IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 18th Feb to 24th Feb, 2018

  • IASbaba
  • February 27, 2018
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 18th Feb to 24th Feb, 2018



Electoral Bearer Bond Scheme 2018:

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

  • Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
  • A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
  • Only the Political Parties registered under  section 29A  of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or  the  Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.
  • The Bond shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorized bank.

National Conference on “Agriculture-2022: Doubling Farmers’ Incomes”

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

The Government is keen to make agriculture policies and programs ‘income centric’ instead of ‘production-oriented’.

Budget for Agriculture:

  • The budget for Agriculture has been increased from Rs.51,576 crore in 2017-18 to Rs.58,080 crore for the year 2018-19 while ensuring sufficient funds for each component of the Seven-Point Strategy devised for doubling farmers’ income.
  • An announcement of Rs. 2000 crore for Agri Market Development Fund has been made, which shows the importance of the retail market in agriculture marketing. These markets have been called as GRAM (Gramin Retail Agriculture Market). Through these markets infrastructure of 22,000 Rural Haats and 585 APMC markets will be developed.
  • ‘Operation Greens’ announced will benefit farmers growing Tomato, Onion and Potato.

Seven-Point Strategy

    • Emphasis on irrigation along with end to end solution on creation of resources for ‘More crop per drop’
    • ‘Provision of quality seeds and nutrients according to the soil quality of each farm.
    • Large investments in warehouses and cold chains to prevent Post-harvest losses.
    • Promotion of value addition through food processing.
    • Implementation of National Agricultural Markets and e-platforms (e-NAM) to eliminate shortcomings of all the 585 centers.
    • To mitigate the risk, introduction of crop insurance scheme at a lower cost.
    • Promotion of allied activities such as Dairy-Animal husbandry, Poultry, Bee-keeping, Horticulture, and Fisheries.

Cabinet Approves

Creation of National Urban Housing Fund: For Rs.60,000 crores; The target is to cater to the demand of housing shortage of nearly 1.2 crore and make available housing to all by 2022, when the Country celebrates its 75th Anniversary of Independence.

India-Morocco Cooperation Agreement in Railway Sector: The Cooperation Agreement will enable technical cooperation in the following areas:-

  • Training and staff development;
  • Expert missions, exchange of experience and personnel; and
  • Mutual technical assistance, including exchanging of experts.

Adjudication of dispute on Mahanadi River Waters: The Tribunal shall determine water sharing among basin States on the basis of the overall availability of water in the complete Mahanadi basin, contribution of each State, the present utilization of water resources in each State and the potential for future development (long-pending dispute between States of Odisha and Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi River)

Agreement between India and Israel on Film Co-production: Co-production of an Indian film with an international party means that

  • Indian producer can access international funds and can collaborate on the script, talent and distribution at international level.
  • Co-production of a film under this treaty will qualify it to be national production both in India and Israel.
  • Enable a common pool of creative, artistic, technical, financial and marketing resources of the two countries.
  • The co-produced films will also be eligible for their participation as domestic productions in film festivals of both the countries and any other incentives which are available for carrying out production and post-production work in any of the countries.

New Bill to ban Unregulated Deposit Schemes and Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018: To protect the savings of the investors; the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 will provide a comprehensive legislation to deal with the menace of illicit deposit schemes in the country through,

  • Complete prohibition of unregulated deposit taking activity;
  • Deterrent punishment for promoting or operating an unregulated deposit taking scheme;
  • Stringent punishment for fraudulent default in repayment to depositors;
  • Designation of a Competent Authority by the State Government to ensure repayment of deposits in the event of default by a deposit taking establishment;
  • Powers and functions of the competent authority including the power to attach assets of a defaulting establishment;
  • Designation of Courts to oversee repayment of depositors and to try offences under the Act; and
  • Listing of Regulated Deposit Schemes in the Bill, with a clause enabling the Central Government to expand or prune the list.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India Sign $ 84 Million Loan

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate)

For: Improvement and Expansion of Water Supply in the State of Bihar

  • The tranche 2 loan is part of the $200 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for the Bihar Urban Development Investment Program that was approved by ADB in 2012 to provide sustainable urban infrastructure and services in four towns in Bihar – Bhagalpur, Gaya, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.
  • The Project 2 will improve access to better quality and sustainable water supply, for the people of Bhagalpur and Gaya towns.
  • It will also promote better water management practices that will result in a citywide coverage with 24-hour uninterrupted supply of treated water of 135 litres per capita per day in both cities.
  • Support civil works subprojects and would benefit 1.1 million people in the two project towns with increased coverage of treated water supply by 2021; train 400 urban local body (ULB) staff in the management and operation and maintenance (O&M) of water supply systems, and help ULBs improve technical and financial management of the water supply operations

Indo-German MOU – Implementation Agreement in Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities in India

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

Aim: To develop and apply concepts for sustainable urban development about the provision of urban basic services and housing in selected cities and Smart Cities in India

  • Technical cooperation measure will support approaches for sustainable urban development in the area of integrated planning, provision of affordable housing and basic services with particular focus on water, waste water and solid waste management and mobility.
  • The ‘Sustainable Urban Development Programme – Smart Cities in India’ project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and jointly implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

MoU with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

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

Aim: To usher the “programme based research support” in addressing current and future global and local developmental challenges

Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kenya

  • In order to promote cross border flow of investments and technology, the revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates from 15% to 10% on dividends, from 15% to 10% on interest, from 20% to 10% on royalties and from 17.5% to 10% on fees for management, professional and technical services.
  • The revised DTAA provides for a new Article on Limitation of Benefits to allow treaty benefits to bonafide residents of both countries, to combat treaty abuse by third country residents and to allow application of domestic law to prevent tax avoidance or evasion.
  • The Article on Exchange of Information has been updated to the latest international standard to provide for exchange of information, including banking information for tax purposes, to the widest possible extent.
  • A new Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes has also been provided in the revised treaty which will enable assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries.

How is it beneficial?

  • Improve transparency in tax matters
  • Help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance
  • Remove double taxation
  • Stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services


Features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform

(Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions)

The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare launches six new user friendly features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform:

e-NAM Mobile App:

  • Facilitate the farmers to do advance Gate Entry on Mobile app which in turn will reduce a lot of time for farmers coming in the Mandi and will bring huge efficiency and facilitate smooth arrival recording at the Gate
  • Farmers can see the progress of their lot being traded
  • Real time bidding progress of price will be visible to farmers on Mobile App
  • During the trade, facility of viewing the assaying certificate is made available to traders on the mobile app. Now, online payment by trader (buyer) can also be done from e-NAM Mobile App through debit card and net banking. This will help buyers to transfer the payment directly through the App and make it easier for traders in online payment to farmers. Also, SMS alert to farmer on receiving payment in their bank account will be sent thereby helping farmers in getting information of payment receipt.

BHIM payment facility: To ease out payment to farmers which will also reduce the payment realization time from buyers’ account to the pool account and in turn disbursal to farmers.

New and improved Website with eLearning Module:

  • Live status of markets of e-NAM based on gate entry, latest information on events, dynamic training calendar etc.
  • E-Learning module in Hindi language on how to operate the system and continuously get trained on the system at their convenience.

MIS Dashboard: Based on Business intelligence will provide a greater insight into the performance of each Mandi in terms of arrival and trade.

  • Help the Mandi Board officials and APMC Secretary to compare the performance of each Mandi on daily, weekly, monthly/quarterly and Year-on-Year Basis
  • Enable officials and Mandi Secretary in doing actual trade analysis from commodity level to State level operation
  • Beneficial for the Mandi Board and Mandi Secretary in planning and coordinating their operation post historical analysis.

Grievance Redressal Management System for Mandi Secretaries: Help raise technology issues related to portal/ software and its operation and also track the status of redressal of their query online.

Integration with Farmer Database: For registration process to become easier and easy identification of farmers increasing the efficiency and reduce queue time. This will help in managing the load at the Gate more efficiently during peak time in Rabi and Kharif and reduce waiting time for farmers at the entry gate.

Indian scientists develop next generation technology loop to generate clean energy

(Topic: Infrastructure: Green & Clean Energy)

What: Indian scientists have developed a super critical carbon di oxide Brayton test loop facility that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal.

  • India’s first test-bed for next generation, efficient, compact, waterless super critical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle test loop for power generation.
  • The first test loop coupled with solar heat source in the world.

By: Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

  • The new generation high efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly.
  • This test loop is designed to generate the necessary data for future development of scaled up S-CO2  power plants, which would require overcoming several technological challenges –developing critical components such as the turbine, compressor and heat exchangers that can work at the desired pressure and temperature ranges and using materials that can withstand these conditions.
  • Today’s thermal power plants use steam to carry heat away from the source and turn a turbine to generate power. However, it could generate more power if, instead of steam, supercritical CO2 (SCO2) is used. The term “supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31°C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres making it twice as dense as steam.


  • The efficiency of energy conversion could also be significantly increased─by as much as 50 percent or more─if S-CO2 is operated in a closed loop Brayton cycle.
  • Increases power generation and makes the process more efficient
  • Smaller turbines and power blocks can make the power plant cheaper, while higher efficiency would significantly reduce CO2 emissions for fossil fuel based plants.
  • Moreover, if the power plant used solar or nuclear heat source, it would mean higher capacity at lower operating costs.

Please Note:

Governor of Maharashtra: C.Vidhya Sagar Rao

Chief Minister of Maharastra: Devendra Fadnavis

Bharat-Net: Providing broad-band Internet connectivity to our villages

Swajal: A community owned drinking water programme for sustained drinking water supply.

Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP): Intended to establish first Health Information Exchange by connecting various Hospital Information Systems from 10 Indian States.

National Health Policy (2017) of India clearly articulates the healthcare aspirations of people of India with three distinct goals.

  • First Goal: Ensure district-level electronic database of information on health system components by 2020, which largely means moving away from paper-based data collection and recording in public health system to use of sophisticated computerized tools for improving functioning of hospitals and health system
  • Second goal: To strengthen the health surveillance system and establish registries for diseases of public health importance by 2020, where we intend to create registries to support epidemiological profiling of diseases to be better informed for targeted health interventions.
  • Third goal: Pushes us to work for establishment of federated national e-health architecture, setting-up of health information exchanges and national Health Information Network by 2025

World Environment Day 2018

  • Global Host: India
  • Theme: Beat Plastic Pollution

SARAS: India’s indigenous light transport aircraft, completes the second test-flight successfully

People in News:

  • Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa: Reverence and admiration for him amongst Bengali elites led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda
  • Nizamuddin Auliyala: A Sufi saint of the Chishti Order; Amir Khusrow was his student

Excerpts from the Speeches:

Between the Mind and the Machine –

  • With the arrival of Artificial Intelligence, Bots and Robots, there is no doubt that our productivity will further go up. But, there are also rising fears of human redundancy because there is a competition between the mind and the machine. Such fears are neither un-founded nor new.
  • At every stage of technological evolution, we have faced such doubts and questions. This leads to two views of the future. First brings hopes and aspirations and second brings fears of disruption   
  • Technology opens entirely new spheres and sectors for growth.   It also opens up an entirely new paradigm of opportunities.  With each wave of new technology, many new opportunities arise.  New opportunities have always out-numbered the lost ones.
  • Human ingenuity has always prevailed and it will continue to do so in the future.  This optimism stems from my firm faith in Ancient Indian Thinking that blended science and spirituality and found Harmony between the two/ for the greater good of mankind.
  • The spirit of scientific enquiry was rooted in the pursuit of Truth. Our ancient texts go on to further list the mental faculties that assist in this pursuit of the Truth. श्रद्धा (dedication),मेधा (mental capacity), मनीषा (intelligence), मनसा (mind), शान्ति (peace), चित्त (elevated state of consciousnes), स्मृति (memory), स्मरण  (recall) and  विज्ञान (application of knowledge).
  • The road ahead for Artificial Intelligence depends on and will be driven by Human Intentions. With every industrial revolution, the scalability of technology has increased manifold.  This has given human increasingly more power to create an impact in whatever he does through technology.  It is this ethic of development that will ensure equity for all people. The March of Technology cannot be at the expense of further increasing the difference between societies over access to technology. The evolution of Technology has to be rooted in the ethic of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.

Industrial and Infrastructure Security architecture

Edifice of a good Industrial and Infrastructure Security architecture rests on three pillars –

  • Physical security, the main objective of which is access control.  This is achieved by ensuring perimeter and campus security through fences, patrolling, sentry post, flood lighting and alarm systems.
  • Security of Data and Information: This aspect has assumed significance in recent years as there are instances where data and information leakages have caused huge damages. Plugging these leaks is an important aspect of Industrial security.
  • Emergency Response System which requires us to prepare a Contingency Plan to be able to respond to any emergency to minimise risk and to mitigate& reduce the extent of loss.  This is very critical to Industrial and Infrastructure Security.

The perceived threats to Industrial and Infrastructure Security till recent times were three dimensional. Cyber Crimes has added the 4th dimension to these threats.

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