About: The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha.
To establish a legal framework to consolidate the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues.
It also aims to replace archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.
The Bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends upto territorial waters.
Need for repealing five obsolete British statutes on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters, which are 126 to 177 years old.
The Bill provides for prioritization of maritime claims and maritime liens while providing protection to owners, charterers, operators, crew members and seafarers at the same time.
Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017
(Topic: Government Policies and Acts)
About— Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha was introduced to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI).
To facilitate and promote teaching, training and research in all disciplines relating to design and development of Footwear and leather products
To enable FDDI to emerge as Centre of Excellence meeting international standards.
FDDI was established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector.
Venture Capital Fund Scheme for SC Entrepreneurs
(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections)
About: Government has launched ‘Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes’ with a view to support Banks and Financial Institutions who will be providing financial assistance to SC entrepreneurs.
“Stand-up India Scheme” also promotes entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women.
The SC/ST Hub will provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs to effectively participate in public procurement policy.
National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) implements various credit based schemes for business ventures of SC beneficiaries.
Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017
(Topic: Government Schemes and Policies)
About: It was introduced in Lok Sabha.
The bill proposes a Single Standing Tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of existing multiple tribunals.
The SST will have one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson and not more than six other Members.
Chairperson term of office– 5years or 70 years, whichever is earlier.
Vice Chairperson and other members term of office– co-terminus with the adjudication of the water dispute.
Appointment of Assessors to provide technical support to the tribunal.
The total time period for adjudication of dispute has been fixed at maximum of four and half years. The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding with no requirement of publication in the official Gazette.
The bill proposes to introduce mechanism to resolve the dispute amicably by negotiations, through a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to be established by the Central Government before such dispute is referred to the tribunal.
Inter-state river water disputes are on the rise on account of increase in water demands by the States.
The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 which provides the legal framework to address such disputes, suffers from many drawbacks.
Under this Act, a separate Tribunal has to be established for each Inter State River Water Dispute.
Only three out of eight Tribunals have given awards accepted by the States, while Tribunals like Cauvery and Ravi Beas have been in existence for over 26 and 30 years respectively without any award.
Reasons of delays
No time limit for adjudication by a Tribunal
No upper age limit for the Chairman or the Members
Work getting stalled due to occurrence of any vacancy
No time limit for publishing the report of the Tribunal
Cabinet approves of MoU between India and Bangladesh on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs)
(Topic: International Relations)
About: Cabinet approved signing of MoU on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) between the Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL), Ministry of Shipping, Government of India and the Department of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh.
The MoU envisages
To extend advice on lighthouses and beacons;
To extend advice on Vessel Traffic Service and chain of Automatic Identification System (AIS); and
To impart training as per International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) training module to AtoN Managers and Technicians for Bangladesh.
It aims to help in greater cooperation in capacity building in the field of AtoN training in the South Asian region. This will give a boost to imparting training on the management of marine aids to navigation based on IALA Model Course E-141/1
As per International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO’s) requirement, authorities in various countries, provide appropriate Aids to Navigation in their waters as per international recommendations and guidelines.
Marine aids to navigation such as lighthouses, beacons, DGPS, navigational and mooring buoys are operated to enhance the safe and efficient navigation of vessels and/or vessel traffic.
Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships establishes and maintains Aids to Navigation in India, for safe navigation in Indian waters.
It is an international body coordinating and harmonizing the use of all Aids to Navigation.
India represented through DGLL, is a member of IALA Council.
Health Insurance for all
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: WHO: Out of Pocket expenditure as percentage of total expenditure on health in India was 62% in 2014. India ranked 182 out of 192 countries in terms of Out of Pocket expenditure as percentage of total health expenditure. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is implementing
Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a centrally sponsored health insurance scheme which covers BPL families (a unit of five) and 11 other defined categories- Building & Other Construction Workers, licensed Railway porters, Street Vendors, MGNREGA workers (who have worked for more than fifteen days during preceding financial year), Beedi workers, Domestic workers, Sanitation Workers, Mine Workers, Rickshaw pullers, Rag pickers and Auto/Taxi drivers
They are entitled for cashless health insurance coverage of Rs.30,000/- per annum per family.
Senior Citizen’s Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS) for Senior Citizens of age 60 years and above, belonging to above said categories has also been implemented from 2016.
The health coverage is upto Rs. 30,000/- per annum per senior citizen for treatment packages, over and above RSBY entitlement.
Decline in Healthcare Expenditure
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: Economic Survey 2016-17- expenditure by Government (Central and State Governments combined) on health as percentage of GDP for last three years and current year is as under:
2013-14 – 1.2 %
2014-15 – 1.1%
2015-16 – 1.3% (RE)
2016-17 – 1.4 % (BE)
The Draft National Health Policy 2015 envisages raising public health expenditure progressively to 2.5% of the GDP.
Public health and hospitals is a state subject. However under NHM, Government provides technical and financial support to states to strengthen their healthcare system.
National Health Mission (NHM) implementation framework seeks to achieve health goals through
Strengthening state health systems
Facility based service delivery
Expanding the outreach services
Benchmarking of Indian Institutions
About: The global ranking systems give weightage to the parameters such as percentage of the international students and foreign faculty, and perception – where Indian institutions do not fare as well.
In order to measure the excellence keeping in view the diversity of India, the National Institutional Ranking Framework has been introduced.
Objectively measures parameters such as Teaching Learning Resources, Research productivity/impact, Graduation outcomes, Outreach and inclusivity and perception.
Nine institutions from India have been figuring in the top 500 ranks in the World Best University rankings. IIT Madras has improved its global ranking in 2016 while others had lower rank compared to 2015.
Government is taking several measures to improve the ranking of the Indian institutions by
Promoting research through initiatives like the IMPRINT India, Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) and Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN)
Providing opportunity to do better through e-shodh Sindhu, National Digital Library and SWAYAM.
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: The international conference on the VISION ZERO and its relevance to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is being organised.
The conference aims to focus on the Occupational Safety and Health issues and challenges in the Manufacturing, Construction and Mining sector.
The conference is expected to introduce the fast emerging internationally accepted concept of ‘Vision Zero’ in India thereby leveraging the efforts of the Government of India to raise the occupational safety and health standards in the country.
Target to Lower the Road Accidents
(Topic: Infrastructure Development)
About: United Nations had promulgated the UN Decade of Action targeting to reduce road accidents by 50% by the year 2020. All member countries of the UN including India are committed to this Mission.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken a number of steps to prevent road accidents such as:
Approval of National Road Safety Policy. This Policy outlines various policy measures such as promoting awareness, encouraging safer road infrastructure
Constitution of National Road Safety Council as the apex body to take policy decisions in matters of road safety. Similar councils at state and district levels.
Multipronged strategy- on road safety based on 4 ‘E’s viz. Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles), Enforcement and Emergency Care.
Road safety has been made an integral part of road design at planning stage.
Road Safety Audit of selected stretches of National Highways has been taken up.
Setting up of model driving training institutes in States and refresher training to drivers of Heavy Motor Vehicle in the unorganized sector.
Jal Marg Vikas Project
(Topic: Infrastructure Development)
About: The Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on NW-1 is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank.
The Project entails development of fairway with 3 meters depth between Varanasi and Haldia (Phase-I) covering a distance of 1380 km
Projects worth Rs.1871.56 crore for development of National Waterways have been implemented till March 2016 from the inception of IWAI in October, 1986. National Waterway-1 (NW-1), NW-2 & NW-3 have been developed for shipping and navigation during this period.
Extra Mural Research Scheme
(Topic: Issues related to Health)
About: The Department of AYUSH has introduced a Scheme for Extra-Mural Research in addition to the intra-mural research taken by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare three decades ago.
Objective of EMS
To support Research and development in Extra Mural mode (outside the establishment) for treatment of prioritized diseases.
To Standardize/validate and develop scientific evidence for safety, efficacy and quality of AYUSH drugs & therapies.
To make scientific exploration of AYUSH system with interdisciplinary approaches.
To achieve need based outcome in a priority areas.
To develop the potential of Human Resource in AYUSH system specially to inculcate aptitude and expertise to AYUSH systems.
The Ministry of AYUSH, under its Extra Mural Research Scheme, has approved a project, namely “Potential anti-oxidant effect of selected Ayurvedic herbs in Parkinson and Alzheimer disease.
The EMR scheme has grown in popularity among the scientific community of the country. During last two years, 400 projects (approx.) have been received in the Ministry of AYUSH.
The scheme has attracted the best scientists from reputed organizations, viz. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) etc.
National Health Mission
(Topic: Issues related to Health)
About: The National Health Mission (NHM) aims for attainment of universal access to equitable, affordable and quality health care services, accountable and responsive to people’s needs, with effective inter-sectoral convergent action to address the wider social determinants of health.
Health Systems Strengthening including infrastructure, human resource, drugs & equipment, ambulances, ASHAs etc
Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Services (RMNCH + A)
Communicable Disease Control Programmes
Non-Communicable Diseases Control Programme interventions upto District Hospital level
Infrastructure Maintenance– to support salary of ANMs and LHVs etc
The NHM has been successful in accelerating the decline of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Total Fertility Rate (TFR). It has also achieved many of the disease control targets.
(Topic: Economic Development)
About: A Blue revolution is on cards as the government has come up with a programme to enable holistic development and management of fisheries. Called Mission Fingerling, the target is to “enhance fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21.
Fish Fingerling production is the single-most important critical input visualised to achieve fish production targets under the Blue Revolution.
The Department has identified 20 States based on their potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Seed infrastructure in the country. This program with a total expenditure of about Rs 52,000 lakh will facilitate the establishment of hatcheries and Fingerling rearing pond to ensure the fish production of 426 crores fish fingerling, 25.50 crore post-larvae of shrimp and crab in the country.
This will converge in the production of 20 lakh tonnes of fish annually and will benefit about four million families.
The implementation of this program will supplement the requirement of stocking materials in the country up to a large extent, which is a much needed input to achieve the enhanced fish production.
Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Protsahan Puraskar (2016)
About: Year 2016 is the birth centenary year of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay, pioneer of Antyodaya. “Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Protsahan Puraskar” has been launched on this occasion by Government of India. This year’s award goes to Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi
India’s premier national Institute for agricultural research, education and extension.
financed and administered by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The IARI was responsible for the research leading to the “Green Revolution in India” of the 1970s.
The institute was originally established in 1905 at Pusa, Bihar, as Agricultural Research Institute (ARI). However the institute was damaged during the devastating Bihar earthquake of 1934.
Krishi Unnati Mela 2017
About: Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) every year has been organising Krishi Vigyan Mela(Agriculture Science Fair) to display and popularise the latest advancement in agricultural research and technology development among farmers and end users since 1972.
It continues to be a highly important annual event for receiving feedback from the farming community, which helps in deciding the Institute’s future research strategy. Thousands of farmers and visitors from across the country are participating in the mela every year.
Attractions of the Mela
Digitization in agriculture
Skill building and entrepreneurship development
Live demonstrations on production technologies of crops, horticulture, Integrated Farming System, Protected cultivation
Farmers’ visits to experimental fields of IARI
Water use efficient technology: micro irrigation and sensor based irrigation system
Recycling of waste water for agriculture
Display and sale of various products (farm equipments, quality planting materials, bio-fertilisers, agro-chemicals, innovative farmers’ products) and machinery
On-spot Soil and water testing
Kisan Gosthi Recognition of Innovative farmer
Madhukar Gupta Committee Report
(Topic: Security issues)
About: The Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Madhukar Gupta, has submitted its report to the Government to strengthen border protection and address vulnerabilities in fencing along the Indo-Pakistan border.
The Committee has given its recommendations broadly on the issues of Threats and Border Protection, assessment of force level, deployment on the border, infrastructure and technology issues for protection of border and administrative issues. It has been decided to initiate action in light of the recommendations of the Committee in consultation with the stakeholders.
Strengthening Disaster Management
(Topic: Disaster Management)
About: National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) defines the roles and responsibilities of various stake holders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, UT Administrations, District Authorities and local self-Governments. NDMP enjoins all stakeholders to develop detailed plans in accordance with roles and responsibilities. Implementation of the plan is a continuous process.
Management efforts by the NDMA are as under
(a)National Disaster Management Services (NDMS) :
National Disaster Management Services (NDMS) was conceived by NDMA during the Financial Year 2015-16 for setting up of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Network connecting MHA, NDMA, NDRF, 36 State/ UT HQrs and 81 vulnerable districts (total 120 locations).
The project is under implementation through BSNL.
The scope of the Pilot Project is to provide the failsafe communication infrastructure and technical support for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) operations across the country, as stated above.
The NDMS Pilot Project envisages holding of workshops & imparting of training for the Capacity Building of disaster managers on usage of Communication equipments covered in the project.
(b)Earthquake Disaster Risk Indexing (EDRI):
NDMA has taken an initiative on Earthquake Disaster Risk Indexing (EDRI) for 50 important cities and 1 District in Seismic Zone IV & V areas.
NDMA through Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) has prepared Upgraded Earthquake Hazard Maps and Atlases for the country upto district level with sub-district boundary showing major faults, earthquake zones, epicenter of past earthquakes of magnitude of 5 and above indicating State boundary, district boundary, and district names.
The BMTPC has executed the project in close collaboration with the inputs from various institutions/organizations and NDMA.
(c)Geographical Information System (GIS):
The Project envisages procurement of software and hardware, engagement of manpower, creation of data Inventory related to disaster management, integration of various other database system, development of Android Application for the responders, creation of applications and customization tools for better assessment of disaster scenario and creation of Decision Support System for the responders and decision makers etc.
Uses of Maps and Atlases:
Land Use Zoning and better habitat planning
Useful for leaders and policy makers, engineers, architects, disaster management professionals etc.
Formulation of Public & Financial Policies dealing with DM and Emergency Planning
An aid for setting up techno-legal framework.
Useful for Insurance Agencies
At the sub-district level shall be useful in preparing DPRs to be taken up under the Smart Cities Projects and various projects under the Housing for All (Urban) Mission of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana etc.
The concerned authorities may identify the districts requiring priority action in future planning, formulating integrated mitigating policies covering awareness, education and training, preventive and preparedness measures, improvement in warning systems.
(Topic: Economic Development)
About— Andhra Pradesh has the highest amount of uranium reserves in the country. It has established 1,22,691 tonne in situ U3O8 (1,04,042 tonne U). They are found in districts of Kadapa and Guntur.
1t U3O8 = 0.848 t uranium metal (U)
Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL), a Public Sector Unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has already constructed an underground mine at Tummalapalle, Kadapa with potential to mine 3000 tonnes of ore per day.
Launch of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)
(Topic: Economic Development)
About: The Scheme is focussed on addressing the needs of the exporters. The focus is not just to create infrastructure but to make sure it is professionally run and sustained. There will be an Empowered Committee to periodically review the progress of the approved projects in the Scheme and will take necessary steps to ensure achievement of the objectives of the Scheme.
Objective: to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export-oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures.
Eligible for financial support– Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy
After delinking of the ASIDE Scheme in 2015, the State Governments have been consistently requesting the support of the Centre in creation of export infrastructure.
This support is imperative to act as an inducement to the States to channelize funds from their increased devolution towards creation of export infrastructure.
Export of Silk and Silk Products
About: The exports of silk and silk products have been declining in past three years.
Some of the issues affecting silk exports are:
Decreased demand from major consuming markets (Europe & USA)
Rising prices of raw silk yarn/fabrics
Increased competition from blended silk products (silk blends with synthetic and polyester fabrics)
Silk not being major focus of current fashion trends in European and USA market
Lack of on-shore availability of high quality silk and dependence on China for high end raw silk/fabric
However, while exports have reduced to traditional markets like USA, Europe, silk exports are picking up in new/non-traditional markets like UAE, Malaysia, Sudan, Nigeria, etc.
The quality of silk produced in India requires improvement, for making high fashion garments for export.
India depends on import of high-grade bivoltine raw silk (4A & above quality) and fabric from China. At present, India has reached the level of production of 3A grade silk
Under the present Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) providing rewards to majority of textile products including silk products under Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) under which
Majority of the silk products have been covered with 2% Duty Scrip,
Introducing Silk Mark label for 100% pure silk products for protecting the interests of consumers
Participation of Indian Silk Export Promotion Council (ISEPC) along with silk exporters in different international expos.
Promoting the Use of Organic Manure
About: Government is promoting the use of Organic manures under the scheme Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
The Government is promoting the use of organic inputs in the country, through assistance as under:
Financial assistance is provided under the component Integrated Manure Management of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) for Phosphate Rich Organic Manure (PROM) for procuring and application of PROM to soil to meet phosphorus/Zinc deficiency in soil.
Financial Assistance is provided for vermi-compost.
Promotion of Organic Inputs under Organic & INM Components of Soil Health Management, assistance is provided for Vermi-compost, Bio-fertilizers (Liquid / solid), Waste compost, Herbal extracts etc.
The Government of India is providing a Market Development Assistance to Fertilizer Companies for sale of City Compost.
The organic fertilizers presently available may supplement (N,P) by nearly 20-25%.
Biofertilizers when applied along with compost @ 5t/ha or vermicompost @ 2t/ha, fertilizer saving is almost 50%.
The advantages of these organic fertilizers are that they are eco-friendly and not only provide nutrients for maintaining soil fertility but also improve soil physical & biological health.
Government is promoting judicious use of chemical fertilizers in conjunction with organic manures and biofertilizers to maintain soil health and productivity.