President visits Vikramshila University Monuments and Museum.
- Speaking on the occasion, the President said that he was happy to come to Vikramshila University which is being established on the site of this ancient centre of higher learning and to visit the monuments and the museum.
- They reflect an era where a rich culture of learning flourished in the region. It is heartening to find that after meticulous excavations carried out over the last few decades, it has been decided to revive this seat of learning.
- He also complimented the Archaeological Survey of India in this regard. He stated that resurrection of Vikramshila will be an important step in the preservation of our civilizational ethos.
- The President said that India has had a long tradition of knowledge generation and propagation. Scholars from distant lands frequented our country, attracted by the philosophy and wisdom of our ancient civilization. In ancient India, Universities such as Vikramshila, Nalanda and Taxila etc. attracted students, teachers and researchers from all over the world. He said that it is important to revive the glory of Vikramshila University.
India’s 2nd Ever Rankings Of Indian Institutions.
About: The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, released the India Rankings 2017 for the Educational Institutions.
- ‘INDIA RANKINGS 2017’ said that in this second edition of India Rankings, a total of 2995 institutions have participated this time. This includes 232 Universities, 1024 Engineering Institutions, 546 Management Institutions, 318 Pharmacy Institutions and 637 General Degree Colleges, and others. Many of these have participated in multiple disciplines, adding to a total of 3319 participants across disciplines.
The parameters are
- Teaching Learning & Resources
- Research and Professional Practice
- Graduation Outcome
- Outreach & Inclusivity
List of top India Rankings 2017 is as follows:
- Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, Karnataka
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Tamil Nadu
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
- Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, Karnataka
- Miranda House, Delhi, Delhi
- Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, Delhi
Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine
(Topic: Issues related to health and International Relations)
About: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
The main areas of cooperation include the following:
- Communicable diseases such as Malaria and TB;
- Mental Health and Non-Communicable Diseases;
- Anti-Microbial Resistance and responding to public health emergencies;
- Regulation of Pharmaceuticals,vaccines and medical devices;
- Digital Health;
- Tobacco Control; and
- Any other area of cooperation decided mutually between the two countries.
The MoU will involve cooperation through joint initiatives in the Health Sector and strengthen bilateral ties between India and Australia.
Audio Visual Co-Production between India and Bangladesh.
(Topic: International Relations)
Salient features of the Agreement
- The Agreement would cover co-production of films, documentaries, and animations films.
- An audio-visual co-production made in accordance with the proposed Agreement shall be entitled to all the benefits which may be accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries in accordance with their respective laws and regulations.
- It will lead to exchange of art and culture among the two countries and create goodwill and better understanding among the peoples of both the countries.
- Co-productions provide an opportunity to create and showcase our soft power.
- It leads to generation of employment among artistic, technical as well as non-technical personnel engaged in the arena of Audio-Visual Co- production including post-production and its marketing, thus adding to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both the countries.
- The utilization of Indian locales for shooting raises the visibility / prospect of India as a preferred film shooting destination across the globe.
India has so far entered into audio-visual co-production agreements with Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Canada, China and the Republic of Korea.
Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana
(Topic: Government policies)
About: Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) which was set up in 2012 to address the social security-related issues of the Emigration Check Required (ECR)-category workers going abroad for employment to ECR countries.
The subscription under the MGPSY was very low and no new subscription was received for more than a year. Closure of the scheme will, therefore, obviate the avoidable recurring administrative and record-keeping expenditure.
Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project.
(Topic: Government policies)
About: Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the CCTNS project with the e-courts and e-prisons databases in the first instance and with the other pillars of the criminal justice system – Forensics, Prosecution, Juvenile homes and a nationwide Fingerprint data base of criminals in a phased manner.
Impact of the CCTNS Project will lead to
- Citizen portals in all states and Centre that will facilitate transparency and speed in police service delivery, online registration of complaints and reporting and search of missing persons and stolen goods in self-service mode.
- Pan-India search on complete National Crime and Criminal database that is accessible to the Investigating Officers throughout the country.
- Search facility will be available to Police in regional languages for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.
- Reliable network connectivity to all Police Stations in the country.
- National level crime analytics that will be published at, increased frequency to help policy and law makers in taking data backed timely actions and in making appropriate policy interventions.
- Integration with various e-Governance projects such as Aadhaar, National Population Register, Vaahan Project of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Passport Seva and National Emergency Response System Project thus increasing the synergies and benefit accrued from these individual systems. It will expedite various kinds of police verification requests and investigation.
- Advanced features such as biometric based identification, trend and pattern analytics etc. that will be incorporated to enhance hi-tech investigation capability.
- ICJS that will be available to all pillars of the criminal justice system helping improve its service delivery.
List of MoUs between Indian and Bangladesh approved by Cabinet
(Topic: International Relations)
About: MoUs between India and Bangladesh are as follows
- Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara river and Sirajganj-Daikhawa stretch of Jamuna river in the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route. The necessary dredging will be jointly by the two countries.
- The MoU will considerably reduce the logistics cost of cargo movement to North Eastern India as well as reduce the congestion through the Siliguri Chicken’s Neck
Judicial sector appointment
- Aimed at developing, promoting and strengthening mutual cooperation between the judiciaries of the two countries.
- It provides for promoting mutual interaction among judges and officials at various levels of the judiciary through exchange visits, training and academic programmes.
- Also encourage mutual exchange of information on latest developments in the field of law and justice.
Passenger cruise service
- Starting regular movement of passengers and tourists in water crafts between the two countries.
- It will promote people to people contact and cooperation between the two countries in respect of economic, social and cultural advancement.
- Also generate employment opportunities for the people of India and Bangladesh.
- To facilitate training/study tour of personnel, exchange of experts, encourage cooperation between educational, training and research institutions, cooperation and sharing experiences in the field of mass media and public relations.
Recommendations made by Inter-Ministerial Group to look into the issue of malnutrition
(Topic: Issued related to health)
About: The group was constituted by NITI Ayog to examine the emerging data on undernutrition and prepare a specific strategy for poor performing States/Districts. The recommendation of the Inter-Ministerial Group has been finalized in a report entitled “Toward Kuposhan Mukt Bharat: National Nutrition Strategy”.
Some of the core strategies to address the issue of undernutrition in the country mentioned in report are:
- Convergence of States/District Implementation plans
- Reaching the most vulnerable communities in the districts/blocks with highest levels of child undernutrition
- Counselling to reach the critical age group through skilled counsellors
- Continuum of care that includes preventive, promotive and curative care; innovative service delivery models with evidence of impact
- Community based monitoring
- Implementing innovative components of ICDS and strengthening nutrition within the health system.
NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017
(Topic: Issued related to health)
About: Theme of World Health Day 2017- “Depression: Let’s Talk”. The slogan of the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit is, ‘Unite for a Healthy Mind’.
- As per the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 conducted by NIMHANS, 5.2% of the Indian adult population suffers from depression in some form or the other.
- The problem of depression often gets ignored due to lack of understanding on the part of family members.
- The social stigma attached to a mental disorder, even if it is easily treatable, is also a major problem in India.
- There is a severe shortage of mental health professionals in India and this service gap can be bridged effectively by telemedicine.
- The World Health Day Summit has begun in the right direction by launching the eCAP & SOL’s Telepsychiatry application for the rural and urban population in need of mental health consultation.
- NIMCARE- NIM CARE is a non-profit organisation founded in the year 2009. Its core activity is to provide medical health awareness care through health camps.
High Speed Trains
(Topic: Infrastructure Development)
About: 52 pairs of trains have been speeded up and converted into Superfast category.
- Speeding of train is done in view of operational feasibility, availability of sectional speed on line, high speed compatible coaches, high power locos etc.
- ‘Mission Raftaar’ has been announced in the Railway Budget 2016-17.
- The mission envisages, inter alia, increasing the average speed of all non-suburban passenger trains by 25 kmph in next 5 years.
- The fare of Superfast trains has not been increased. However, there is a levy of Supplementary charge for Superfast trains.
Travel and Tourism Competitive Index of World Economic Forum
(Topic: Infrastructure Development)
About: India in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum moved to 40th position from 52nd position in 2015. It was at 65th position in 2014. In all, in last three years India has cumulatively improved its ranking by 25 places which is a significant achievement.
India’s individual ranks
- Cultural- 9th
- Natural resources- 25th
- Price competitiveness- 10th
- International openness- 55th
- Ground transport infrastructure- 29th
India continues to enrich its cultural resources, protecting more cultural sites and intangible expressions through UNESCO World Heritage lists, and via a greater digital presence.
This has been possible through stronger visa policies. Implementing both visas on arrival and e-visas, has enabled India to rise through the ranks.
At a macro level, the primary reasons for India’s jump in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2017 should be attributed to the pro-active steps taken by Government in terms of development of tourism infrastructure, easing of entry formalities for tourists by introducing the e-visa facilities in November 2014.
Myanmar to be welcomed as the seventh member of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme
About: The Union Minister of Finance chaired the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi.
- As a part of the SASEC initiative, the member countries have come up with SASEC Vision for the economic growth of the sub-region, which will be launched by Union Minister of Finance of India during the meeting. It will be followed by consideration of the Joint Ministerial statement.
- The event will be a unique opportunity for the member countries to discuss and exchange ideas and strive to foster better cooperation in the sub-region. Myanmar has joined the SASEC programme as its seventh member and will be officially welcomed during the event.
- Member countries
- Sri Lanka
Summit on ‘mentoring grassroots entrepreneurs in smart grams for inclusive growth’
About: The Rashtrapati Bhavan will host a Summit on ‘Mentoring Grassroots Entrepreneurs in Smart Grams for Inclusive Growth”
- The Summit is being organized by the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), as part of its Silver Jubilee Celebrations with the aim of supporting employability initiatives in the country and encouraging youth to take up entrepreneurship.
- The event will bring together industry veterans, mentors from different fields and BYST’s entrepreneurs, to share views on achieving sustainable employability.
Highlights of President Speech
- If India has to become a great economic power, it has to invest heavily in innovation and entrepreneurship. Every Indian mind is an innovative mind. It has the potential to come up with the solution to our problems. We need people to turn problems into opportunities and work at expanding the scale of operation.
- Roughly, 12 million youth enter into the labour market every year. Population below the age of 35 years is about 65%. The Indian innovation strategy has to focus on generating ideas that promote inclusive growth and benefit those who are at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.
- Smart Gram is an initiative of President Mukherjee aimed at transforming rural areas into sustainable spaces by developing infrastructure, building skills and creating jobs at the local level.
- The central theme for converting Rashtrapati Bhavan into a 4 ‘H’ – heritage, humane, hi-tech and happy – township was creating an eco-system that spreads happiness and promotes the well-being of the residents. The same theme has been carried forward in our concept of Smart Grams where happiness and harmony are of paramount importance.
India Trains Third set of Female Peacekeepers at CUNPK.
About: The Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India, is organising two week training at Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi, in partnership with UN Women.
A total of 41 participants from 27 different countries are attending the course to derive benefit from it and to be available to the United Nations for deployment in field areas.
- CUNPK is the pioneer institute to conduct this training and has continued training such officers since 2015.
- India has also taken a lead in hosting specialized UN peacekeeping courses on Conflict related Sexual Violence (CRSV) at CUNPK in the past.
- Interestingly, India is one of the very few countries to have fielded an all Women Police battalion in a UN mission in Liberia, from 2007 to 2015.
INS Shardul on Joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Surveillance in South India Ocean
- INS Shardul is a Landing Ship Tank (Large) of the Indian Navy whose primary role is to transport troops, vehicles, armaments and accomplish all objectives of an amphibious operation which primarily includes landing of combat equipment and personnel to an Amphibious Objective Area.
- INS Shardul has the capability to launch and recover Marine Commandos through sea as well as by helicopters.
- Ship can act as a ‘Hospital Ship’ with facilities provided in containerised form as well as a ‘Fleet Tanker’ for limited mission/ exercise.
- The ship is routinely deployed with the First Training Squadron and is responsible for the ab-initio sea training of Young Officers of Indian Navy.
Government takes steps to generate Employment Opportunities
(Topic: Growth and Development)
About: Government has taken various steps for generating employment in the country like
- Encouraging private sector of economy
- Fast tracking various projects involving substantial investment
- Increasing public expenditure on schemes like
- Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP),
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA),
- Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and
- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM)
Government has implemented the National Career Service (NCS) Project which comprises of a digital portal which provides a nation-wide online platform for jobseekers and employers for job matching in a dynamic, efficient and responsive manner. It also has a repository of career content.
A new Scheme Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)– Under this scheme employers would be provided an incentive to enhance employment where the Government will pay the employer’s contribution of 8.33% EPS for new employees.
In textiles (apparel and made-ups) sector, the Government will also pay the 3.67% EPF contribution of employers in addition to paying the 8.33% EPS contribution. Government announced a booster package of Rs. 6000 crores for the textile sector which is an employment intensive sector.
Water Management Index
About: NITI Aayog has developed a Composite Water Management Index as a useful tool to assess and further improve the performance in efficient management of water resources.
- The index would provide useful information for the States and concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
- The Index has 28 key Performance Indicators (KPIs) covering irrigation status, drinking water and other water-related sectors.
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