BRICS Trade Fair
(Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests)
The 1st BRICS Trade Fair was organized in New Delhi
- To promote trade and investment opportunities amongst the participating BRICS nations i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
- BRICS Trade Fair was not a direct consumer fair allowing sales of merchandise, the immediate revenue earned by participating Indian Companies cannot be quantified. (Not required)
- India organised the 1st BRICS Trade Fair during its Presidency pursuant to the announcement made by Prime Minister of India during the BRICS Summit at Ufa, in 2015.
- The Presidency of BRICS will move to China in 2017 and they would need to take a decision on the organisation of the next BRICS Trade Fair.
Impact of WTO deliberations on services
(Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests)
Mini-Ministerial meeting of Trade Ministers was organized by Norway in Oslo.
Purpose— To discuss the way forward in the WTO, including possible issues for the Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December 2017.
- India highlighted the centrality of the development dimension of the Doha Round of trade negotiations in the WTO,
- The need to work on issues of special interest to developing countries and to prioritize the implementation of Ministerial Decisions adopted at the previous WTO Ministerial Conferences held in Bali and Nairobi.
- India stressed the importance of ensuring adequate policy space for developing countries in the negotiations
- Need for creating a level playing field for developing countries in agricultural trade by addressing inequities and distortions which are threatening the livelihood of millions of poor farmers across the world.
Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women
(Topic: Minority Affairs)
Scheme “Nai Roshni” for Leadership Development of Minority Women
Aim– to empower and instil confidence in women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, banks and intermediaries at all levels.
- The implementation of the scheme was started in 2012-13.
- It is implemented through Non -Governmental Organizations (NGOs) all over the country.
- The scheme provides one week training programmes followed by handholding for a period of one year.
- The scheme also permits a mix of women from non-minority communities not exceeding 25% of a project proposal to further strengthen the solidarity and unity in the society.
- The training is provided on various training modules covering issues relating to women viz. Leadership of Women through participation in decision making, Educational Programmes for women, Health and Hygiene, Legal rights of women, Financial Literacy, Digital Literacy, Swachch Bharat, Life Skills and Advocacy for Social and Behavioural change.
India becomes Associate Member of CERN, Geneva
(Topic: Science and Technology)
India and European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) signed an agreement today making India an Associate Member State of CERN.
- CERN is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory, where scientists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the Universe by using the most sophisticated scientific instruments and advanced computing systems.
- CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border.
- Presently CERN has 22 member states, four associate member states, and the observer status is given to four states and three International Organizations.
India and CERN
- The participation of Indian scientists dates back to early 1960s, which has become much stronger and closer for the last quarter of a century with the support of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- In 1991, DAE had signed a formal agreement with CERN, which continues till today.
- In 2003, India was awarded the Observer status of CERN, and subsequently invited to join CERN as an Associate Member.
- In 2015, the Indian Cabinet gave its approval following which the CERN Council has accepted India as an Associate member.
- India has made significant contributions to the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
- India is one of the leading partners in the ALICE experiment, which is on a quest to unearth the physics of quark-gluon plasma (QGP) and to get a glimpse of how matter behaved within a few microseconds after the birth of our Universe.
India’s contribution (can be sub title)
- The discovery of the Higgs Boson at the LHC is the most talked about scientific discovery in recent memory.
- Indian scientists have played a significant role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments, which is one of the two large experiments that have led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
- India has made major contributions in terms of designing, developing and deploying software for the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Grid (WLCG).
- It is worth mentioning that the grid Tier2 centers established at Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai have provided the pledged resources and are operating with 96% uptime, thereby facilitating running of computational jobs by various CERN collaborations.
- As an Associate Member of CERN, India will be a part of the huge scientific and technological endeavor.
- India has been putting efforts to design, develop and utilize various types of electron and proton accelerators for scientific, industrial and societal use.
Benefits of joining CERN
- Involvement of physicists, electronics hardware and software engineers will pave the path for overall knowledge development in the best possible way.
- Becoming Associate Member of CERN will enhance participation of young scientists and engineers in various CERN projects and bring back knowledge for deployment in the domestic programmes.
- It will also open opportunities for Indian industries to participate directly in the CERN project.
- Encourages large number of students to pursue their career in science.
India stood first in the world in the export of fisheries products
About- World Fisheries Day (Nov 21) organized by Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
Benefits of fish farming
- Increase in the farmers income
- There will be progress in the country’s export and GDP and
- It will ensure nutritional and food security in the country.
Facts and figures on Indian fishery
- For the year 2014-15, production of milk was Rs. 4.92 lakh crore which was more than 37% from paddy and wheat combined.
- For the year 2015-16, there was about Rs. 1 lakh crore value fisheries production within the country.
- In fish production, India is constantly at the second position after China.
- Fisheries are a big sector in the country and around 150 lakh people are engaged in fisheries business.
- India has first place in the world in the area of shrimp fish and it is the largest exporter of shrimp fish.
- “Blue Revolution; Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries”. This scheme includes in land fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries comprising of deep sea fishing, mariculture and all the activities of national fisheries development board (NFDB).
- Blue Revolution scheme is to increase the fish production and productivity by 8 per cent annual growth rate and to reach 15 million tones mark by 2020.
- Efforts are being made to bring a “National inland fisheries Policy” along with new “National Marine Fisheries Policy”, which will decide an overall and integrated growth frame work in the area of inland fisheries throughout the country.
- “Rashtriya Gokul Mission” for the breed improvement of indigenous cows and for cattle, goats and sheep higher breed development;
- National Livestock Mission
- To double the income of the farmers, government has laid emphasis on the development of the fisheries, fishermen and farmers by 2022 through aquaculture and marine fisheries.
- National Fisheries Action Plan 2020 (NFAP) for the next five years to increase fish production and productivity and to achieve the target of blue revolution.
New Energy Policy
About Key objectives
- Energy access at affordable prices
- Improved energy security and independence
- Greater sustainability and
- Economic growth.
Difference between Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) and New Energy Policy (NEP)
- Issue related to sharp decline of crude oil prices, change in solar energy technology, heightened concern of climate change issues, ambitious target of Renewable energy and rural electrification agenda adopted by the Government.
- All the Census villages are planned to be electrified by 2019,
- Universal electrification is to be achieved, with 24×7 electricity by 2022.
- Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) target at reduction of emissions intensity by 33%-35% by 2030,
- Achieving a 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022
- Share of non-fossil fuel based installed capacity in the electricity mix is aimed at above 40% by 2030.
Ban on imports of plastic items from China
(Topic: Environmental pollution)
Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Tranboundary Movement) Rules, 2016
- Plastic waste has been included in the Schedule-VI and the item is prohibited for import from all countries since then.
The Foreign Trade Policy (2015-2020)
- Provides safeguards against poor quality imports by providing for Domestic Laws applicable to domestically produced goods to be applicable, mutatis mutandis, to imports, unless specifically exempted.
- Wherever, there are domestic standards for goods, those standards are also applicable to imported goods.
- BIS standards, applicable to domestic goods, are also applicable to imported goods. For imported food and edible items, Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006 and Rules there under are also applicable.
To make India a Gas based economy
(Topic: Economic development)
- Natural gas is one of the cleanest and most environment friendly fuels having extremely low Carbon Dioxide emissions compared to other fuels like coal and oil.
- Fertilizer and Power Sectors are the major gas consumers in Indian gas market. They consume about 60% of total gas consumption at country level in FY 2015-16.
- In order to develop the gas consuming market, Government has implemented Fertilizer Gas Pooling Scheme which has encouraged the utilization of installed Fertilizer Units in the country.
The Government has taken the following steps to make India a gas based economy.
- Development of Gas Sources either through Domestic gas Exploration & Production activities or through building up facilities to import natural gas in the form of LNG,
- Development of Gas Pipeline Infrastructure.
- Development of gas consuming markets like Fertilizer, Power, Transport and Industries etc.
Impact of Air Pollution
(Topic: Environmental pollution and degradation)
WHO report-“Ambient Air Pollution: A global assessment of exposure and burden of disease”
Major steps taken by the Government to control pollution
- Notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
- Formulation of environmental regulations
- Setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality
- Introduction of cleaner / alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG etc.), ethanol blending
- Promotion of cleaner production processes
- Launching of National Air Quality index
- Universalization of BS-IV by 2017
- Leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards by 1st April, 2020
- Comprehensive amendments to various Waste Management Rules and notification of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules
- Banning of burning of leaves, biomass, municipal solid waste
- Promotion of public transport and network of metro, e-rickshaws, promotion of car-pooling, Pollution Under Control Certificate, lane discipline, vehicle maintenance
- Installation of on-line continuous (24×7) monitoring devices by major industries
- Collection of Environmental Protection Charge on more than 2000 CC diesel vehicles in Delhi
- Ban on bursting of sound emitting crackers between 10 PM to 6 AM etc
Sewage Sludge Research Project in Gujarat
(Topic: Waste Management)
About- Sewage Sludge generated at various sewage treatment plants in towns and cities produce highly infectious sewage sludge which could spread diseases.
Uses–it is a good source of carbon and other elemental nutrients useful for growth of plants.
- Statutory approvals given by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
- BARC has provided technical support for implementation of NISARGRUNA biogas plant at Gajarawadi, Vadodara for processing of carcass of dead animals in the premises of Vadodara Municipal Corporation.
Bilateral Agreements by ISRO
(Topic: Space technology)
About- Bilateral agreements with 39 foreign countries on peaceful uses of outer space viz. Afghanistan, 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, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Vietnam.
- Joint development of scientific instruments;
- Joint realization of satellite missions;
- Joint calibration and validation experiments;
- Development of advanced technologies for building and launching of spacecrafts for earth observation
- Space science exploration.
- Continuity of data and services for natural resources monitoring, all weather imaging, oceanography, disaster management support;
- Enhancing remote sensing capability with high resolution data;
- Augmentation of INSAT/GSAT capacity;
- Enhancing communication capability with high throughput satellites;
- Building indigenous capability for launching 4 ton class communication satellites;
- Building operational applications of indigenous navigation system NavIC.
Seismic Microzonation of 30 more Cities in the Country
(Topic: Disaster management)
Report on Seismic microzonation of National Capital Territory (NCT) Delhi and Kolkata in Februry, 2016.
Proposed by National Centre of Seismology.
- Soil liquefaction,
- Engineering bed rock,
- Depth of basement,
- Shear wave speed,
- Depth of ground water table,
- Peak ground acceleration, etc
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
- BIS has published several guidelines and building codes for construction of earthquake resistant structures and for retrofitting of existing buildings.
- These guidelines are widely used by various administrative regulatory authorities responsible for ensuring the design and construction of earthquake resistant structures in various states.
Measures Taken by the Government to mainstream AYUSH System of medicine
(Topic: Health and Family Welfare)
About-The National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy – 2002, envisages integration of AYUSH with the Health Care Delivery System.
Purpose – Mainstreaming of AYUSH is one of the strategies in National Health Mission (NHM) as well which seeks to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care in order to improve the existing health care delivery system.
Steps taken for accessibility and affordability of AYUSH system
- Under National AYUSH Mission (NAM), co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs), gives enabling choice to the patients for different systems of medicines under single window.
- The engagement of AYUSH Doctors / paramedics and their training is supported by the Department of Health & Family Welfare.
- NAM also provides financial assistance to States / UTs for cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so as to provide sustained supply of quality raw-materials at economical prices which in turn facilitate in making available affordable AYUSH Medicines to the public.
Northeast to be developed as ‘organic capital’ of India
About- Generate revenue through agriculture and trade, and also offer job avenues and entrepreneurship opportunities for young “Start-Ups”.
- Northeast Road Sector Development Scheme had been introduced for the upkeep and maintenance of inter-connecting roads between the States
- “Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis” at “Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management”, Shillong works in matters of policy research and formulation of the development issues of the region.
AirSewa Portal: One Stop Solution For Hassle Free Air Travel
(Topic: Infrastructure development)
About- To provide a hassle-free and comfortable air travel experience to people
Problems faced by passengers in airport
- Flight delays, problem in refunds, long queues and lack of proper facilities at airports and complaints of lost baggage
Uses of AirSewa Portal
- It will be operated through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app.
- The portal will include a mechanism for grievance redressal, backoffice operations for grievance handling, flight status/schedule information, airport Information and FAQs
- The users will have the facility to upload voice or video along with an elaborate description of their issues.
- They will be given a unique reference number for each of their reported grievances which would also be communicated through an email as well as an SMS.
- Users will have an option to check the flight status and schedule between any of airports.
- Flights can be searched on the basis of flight number or for all flights to a particular airport.
- Airport Information will display basic weather information and connecting flight details from the airport.
- Airport information will include basic details and contact information regarding airport services like wheel Chair, transport/parking, rest and relax, Wifi services etc.
(Topic: Agriculture and allied sectors)
Purpose- First time in the world under the scheme National Mission on Bovine Productivity ‘e-pashuhaat’ portal has been developed for connecting breeders and farmers regarding availability of bovine germplasm.
Current Scenario in India
- The bovine population in India is owned by 60m marginal, small and medium farmer households with an average herd size of 2-3 milch animals.
- The figures of high milk production are reflective of the large numbers of bovine population rather than that of high productivity and resource efficiency.
- Dairying activity is a major supplementary source of income for these farmers. However, the Indian Farm Management System is typically a Low Input, Low Output system with low productivity.
- Vision for doubling the farmers incomes by 2022, makes the adoption of the strategy to enhance the share of income from animal rearing imperative.
- Per capita availability of milk increased from 307 gram per day in 2013-14 to 340 grams per day in 2015-16.
Shortcomings in Animals Trade Market
- No authentic organized market
- Difficult to get quality- disease free high genetic merit germplasm.
- Misleading valuation due to lack of traceability and tracking.
- Other malpractices include Horns removed & Teeth filed to mislead for their age.
Aims and Objectives:
- E-Trading Market portal for livestock germplasm and additional related services.
- Will connect farmers with breeders – Central, State, Co-operative, Milk Federations, and private agencies.
- Real time authentic certified information on availability of germplasm
- Indigenous breeds besides being heat tolerant and resistant to diseases our indigenous breeds of cows are known to produce A2 type milk which protects us from various chronic health problems such as Cardio Vascular Diseases, Diabetes and neurological disorders besides providing several other health benefits.
- There is a need to market A2A2 milk separately in the country.
- Amount of Rs 2 crore each has been sanctioned to Odisha and Karnataka for marketing of A2A2 Milk of our indigenous breeds.
Targeted Outcomes For Farmers
- One stop portal for bovine breeders, sellers and buyers.
- Creating and Comparative Farm Network
- Making Farmers exchange local knowledge and resources
- Availability of disease free germplasm with known genetic merit.
- Minimizes the involvement of middlemen.
- Increase in farmers’ incomes.
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