IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 4th July to 10th July, 2016

  • July 12, 2016
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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“National Mineral Exploration Policy”

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

About- It is a consensus amongst geoscientists that India is endowed with large mineral resource and has geological environment for many others on account of similarity of geological set up with Australia, South Africa, South America etc.

Issue- Survey and exploration have been broadly concentrated on surficial and shallow mineral deposits. Exploration for deep and concealed deposits is a cost-intensive and high-risk enterprise which requires state-of-the-art technology and expertise.
To overcome this- Efforts have been made by the government agencies to be extensively supplemented with the expertise and technological innovations available worldwide with the private sector.

MMDR Amendment Act, 2015-

  • It has brought in transparency in allocation of mineral concessions in terms of Prospecting License and Mining Lease.
  • Present regime of grant of mineral concessions provides for Non Exclusive Reconnaissance Permit (NERP) which does not allow seamless transitions to prospecting and mining licences.

Importance of NMEP

  • Under NMEP, private agencies would be engaged to carry out exploration with the right to a certain share in the revenue (by way of royalty/premium to be accruing to the state government) from the successful bidder of mineral block after e-auction, which will be discovered by that private explorer.
  • Revenue sharing could be either in the form of a lump sum or an annuity, to be paid throughout the period of mining lease, with transferable rights.
  • The private sectors do not seem to be enthused to take up high risk of exploration. Keeping this in view, National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) prescribes for incentivising the participation of private companies in exploration.
  • Acquisition, processing and interpretation of pre-competitive baseline geoscience data play a pivotal role in successful exploration process. In this regard, the NMEP proposes the following:
  • Pre-competitive baseline geoscientific data will be created as a public good and will be fully available for open dissemination free of charge.
  • A National Aero-geophysical Mapping program will be launched to map the entire country. It will help to delineate the deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits.

Overcoming of risk factor involved- Government will also work out normative cost of exploration works for different kinds of minerals so that the exploration agencies could be compensated, in case they could not discover any mineable reserves in their respective areas. This will be an added incentive for exploration agencies to mitigate their risk of exploration.


Selection of private explorer is proposed to be done following a transparent process of competitive bidding-

National Geoscience Data Repository (NGDR) will be set up

  • GSI will collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central and state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and maintain these on a geospatial database.

Government will coordinate and collaborate with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological research

  • Aim– To address the mineral exploration challenges in the country.
  • For this, the Government proposes to establish a not-for-profit autonomous body/ company that will be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT).

State Governments have a key role

  • Help in building up a steady stream of auctionable prospects.
  • They will have to take up mineral exploration
  • States need to build up the exploration capabilities, technical expertise and infrastructure facility.
  • Central Government will provide support to States for capacity building from National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).

NMEP proposes to launch a special initiative

  • Aim- To probe deep-seated/concealed mineral deposits in the country on the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia.
  • Pilot project in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and the proposed National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT)) and Geoscience Australia. 

SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBICAP)

  • It has been selected consultant by the Ministry of Mines for development of detailed modalities of contractual framework for mineral exploration.
  • Ministry will provide handholding support to the State Governments in this process of engaging the private agencies.


National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

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

About-Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has approved a National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme.

Funding- The Scheme has an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore with a target of 50 lakh apprentices to be trained by 2019-20.

Implemented by- Director General of Training (DGT) under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)


  • It provides for incentivizing employers to engage apprentices.
  • 25% of the total stipend payable to an apprentice would be shared with employers directly by Government of India.
  • It is for the first time a scheme has been designed to offer financial incentives to employers to engage apprentices.
  • In addition, it also supports basic training, which is an essential component of apprenticeship training. 50% of the total expenditure incurred on providing basic training would be supported by Government of India.
  • Scheme will catalyze the entire apprenticeship ecosystem in the country and it will offer a win-win situation for all stakeholders. It is expected to become one of the most powerful skill-delivery vehicles in the country.


  • Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country.
  • It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training.
  • National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 launched by the Prime Minister focuses on apprenticeship as one of the key components for creating skilled manpower in India.
  • Present scheme also aims to achieve the objective as stated in the National Policy, 2015.
  • Policy proposes to work pro-actively with the industry including MSME to facilitate tenfold increase opportunities in the country by 2020-20.


First edition of “India Skills -2016”

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

About- President will inaugurate the first edition of “India Skills Competition” on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day on 15th July, 2016. Skill India will be celebrating its first anniversary on the occasion.

Objective- To bring recognition and respect to country’s vibrant youth and make them more employable as per industry standards, thereby transforming the skills, labour and employment landscape of India.

India Skills -2016

  • India Skills is a national competition steered by Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to select the best talent who will lead India’s participation at the biennial World Skills International Competition scheduled at Abu Dhabi in 2017
  • The year has been remarkable with more than 1.04 crore youth trained under various initiative of Skill India in 2015-16, marking 36.8% growth compared to the year before.
  • India Skills is a big opportunity for the youth of our nation to showcase their skill sets on a global platform like World Skills International Competition, which is globally recognized as Olympics for Skills and is also recognised by UN, where candidates from more than 75 member countries participate
  • Sector Skill Councils are ensuring standards aligned to National Skill Qualification Framework are being followed in the competition to monitor the quality and standards of the competition which will be important to follow to compete at a world scale.
  • Shortlisted candidates from these events will qualify for the final selection for World Skills International Competition at Abu Dhabi, 2017.


MoU: India and Mauritius

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

About- In field of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation; To establish a framework for cooperation between the National Development Unit, Prime Minister’s Office of the Republic of Mauritius and the Ministry of Rural Development of the Republic of India in the sphere of rural development.

MoU foregrounds-

  • To coordinate and facilitate appropriate technical cooperation, including the access to Indian expertise institutions that can assist in fulfilling the objectives of this MoU
  • Exchange of relevant information and documents in the sphere of rural development, including scientific and technical information together with policies and support measures adopted to foster rural development
  • Cooperation by exchanging relevant information on issues of mutual interest, undertaking exchange visits on programmes to foster sharing of experience
  • Collaboration to strengthen their human resource capacity through sector-specific in-country training in Mauritius and training at reputed institutions in India through customized schemes and facilitating the transfer of latest technology, state of the art equipment and materials, and share best practices.


MoU: India and Mozambique

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

About- Drug demand reduction and prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals and related matters.

  • To enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries in combating illicit trafficking in Narcotic drugs,
  • Psychotropic substances and their precursors through exchange of information, expertise and capacity building.


MoU: India and Tanzania

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

About- Field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy

Aim- Provide structured frame work for the cooperation between the two countries for the promotion and propagation of Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy in Tanzania.


  • India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario.
  • Traditional Medicine is an important element of life of Tanzanian people and Traditional medicines are used as first aid or stop-gap measure before the patient is referred to modern health facilities.
  • Tanzania is an important East African country with historical ties with India and with substantial population of around 70 thousand Indian diaspora.
  • Tanzania and India have traditionally enjoyed close, friendly and co-operative relations. In recent years, the relationship of the two countries has been marked by close contacts at the highest political level including cooperation in the field of Health and medicine.
  • The Ministry of AYUSH as a part of its mandate to propagate Indian systems of Medicine globally had signed MoUs with several other countries which include China, Malaysia, Hungary, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc.


2nd Anti-Drug Working Group meeting of Heads of Drug Control Agencies of BRICS countries concludes

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

About- Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs organized the 2nd anti-drug Working Group meeting of Heads of Drug Control Agencies of BRICS countries

Delegates from– Five BRICS countries, viz Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa participated in the discussions which followed the inaugural session

Significance asIndia shall be hosting the eighth BRICS summit in October, 2016 in Goa

Anti-Drug Working Group Meeting-

  • In keeping with the spirit of the eThekwani Declaration, the first anti-drug working group meeting of Heads of Drug Control Agencies of BRICS countries was organized at Moscow, Russia in November, 2015.
  • Meeting organized by the Narcotics Control Bureau, India was the second such meeting of the Heads of Drug Control Agencies
  • It was the need of the hour that BRICS expanded its mandate to cover and discuss issues relating to trafficking of narcotics and the looming menace of narco-terrorism.


  • Resolved to develop and enhance cooperation and collaboration among the Member States to monitor current trends and drug trafficking routes
  • Exchange of information among the drug law enforcement agencies, share and exchange experiences, and best practices and enhance capacity building in order to prevent and counter illicit drug trafficking and related crimes.
  • During the meeting, the participants discussed the drug trafficking situation including the-
  • Illicit cultivation and production of Opium and Heroin in South West Asia and South East Asia and illicit cultivation  of Coca bush in South America,
  • Illicit cultivation of Cannabis plant used for production of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
  • Diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals, illicit financial flows from drug proceeds, financing of terrorism in certain cases, maritime drug trafficking and challenges and emergence of new psycho-active substances that have posed serious threat to health, safety and well being of society across globe, especially of the youth and also undermines the economic, social and political stability and development of BRICS member states.


Interest Subvention Scheme

(Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices)

About- Interest Subvention Scheme approved for farmers for the year 2016-17.

Help- It will help farmers getting short term crop loan payable within one year up to Rs. 3 lakhs at only 4% per annum.

Features of the scheme are as follows-

  • Central Government will provide interest subvention of 5 per cent per annum to all farmers for short term crop loan upto one year for loan upto Rs. 3 lakhs borrowed by them during the year 2016-17.
  • Farmers will thus have to effectively pay only 4% as interest. In case farmers do not repay the short term crop loan in time they would be eligible for interest subvention of 2% as against 5% available above.
  • Central Government will give approximately Rs 18,276 crores as interest subvention for 2016-17.
  • In order to give relief to small and marginal farmers who would have to borrow at 9% for the post harvest storage of their produce, the Central Government has approved an interest subvention of 2% i.e an effective interest rate of 7% for loans upto 6 months
  • To provide relief to the farmers affected by Natural Calamities, the interest subvention of 2% will be provided to Banks for the first year on the restructured amount.
  • In case farmers do not repay the short term crop loan in time they would be eligible for interest subvention of 2% as against 5% available above.


Launch of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Portal

(Topic: E-technology in aid of farmers)


  • Provisions for online monitoring of KVKs which will include reporting of major events on regular basis and submission of monthly reports online.
  • Provide information on different services being provided by different KVKs.
  • Weather and Market related information can also be accessed by the farmers and others.
  • Forthcoming programmes will also be available on the website which will benefit farmers and youth in joining different training programmes being organized by KVKs.
  • Question and answer facility will also be available for the farmers.
  • Agriculture related information of the districts will also be available on the portal.
  • Farmers and the Agricultural Officers may register themselves and seek different information related to KVKs.

Need of Portal-

  • There are 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s (KVKs) in the country. These centres are established in the Rural Districts of the country. Each KVK has direct interface with at least 1000 farmers.
  • As the information related to KVK was not available at one place at the National Level, the farmers and other stakeholders had difficulty in accessing the information and also there was no online monitoring system at the National level to review and monitor the functioning of KVKs against the mandates and objectives.
  • Portal will provide a platform to provide the information and advisory to the farmers and facilitate online monitoring of the KVK activities.

To implement the mandate effectively, the following activities are envisaged for each KVK-

  • On-farm testing to assess the location specificity of agricultural technologies under various farming systems
  • Frontline demonstrations to establish production potential of technologies on the farmers’ fields.
  • Capacity development of farmers and extension personnel to update their knowledge and skills on modern agricultural technologies.
  • To work as Knowledge and Resource Centre of agricultural technologies for supporting initiatives of public, private and voluntary sector in improving the agricultural economy of the district.
  • Provide farm advisories using ICT and other media means on varied subjects of interest to farmers
  • In addition, KVK  produce quality technological products (seed, planting material, bio-agents, livestock) and make it available to farmers, organize frontline extension activities, identify and document selected farm innovations and converge with ongoing schemes and programmes within the mandate of KVK.


Development of Multi–Modal Logistic Parks under Sagarmala Programme

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

About- As part of the National Perspective Plan, prepared under the Sagarmala Programme of the Ministry of Shipping, 7 Multi-Modal Logistic Parks (MMLPs) were proposed in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Telangana, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Potential sites identified based on- Comprehensive study of the container cargo movement across the country and are located in the proximity of important industrial clusters.

Beneficial for- Transportation of containerized cargo


Jawaharlal Nehru Port: First Port in Country to Implement Logistics Data Tagging of Containers

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

About- Jawaharlal Nehru Port becomes the first port in the country to implement logistics data tagging of containers (‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiatives implemented)

Focused towards- Document, time and cost reduction for the benefit of trade.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port-

  • Will help importers/exporters track their goods in transit through logistics data bank service.
  • An RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Tag) tag would be attached to each container which would be tracked through RIFD readers installed at different locations.


  • It would provide the ‘Visibility’ and ‘Transparency’ of the EXIM Container Movement by covering the entire movement through rail or road till the ICDs (Inland Container Depot) and CFSs (Container Freight Station).
  • Service will integrate the information available with various agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed real time information within a single window
  • Help in reducing the overall lead time of the container movement across the western corridor and lower the transaction costs incurred by shippers and consignees.


Setting up of a Major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu

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


  • A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed for development of this Port with initial equity investment from the three Major Ports in Tamil Nadu i.e. V.O.Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, and Kamarajar Port Limited.
  • SPV will develop the port infrastructure including dredging and reclamation, construction of breakwater, ensuring connectivity links etc.

Present scenario of ports in India-

  • There are only a few ports in India that have sufficient draft and can match global cargo handling efficiencies.
  • Currently, all of India’s trans-shipment traffic gets handled in Colombo, Singapore and other international ports.
  • Indian port industry loses out upto Rs 1,500 Crores of revenues each year.


  • Establishing this Major port at Enayam will not only act as a major gateway container port for Indian cargo that is presently trans-shipped outside the country, but also become a trans¬shipment hub for the global East-West trade route.
  • Enayam will also reduce the logistics cost for exporters and importers in South India who currently depend on trans-shipment in Colombo or other ports thus incurring additional port handling charges.


231 Projects under Namami Gange launched all over the Country 

(Topic: Water conservation and steps to control the pollution)

About- To give a major boost to Namami Gange Programme, 231 projects will be inaugurated at various locations in Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi.

Projects involve- Modernization and redevelopment of Ghats and crematoriums, development of sewage infrastructure and treatment, afforestation, tree plantation (medicinal plants), pilot drain project, interceptor drain project, trash skimmers and conservation of biodiversity.

Ganga Gram Yojana-

  • 400 villages along the river Ganga will be developed as Ganga Gram in phase-I.
  • 13 IITs have adopted five villages each for development as Ganga Grams. Training for 328 sarpanchs was completed at Sichawal in Punjab.
  • Eight biodiversity centers will be developed along Ganga for restoration of identified priority species.


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