IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 16th Dec to 24th Dec, 2017

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  • December 26, 2017
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 16th to 24th December, 2017



Labour Law reforms

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

Reforms in labour laws are an ongoing process to update the legislative system to address the need of the hour so as to make them more effective, flexible and in sync with emerging economic and industrial scenario.

Recommendations of Second National Commission on Labour

Existing Labour Laws should be broadly grouped into four or five Labour Codes on functional basis –

  1. Wages
  2. Industrial Relations
  3. Social Security & Welfare
  4. Occupation Safety, Health and Working Conditions

The Labour Code on Wages has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 10.08.2017 and subsequently, referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. The rest of the codes are at pre-legislative consultative stage.

The Ministry has taken a number of legislative initiatives in labour laws during the last 3 years. Some of the important initiatives are as follows:-

  • Amendment to the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 by which eligibility limit for payment of bonus enhanced from Rs. 10000/- to Rs. 21000/- per month and the Calculation Ceiling from Rs. 3500/- to Rs. 7000/- or the minimum wages.
  • Payment of Wages (Amendment) Act, 2017 enabling payment of Wages to employees by Cash or Cheque or crediting it to their bank account.
  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 provides for complete ban on employment of children below 14 years in any occupation or process.
  • Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017, increases the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
  • The Employee Compensation (Amendment) Act, seeks to rationalize penalties and strengthen the rights of the workers under the Act.
  • Ministry has notified “Ease of Compliance to maintain Registers under various Labour Laws Rules, 2017” on 21st February 2017 which has in effect replaced the 56 Registers/Forms under 9 Central Labour Laws and Rules made there under in to 5 common Registers/Forms. The number of forms provided under 3 Central Acts/Rules has been reduced from existing 36 to 12. The register can also be maintained in digitised manner. This will save efforts, costs and lessen the compliance burden by various establishments.
  • A Model Shops and Establishments (RE&CS) Bill, 2016 has been circulated to all States/UTs for adoption with appropriate modification. The said Bill inter alia provides for freedom to operate an Establishment for 365 days in a year without any restriction on opening/closing time and enables employment of women during night shifts if adequate safety provisions exist.
  • A category i.e. Fixed Term Employment has been introduced under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 to impart flexibility to an establishment to employ people in case of Apparel Manufacturing Sector to meet the fluctuating demands of the sector due to its seasonal nature.

Refer Mindmap

Must Read: Link 1 + Link 2 + Link 3

Must Solve: Link 1 + Link 2

Steps being taken by Government to reduce malnutrition Deaths

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

Malnutrition is not a direct cause of death but can increase morbidity and mortality by reducing resistance to infections. Addressing malnutrition which includes under nutrition and over- nutrition –

  • Is a preventive strategy, as it has the potential to minimize the health care costs by reducing the requirement for curative health care.
  • Reduces morbidity and mortality due to communicable diseases e.g tuberculosis, diarrhoea and pneumonia in children and micronutrient deficiencies such as anemia, Vitamin A deficiency etc.
  • Addressing over-nutrition can curtail the disease burden due to non – communicable disease conditions e.g diabetes, stroke, hypertension and coronary heart diseases (CHD), cancer etc. by reducing over-weight and obesity.

MoHFW under the umbrella of National Health Mission (NHM) has implemented following schemes and programmes which address the issue of malnutrition:

  • Promotion of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices that include early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of age through ASHA worker and health care provider at health facilities. In order to promote and support breastfeeding, Government has implemented “MAA- Mothers’ Absolute Affection” programme to improve breastfeeding coverage and appropriate breastfeeding practices in the country. A greater emphasis is laid on capacity building of the health workers on lactation management at both community and facility levels and 360 degree IEC campaign to create awareness regarding breastfeeding.
  • Treatment of sick children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) at special units called the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs), set up at public health facilities. Presently 1150 such NRCs are functional in States and UTs admitting around 1.8 lakh SAM children annually. Provision of incentive for ASHA for referral and follow-up of SAM children discharged from NRC is also made.
  • Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) for children till the age of 5 years.
  • ‘National Iron Plus Initiative’ has been launched as an effective strategy for supplementation and treatment of anaemia in children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, in programme mode through life cycle approach. Specific program to prevent and treat micronutrient deficiencies through Iron & Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation across lifestages are:
  • Bi-weekly IFA syrup supplementation to children 6 – 59 months.
  • Weekly IFA tablet supplementation to children 5 – 10 years and adolescents 10 – 19 years.
  • IFA tablets to pregnant and lactating women.
  • National Deworming Day is a fixed day strategy to administer Albendazole tablets to all the children in the age group of 1-19 years through the platform of AWCs and Schools. More than 75 crores doses have been administered since 2014.
  • In order to increase awareness about the use of ORS and Zinc in diarrhoea, an Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) is being observed during July-August, with the ultimate aim of ‘zero child deaths due to childhood diarrhoea’.
  • Incentives are provided to ASHA for tracking of Low birth weight babies.
  • Promotion for intake of iodised salt and monitoring salt quality through testing under National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme.
  • Under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) systematic efforts are undertaken to detect nutrition deficiency among children and adolescents respectively.
  • Mission Indradhanush: Launched on 25th December, 2014 with the objective to ensure high coverage of children with all vaccines in the entire country with a high focus on reaching the unreached to achieve 90% full immunization coverage of India by year 2020.
  • Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) provides child health screening for 30 common health conditions by expanding the reach of mobile health teams at block level and establishment of District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) at the districts for early interventions services.
  • Village Health and Nutrition Days and Motherand Child Protection Card are the joint initiative of the Ministry of Health & Family welfare and the Ministry of Woman and Child Development for addressing the nutrition concerns in children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Village Health and Nutrition Days (VHNDs) are monthly days held at village level in Anganwadi centre to increase the awareness and bring about desired changes in the dietary practices including the promotion of breastfeeding.
  • MWCD has implemented the following schemes to address malnutrition:
    • Under Umbrella ICDS scheme of MWCD Supplementary Nutrition Programme is being implemented through platform of Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) for addressing under-nutrition in pregnant and lactating women, under-6 children and out-of-school adolescent girls.
    • Recently National Nutrition Mission has been approved under MWCD for addressing malnutrition status of the country in a comprehensive manner.

Must Read: Link 1 + Link 2 + Link 3 + Link 4 + Link 5 + Link 6  + Link 7

Must Solve: Link 1

National Health Policy 2017: Link 1  + Link 2 + Mindmap  

Important Schemes under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

National Medical Commission Bill 2017: The Bill envisages to:

  • Replace the Medical Council 1956 Act.
  • Enable a forward movement in the area of medical education reform.
  • Move towards outcome based regulation of medical education rather than process oriented regulation.
  • Ensure proper separation of functions within the regulator by having autonomous boards.
  • Create accountable & transparent procedures for maintaining standards in Medical Education.
  • Create a forward-looking approach towards ensuring sufficient health workforce in India.

Expected benefits of the new legislation:

  • End of heavy handed regulatory control over medical education institutions and a shift towards outcome based monitoring.
  • Introduction of a national licentiate examination. This will be the first time such a provision is being introduced in any field of higher education in the country, as was the introduction of NEET and common counselling earlier.
  • Opening up the medical education sector will lead to significant addition in the number of UG and PG seats and substantial new investment in this infrastructure sector.
  • Better coordination with AYUSH systems of treatment.
  • Regulation of up to 40% seats in medical colleges to enable all meritorious students to have access to medical seats irrespective of their financial status.

National Nutrition Mission: Joint effort of MoHFW and the Ministry of Women and Child development (WCD) towards a life cycle approach for interrupting the intergenerational cycle of under nutrition.

The impact of the mission is envisioned to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies. It will create synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue alerts for timely action, and encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals.

Major components/features of the Mission:

  • Mapping of various Schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition
  • Introducing a very robust convergence mechanism
  • ICT-based real time monitoring system
  • Incentivizing States/UTs for meeting the targets
  • Incentivizing Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools
  • Eliminating registers used by AWWs
  • Introducing measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs)
  • Social Audits
  • Setting-up Nutrition Resource Centres, involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities, among others

Mental Healthcare Act, 2017

  • The Act adopts a rights-based statutory framework for mental health in India and strengthens equality and equity in provision of mental healthcare services in order to protect the rights of people with mental health problem to ensure that they are able to receive optimum care and are able to live a life of dignity and respect.
  • The Act strengthens the institutional mechanisms for improving access quality and appropriate mental healthcare services.
  • The Act increases accountability of both government and private sectors in delivery of mental healthcare with representation of persons with mental health problem and their care-givers in statutory authorities such as Central and State Mental Health Authority.
  • The most progressive features of the Act are provision of advance directive, nominated representative, special clause for women and children related to admission, treatment, sanitation and personal hygiene;  restriction on use of Electro-Convulsive Therapy and Psychosurgery.
  • Decriminalization of suicide is another significant facet of the Act, which will ensure proper management of severe stress as a precursor for suicide attempts.

HIV & AIDS (Prevention & Control) Act, 2017

It aims to end the epidemic by 2030 in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. A person living with AIDS cannot be treated unfairly at employment, educational establishments, renting a property, standing for public or private office or providing healthcare and insurance services

  • The Act also aims to enhance access to healthcare services by ensuring informed consent and confidentiality for HIV-related testing, treatment and clinical research.
  • Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.
  • The Act prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them.
  • No person shall be compelled to disclose his/her HIV status except with their informed consent, and if required by a court order.
  • Every person in the care and custody of the State shall have right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counseling services.
  • The Act suggests that cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed’ off by the court on a priority basis and duly ensuring the confidentiality.

Universal Immunization Programme (UIP): India’s UIP is one of the largest public health programmes in the world. It targets 3 crore pregnant women and 2.7 crore new borns annually. More than 90 lakh immunization sessions are conducted annually. It is the most cost effective public health intervention and largely responsible for reduction of vaccine preventable under-5 mortality rate.

New initiatives under UIP:

Mission Indradhanush: A targeted programme to immunize children who have either not received vaccines or are partially vaccinated. The activity focuses on districts with maximum number of missed children. Four phases of Mission Indradhanush have been completed wherein 2.94 crores children have been vaccinated, of which 76.36 lakh children have been fully immunized. In addition, 76.84 lakh pregnant women were vaccinated against tetanus. Under Mission Indradhanush, the annual rate of increase of full immunisation coverage has increased from 1% to 6.7 % during the two rounds.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) will be held in 121 districts in 16 States, 52 districts in the North Eastern States and 17 urban areas where immunization coverage has been very low in spite of repeated phases of Mission Indradhanush and in UIP, with an aim to rapidly build up full immunization coverage to more than 90% by December 2018. During the two rounds of IMI, held in October and November, a total of 39.19 lakh children and 8.09 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated in 190 districts/urban areas.

LaQshya: MoHFW launched LaQshya to improve the quality of care that is being provided to the pregnant mother in the Labour Room and Maternity Operation Theatres, thereby preventing the undesirable adverse outcomes associated with childbirth. The goal is to reduce preventable maternal and new-born mortality, morbidity and stillbirths associated with the care around delivery in Labour room and Maternity OT and ensure respectful maternity care.

Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA): The program aims to provide assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month.

Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK): For child screening and free treatment for 4 Ds i.e. Defects at birth, Diseases, Deficiencies and Development delays including disability.

Cabinet Approves

Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS): The scheme will have National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) compliant training courses with funding norms as per the Common Norms notified by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

  • To provide demand driven, placement oriented skilling programme to incentivize the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors
  • To promote skilling and skill up-gradation in the traditional sectors through respective Sectoral Divisions/organizations of Ministry of Textiles
  • To provide livelihood to all sections of the society across the country.

MoU between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

  1. Exchange & training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts;
  2. Assistance in development of human resources, health services and setting up of health care facilities;
  3. Short term training of human resources in health;
  4. Regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and exchange of information;
  5. Promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals and others identified by parties;
  6. Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies;
  7. Procurement of health equipment and pharmaceutical products;
  8. Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.

MoU between India and Italy on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

  1. Exchange & training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts;
  2. Assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities;
  3. Short term training of human resources in health;
  4. Regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and exchange of information thereon;
  5. Promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals;
  6. Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies;
  7. Procurement of health equipment and pharmaceutical products;
  8. Collaboration in the prevention of NCDs of .mutual interest, such as neurocardiovascular diseases, cancer, COPDs, mental health and dementia, with an emphasis on SDG3 and related factors;
  9. Collaboration in the field of climate change impact on communicable diseases and vector borne diseases;
  10. Nutritional aspects of food intake, including malnutrition (over nutrition andundernutrition) in the light of the SDG2 and organization of nutritional services;
  11. Safety of production, transformation, distribution and food delivery;
  12. Research and training of food industry operators;
  13. Information and communication to citizens on hygiene and food safety and healthy eating habits

India signs Financing Agreement with the World Bank for US$ 125 Million

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

For: Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (Strive) Project

Objective of the operation: To improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training provided in it is and apprenticeships.

Result areas for the project-

  • Improved Performance of Industrial Training Institutes
  • Increased Capacities of State Governments to Support Industrial Training Institutes and Apprenticeship Training
  • Improved Teaching and Learning
  • Improved and Broadened Apprenticeship Training.


ISRO’s First Solar Mission

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy)

Mission name: Aditya-L1; a fully indigenous effort with the participation of national institutions

Aim: Studying the Sun from an orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point 1 (L1) which is about 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth. It would carry seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere and the outermost layers of the Sun, the corona in different wavebands.

Aditya-L1 can provide observations on the corona and in addition can provide observations on the solar Chromosphere using the UV payload and on the flares using the X-ray payloads. The particle detectors and the magnetometer payload can provide information on charged particles and the magnetic field reaching the halo orbit around L1.

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy)

ISRO and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/ NASA are jointly working on the development of Dual Frequency (L&S band) Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite named as NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). The L-band SAR is being developed by JPL/NASA, while ISRO is developing S-band SAR.

The L & S band microwave data obtained from this satellite will be useful for variety of application –

  • Natural resources mapping & monitoring
  • Estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle
  • Assessing soil moisture
  • Monitoring of floods and oil slicks
  • Coastal erosion, coastline changes & variation of winds in coastal waters
  • Assessment of mangroves
  • Surface deformation studies, ice sheet collapses & dynamics etc.

The data obtained from NISAR mission is not meant for building climate resilience. However, the data acquired from this mission will be useful in developing certain applications, which include –

  • Identifying crevasses in the glaciers hidden by fresh snow, where human movement takes place
  • Identifying the snowpack parameters as an input in Avalanche forecasts
  • Studying Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) hazards
  • Identifying inundated area due to floods/ cyclones

Please Note:

  1. Cabinet approves India’s First National Rail and Transportation University: Vadodara
  2. Sexual Harassment electronic–Box (SHe-Box): In order to ensure the effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Ministry of Women & Child Development has launched an online complaint management system titled Sexual Harassment electronic–Box (SHe-Box) for registering complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace of all women employees in the country, including government and private employees.
  3. ‘Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)’ to provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions. The scheme enables old age income security for senior citizens through provision of assured pension/return linked to the subscription amount based on government guarantee to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
  4. Majithia Wage Board: Related to the dispute for journalists and non-journalist employees of newspaper establishments.
  5. World AIDS Day: 1st December, 2017 – Theme was “25 Years of National AIDS Control Programme”
  • National AIDS Control Programme is based on three pillars – Prevention, Care-counselling and Treatment.
  • The “Mission Sampark” launched to bring back People Living with HIV who have left treatment after starting Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ART)
  • The aim is to achieve elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis as well as elimination of HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination by 2020.
  • On prevention of new infections, National AIDS Control Programme(NACP) aims to achieve 80% reduction in new HIV infections by 2024 from baseline value of 2010.
  • Further, by 2024, the target is to ensure that 95% of those who are HIV positive in the country know their status, 95% of those who know their status are on treatment and 95% ofthose who are on treatment experience effective viral load suppression.
  1. Surya Mitra programme: For developing a cadre of trained manpower for deployment of solar energy projects
  2. The Technology Acquisition and Development Fund (TADF) Scheme is aimed at facilitating acquisition of clean, green and energy efficient technologies by Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
  3. Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) – under which khadi, village industries and coir clusters have been taken up for development by providing them with improved equipments, common facilities centres, business development services, training, capacity building and design and marketing support, etc.
  4. Under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) Scheme, any individual can avail credit from Banks to set up micro-enterprise in the non-farm sector.
  5. New Urea Policy – 2015:
  • To maximize indigenous urea production
  • To promote energy efficiency in the urea units
  • To rationalize the subsidy burden on the Government of India
  1. Archaeological Survey of India

Under: Ministry of Culture

Founder: Alexander Cunningham

Founded: 1861

ASI: It is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.

  • Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI
  • Regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958
  • Regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972
  • 3686 historical sites/monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India
  1. Inter-Linking of Rivers:

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Must Solve: Link 1 + Link 2 + Link 3 + Link 4

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