About: The 52nd Jnanpith Award is conferred on Bengali poet and critic Shankha Ghosh by President of India.
The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”.
It was instituted in 1961
It is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English with no posthumous conferral.
The first recipient of the award was the Malayalam writer G. Sankara Kurup who received the award in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950.
In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to win the award and was honoured for the 1965 novel Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise)
Online Statement Of Transaction (e-SOT) and the e-PRAN card launched for Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
(Topic: Social issues and Govt. Scheme)
About: By providing the APY/PRAN Acct details and Savings Bank Account number details, the APY subscriber can view one’s APY Account Statement.
The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched by the Prime Minister of India in 2015.
APY is available for all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years
Under the APY, the subscribers would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 per month from the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which depends on the age of the subscriber at the time of joining the APY.
The Same amount of pension is paid to the spouse in case of subscriber’s demise. After the demise of both i.e. Subscriber & Spouse, the nominee would be paid with the pension corpus.
There is option for Spouse to continue to contribute for balance period on premature death of subscriber before 60 years, so as to avail pension by Spouse.
There are tax benefits at entry, accumulation and pension payment phases.
Health Ministry launches ‘Test and Treat Policy for HIV’
(Topic: Issues related to health)
About: In this initiative, as soon as as a person is tested and found to be positive, he will be provided with ART irrespective of his CD count or clinical stage.
This will be for all men, women, adolescents and children who have been diagnosed as a HIV + case.
Out of 21 lakh estimated with HIV, we know only 14 lakh. To detect remaining, Health ministry has revised national HIV testing guidelines and are aiming to reach out to people in community and test them where they are, with proper counseling and consent.
Health ministry has adopted the 90:90:90 strategy that will help to identify 90% of those infected, place 90% of these on treatment and ensure 90% have their virus under control.
This strategy will offer an opportunity to work towards the commitment during HLM and WHA on “ending AIDS by 2030” as a part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
First UDAN Flight under RCS
(Topic: Infrastructure Development)
About: The Ministry of Civil Aviation is committed to providing air connectivity to currently underserved and unserved airports.
To make air travel accessible to citizens in regionally important cities, the Ministry launched ‘Ude Deshka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN) Regional Connectivity Scheme in October, 2016.
The UDAN Scheme was developed through extensive consideration of various issues and consultations with stakeholders.
This is a first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism.
Geographical spread: There is a good geographical spread in the proposals: 24 airports in the western, 17 in north, 11 in south, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern regions are proposed to be connected. 22 states and 2 Union Territories will be connected through these 27 proposals.
Routes and network: 16 awarded proposals are for single routes (connecting two cities) and 11 are for networks (connecting three or more cities). Six proposals have been bid with zero viability gap funding (VGF) reflecting the fact that there is potential latent demand.
The airfare for a one hour journey of appx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30 minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs. 2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration.
The selected airline operator would have to provide 50% of the flight capacity (subject to a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 40) as RCS Seats for operationsthrough fixed wing aircraft and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 RCS Seats on the RCS Flights for operations through helicopters and would be given a three years exclusivity of operations.
Significant Achievements of NITI Aayog over the last three years.
1.Vision Document, Strategy & Action Agenda beyond 12th Five Year Plan
NITI Aayog is in the process of preparing the 15-year vision document keeping in view the social goals set and/ or proposed for a period of 15 years.
The 3-year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, aligned to the predictability of financial resources during the 14th Finance Commission Award period, has been completed.
A 7-year strategy document spanning 2017-18 to 2023-24 to convert the longer-term vision into implementable policy and action as a part of a “National Development Agenda” is also being worked upon.
2.Reforms in agriculture
Model Land Leasing Law
NITI Aayog has formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 to recognize the rights of the tenant and safeguard interest of landowners.
Based on the model act, Madhya Pradesh has enacted separate land leasing law and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have modified their land leasing laws.
Some States, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are already at an advance stage of formulating legislations to enact their land leasing laws for agriculture.
Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act
NITI Aayog consulted with the States on 21 October 2016 on three critical reforms –
Agricultural marketing reforms
Felling and transit laws for tree produce grown at private land
Agricultural land leasing
Subsequently, Model APMC Act version 2 prepared. States are being consulted to adopt APMC Act version 2.
Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index
NITI Aayog has developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitise states about the need to undertake reforms in the three key areas of Agriculture Market Reforms, Land Lease Reforms and Forestry on Private Land (Felling and Transit of Trees).
As per NITI Aayog’s index, Maharashtra ranks highest in implementation of various agricultural reforms.
Gujarat ranks second with a score of 71.50 out of 100, closely followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Almost two third States have not been able to reach even the halfway mark of reforms score, in the year 2016-17.
3.Reforming Medical Education
NITI Aayog recommended scrapping of the Medical Council of Indi and suggested a new body for regulating medical education.
4.Digital Payments Movement
Niti Aayog also launched two incentive schemes to to promote digital payments across all sections of society – the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana.
To incentivize the States/UTs for promotion of digital transactions, Central assistance of Rs. 50 crore would be provided to the districts for undertaking Information, Education and Communication activities to bring 5 crore Jan Dhan accounts to digital platform.
Digi Dhan Melas were also held for 100 days in 100 cities, from December 25th to April 14th.
5.Atal Innovation Mission
The Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in NITI Aayog with a view to strengthen the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. In 2016-17, the following major schemes were rolled out:
Atal Tinkering Labs- To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, AIM is helping students design and make prototypes to solve challenges they see around them, using rapid prototyping technologies that have emerged in recent years.
Atal Incubation Centres- it will help startups expand quicker and enable innovation-entrepreneurship, in core sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc. AIM will provide financial support of 10 crore.
6.Indices Measuring States’ Performance in Health, Education and Water Management
NITI has come out with indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education and water with a view to nudge the states into competing with each other for better outcomes, share best practices and innovations to help each other.
7.Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Skill Development.
8.Task Force on elimination of poverty in India
The report of the Task Force primarily focusses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty.
Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made.” For it an expert committee will be set up.
To combat poverty, the Task Force has made recommendations on faster poverty reduction through employment intensive sustained rapid growth and effective implementation of anti-poverty programs.
9.Task Force on Agriculture Development
It focused on 5 critical areas of Indian Agriculture:
Remunerative Prices to Farmers
Land Leasing, Land Records & Land Titles
Second Green Revolution-Focus on Eastern States
Responding to Farmers’ Distress
After taking inputs of all the States on occasional paper and through their reports, the Task Force suggested important policy measures to bring in reforms in agriculture for the welfare of the farmers as well as enhancing their income.
10.Transforming India Lecture Series
To build knowledge systems for States and the Centre, NITI Aayog launched the ‘NITI Lectures: Transforming India’ series.
It is aimed at addressing the top policy making team of the Government of India, including members of the cabinet and several top layers of the bureaucracy.
It aims to bring cutting edge ideas in development policy to Indian policy makers and public, so as to promote the cause of transformation of India into a prosperous modern economy.
SU 30 MKI inducted to the Valiants
(Topic: Science and Technology)
About: The Su 30 MKI is a state of the art all weather multi role fighter aircraft capable of undertaking varied air combat and ground attack missions.
Su30 MKI aircraft was inducted into 221 Squadron, ‘Valiants’, of the IAF.
The ‘Valiants’ flew Mig-23 aircraft till 2009.
The ’Valiants’ were formed as an offensive fighter squadron on 14 Feb 1963. The ‘Valiants’, operating the MiG-23s, were the first ones to fire weapons on the enemy during the Kargil war.
Establishment of Spices Farmers Producer Companies (SFPCs) in Arunachal Pradesh
About: t is a government of India’s initiative to benefit small and marginal spice farmers in the North Eastern States.
The objective of the programme is to operationalize SFPC on pilot basis in 3 districts viz. Ziro in Lower Subansiri District for large cardamom and Namsai in Namsai District for ginger in Arunachal Pradesh & West District in Sikkim for large cardamom for empowering the farmers, especially women farmers in the identified spices growing districts.
Launch of Micro and Small Enterprise Facilitation Council (MSEFC) Portal and MyMSME Mobile App
(Topic: Growth and Development)
About: The portal would facilitate implementation of the delayed payment provisions of the MSMED Act 2006 and also assist in monitoring of delayed payment cases.
With the access to this platform, micro and small enterprises would be able to file their delayed payment related grievances online. The grievance filed would be communicated through email and SMS to the parties involved.
MyMSME App provides information on all schemes implemented by the Ministry of MSME at one place. With the help of MyMSME mobile app Ministry of MSME would be providing one single window to MSMEs to access information on all schemes implemented by the Ministry and as well as apply for any of them.
Reason: The MSME units have had always been complaining that information on all schemes were not available at a single place. Such a compilation is certainly the need of the hour so as to ensure that entrepreneurs need not be searching multiple windows for help or information.
Prime Minister has recently spoken about the need for moving forward to M-Governance (Mobile Governance) from e-Governance and this Prime Minister has recently spoken about the need for moving forward to M-Governance (Mobile Governance) from e-Governance.
National Standards Conclave
(Topic: Growth and Development)
Objective – to bring awareness and prepare Industries, Central Government Ministries, State Governments, regulatory/standards setting and conformity assessment bodies on the growing importance of “Standards” in the changing scenario of global trade.
Organised by – Department of Commerce in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB)
The Standards Conclave is being held in the backdrop of diminishing importance of tariffs and rising influence of standards and regulation both in goods and services trade
The Conclave would also aim at preparing an Indian National Strategy for Standardization (INSS) document to enable the development of a harmonized, dynamic, and mature standards ecosystem in India.