IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 25th Dec to 31st Dec, 2017

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  • January 1, 2018
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 25th to 31st December, 2017



Launch of electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS)

(Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures)

On Good Governance Day – observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

By: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

e-HRMS: A step towards the ‘ease of governance’, by which the technology will be put to the optimum use.

  • The software will give a comprehensive and combined view of the human resource deployed by the Government
  • A cost-effective initiative, thus sustainable in the long-term
  • Provide HR analytics for the Government, and will help Government to post right man at right post, thus extract best of an employee.
  • Employees will be able to not only see all their details w.r.t service book, leave, GPF, Salary etc., but also apply for different kind of claims/reimbursements, loan/advances, leave, leave encashment, LTC advances, Tour etc. on a single platform.

Launch of Pencil Portal to Eliminate Child Labour

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

PENCIL – Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour

Purpose: To provide a mechanism for both enforcement of the provisions of Child & Adolescent Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 and effective implementation of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme for rehabilitation of child & adolescent labour.

Components of PENCIL portal:

  • Complaint corner
  • Child & adolescent labour tracking system
  • NCLP and State Resource Centre which are connected with the Ministry of Labour & Employment.

Major Reforms in Education sector

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

Guideline on Strengthening of District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs):

  • As per the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986, DIETs were envisaged for In-service as well as pre-service education.
  • However, over the years, the focus had gradually shifted to pre-service education.
  • Currently, there is no nodal agency with expertise in in-service training and thus to address this challenge, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has recently developed Guidelines on-strengthening of DIETs.
  • Accordingly, States have been encouraged to do a district wise analysis before considering a reconceptualization of DIETs as per the models proposed in the MHRD Guideline on DIETs. This will also allow flexibility of getting more expertise into in-service teacher training.

DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing):

  • DIKSHA will accelerate and amplify solutions, experiments and innovations that are underway, and is being attempted in the areas of teacher training and professional development.
  • States and TEIs have the autonomy and choice to repurpose and extend DIKSHA to suit their own needs and purposes.
  • DIKSHA is for the benefit of Teachers in Schools, Teacher Educators and Student Teachers in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs).

SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds):

  • Provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses, using information and communication technology (ICT) and covering all higher education subjects and skill sector courses to ensure that every student in the country has access to the best quality higher education at affordable cost.
  • The SWAYAM IT platform is indigenously developed that facilitates hosting of courses, taught in classrooms from 9th class till post-graduation in a number of disciplines that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time.
  • The three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality shall be achieved by providing high quality e-content to all learners in the country through SWAYAM.
  • Courses delivered through SWAYAM are available free of cost to the learners and are delivered by best of the teaching fraternity.

Swayam Prabha

  • It is an initiative to provide 32 high quality educational channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis. This would enable to deliver e-education in a most cost effective manner.
  • The Department of Space has allotted two Transponders of GSAT-15 for the same.


  • IMPRINT India is an effort to direct research in the premier institutions into areas of social relevance.
  • Under this, 10 domains have been identified which could substantially impact the living standards of the rural areas: (1) health care technology, (2) energy security, (3) rural urban housing design, (4) Nano technology, (5) water/river system, (6) advanced materials, (7) computer science and ICT, (8) manufacturing technology, (9) advanced security and (10) environment/climate change.
  • More than 2,600 research proposals have been submitted by scientists in the priority areas of these domains.
  • These have been examined by eminent scientists and 259 proposals for Rs. 595.89 crore have been approved for implementation.
  • 142 research projects costing Rs. 323.17 crore with joint funding by MHRD and various participating Ministries / departments are currently under execution under IMPRINT – I. IMPRINT-II is under process for approval.

Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN): The GIAN programme brings together foreign and Indian faculties to teach an academic course that provides the credit to participating students selected from the world’s leading academic institutions.

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

Government of India’s flagship program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities and industry

Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): ATLs are innovation play workspaces for students between Grade VI to Grade XII, stimulating innovations combining science & technology. These open-ended innovation workspaces equipped with state of the art technologies like 3D printers, Robotics, Sensor Technology Kits, Internet of Things, miniaturized Electronics etc enable the students to learn and solve local community problems using emerging Technologies. Students are encouraged to explore and experience Design Thinking and Innovation, using a do-it-yourself approach, and develop innovative solutions to India’s social, community or economic problems

Schemes for Skill Development of Youth

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

Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn): A placement linked skill development scheme for minorities aiming to upgrade the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills depending upon their qualification, present economic trends and market potential, which can earn them suitable employment or make them suitably skilled to go for self-employment.

  • Ensures placements of minimum 75% trainees, out of which at least 50% placement is in organized sector
  • Implemented through selected Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) all over the country including Kerala.

Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development (USTTAD): To preserve the rich heritage of traditional arts/crafts of minorities. The scheme aims at

  • Capacity building and updating the traditional skills of master craftsmen/artisans
  • Documentation of identified traditional arts/crafts of minorities
  • Set standards for traditional skills
  • Training of minority youths in various identified traditional arts/crafts through master craftsmen
  • Develop national and international market linkages

Nai Manzil: Aims to benefit the minority youth who do not have a formal school leaving certificate i.e. those in the category of school dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like Madarsas, in order to provide them formal education and skills, and enable them to seek better employment in the organized sector and thus to equip them for better lives.

Enactment of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

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

  • Makes maintenance of parents /senior citizens by their children/relatives obligatory and justiciable through Tribunals
  • Provides for revocation of transfer of property by senior citizens in case of neglect by children/relatives
  • Penal provisions for abandonment of senior citizens, medical facilities for senior citizens; and protection of life and property of senior Citizens

Note: As per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, “Police” and “Public Order” are State Subjects and, as such, the primary responsibility of prevention detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of crime, lies with the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations.

Cabinet approves

UNESCO Agreement to be signed for establishing International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) as Category-2 Centre (C2C)

The International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography, hosted at the ESSO-INCOIS (ESSO-Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services) campus in Hyderabad will be established as a Category-2 Centre (C2C) through an agreement to be signed with UNESCO.

  • The field of operational oceanography involves systematic ocean studies aimed at supporting day-to-day operations and providing information services to  various sectors of the blue economy (valued at millions of crores of rupees) viz. fishing, disaster management, shipping and ports, coastal management, environmental management, offshore industries and defense forces i.e. navy, coast guard.
  • ESSO-INCOIS is India’s premier institution in operational oceanography providing several services – Potential Fishing Zone Advisory Service, Ocean State Forecast Service and Tsunami Warning Service.


  • Provide an opportunity for India to emerge as a leader in the Indian Ocean, forging cooperation among South Asian and African countries
  • Cater to the worldwide increasing need to build technical and management capacity in marine and coastal sustainability issues as well as efficient management and response to marine natural hazards
  • Contribute to achieving UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal-14 (SDG 14) and fulfill commitments to support Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries etc.
  • Strive to improve skills of students and other trainees which will increase employment opportunities within and outside India

$318 million loan Agreement Signed with World Bank to Support Climate Resilient Agriculture

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

The Government of India, the Government of Tamil Nadu and the World Bank today signed a $318 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project –

  • To promote climate resilient agriculture technologies
  • Improve water management practices
  • Increase market opportunities for small and marginal farmers
  • Improve the efficiency of water used in farming
  • Diversify into high value crops, and produce crops that are resilient to the increasing threats of climate change.

By helping farmers’ access modern technologies, linking them to markets, and providing postharvest management support, the project will enable farmers to shift from a mono crop paddy system to mixed cropping including high-value crops (fruits, vegetables, and spices), pulses, oilseeds, and millets.

To enhance the ability of crops to withstand expected adverse impacts of climate change, the project will support smallholder producers adopt new conservation technologies such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Sustainable Sugar Initiative (SSI). They reduce average water usage by 35 percent and increase yields by 22 percent per ha. The project is expected to increase the yield of rice, maize, and pulses by 18–20 percent.

India Signs Loan Agreement with the World Bank for USD 40 Million for “U.P. Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project”

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

Programme size: Approximately USD 57.14 million

Objective: To increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in targeted destinations. The project is expected to have far-reaching social, economic and environmental benefits by targeting local communities and entrepreneurs near some of the main tourist and pilgrimage attractions in Uttar Pradesh, namely, Agra as well as Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Govardhan in the Braj region.


Launch of Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management

(Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers)

In another significant step to combat climate change, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has approved a regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).

The first phase of the project has been approved at a cost of approximately Rs. 100 Crore for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The project will leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from the States as well as farmers.

Aim of the Project:

  • To mitigate climate change impacts
  • Enhance adaptive capacity
  • Counter the adverse environmental impacts that arise from burning

The ‘Why’ behind the project –

The problem of crop residue burning has been intensifying over the years, with Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh being the major burning hotspots. Increased mechanization, declining number of  livestock,  long  period  required  for  composting  and  no  economically  viable  alternate  use  of  residues  are  some  of  the  reasons  for residues being  burnt in  field. This not only has implications for global warming, but also has an adverse impact on air quality, soil health and human health.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR)

(Topic: Disaster and disaster management)

The Sendai Framework is a 15-year; voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Aims for the following outcome: The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

The Sendai Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

The Seven Global Targets

  1. Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
  2. Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
  3. Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
  4. Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
  5. Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
  6. Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.
  7. Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.

The Four Priorities for Action

Priority 1. Understanding disaster risk

Disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment. Such knowledge can be used for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.

Priority 2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk

Disaster risk governance at the national, regional and global levels is very important for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation. It fosters collaboration and partnership.

Priority 3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience

Public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures are essential to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment.

Priority 4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

The growth of disaster risk means there is a need to strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take action in anticipation of events, and ensure capacities are in place for effective response and recovery at all levels. The recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase is a critical opportunity to build back better, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures.

Development of Space Science

(Topic: Awareness in the fields of Space)

2014-15 Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM): Launched on September 24, 2014, has made ISRO, the fourth Space agency in the world to reach Mars orbit. Initially designed for six months, MOM is still continuing and sending important data for scientific studies.

2015-16 AstroSat: Launched on September 28, 2015, is a unique satellite providing common platform for simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of celestial sources. It has completed more than two years and performing.

2016-17 RLV-TD: It was successfully flight tested on May 23, 2016. It is the most technologically challenging endeavors of ISRO towards developing essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low cost access to space.

2016-17 ScramJet: The first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted on August 28, 2016. Future Reusable launch vehicle together with Air Breathing propulsion system will bring down the cost of access to space far low.

ISRO has worked out a 3 year action plan, 7 year strategy and 15 year long term vision for Space Programme, under four vertical –

  1. Space transportation system
  2. Space infrastructure
  3. Space applications
  4. Capacity building

International cooperation is a part of India’s space programme since its inception. In the past, ISRO has developed Meghatropiques and SARAL satellites in cooperation with French space agency CNES. Currently ISRO and NASA are working jointly on NISAR (NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) project. Bilateral cooperation with foreign countries/institutions in the field of space science and research helps in analysis of data, identification of key areas for future missions and utilisation of space and ground based resources.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has taken several measures to promote scientific research by the Indian scientists especially the youth, which include:

  1. ISRO Space Science Promotion Scheme (ISRO-SSPS) intended towards supporting and strengthening of research in space science in universities.
  2. ISRO’s Sponsored Research (RESPOND) Programme involves academic institutions for joint research to meet specific requirements in area of space technology, space science and space applications.
  3. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (lIST), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and National Atmospheric Research laboratory (NARL) established under Department of Space encourages young researchers to undertake research in space science and technology.
  4. Space Technology Cell was set up by ISRO at premiere institutions like IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore and University of Pune to carry out research activities in the areas of space technology and applications.

Must Solve: Link

Please Note:

  1. India’s ranking in World Bank’s doing Business Report rose to 100 – 30 places up over its rank of 130 in the Doing Business Report 2017 – highest jump in rank of any country in the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Report, 2018. This made India the only country in South Asia and BRICS economies to feature among most improved economies of the EoDB Report this year.
  2. “Sampark, Samanvay, Samvad” – To break silos (sampark), improve co-ordination (samanvay) and find solutions (samvad) to the critical issues facing Indian Railways
  3. Nyaya Gram project: High Court of Allahabad
  4. UN’s World Economic Situation Report projected India’s GDP to grow at 7.2 per cent in 2018 and 7.4 per cent in 2019
  5. India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016.
  6. India is the second largest producer of horticultural crops and fruits.
  7. 10 principles which have helped in delivering results earlier in making India a coal surplus nation as well as in the rapid electrification of around 18,500 villages including in the remotest corners of the country –
    • Partnership with all stakeholders
    • Decisive leadership
    • Outcome oriented action
    • Root cause analysis)
    • Rule of law and transparency
    • Prioritisation of issues
    • Time bound execution and fast dispute resolution
    • Innovative financing
    • Technology focus
    • Accountability and close monitoring
  8. Politics and Politicians:
    • 4 Cs: Character, Calibre, Capacity & Conduct are important to Politicians
    • 4 Ps: Philosophy, Principles, Policies & Performance required in politics
    • 3 Cs: Community, Caste & Cash to be avoided in Politics
  9. Gazzola Prize:
    • Winner: Professor Saleh Lamei Mostafa (Egypt) for his contribution in the fields of engineering, architecture and archaeology
    • Established in 1979, the Piero Gazzola Prize commemorates an outstanding personality in the history of the conservation and restoration of monuments and sites, closely linked to the creation of ICOMOS.
    • Every three years the prize is awarded during the ICOMOS General Assembly to an individual or a group of people who have worked together and contributed with distinction to the aims and objectives of ICOMOS.
    • ICOMOS is a non-governmental international organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world’s monuments and sites.
  10. Mizoram: The “Land of the Hill People”
  11. Father of India’s Space programme: Dr Vikram Sarabhai
  12. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya:
    • Notable for his role in the Indian independence movement;
    • Served as Congress President four times—in 1909 (Lahore), in 1918 (Delhi), in 1930 (Delhi) and in 1932 (Calcutta)
    • Rabindranath Tagore gave him the title “Mahamana”, Mahatma Gandhi called him a “Pratah Smaraniyah” and “Devata Purush”. He’s also been called a ‘Dharmatma’, “Karmayogin” and “Prince of Beggars”.
    • Founder of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) at Varanasi, and founded a highly influential, English-newspaper, The Leader
    • He popularised the phrase Satyameva Jayate, from the Mundaka Upanishad, which means Truth Alone Triumphs. It was adopted as India’s national motto and appears on its emblem.
  13. Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), which is a major credit-linked subsidy programme, aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth in rural and urban areas.
  14. Udyami Mitra Portal: Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched the ‘Udyami Mitra’ Portal to improve accessibility of credit and handholding services to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  15. Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY): Earlier known as Khadi Karigar ‘Janashree Bima Yojana’Aim is to provide insurance cover to Khadi artisans against normal and accidental death and disability
  16. Mājuli Island:
    • A river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam; Geomorphologically, the entire Majuli island is a part of the alluvial flood plains of the Brahmaputra river.
    • In 2016, became the first island to be made a district in India
    • Recognised as the world’s largest river island
    • It was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit.
    • Mājuli is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture.
    • The Island is formed of soil consisting mainly of silt deposits. The soil is without cohesion and thus, susceptible to erosion. The problem of erosion has been severe after the disastrous earthquake of 1950.
  17. India attains global 4th and 6th position in global Wind and Solar Power installed capacity. Government is on its way to achieving 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022
  18. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana: Aims to target creation of Infrastructure and increasing capacities of processing and preservation in entire supply chain of food processing sector right from farm gate to retail outlets. The New Scheme will help in integrating food processing units and food trade with the farmers creating huge opportunities for employment of increasing income of the farmers.
  19. PowerTex India: to support 44 lakh workers/weavers; scheme has components relating to loom upgradation, infrastructure creation and concessional access to credit. It has the potential to generate investments worth Rs. 1000 crores, employment for 10,000 people and will also result in higher returns to powerloom units.
  20. SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of Efficient Textiles Technology to Help Small Scale Industries): To provide energy-efficient powerlooms, motors and rapier kits to small and medium powerloom units at no upfront cost. Energy Efficient Services Limited (EESL) would procure and provide these equipments to the workers at no upfront cost and the worker would repay in installments to EESL over a period of 4 to 5 years. The initiative will help 24.86 lakh powerloom units in the country.
  21. Food and agro-based processing unit and cold chain infrastructure have been classified under agriculture activities for Priority Sector Lending
  22. Identification of Workers in Unorganised Sector:
    • The Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, defines an unorganized worker and provides for a self-declaration by such worker confirming that he or she is an unorganized worker. There is no centralized national database of unorganized workers in India.
    • It has been decided to create a national platform for unorganized workers. A proposal to issue a Unique ID i.e. Unorganized Workers Identification Number (UWIN) and allotment of an Aadhaar seeded Identification number to them without issuing any smart card, has been approved by the Central Government
  23. Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) System of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully scored a direct hit on incoming missile. The interceptor directly hit the target at an altitude of about 15 kilometre and destroyed it into fragments. The spectacular success puts India in the league of a very few select nations world over in the arena of critical defence technology.
  24. ‘SAMADHAN’ to fight Left Wing Extremism – S for Smart Leadership, A for Aggressive Strategy, M for Motivation and Training, A for Actionable Intelligence, D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators, H for Harnessing Technology, A for Action Plan for Each Theatre and N for No access to Financing.
  25. Viswanathan Anand won the World Rapid Chess Championship.

Must Read:

  1. Locate these universities: Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramshila, Pushpagiri and Valabhi
  2. Well-known American historian, Will Durant had this to say about India: “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all”.

American writer and humorist, Mark Twain said: “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

Iconic scientist, Albert Einstein said “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made”.

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