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

  • IASbaba
  • November 23, 2016
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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Union HRD Minister inaugurates ‘Kala Utsav’ -2016

(Topic: Human Resource Development)

About-Union HRD Minister inaugurated ‘Kala Utsav’-2016 in New Delhi.

Kala Utsav helps to discover such a special talent inherent in children.

Kala Utsav-

  • Kala Utsav as initiative that preserves Art and Culture by rejuvenating and rediscovering different Art-forms and living traditions across the country.
  • This will not only provide platform for children but through Art and Culture will strengthen the cause of Nation Building.
  • Kala Utsav is structured as an art festival which has commenced from the district and state level in all the four art forms.
  • The four day long festival will witness an assembly of all state level winners who will compete with each other at the national level and who will be judged by distinguished artistes from the art fraternity.
  • Kala Utsav as a celebration of art and cultural diversity is a learning experience that is beyond classroom teaching.
  • This unity in diversity is an expression of strength of our nation.
  • Kala Utsav has been initiated as an annual art festival for the students of secondary and higher secondary levels by Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2015. Students of government schools from all across the country joined hands to manifest the splendor of India’s cultural diversity in its pioneering year itself.
  • Kala Utsav 2016 will include competitions in four art forms—Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts. The festival will conclude with felicitation ceremony of prize winners of Kala Utsav 2016 at the Siri Fort Auditorium on 18th
  • Handpicked forms of Indian indigenous art forms like Morullo Dance from Goa, Kutchi folk Dance from Gujarat, Bhawaiya from West Bengal, Dogri folk songs (Geetdu) from Jammu and Kashmir along with traditional theatre and visual art forms will be presented on this platform by the 37 participating teams (35 State teams and 1 team each from KVS and NVS).


  • It provides platform for students to interact across the different States/UTs of the country & provides an opportunity to understand each other’s values, ethos in such manner as enriches one’s personality.
  • Along with a competitive spirit, Kala Utsav also promotes a network art, artisans and students through the concept of online projects.


“Hunar Haat” Inaugurated at India International Trade Fair 2016

(Topic: Minority Affair)

About- Minister of State for Power and Coal (Independent Charge), the Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs, along with the Minister of State for External Affairs inaugurated “Hunar Haat”, which is being organised for the first time at India International Trade Fair (2016) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. About 184 master artisans from all corners of the country are showcasing their traditional art and skills at about 100 stalls in “Hunar Haat” at India International Trade Fair.

Importance- This exhibition is an outstanding display of traditional Indian art and handicrafts. Preserving the rich traditional and culture of our artisans is our duty.

Hunar Haat

  • Hunar Haat (Skill Haat) exhibition is aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international market for display and sell their products.
  • This is providing an excellent platform to artisans belonging to Minority communities from across the nation to display their art and skills before the domestic and international visitors.
  • Hunar Haat is an amazing gathering of artisans from every corner from 26 states and Union Territories of the country.
  • Special feature of this unique “Hunar Haat” is that besides providing free of cost stall to artisans/craftsmen, the Minority Affairs Ministry has also made arrangements for their transport and helping in their daily expenses. This has helped “poor but rich in art & skill” artisans to reach Delhi easily and display their arts/skills at the international platform.

The artefacts at display include-

  • Cane and bamboo work from North eastern states; cloth work and embroidery (chikan) work, brass artefacts, Jardoji clothes work of Uttar Pradesh
  • Collection of pottery work of Southern states; sandalwood and other wooden artefacts; handicrafts from Bihar-Jharkhand
  • Indigenous goods for domestic use from Bengal-Odisha and herbal products made from aloe vera, neem, tulsi etc.
  • Other arts/crafts like marble work from Rajasthan
  • Beautiful handicrafts from Gujarat; Pashmina and bronze work from Kashmir.
  • Besides, centuries old Ayurvedic, Unani health care; glass artefacts
  • Indian silk-cotton work are also a part of the exhibition. The artisans are also displaying live making of products before visitors.


  • The USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) of Ministry of Minority Affairs scheme aims at preserving & promoting the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities. These crafts have gradually lost their employability in the light of globalisation & competitive market.


Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for SC 

(Topic: Social justice and empowerment)

About- Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for SC

Objective of the Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for SC is to promote entrepreneurship amongst the Scheduled Castes, by providing Credit Enhancement Guarantee to Banks and Financial Institutions (FIs), who shall be providing financial assistance to these entrepreneurs.

Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for SC

  • Scheme was launched in May 2015, only 3 SC entrepreneurs whom Bank has given loan have been covered under the Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Schedule Castes and projects of 57 entrepreneurs have been approved under the Scheme of Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes (VCF-SC).
  • Government has initially allocated a corpus of Rs.200 crore for the Scheme, out of which the guarantee shall be extended to Banks & FIs. IFCI Ltd is the Nodal Agency under the Scheme, to issue the guarantee to the Banks & FIs.
  • Under the Scheme, Companies, Partnerships, Societies & Proprietorship firms belonging to Scheduled Castes are eligible for loans.

Deputy General Manager, National Schedule Caste Finance and Development Corporation is a Member of the Screening Committee, constituted for the scheme VCF-SC, that assesses the proposals in terms of prescribed eligibility criteria and preliminary appraisal parameters.

Qaumi Ekta Week 

(Topic: National Integration)

About- “Qaumi Ekta Week” (National Integration Week) will be observed all over the country, from 19th to 25th November, 2016.

Aim- To foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood, the

Week long programmes to be observed during Qaumi Ekta Week will be as under-

  • November 19 will be observed as National Integration Day and programmes like meetings, symposia and seminars will be organized to emphasize the themes of secularism, anti-communalism and non-violence.
  • November 20 will be observed as Welfare of Minorities Day and items of the 15 Point Programme are emphasized on this day.
  • November 21 will be observed as Linguistic Harmony Day. Programmes like Special literary functions and Kavi Sammelans will be organized to enable people of each region to appreciate the linguistic heritage of other parts of India.
  • November 22 will be observed as Weaker Sections Day and meetings and rallies will be organized to highlight programmes under various Governments which help SCs/STs and weaker sections with particular emphasis on the distribution of surplus land to landless labourers.
  • November 23 will be observed as Cultural Unity Day and cultural functions will be organized to present the Indian tradition of unity in diversity and for promoting cultural conservation and integration.
  • November 24 will be observed as Women’s Day. On this day, the importance of Women in Indian Society and their role in development of nation-building are highlighted.
  • November 25 will be observed as Conservation Day and several meetings and functions will be organized to emphasise the growing need for awareness and action to conserve the environment.


  • To highlight the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country, and nurture a spirit of communal harmony in its widest sense.
  • Provides an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.


  • National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), an autonomous organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, organises Communal Harmony Campaign coinciding with the Qaumi Ekta Week and observes the Communal Harmony Flag Day on 25th
  • Foundation promotes Communal Harmony and strengthens National Integration. It also provides financial assistance for relief and rehabilitation of children rendered orphan or destitute in communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence.


Cabinet approves Status-cum-Progress Report and constitution of “Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers” in compliance of judgment of Supreme Court

(Topic: Cabinet Decision)

About- Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has given its approval to the Status-cum-Progress Report and constitution of “Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers” in compliance of Supreme Court judgment in the matter of Writ Petition: Networking of Rivers along.

Help in-

  • Monitoring of the precious Inter-linking of River Projects to be carried out under National Perspective Plan 1980 of Government of India.
  • The Status-cum-Progress Report of Special Committee for Inter-linking of Rivers will be submitted bi-annually for information of Cabinet, which will facilitate faster and appropriate decisions in the interest of the country as expeditiously as possible.




Meeting of Consultative Committee of MPs for the Ministry Of Railways with the Agenda “Harnessing Green Energy For Railways” Held 

(Topic: Railway)

About- Minister of Railways presided over the meeting of the consultative committee of MPs for the Ministry of Railways. This was the 2nd meeting for the year 2016.


Agenda meeting was– “Harnessing green energy on the Railways”.

Indian Railways-

  • Indian Railways being a significant consumer of energy, identifying cost-effective options to achieve and realize an energy system with least environmental impacts is essential.
  • Vision 2020 document of the Indian Railways states that the key target is to utilize at least 10% of its energy requirement from renewable sources.
  • As a part of this, Indian Railways has planned to set up 1000 MW solar power plant and about 200 MW of wind power plants by 2020 across Zonal Railways & Productions Units.
  • First major feat was achieved in Harnessing Green Energy on Railways when a 10.5 MW capacity Wind Power plant was set up in 2009 by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai-a premier Production Unit of Indian Railways, making ICF the ‘First Green Production Unit’ of Indian Railways.
  • Next significant effort was setting up of 26 MegaWatt Solar Power Plant commissioned in 2016 at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan in North Western Railway (NWR).
  • As of now, Railway is already harnessing 50MW Green Energy from solar and wind power plants including harnessing solar energy at rooftop of stations and service buildings. This includes 500 KW each on Varanasi, Katra, Jaipur, Kolkata Metro and Secunderabad Railway Stations.

Steps taken in the field of solar energy in Railways

  • Its cost of production is gradually becoming less and but there are still issues of storage of solar energy.
  • Globally there are efforts going on for developing storage technologies and a breakthrough is likely to be achieved soon.
  • Using biodiesel by blending it in a small percentage with the diesel.
  • The other important activity which Railways has done is replacement of conventional light sources with LED light sources which is more energy efficient and more environmental friendly.
  • Producing energy through waste and biomass are other options which need to be looked into.
  • Railways has already done energy audit and working for more energy efficient system.
  • Indian Railways is taking many green initiatives like bio toilets, waste recycling, revival of water bodies, plantation along the tracks, etc and will continue to take such measures.


Important Initiatives of Railways for Research & Development 

(Topic: Railways)

About- Important Initiatives of Railways for Upgradation of Research and Development (R&D) capabilities to keep pace with world standards is a continuous process.

Important initiatives taken- 

  • Technology Mission for Indian Railways (TMIR) has been set up as a consortium of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Science & Technology and Industries, on an investment sharing model for taking up identified railway projects for applied research and use on Indian Railways.
  • Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), the Research & Development wing of Indian Railways, has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Railway Technical Research Institute, Japan for joint research co-operation.
  • Centres for Railway Research (CRR) has been sanctioned at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)/Kharagpur, Mumbai University, IIT/Roorkee, IIT/Chennai and IIT/Kanpur to carry out research work in various areas.


MoU with Ministry of Urban Development for Development of Railway Stations

(Topic: Railways)

About- An MOU has been entered into between Ministry of Railways (MOR) and Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) for integrated planning of railway stations in the cities included in the ‘SMART Cities’ and AMRUT scheme.

Benefit- This would lead to an integrated public transit hub around the railway stations and encourage Transit Oriented Development.

Steps taken-

  • Each Smart City has incorporated a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to execute the Smart City Plan. The SPV may form a joint venture company with an MOR-designated entity to implement railway station redevelopment projects in that city and in its suburbs.
  • Another form of joint venture could be between the MOR designated entity, the Smart City SPV and the National Building Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC), a Public Sector Undertaking under MOUD. Besides above two models, MOUD and MOR may decide jointly about any other mutually agreed model if considered necessary.
  • As these projects are complex in nature and require detailed techno-economic feasibility studies, no time frame has been presently set for completion of these projects.


Setting up of Industry Driven SRTMI 

(Topic: Industrial Development)

About- Ministry of Steel is facilitating an Industry driven institutional mechanism namely Steel Research & Technology Mission of India (SRTMI)

Aim- To facilitate joint collaborative research projects in the iron & steel sector in India.

Salient features of SRTMI are as under:

  • SRTMI is an industry driven initiative which has been setup as a Registered Society wherein Ministry of Steel is a facilitator.
  • SRTMI will be governed and administered by a Governing Body comprising the steel CEOs, Domain Experts and a representative of Ministry of Steel.
  • Executive functioning of SRTMI will be carried out by the Director, SRTMI, who will be assisted by a suitable/appropriate supporting structure.
  • Initial corpus for setting up of SRTMI is Rs. 200 crore of which 50% is to be provided by Ministry of Steel and the balance by the participating steel companies.
  • Thereafter, the centre will run on yearly contributions from the steel companies based on their turnover of the previous year.

The R&D investment of the leading steel companies in India in terms of percentage of their turnover ranges from 0.05 to 0.5% vis-à-vis upto 1% in leading steel companies internationally. Some of the steel companies have also formulated their R&D masterplans to increase their R&D expenditure to 1% of their turnover. SRTMI is likely to enhance the R&D investments in the industry to international levels.

Induction of DRDO developed Naval Systems into Indian Navy – A Curtain Raiser 

(Topic: Defence)

About- Four Naval Systems developed by DRDO will be handed over to the Indian Navy by the Defence Minister at a function.

Four Naval Systems include

  • ABHAY – Compact Hull Mounted SONAR for Shallow Water Crafts
  • HUMSA UG – Upgrade for the HUMSA SONAR System,
  • NACS – Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System,
  • AIDSS – Advanced Indigenous Distress SONAR System for submarines.

Systems designed and developed by-

  • The systems have been designed and developed by NPOL, a Kochi based premier laboratory of DRDO which has outstanding contributions and achievements in the design of SONAR systems for the Indian Navy to its credit.


  • ABHAY is an advanced Active-cum-Passive integrated SONAR system designed and developed for the smaller platforms such as shallow water crafts and coastal surveillance/patrol vessels.
  • Designed using the latest technology in hardware architecture and advanced signal processing algorithms, the SONAR is capable of detecting, localizing, classifying and tracking sub-surface and surface targets in both its active and passive modes of operation.
  • The prototype of this compact SONAR ABHAY installed onboard a nominated Naval platform has successfully completed all user evaluation trials to demonstrate the features as per the Naval Staff Qualification Requirements. Indian Navy has proposed to induct this SONAR on three of the ABHAY class ships.


  • Intensifying the command over the high seas is the HUMSA-UG that is designed for upgrading the existing HUMSA SONAR system of the Indian Naval platforms.
  • The hardware architecture is based on the state-of-the-art open architecture processor technologies that will enable smooth upgrade of the system capabilities. This system is proposed to be installed on seven ships of three different classes of ships.


  • NACS determines the in-situ performance of the SONAR systems which are used to find the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and reception characteristics of the SONAR.
  • It is also used to measure the magnitude and phase characteristics of the SONAR transmission and reception electronics and the transducers.
  • NACS has been integrated with the HUMSA-NG SONAR array and proved onboard naval platforms and this will be fitted on all frontline ships.


  • NPOL has also developed AIDSS, a distress SONAR that is an Emergency Sound Signaling Device which is used to indicate that a submarine is in distress and enable quick rescue and salvage.
  • It is a life-saving alarm system designed to transmit SONAR signals of a pre-designated frequency and pulse shape in an emergency situation from a submarine for long period, so as to attract the attention of Passive SONARS of Ships or Submarines in the vicinity and all types of standard rescue vessels in operation. It is also provided with a transponder capability.
  • With the induction of these four systems, the underwater surveillance capability of the Indian Navy will get a boost, besides providing a fillip to the quest for self-reliance in this critical area of technology.


Successful Maiden Flight of Rustom – II 

(Topic: Defence)

About- Heralding a new era in the indigenous development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), DRDO today successfully carried out the maiden flight of TAPAS 201 (RUSTOM – II), a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. The test flight took place from Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, 250 km from Bangalore which is a newly developed flight test range for the testing of UAVs and manned aircraft.

Flight accomplished the main objectives of proving the flying platform, such as take-off, bank, level flight and landing etc.


  • TAPAS 201, a multi-mission UAV is being developed to carry out the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles for the three Armed Forces with an endurance of 24 hours.
  • It is capable to carry different combinations of payloads like Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO), Long Range Electro Optic (LREO), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform missions during day and night.
  • TAPAS 201, the MALE UAV has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), the Bangalore-based premier lab of DRDO with HAL-BEL as the production partners.
  • The UAV weighing two tonnes was put into air by a dedicated team of young scientists of DRDO. It was piloted (external and internal) by the pilots from the Armed Forces.
  • It is also the first R&D prototype UAV which has undergone certification and qualification for the first flight from the Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

Development of UAV immensely contributes towards the Make-in-India initiative as many critical systems such as airframe, landing gear, and flight control and avionics sub-systems are being developed in India with the collaboration of private industries. Defence Electronics Application Laboratory (DEAL) of DRDO has developed the data link for the UAV. Rustom- II will undergo further trials for validating the design parameters, before going for User Validation Trials.

International Conference on Brucellosis 2016 

(Topic: Science and Technology)

About- Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences has called for villagers to be trained to handle animal diseases like Brucellosis on a cooperative basis.

Concern that Brucellosis is endemic in India and that it could spread to humans.

Launched programme of “Brucella Free Villages” for implementation on pilot scale in 50 villages covering 10 states

This programme will be supported by guidelines and standard operating practices along with an IT enabled application.


  • Brucellosis is a dreadful disease caused by the genus of the bacteria known as Brucella infecting various species of Brucella cows, buffalos, sheep, goats, deer, pigs, dogs and other animals as well as humans. The disease causes economic losses of about Rs. 28000.00 Crores.

Infection Spread-

  • Human become infected by coming in contact with animals or animal product like meat and milk contaminated with these bacteria.
  • Dairy man, veterinarians, butchers and other animal handlers are exposed to high risk of brucellosis infection.
  • In humans brucellosis can cause range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headache, back pain and physical weakness.
  • Severe infections of the central nervous system or lining of the heart may also occur. Quite often brucellosis is diagnosed after ruling out all other fevers such as those caused by malaria, typhoid, dengue etc. Therefore, the disease is under reported and many medical professionals are not even aware of the problem.


  • The International Brucellosis Conference 2016 shall provide a technical platform for scientist and experts from all over the world. Participants from 26 countries include USA, Belgium, Germany, Nigeria, Argentina, Spain, Turkey, Costa Rica, Norway, Nepal, Korea, Bangladesh, Armenia, Jordan, France, Iran, Mexico, Georgia, United Kingdom, Kenya, Thailand, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Sri Lanka.
  • The three days deliberations would address various issues on Brucellosis covering broad and interdisciplinary field of “One Health” concept revolving around Brucella Pathogenesis & Host-pathogen interaction; Human Brucellosis; Epidemiology and Control; Brucella research in India; Canine and Wildlife Brucellosis; Diagnostic methods; and Vaccines & Immunology.
  • The three day International Conference on Brucellosis, is being organized by the Department of Biotechnology in collaboration with Indian Council for Agriculture Research. The conference is result of DBT’s network programme on Brucellosis launched in 2012 to address this epidemiology and for development of new generation of vaccines and diagnostic kits.


Launch of online portal for facilitating trade between India and Iran 

(Topic: Commerce and industry)

About- An Online Portal for facilitating trade between India and Iran was launched by Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce in the presence of Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran, CMD, STC, and other Directors of STC.

Hind- Iran Portal-

  • Hind-Iran portal (hindirantrade.org) is a joint initiative of STC and Douman Queshm, Iran.
  • Objective of the trade portal is to disseminate information relevant to Indo-Iran Trade, and to provide an e-marketplace for the buyers and sellers of the two countries.

India and Iran-

  • Iran and India have enjoyed deep social, cultural, economic and political connections and relations that have enriched both countries.
  • The two countries have grown closer in the turbulent times at the peak of the economic sanctions against Iran, when it was India which emerged as a valuable trading partner of Iran.
  • The portal is aimed at bridging the communication divide which the business communities face, and which arevery interested in trading with each other.


Environment Minister attends Session on Impact of Climate Change in the Himalayan Ecosystem at COP 22 

(Topic: Environment)

“Himalayas must be seen as a single, living entity and not in separate parts. Only if Himalayas survive will Indian culture and civilisation survive”, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said at COP 22 in Marrakech. Addressing a session – “Impact of Climate Change on the Himalayan Ecosystem” held as a side-event at the India Pavilion in COP 22.

Expected outcomes from the session include

  • Key inputs for developing strategic plan for addressing issues of Climate Change impacts on the Himalayan ecosystem.
  • The side-event held at the India Pavilion was an attempt to highlight the emerging needs for evolving new models of conservation and sustainable development that help restoring intricate balance between economic interests and ecological imperatives in the region under changing climate scenario.


  • India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) recognizes the Himalayan ecosystem, vital for preserving ecological security of Indian sub-continent and underlines intense vulnerability of this ecosystem
  • The vulnerability of the Himalayan region is likely to worsen due to the impacts of climate change. Himalayan Glaciers represent nearly 29% of glaciers in Central Asia and 4.8% of glaciers and ice-caps in the world.


  • The Himalayas are among the most sensitive ecosystems to climate change and being affected at a faster rate than other terrestrial habitats.
  • Climate impacts form an important threat to mountain ecosystems.
  • Over 80% of the population is involved in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and other biodiversity dependent livelihood activities.
  • Nearly 70% of the population still relies for health care on medicinal plants.
  • Himalayas are nicknamed the “Water Tower of Asia”. IPCC estimate suggest that glaciers in Himalayas supply freshwater to 500 million people in Himalaya-Hindu-Kush region and to 250 million people in China.
  • The session was organized under the aegis of GB Pant Institute of Himalayan environment and development.


Proposal to develop new Sea Routes and Shipping Services

(Topic: Shipping)

About-Government proposes to develop new sea routes and shipping services connecting with various countries.

New Services reviewed and restructured-

  • These services are reviewed and restructured as per the viability study, giving due regard to the availability of cargo for a given port-pair at desired freight levels, transit time and other such considerations which impact the service schedule and profitability.
  • New sea routes are considered with a view to enhance regional connectivity from the strategic and trade perspectives, and also to enhance maritime cooperation with neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.

Following steps have been initiated by Government as part of various preventive/ mitigating security measures to deal with sea-piracy-

  • Guidelines for anti-piracy measures to be implemented on Indian Ships through issue of Merchant Shipping Notice by the Directorate General of Shipping for elaborate anti-piracy measures (Best Management Practices), including safe house/citadel for vessels.
  • Banning of sailing vessels to ply in waters south or west of the line joining Salala and Male through Merchant Shipping Notice
  • Naval escort provided by Indian naval ships in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
  • Enhanced vigil by the Indian Navy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EFZ) and westward upto 65 degree east longitude.
  • Active participation of India in the security meeting of the International Maritime Organization Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and other international fora.
  • Directorate General of Shipping has issued circulars from time to time, emphasizing action to be taken by Indian Merchant Ships, Shipping companies and other departments/ associations to deal with piracy and included Seafarers Piracy Awareness module/training program of 2 days duration to sensitize seafarers about piracy and guidelines provided in Best Management Practices (BMP) Version 4 issued by the International Shipping Industry.


Steps taken by AYUSH Ministry for prevention and management of Vector Borne Diseases

(Topic: Health and Family Welfare)

Context- In order to achieve objective of making public aware of the benefits of AYUSH system of medicines and increase its usage, the Ministry through its five Research Councils, namely, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy (CCRYN), Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines (CCRUM), Central Council for Research in Siddha (CCRS) and Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) have published advisories in national dailies for prevention and management of vector borne diseases like dengue and chickungunya during July- October, 2016

Guidelines for AYUSH practitioners were prepared and uploaded on the websites of the Research Councils. All the State Governments were also urged to bring the guidelines to the notice of the practitioners in their State.

Actions taken by the Government to combat vector borne diseases through AYUSH system of medicines are as follows: 

  • Development of AYUSH-PJ7 for dengue, AYUSH-SL for filarisis, and AYUSH 64 for malaria by CCRAS.
  • Treatment study for dengue in Delhi; preventive study for chikungunya; preventive, pre-clinical and treatment study for Japanese encephalitis and Malariaand multi-centric study for filarisis by CCRH;
  • Clinical studies on vector borne diseases namely, malaria, filariasis and kala-azar; validation of efficacy of unani formulations in such disease conditions.
  • Prospective case control study in dengue with Nilavembu kudineer; in vitro / in vivo evaluation of theraupic potential of various Siddha drugs on H1N1 infection/ chikungunya virus infection.


Revised Double Taxation Avoidance and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion (DTAA) Agreement signed today between India and Cyprus

(Topic: Taxation)

About- A revised Agreement between India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion (DTAA) with respect to taxes on income, along with its Protocol, was signed in Nicosia, which will replace the existing DTAA that was signed by two countries on 13th June 1994.

New DTAA provides for

  • Source based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares, instead of residence based taxation provided under the existing DTAA.
  • However, a grandfathering clause has been provided for investments made prior to 1st April, 2017, in respect of which capital gains would continue to be taxed in the country of which taxpayer is a resident.
  • New Agreement provides for Assistance between the two countries for collection of taxes.
  • The new Agreement also updates the provisions related to Exchange of Information to accepted international standards, which will enable exchange of banking information and allow the use of such information for purposes other than taxation with the prior approval of the Competent Authorities of the country providing the information.
  • The new Agreement expands the scope of ‘permanent establishment’ and reduces the tax rate on royalty in the country from which payments are made to 10% from the existing rate of 15%, in line with the tax rate under Indian tax laws.
  • It also updates the text of other provisions in accordance with the international standards and consistent policy of India in respect of tax treaties.
  • Provisions of new DTAA will enter into force after the completion of necessary internal procedures in both countries and is expected to come into effect in India in respect of income derived in fiscal years beginning on or after 1st April, 2017.


India and UK Sign three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (B- APAs) taking the total number of APAs signed [both- bilateral and unilateral] to 111 

(Topic: Taxation)

About- Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signed three (3) Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) taking the total number of APAs signed [both- bilateral and unilateral] so far to 111. These Agreements are a result of the understanding reached with the Competent Authority of United Kingdom (UK) some time ago.

Key Highlights-

  • Competent Authorities of India and UK had earlier exchanged mutual agreements amongst them under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) Article of the India-UK Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).
  • These three (3) Agreements cover international transactions in the nature of payment of intra-group service charges and pertain to the telecom industry. They also have a roll-back provision.
  • With this, India and UK have concluded 5 bilateral APAs and some more would be concluded in the near future. The total number of bilateral APAs concluded so far by the CBDT is 7.


  • The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) Programme was introduced by the Finance Act, 2012 with a view to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce the litigation in the Indian transfer pricing arena. An APA can be entered into for a maximum of 5 years at a time.
  • Since the notification of the APA scheme on 30.08.2012, a total of about 700 APA applications have been received during the first 4 years of the Programme (Financial Years 2012-13 to 2015-16), which indicates the wide acceptance of the APA programme by the taxpayers.
  • Rollback of APAs was announced in the Budget in July 2014 to provide certainty on the pricing of international transactions for 4 prior years (rollback years) preceding the first year from which APA is to be applicable.
  • The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.


Disposal of Bio-Medical Waste

(Topic: Waste Management)

About- Government of India (GoI) has notified the Bio-medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and these rules are further amended in the year 2000 and 2003.

During the last three years including the current year, complaints as and when received by Central Pollution Control Board are forwarded to the concerned State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees to examine the issues raised and to take necessary action in light of the provisions of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules.

 Bio-Medical Waste-

  • In supersession of the Bio-medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998, Government of India (GoI) has notified the revamped Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 which came into force from 28.03.2016.
  • According toRule 7 (i) Treatment and disposal, the health care facilities (HCFs) and common bio-medical waste treatment facility (CBWTF) shall treat and dispose the Bio-medical waste in accordance with Schedule-I, and in compliance with the standards provided in Schedule-II.
  • Apart from notification ofBio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 Government has taken various steps for ensuring proper treatment and disposal of bio-medical waste in the country, some of them are as follows-
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), requested all the State Pollution Control Board (SPCBs,) Pollution Control Committee (PCCs) and Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) for –
  • Constitution of ‘State Level Advisory Committee (SLAC)’ by the State Government or UT Administration in the respective State or UT and the activities initiated by the SLAC
  • Constitution of the ‘District Level Monitoring Committee (DLMC)’ by the State Government or UT Administration in the respective State/UT and the activities initiated by the State Level Advisory Committee (SLAC) and also totake necessary steps for ensuring effective implementation of the  Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 notified under the Environment (P) Act, 1986.

CPCB has also prepared the following guidelines relating to management of Bio-Medical Waste-

  • Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities (CBWTFs)
  • Design & Construction of Bio-Medical Waste incinerators.
  • Disposal of Bio-Medical Waste generated during Universal Immunization Programm
  • Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury Waste generated from the Health Care Facilities.


New Initiatives of 47th IFFI 

(Topic: Information broadcasting)

About- Government has taken a new initiative to create a Film Promotion Fund to promote Indian cinema in the International Film Festivals.

Initiative would help

  • Independent filmmakers to promote their work across the globe.
  • Government efforts to project India as a soft power and Filming Destination has been a win-win situation so far, in terms of attracting global stakeholders from various quarters of film industry to India as well as Indian films, expertise and talent being accepted globally at international festivals. Announcement to this effect was made at the curtain raiser Press Conference for IFFI 2016 in Delhi.

Film Promotion fund would provide-

  • Financial assistance to the films which would be selected in any competition section of an International Film Festival of repute or being India’s official nomination to the Academy Awards under Foreign Film Category for promotional activities.
  • Directorate of Film Festivals has been designated as the nodal agency for implementing this initiative based on the recommendations of a panel of experts constituted by the Government.


  • The 47th edition of IFFI would screen three films for specially-abled children with special audio described technology under the Accessible India Campaign/ Sugamaya Bharat Abhiyan. This screening would take place in collaboration with UNESCO and Saksham.
  • Inspired by the Government’s Clean India Drive, IFFI 2016 will showcase a special package of 20 award winning short films based on the Swachh Bharat theme.
  • These 20 films were short listed from 4,346 entries and awarded at the ‘Swachh Bharat Film Festival’ organized by National Film Development Corporation on 2nd October in New Delhi.
  • Another initiative is Centenary Award for Best Debut Feature of a Director.
  • IFFI would recognize young talent under this new competition section. This section would showcase some of the outstanding directorial debuts of 2016 from across the world of cinema. The winner would be honoured with a Silver Peacock and a cash price of rupees ten lakhs.
  • 2016 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT), Paris and UNESCO would also present the “ICFT- UNESCO Gandhi Medal” to a film, which reflects the ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence.
  • IFFI 2016 is introducing a new laser based phosphor wheel projector from Barco Electronics, used for the very first time in any film festival across the globe.


ITPO to Hold National Participation in ‘INTERMODA’ FAIR, MEXICO

(Topic: Commerce and industry)

About-India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) is holding India’s country level participation in IM INTERMODA-International Apparel & Textile Fair at Expo Guadalajara Exhibition Centre, Guadalajara (Mexico) from January 17 to 20, 2017.


  • ITPO aims to provide an excellent business opportunity in high potential Mexican markets which attract a large number of buyers from North America and Latin American regions.
  • To further strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation between India and Mexico, the participation in the fair assumes a special significance in the backdrop of Mexico visit of the PM of India in June 2016.Mexico is a strategically located Latin America country bound by the United States to the North and Belize and Guatemala to the South-East.

Participation offers-

  • Excellent opportunities for Indian companies to export apparel, textile, leather garments, fashion accessories blouses, skirts, evening wear, woollen shawls, tie & die items, made-ups, fashion jewellery, wooden block printed garments, terracotta items, etc.
  • The fair also brings together Mexican and international companies, manufacturers, importers and distributors. It is an ideal place to publicize brand image as well, and to analyze the competition, step up sales, launch new products, get to know the market trends and expand network of business contacts.

IM Intermoda-

  • IM Intermoda is the continent’s largest specialized exhibition that attracts more than 10,000 businessmen including top buyers, the world’s leading apparel, textile buyers of fashion wear manufacturers and service providers. Apart from Mexico, they are mainly from Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, India, USA, China, South Korea, Peru, Canada, Chile, etc.
  • It is one of the most qualified, important and specialized events in Latin America. The fair will be supplemented with a number of conferences on color, textures and fabric as well as fashion shows highlighting new trends and merchandising.
  • This will bring together Mexican and International companies, manufacturers, Importers, distributors.
  • It is the ideal place to publicize the Indian brand and step up sales, launch new products and expand company’s network of business contacts in the highly potential Latin American market.


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