About: Nava Nalanda Mahavihara is near Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar. Nalanda Mahavihara is a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO.
Event in news: International Buddhist Conference.
Objective: To deliberate on Buddhist perspective towards addressing or approaching issues such as ecological sustainability, social and economic justice, ethics and values, a holistic approach to education, inter-religious harmony and cooperation, gender equality etc.
Mahavira- Buddhist Monastry.
- Indian Buddhist scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian logic (hetu vidy?).
- Dign?ga’s work laid the groundwork for the development of deductive logic in India and created the first system of Buddhist logic and epistemology (Pramana)
- Dign?ga’s thought influenced later Buddhist philosophers like Dharmakirti and also Hindu thinkers of the Nyaya school.
- Dign?ga’s epistemology accepted only “perception” (pratyaksa) and “inference” (anum??a) are valid instruments of knowledge.
- Influential Indian Buddhist philosopher who worked at N?land?.
- He was one of the key scholars of epistemology (pramana) in Buddhist philosophy, and is associated with the Yogacara and Sautrantika schools.
- His works influenced the scholars of Mimamsa, Nyaya and Shaivism schools of Hindu philosophy as well as scholars of Jainism.
- Dharmak?rti’s Pram??av?rttika, his largest and most important work
- a Buddhist scholar at Nalanda Mahavihara
- He was a disciple of Nagarjuna and a commentator on his works and those of his main disciple, Aryadeva.
- Chandrakirti’s works include the Prasannapad?—Sanskrit for “clear words”—a commentary on N?g?rjuna’s M?lamadhyamakak?rik? and the Madhyamak?vat?ra
- Buddhap?lita was a commentator on the works of Nagarjuna and Aryadeva.
- His works were mildly criticised by his contemporary Bh?viveka, and then he was vigorously defended by the later Chandrak?rti
- Buddhap?lita is said to have been the founder of the Prasa?gika Madhyamaka School. (Prasangika- asserts that all concrete and mental phenomena, although existing conventionally, are empty of any type of inherent identity or self-characterizing essence.)
Inclusion of sites under PRASAD Scheme
About: Identification of new sites for development under PRASAD scheme is a continuous process subject to availability of resources and adherence to scheme guidelines.
PRASAD Scheme was launched in 2014-15 and 12 sites identified
- Ajmer (Rajasthan)
- Amritsar (Punjab)
- Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh)
- Dwarka (Gujarat)
- Gaya (Bihar)
- Kedarnath (Uttarakhand)
- Kamakhya (Assam)
- Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)
- Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)
- Puri (Odisha)
- Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
- Vellankani (Tamil Nadu)
In 2015-16, Patna (Bihar) was added
In 2016-17, 12 more sites added
- Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh)
- Badrinath (Uttarakhand)
- Belur (West Bengal)
- Deoghar (Jharkhand)
- Guruvayur (Kerala)
- Hazratbal and Katra (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh)
- Somnath (Gujarat)
- Srisailam and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
- Trimbakeshwar (Maharashtra)
Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti
About: Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is the chieftain and founder of the Chishtiyya silsila (Chishti Order of Sufism), one of the four great orders that radiate throughout the world. Khwaja Gharibun-Nawaaz is one of the most respected and universally recognised figures in Sufism and Islam. The Chishti Order was founded by Abu Ishaq Shami (“the Syrian”) in Chisht some 95 miles east of Herat, Afghanistan. Moinuddin Chishti established the order in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
- They lay stress on renunciation of material goods
- Strict regime of self-discipline and personal prayer
- Participation in sam?’ as a legitimate means to spiritual transformation
- Reliance on either cultivation or unsolicited offerings as means of basic subsistence etc.
- Chisti stands tall as a great spiritual leader; a reformer and purifier of hearts at the most turbulent of times.
- It was during the reign of Akbar that Ajmer emerged as one of the most important centers of pilgrimage in India.
- The Urs festival is an annual festival held at Ajmer which commemorates the death anniversary of Chisti.
- The sixth day of the Urs is regarded as the most special and auspicious. It is called “Chhati Sharif”
“Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi” medical services
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has launched the “Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi” medical services for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi/Noida on a pilot basis from November 2016.
- Under this scheme, Insured Persons (IPs) and their families may seek primary medical care services including consultation and medicines, for common/routine ailments from any of the ESI dispensary in Delhi/Noida.
- ESI Corporation intends to extend such medical services in other parts of the country depending on the outcome of above pilot project.
National Dental and Oral Health Information IVR Portal, toll free number
(Topic: Issues related to health)
- Launch of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material along with the National Dental and Oral Health Information IVR portal.
- Raising awareness about dental health is a need of the hour.
- These information initiatives will go a long way in encouraging people to adopt positive and healthy habits.
- World Oral Health Day- 20th March
Importance of Oral Health
- Oral diseases are becoming the leading health problems and attributed mainly to rapidly changing lifestyles,
- Wide-spread use of tobacco and increased consumption of alcohol.
- Due to prevalence and incidence, oral diseases pose a major threat to public health.
- Integrating the oral health programme with other programmes so that adequate steps can be taken to mitigate and minimise the conditions arising from poor health.
Filaria Control Programmes
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: National Filaria Control Programme (NFCP), Launched in 1955 has operational, training and research components. The strategies include
- Vector Control
- Detection and treatment of filarial cases
- Delimitation of endemic areas
The programme has been integrated as ‘Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (ELF) Programme’ under the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP).
National Health Policy (2002) has laid down the goal for elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis by 2015, which has now been revised to 2017, though global goal is 2020.
- Annual Mass Drug Administration (MDA) of single dose of DEC (Diethylcarbamazine citrate) and Albendazole for 5 years or more to the eligible population (except pregnant women, children below 2 years of age and seriously ill persons) to interrupt transmission of the disease.
- Home based management of lymphoedema cases and up-scaling of hydrocele operations in identified Community Health Centres (CHCs)/ District hospitals /medical colleges.
Strict compliance of ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’ and ‘The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971’
(Topic: Government Acts and Policies)
About— Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an Advisory that directs that mass awareness programmes be carried out for strict compliance of the provisions contained in the ‘Flag Code of India. 2002’ and ‘The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971’.
In news: Amazon came under fire for selling tricolour doormats on its Canada site.
In 2016, MHA issued a directive to central government departments and state governments that only flags made of paper were to be used by the public.
Flags made of paper only are to be used by public in terms of the provisions of the ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’ and such paper Flags are not discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. Such Flags are to be disposed of, in private, consistent with the dignity of the Flag.
It was brought to notice of MHA that National Flags made of plastic are also being used in place of paper Flags. But since they are not biodegradable like paper flag, these do not get decomposed for a long time and thus dishonour the Flags under Flag Code. Hence, paper flags are to be used.
The advisory also says that any show of disrespect to the flag would invite a jail term of “up to three years, a fine, or both” under Section 2 of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
Flag Code of India
- The Flag Code of India is a set of laws, practices and conventions that apply to the display of the national flag.
- It is divided into three parts:-
- First Part: General Description of the National Flag.
- Second Part: Display of the National Flag by members of public, private Organizations & educational institutions etc.
- Third Part: Display of National Flag by Central or State Governments and their organizations and agencies.
Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971
- The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of India which prohibits desecration of or insult to the country’s national symbols, including the National Flag, The Constitution, Indian map and the National Anthem.
- Significant amendments were added in 2003 and 2005, which prohibited many previously common uses of the flag, such as draping it over a podium during a speech, using it as decoration, or incorporating it into clothing designs.
Education in Mother Tongue in Tribal Areas
- MHRD through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) recognises the intra-regional, inter-state disparities.
- It is supporting States/UTs to improve the infrastructure of schools in tribal areas.
- A crucial step in this direction is the identification of Special Focus Districts (SFDs), one of the criteria for identification is the concentration of Scheduled Tribe (ST) population.
- 109 districts have been identified as ST concentration districts.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs administers a programme under Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
- Under this programme, grants are provided to 27 states for setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) for quality education of ST students of Class VI to Class XII.
- Funds are also released for infrastructural purpose under Article 275(1) of the Constitution and Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan.
Education and mother tongue
- Section 29(2) (f) of RTE Act 2009, “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child’s mother tongue”.
- National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005 emphasizes the importance of imparting primary education in the mother tongue of the child.
- However, as education is in concurrent list, States have the liberty to decide the medium of instruction in schools.
- The NCF clearly states that the Three-Language Formula is an attempt to address the challenges and opportunities of the linguistic situation in India.
- As per the “Three Language Formula” the first language to be studied must be the mother tongue or the regional language.
Centralised Digital Online Platform VAHAN and SARATHI to Curb Corruption
(Topic: Infrastructure Development)
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has introduced online based citizen centric application VAHAN 4.0 and SARATHI 4.0 under digitization
- The aim is to ease out the processes and curb corruption.
- Provisions regarding issue of learner’s licence and driving licence are contained in Chapter II of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988(MV Act) and Chapter II of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989(CMVRs).
- MV Act and CMVRs are under state government
- 85 Road Transport offices under VAHAN4.0 and 235 Road Transport offices under SARATHI 4.0 have been brought to the centralised platform
Gender Budgeting for Transgenders
(Topic: Social Justice)
About: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has introduced a Bill titled “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016” in the Lok Sabha in 2016.
The Bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice & Empowerment for examination.
- Registrar General of India (RGI): in Census 2011, for the first time three codes were provided i.e. Male-1, Female –2 and others -3.
- This was at the discretion of the respondent.
- In case the respondent wished to record neither ‘1’ nor ‘2’, then enumerator was instructed to record sex as ‘other’ and give code ‘3’.
- it is important to note that the Census on India does not collect any data specifically on ‘transgender’.
- Thus, the category of ‘other’ would not only include ‘transgender’ but also any person who desires to record sex under the category of ‘other’.
- It is also possible that some transgenders would have returned themselves either male or female depending upon their choice.
- The population of ‘other’ as per Census 2011 is 4,87,803.
Depression in India
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: WHO Report– “Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders – Global Health Estimates”- 2017- the estimated prevalence of depressive disorders in India is 4.5% of the total population. Central Government conducted National Mental Health Survey in 12 states of India. As per the survey, the prevalence of depressive disorders in India is estimated to be 2.7% of the total population.
National Mental Health Programme
- To address the burden of mental disorders, the Government of India is implementing (NMHP) since 1982.
- The Government is supporting implementation of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) under NMHP in 339 districts
- There are 21 Centres of Excellence in Mental Health and strengthening/ establishment of 39 Post Graduate training departments in mental health specialties..
- The DMHP has been restructured to include additional components like suicide prevention services, work place stress management, life skills training and counselling in schools and colleges.
Four Sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams to mitigate Cyber Security Threats in Power Systems
(Topic: Science and Technology)
About: GoI with National Cyber Security Policy 2013, has created sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).
Objective: To mitigate cyber security threats in power systems.
For cyber security in power systems, four Sectoral CERTs
- CERT (Transmission)
- CERT (Thermal)
- CERT (Hydro)
- CERT (Distribution)
The relevant stakeholders of Smart Grid have been advised to identify critical infrastructure and use end to end encryption for data security.
All utilities have been asked to identify a nodal senior executive as its Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to lead the process of strengthening organizational systems with respect to cyber security and implement an Information Security Management System as recommended by rules framed under the Information Technology (IT) Act 2008
Cabinet approves four GST Bills
(Topic: Indian Economic Policies)
About— Four new GST Bills are___
- The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill)
- The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill)
- The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill)
- The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)
Importance of the Bills
- The CGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services for both by the Central Government.
- IGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Central Government.
- UTGST Bill makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature.
- Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST) which shall be levied and collected by the States/Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.
- Compensation Bill provides for compensation to the states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax for a period of five years as per section 18 of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.
BS-IV Norms For Vehicles
About— In 2015, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways announced that mass emission standards for Bharat Stage IV shall come in to force all over the country in respect of four wheeled vehicles manufactured on or after the 1st April, 2017.
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has reported that only BS- IV vehicles should be registered from 1st April 2017 as told by EPCA.
SIAM had clarified that they will not manufacture any BS- III vehicles from 1st April 2017.
- Bharat stage emission standards’ are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The Bharat Stage norms are based on European regulations.
- The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change.
- The BS IV norms were introduced in 13 cities apart from the National Capital Region from April 2010. Currently, BS IV fuel is being made available across the country in stages, with the entire nation expected to be covered by April1 2017.
- Implementation of the BS V standard was earlier scheduled for 2019. This has now been skipped. BS VI, originally proposed to come in by 2024 has been now advanced to 2020, instead.
- Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
- While BS IV-compliant fuel currently in use has 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, BS VI stipulates a low 10 ppm.
- Besides, under BS VI, particulate matter emission for diesel cars and nitrogen oxide levels are expected to be substantially lower than in BS IV.
- The experience of countries such as China and Malaysia (which is currently grappling with haze) shows that poor air quality can be bad for business. Therefore, leapfrogging to BS VI can put India ahead in the race for investments too.
- Skipping an entire stage of emission norms might not be a good idea as it will put a lot of pressure on the auto firms and even the oil companies
- The shift of technology from BS-IV to BS-VI is likely to cost anything between Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 80,000 crore to petroleum companies.
- The automobile manufacturers also need to progress gradually and skipping a step like BS-V might put extra pressure on the manufacturers to produce compliant vehicles.
Automotive Mission Plan
(Topic: Economic Policies)
About— Automotive Mission Plan 2026 has been finalized jointly by the Government of India and Indian Automotive Industry.
- Propel the Indian Automotive industry to become the engine of the “Make in India” programme.
- Make the Indian Automotive Industry a significant contributor to the “Skill India” programme.
- Promote safe, efficient and comfortable mobility for every person in the country, with an eye on environmental protection and affordability
- Seek increase of net exports of the Indian Automotive industry several fold.
- Promote comprehensive and stable policy dispensation for all regulations impacting the industry.
The AMP 2026 is aimed at bringing the Indian Automotive Industry among the top three of the world in engineering, manufacture and exports of vehicles & components. Safety audit of all the coalmines has been taken up.
Cabinet approves of proposal to establish a Fund of Fund for Start-ups (FFS)
(Topic: Economic Policies)
- Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) was established in June 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 10,000 crores.
- Contribution will be spread over 14th & 15th Finance Commission cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds.
- FFS contributes to SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) that may go up to a maximum of 35% of the corpus of the AIF concerned.
- It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
- FFS is managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
Following proposals approved by Cabinet
- Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS qualifying in Start-ups.
- Operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. would be met out of the FFS to the extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding.
Amendments to the NABARD Act, 1981
(Topic: Economic Policies)
Union Cabinet approved for following amendments
- Increase the authorized capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to 30,000 crore
- Transfer of 0.4% equity of RBI in NABARD amounting to Rs. 20 crores to the Government of India. (The transfer of entire shareholding in NABARD held by RBI to the Central Government will remove the conflict in RBI’s role as banking regulator and shareholder in NABARD.)
- Other amendments include changes in long title and certain Sections to bring Medium Enterprises and Handlooms in NABARD’s mandate.
First Nine Celebrates 200 Years
- First Battalion of the Ninth Gorkhas was raised by the British in 1817 as the ‘Fatehgarh Levy’.
- Ninth Gorkha Rifles has a unique honour that all its battalions have been awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s Citation for exceptional performance in the line of duty.
- As a prelude to the Bicentenary Celebrations, a team scaled Mount Stok Kangri (6153 meters) highest peak of the Stok Ranges in the Ladakh Region in 2016.
- India and Nepal share a unique bond through 32,000 Nepali citizens who serve in the Indian Army and approximately 90,000 veterans drawing their pensions in Nepal.
About: DRDO is becoming an important instrument for self-reliance of the nation. Three naval systems handed over to Indian Navy
- USHUS-II Submarine Sonar– a highly evolved compendium of multiple sensors- include passive sonar, active sonar, intercept sonar, obstacle avoidance sonar and underwater telephony.
- Directing Gear for Hull Mounted Sonar Array– an electro-mechanical system that supports the transducer array of hull-mounted ship sonar systems and rotates it at a controlled speed for in-situ acoustic calibration at Harbour and Sea.
- RLG based Inertial Navigation System for Ship Applications (INS-SA)– based on indigenous Ring Laser Gyroscopes, provides vital information on the ship’s position coordinates and heading for steering it to its destination accurately.
Other launches were:
- IP-based Secure Phone– an indigenous encryption algorithm on a trustworthy hardware platform to provide a high level of secrecy to voice and data,
- Gallium Nitride Technology– state-of-the-art material for MMIC applications, help in the development of next generation radars, seekers and communication systems, for application in Light Combat Aircraft.