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, especially the payment of correct wages to the contract workers and PF deductions and deposit and other statutory obligations.

 

Minister of State (I/C) for Commerce and Industry launches EXIM Analytics Dashboard

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

Context- As part of the initiative of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry to provide easy access to the public on export and import trends of India the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (I/C) launched a dashboard on EXIM Analytics.

 

Developed by- Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, at the instance of the Ministry

Usability-

  • Analytics Dashboards would facilitate the general public to have an accurate perspective on the facts around the trade performance of India
  • Endeavour of the Ministry is also in tune with the principle of “Government at the doorstep”.

EXIM Analytics-

  • User friendly Dashboard developed by the Ministry enables the user to interactively query the information to investigate factsat more detailed level.

For example-

  • Starting from the first insight of overall exports in a fiscal year
  • User can proceed to query what are the top commodities being exported to a particular market, say, USA and then choose a specific commodity, look at its trend, from which ports it is being exported and so on.
  • EXIM Analyticsrepresents data graphically exposing patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text-based data.
  • Dashboard gives a graphical collection of exports and imports from India,

For example- Export turnover of the country- How it performs over time? What are the export destinations? What items are being exported? Which are the ports – inland, sea or airports from which the exports are taking place?

 

Enables analysis of trade information of India relating to-

  • Export Overview- Provides analysis of data by time period, export destinations and ports of export
  • Import Overview- Provides analysis of data by time period, countries of Import and ports of import.
  • Balance of Trade- Balance of Trade (BOT) can be analysed over time periods for different Regions, Countries and Ports.

Given the high priority accorded to Transparency in Governance by the new Government, the dashboard on export – import will enable small and upcoming businessmen to foray into global trade based on reliable information directly accessible through Government sources.

 

 

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

Aim- To enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth

Special emphasis on issues pertaining to-

  • Sanitation
  • Drinking water supply
  • Energy
  • Agriculture and allied activities
  • Irrigation
  • Education
  • Health, etc and,
  • To provide innovative solution in consultation with Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs)

Steps taken-

Ministry of HRD has advised all the higher educational institutions which are funded by the Central /State Government and all institutions which are under approval by the regulatory bodies to adopt clusters of backward Gram Panchayats / villages in their vicinity and apply their knowledge and expertise to improve the infrastructure in the Gram Panchayats (GPs).

 

 

Watan Ko Jano Initiative

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

About- Government has launched ‘Watan Ko Jano’ initiative for the orphans, children from militancy hit families and weaker sections of the society in Jammu and Kashmir.

Watan ko Jano Initiative-

  • Under the programme, groups of educated youth in the age group of 15-24 years visit various parts of the country and are exposed to the diverse social and cultural heritage of the country.
  • Groups during their trip interact both at inter-state and intra-state level and participate in cultural activities at different places.
  • Under the program 769 children have participated so far.

 

New TB Diagnostic Machines

(Topic: Health)

About- Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) will benefit from introduction of additional 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines.

CBNAAT machines-

  • Enable quick detection of Tuberculosis and resistance to Rifampicin.
  • Machines have high sensitivity and specificity and are also used for detection of Extra Pulmonary TB and in Pediatric TB cases.

TB Programme-

  • TB cases are being treated in the public sector under Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme and for this purpose guidelines and standards have been prescribed.
  • It is necessary that the doctors in the private sector also follow the correct treatment regimen and protocols for dealing with TB cases.
  • Standard for Tuberculosis Care in India were finalized by Government and released in the year 2014.
  • Newer and cheaper diagnostics, shorter TB drug regimens and less toxic drugs, which are affordable, will facilitate efforts for ending Tuberculosis.

 

Landmark meeting of SAARC Countries on protection of Children to be held in Delhi

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and further structure, mandate)

About- Eight nations composing the South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) are assembling in New Delhi from 9th-11th May, 2016 for their 4th Ministerial Meeting, to set strategies and agree on commitments

 

Hosted by- Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India
Aim- To ensure the protection and security of the children of the region
Delegates from- Governments and civil society organizations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will assess progress and developments of the past decade of regional effort and identify priorities for SAIEVAC for the next five years.

SAIEVAC-

  • It is an Apex Body of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) created to bring governments of the region into active engagement for child protection against violence.
  • SAARC made history in 1986 by installing children as a ‘summit-level concern and commitment.’
  • The 4th Ministerial Meeting carries forward the collective inter governmental ownership of SAIEVAC, which is reflected in its Governing Body composed of official members, representing each of the eight governments.
  • Technical consultation on 9th and 10th May will bring forward recommendations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and on regional child protection opportunities emerging from country experiences.
  • Include India’s positive insights from its innovative measures for tracking and rescuing lost and missing children.
  • Technical will also examine the potential of using information and communication technology for improving these measures.
  • India will showcase some of its major initiatives like- Trackchild and Khoya Paya, Childline-1098, POCSO Act among others

 

 

TEP Scheme revised to train women in modern as well as traditional skills

(Topic: Steps taken to empower women)

About-

  • Ministry of Women & Child Development has been administering ‘Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme’ since 1986-87 as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’.
  • Scheme was reviewed and revised in 2014 to impart training to women in modern skills as well as traditional ones, to meet the demands of changing society.

Aim-

  • To provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs
  • To benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above.

Assistance under the STEP scheme will be available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship, including but not limited to the following

Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Handlooms, Tailoring, Stitching, Embroidery, Zari etc, Handicrafts, and Computer & IT enabled services, Gems & Jewellery, Travel & Tourism, and Hospitality

 

 

RASHTRIYA MAHILA KOSH

(Topic: Steps taken to empower women)

Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)

  • It is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD).
  • It is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and an apex micro-finance organization.

Aim-

  • To provide micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities at concessional terms in a client-friendly procedure to bring about their socio-economic development.
  • Quasi-formal delivery mechanism, simple procedure, in-built flexibility and concessional rates of interest are some of the hallmarks of the credit packages of the RMK.

Following measures have been taken by the Government to revamp the RMK-

  • Simplification of Loan Procedures: With a view to make loaning guidelines of RMK more effective and customer friendly, the lending guidelines have been further revised and simplified by the 55th Governing Board (GB) of RMK.
  • Downward revision in Rate of Interest (RoI): During the past 2 year period, RoI of RMK loans has been revised downward twice.

Vision, Mission and Goal of Mahila E-haat are: 

  • Vision- To empower & strengthen financial inclusion of Women Entrepreneurs in the economy by providing continued sustenance and support to their creativity.
  • Mission- To act as a catalyst by providing a web based marketing platform to the women entrepreneurs to directly sell to the buyers.
  • Goal- To support ‘Make in India’ through digital marketing platform.

 

National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education

(Topic: Development, protection and betterment of minorities)

Main function of NMCME-

  • It is to monitor minority education and the ongoing schemes of the Ministry of   Human Resource Development targeted at Minorities.
  • Makes recommendations to address the issues related to recognition and affiliation of minority institutions.

 

Standing Committee of NMCME submitted its report containing various recommendations on-

  • Scholarship Scheme
  • Coaching Scheme for minorities
  • Model Schools for minorities
  • Development of Database on enrolment of minorities in educational institutions and public awareness / publicity of the schemes, etc.

Result of the recommendations of NMCME-

  • Number of new Model/Secondary schools have been approved, opened, and strengthened, girls hostels constructed, many schools provided with Information and Communications Technology(ICT)
  • Vocational Education (VE) provided in various schools in the Minority Concentration Districts(MCDs) identified by the Ministry of Minority Affairs
  • Further, new Model Degree Colleges, Women’s Hostels and Polytechnics have been opened in MCDs.
  • On the recommendations of the NMCME, from the year 2014-15, community-wise data is being collected in respect of Higher Education under the ambit of the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE)
  • U-DISE system of data collection of school education closely monitors the data of dropout and has a provision for collecting information on recognized and unrecognized Madrasas also

 

GS-3

Harnessing of Solar and Wind Energy in Rural Areas

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

About- Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing a Programme on “Off-Grid and Decentralized Solar Applications”

 

Aim- Promoting use of solar power through-> Solar home lights + Solar Street lights + Power plants + Solar pumps + Mini micro grids to meet the energy requirements of the rural areas of the country.

 

Steps taken-

  • Central financial assistance equivalent to 30% of the system cost is provided under the scheme to encourage the people in the remote/ rural areas adopt these systems to meet their energy requirements.
  • MNRE is also implementing a scheme “Small Wind Energy and Hybrid system (SWES)” wherein both the solar and wind energy is effectively utilized for power generation in the remote areas by installing hybrid system consisting of both solar Photovoltaic and aero generator / small wind turbine technologies.
  • Central Financial assistance of Rs. One lakh/KW is provided for community users.
  • MNRE is also implementing National Biogas and Manure Management Programme in rural areas of the country, wherein family type biogas plants are installed to meet cooking and motive power requirements.
  • Under this programme subsidy is provided based on the size of the plant and its location either in special category states or in other states, Harnessing of Solar and Wind Energy in Rural Areas

 

NHAI takes steps to remove Hurdles for Faster Execution of Projects

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

Aim- To ensure faster execution of projects, National Highways Authority of India has delegated powers to its Regional Officers for hiring of equipment and labourers up to Rs.10 lacs per project, to demolish structures that fall within the right-of-way of the project.

 

Issue- Some of the contracts had no provision for demolition of such structures, there would often be protracted correspondence between the contractors, Project Directors and NHAI headquarters before these could be removed, often leading to delay in execution of projects.

 

Help-

With this delegation of power to ROs NHAI will be able to make encumbrance free land available more speedily to the concessionaire/contractors as laid down under the concession agreement or contract. 

Work assigned to ROs-

  • Regional Officers have also been instructed to ensure measurement of such structures along with videography for record purpose.
  • Regional Officers have been delegated the power for maintenance of highways requiring urgent repair works up to Rs. 1 crore.
  • CGM (T) jointly with Regional Officers have also been delegated power for shifting of transmission line/electric line and water pipelines/ other utilities upto Rs 10 crores and Rs 5 crores respectively.

All these steps are expected to cut down delays in completion of projects.

 

Promotion of green house technologies under the component ‘protected cultivation’

(Topic: Promotion of green house technologies)

About- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India under the scheme Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture promotes green house technologies under the component ‘protected cultivation’.

 

Includes- Assistance to the extent of 50% is provided to the farmers for establishment of various types of greenhouses up to 4000 sq. mts. per beneficiary.

ICAR-

  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has standardized low cost net and poly houses for cultivation of important high value vegetable crops like green and coloured capsicum, english cucumber, bottle gourd, brinjal and tomato which are being disseminated to the farming community.
  • Protected structures are good for off-season production, help in improvement of yield by 65-80%, improve quality and protect from insects and diseases.

 

Coordinated programme on Horticulture Assessment and Management using geoiNformatics

(Topic: Programme on Horticulture Assessment and management)

Issue- Since many of the horticulture crops are grown in small plots, road side or in the back of the houses and do not have single harvesting, it is difficult to assess their production. Many horticulture crops have multiple pickings in a single season.

 

To overcome difficulties- Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare has launched a project called- Coordinated programme on Horticulture Assessment and Management using geoiNformatics (CHAMAN).

 

Objective- To develop and firm up scientific methodology for estimation of area and production under horticulture crops

Main components-

  • Remote sensing (RS) Technology
  • Sample Survey (SS) methodology for estimation of area and production of horticultural crops.

Using both of these methodologies, assessment of area and production of major horticulture crops is being done on pilot basis in 11 states.

 

 

Indo-Malaysia Defence Cooperation

(Topic: Defence, security challenges and their management)

Indo-Malaysia Defence Cooperation-

  • To strengthen defence cooperation including enhancing defence exchanges through regular dialogue at various levels as also through Service-to-Service Staff Talks.
  • To upgrade the bilateral joint Army exercise ‘HARIMAU SHAKTI’ to company level and to set up SU-30 Forum for cooperation in- Training + Maintenance + Technical support + Safety-related issues, etc.
  • Setting up of the Forum discussed during the Air Staff Talks in April, 2016.

 

Indo-Maldives talks on Terrorism

(Topic: Defence, security challenges and their management)

About- During the recent visit of the President of Maldives to India on 11th April, 2016, the Government of Maldives highlighted the need for capacity building in view of their concerns on counter terrorism.

 

Coordinate efforts –

  • To counter terrorism and radicalization and enhance cooperation in counter terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building.

Other Indo-Maldives cooperation- MoU on Combating International Terrorism, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Enhancing Bilateral Cooperation in Capacity Building, Disaster Management and Coastal Security was signed between India and Maldives on 12th November, 2011

 

National Research Development Corporation(NRDC) inks Agreements for Commercialization of New Technologies and Promotion of Start Ups 

(Topic: Technology- development and their application and effects in everyday life)

About- National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), under the Ministry of Science & Technology, entered into Licence Agreements for the commercialization of ‘Ghar Sodhon’ – a room disinfectant for silkworm rearing houses and appliances.

 

Developed at- Central Silk Research & Training Institute (CSRTI), Berhampore (W.B.), a constituent Research Institute under Central Silk Board, Bengaluru, under the Ministry of Textiles

Ghar Sodhon-

  • User friendly and non-corrosive room disinfectant, devoid of the requirement of labour, water, electricity and spraying machines.
  • Gaining popularity among the silk farmers of the States of West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • Initiative of NRDC aids the “Make in India” and “Start-up India” Missions of the Government of India.

Technology Business Incubator- Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration (TBI –CIBA)

Set up by – Department of Science & Technology and Environment, Government of Goa

Entered into a MoA with- NRDC to support the activities of the Incubation Centre and their successful operation for socio-economic benefits

 

NRDC agreement-

  • NRDC shall provide services like-> IPR Management + Technology Management + Mentoring Services + Value Addition Services + Regulatory Assistance + Skill Development / EDP / Cluster Development to the Start-ups being promoted by TBI –CIBA.
  • Services are also available to around 70 Incubation Centres in the country to promote start-ups.
  • NRDC also signed a MoA with Satyabhama University, Chennai for IP Protection and technology commercialization of their scientific and technological developments.
  • With this agreement both of the organizations will put efforts to bring the fruits of research for awareness and betterment of the society.

 

Five Layer Plan to stop Infiltration

(Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges)

Aim- To curb the infiltration from Indo-Pakistan border

Government Steps-

  • Adopted multi-pronged approach which include construction of fencing, floodlighting, Border out Posts (BoPs)
  • Induction of latest surveillance equipments like Hand Held Thermal Imager (HHTI), Long Range Recce Observation System (LORROS)
  • Night-vision Goggle/Devices, etc
  • Pilot project for deployment of technological solutions on two patches (05 km each) in Area of Responsibility (AOR) of Jammu Frontier.
  • Procurement process has been initiated and the Global Tender Enquiry along with Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued.
  • To launch pilot project of 30-40 kms (approx.) in-> Punjab Frontier on Indo-Pakistan border subsequently
  • To deploy technological solutions in the form of-> Integration of Radars + Sensors + Cameras + Communication Networks + Command + Control Solutions in various difficult terrains where fencing could not be installed.

 

Electric Buses under FAME India

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

Context- With the introduction of FAME India Scheme, demand of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles started picking up.

Initially- There was lack of demand of electric and hybrid vehicles in absence of demand incentives.

Benefit-

  • As per the National Mission on Electric Mobility, if present scheme continue till 2020, it is expected to save approximately 9500 million litre of crude oil equivalent of Rs. 62000 Crores.

No investment proposal has been received as of now.

 

 

National Agriculture Drought Assessment and Monitoring System

(Topic: Use of technology in aid of farmers)

NADAMS project-

  • Provides an early assessment of drought situation and thus helps the State Governments to take remedial measures and also use this information for drought declaration.
  • Assessments provided by NADAMS Project are beneficial for the farmers.
  • But since the benefits accrued to farmers are indirectly as a result of remedial measures taken by the State Governments, so there is no system of collecting actual number of farmers benefited.  Hence, no such information is being maintained.

States covered under NADAMS are-

  • Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Drought assessment for 14 States is carried out at District level.  However, out of these 14 States in 5 States (Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana) drought assessment is carried out at Sub-District level.

Drought assessment and monitoring, under NADAMS project-

  • Carried out using multiple satellite data, rainfall, soil moisture index, potential sowing area, and irrigation percentage and ground observations.
  • Logical modeling approach is followed to classify the districts into Alert, Watch and Normal during June, July and August and Severe, Moderate and Mild drought conditions during September and October.
  • Monthly Drought Assessment Reports are communicated to all concerned State and national level agencies and also kept on the MNCFC website (ncfc.gov.in).

 

Indian Army and industry come together at AMICOM – 2016

(Topic: Various security forces and agencies and their mandate)

About-Annual Master General of Ordnance (MGO) Industry Cooperation Meet (AMICOM-2016) series is an initiative of the Indian Army to engage with indigenous defence industry.

AMICOM-2016 is being held from- 03 to 04 May 2016 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi under the aegis of MGO Branch and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

Main theme- ‘Indigenisation’

Special theme- ‘Optronics and Electronics’

Aim- To create a platform and act as a catalyst to break down the long dependence on foreign sources so as to further accelerate the pace of indigenisation in the field of defence manufacturing and making our nation self-reliant in defence production

Attended by- Large number of officers from the Armed Forces, officials from the MoD, DGQA, DRDO, academia and a large cross-section of the Indian industry

 

Steps taken by Government for Ethnic Medicinal Practices

(Topic: Medicinal Plant Conservation)

About- National Medicinal Plants Board supports setting up of Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas (MPCAs), augmentation and plantation activity for conservation of medical plants in-situ and ex-situ under “Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants” and under National Ayush Mission (NAM) for cultivation of medicinal plants by farmers with backward and forward linkages

Government steps- Established a National Institute “The North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine (NEIFM) at Pasighat, East Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh under Ministry of AYUSH

Aim-

  • To revitalize, promote and harness these local health traditions for the wellbeing of wider public especially living in North Eastern Region.
  • Activities of the Institute will further help in protecting the knowledge and resources of folk medicines in the North Eastern Region.

Activities undertaken in the matter by four autonomous Research Councils under Ministry of AYUSH-

  • Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS)- Tribal Health Care Research Programme is a continuous programme since 1982 with activities including collection of folk medicines/ traditional practices
  • Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy CCRH- Council has carried out recording of folklore and ethno-medicinal practices from the tribals of Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu
  • Council for Research in Siddha CCRS: Ethno medicinal knowledge of folklore practitioners are documented through survey tours
  • Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines CCRUM: Folk medicinal uses of plants from the tribal and rural folks have been recorded

 

Steps taken by CIL to improve Coal Production from Underground Mines

(Topic: Sources of energy, their production and use)

Steps taken-

  • Planning new underground mines adopting mass production systems like continuous miner technology and longwall technology wherever feasible.
  • Entering into risk / gain sharing arrangements with the equipment suppliers for guaranteed levels of production and maintenance of equipment
  • Undertaking thorough geo-mining investigations before the formulation of the projects
  • Training of manpower.
  • Replacing manual loading with loading machines like Side Discharge Loaders (SDLs), Load Haul Dumpers (LHDs) in conjunction with belt conveyers wherever feasible
  • Providing man riding systems to reduce travel time of miners
  • Introducing multi skilled job concepts etc.
  • Create adequate infrastructural facilities for ventilation, bunkerage, coal evacuation, out-bye transportation, mechanized tunnelling, shaft sinking, roof supporting.
  • Delineate new blocks amenable for longwall technology with super block concept.

 

India based Neutrino Observatory

(Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology)

About-

  • Work at Pottipuram site of India based Neutrino Observatory is stalled at present due to orders of Madurai bench of the Hon’ble Madras High Court.
  • It will take about 5 years to start the scientific experiments in the laboratory. The total cost of the project is Rs. 1583.05 crores.
  • Out of this, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) will bear all the costs related to laboratory infrastructure while the cost of the main detector will be shared equally between DAE and the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

Objectives of the laboratory are-

  • To study the properties of the fundamental particle, the neutrino
  • Develop skilled human resources for carrying out front ranking experimental programmes in the area of particle and nuclear physics
  • Development of state-of-the-art particle detectors for basic science and societal application including medical imaging.

At present, there is no proposal with the Ministry of Science& Technology to establish additional laboratories for nuclear physics research in India.

 

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