IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 12th March to 17th March, 2018

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  • March 19, 2018
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 12th to 17th March, 2018



Steps taken for Curbing Population Growth

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

As per the 2017 revision of United Nations World Population prospects, India’s population is projected to be 1.50 billion by 2030 only.

  • Mission ParivarVikas: to increase access to contraceptives and Family Planning services in 146 high fertility districts.
  • Introduction of New Contraceptive Choices: The current basket of choice has been expanded to include the new contraceptives viz. Injectable contraceptive, Centchroman and Progesterone Only Pills (POP).
  • Redesigned Contraceptive Packaging: The packaging for Condoms, Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) and Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs) has now been improved and redesigned.
  • New Family Planning Media Campaign: to generate demand for contraceptives.
  • Family Planning logistics management information system: to track Family Planning commodities.
  • Enhanced Compensation Scheme for Sterilization: enhanced in 11 high focus states (8 Empowered Action Group (EAG), Assam, Gujarat, Haryana)
  • National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme: clients are indemnified in the unlikely events of deaths, complications and failures following sterilization.
  • Clinical Outreach Team Scheme: launched in 146 Mission ParivarVikas districts for providing Family planning services through mobile teams from accredited organizations in far-flung, underserved and geographically difficult areas.
  • Scheme for ensuring drop back services to sterilization clients has been initiated.
  • Post Abortion Family Planning Services have been initiated.
  • A Scheme for Home delivery of contraceptives by ASHAs to provide contraceptives at the doorstep of beneficiaries is in operation.
  • A Scheme to ensure spacing of births by ASHAs is in operation.
  • Post-partum Family Planning is being focused with special emphasis on Post-partum IUCD services.
  • Quality Assurance Committees have been established in all state and districts for ensuring quality of care in Family Planning.
  • Cu IUCD 375 with 5 years effectivity has been introduced in the programme as an alternative to the existing IUCD (Cu IUCD 380A with effectivity of 10 years).
  • Male participation is being emphasized upon.
  • Private/ NGO facilities have been accredited to increase the provider base for family planning services under PPP.

Mindmap on how to approach the topic “POPULATION” for CSE: Link

Must Read: Link 1 + Link 2 + Link 3

Steps taken for Educational Reforms


  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

The Government is committed to –

  • Improve the quality of education
  • Realize India’s human resource potential to its fullest in the education sector with equity and inclusion
  • To provide equitable access to quality education to all sections of the society

All reform initiatives are also through consensus evolved between the Centre and the States through the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE), which is a composite body and is also the highest advisory body on education.

Elementary education

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009: Free and compulsory education of children in the 6 to 14 age group in India became a fundamental right when, in 2002, Article 21-A was inserted in the 86th Amendment to the Constitution. The three provisions are:

  • Ensuring retention
  • Pupil-to-Teacher ratio
  • Decentralisation of academic schedules

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme: Aims for improvements in school infrastructure and in teaching and learning

Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA): To enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality

  • Additional physical facilities to be provided: (i) Additional class rooms, (ii) Laboratories, (iii) Libraries, (iv) Art and crafts room, (v) Toilet blocks, (vi) Drinking water provisions and (vii) Residential Hostels for Teachers in remote areas.
  • Important quality interventions provided: (i) appointment of additional teachers to reduce PTR to 30:1, (ii) focus on Science, Math and English education, (iii) In-service training of teachers, (iv) science laboratories, (v) ICT enabled education, (vi) curriculum reforms; and (vii) teaching learning reforms.

Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education (CSSTE): To create a sound institutional infrastructure for pre-service and in-service training of elementary & secondary school teachers and for provision of academic resource support to elementary and secondary schools.

Shaala Siddhi: The National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation (NPSSE), known as Shaala Sidhdhi is a comprehensive instrument for school evaluation leading to school improvement.

Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan: To inculcate a spirit of inquiry, creativity and love for Science and Mathematics in school children.

Higher education

Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA): Aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions

  • Improve the overall quality of state institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
  • Usher transformative reforms in the state higher education system by creating a facilitating institutional structure for planning and monitoring at the state level, promoting autonomy in State Universities and improving governance in institutions.
  • Ensure reforms in the affiliation, academic and examination systems.
  • Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels of employment.
  • Create an enabling atmosphere in the higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovations.
  • Expand the institutional base by creating additional capacity in existing institutions and establishing new institutions, in order to achieve enrolment targets.
  • Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in unserved & underserved areas.
  • Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes; promote inclusion of women, minorities, and differently abled persons.

Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN): Brings talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally must be engaged with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.

Impacting Research, Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT): To address the major science and engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance. This novel initiative with twofold mandate is aimed at:

  • Developing new engineering education policy
  • Creating a road map to pursue engineering challenges

Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP): Aims to upscale and support ongoing efforts in improving quality of technical education and enhancing existing capacities of the institutions to become dynamic, demand-driven, quality conscious, efficient and forward looking, responsive to rapid economic and technological developments occurring both at national and international levels.

Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT): To address comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation and professional development.

  • The Mission would address, on the one hand, current and urgent issues such as supply of qualified teachers, attracting talent into teaching profession and raising the quality of teaching in schools and colleges.
  • On the other, it is also envisaged that the Teacher Mission would pursue long term goal of building a strong professional cadre of teachers by setting performance standards and creating top class institutional facilities for innovative teaching and professional development of teachers

Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM): To achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality. The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy.

National Digital Library: To integrate several national and international digital libraries in one single web-portal. The NDL provides free access to many books in English and the Indian languages.

Uchhatar Avishkar Abhiyan: For making the bridge between the academics and the practical working field – industrial exposure for skill building

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan: To connect institutions of higher education, including Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) etc. with local communities to address the development challenges through appropriate technologies. The objectives are broadly two-fold:

  • Building institutional capacity in Institutes of higher education in research & training relevant to the needs of rural India
  • Provide rural India with professional resource support from institutes of higher education, especially those which have acquired academic excellence in the field of Science, Engineering  & Technology and Management

Policy Reforms

New Education Policy (NEP) (under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan) is being framed for meeting the  changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping  its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry, for which wide ranging consultations were undertaken at multiple levels of online, expert/thematic and grassroots from village to State, Zonal levels as well as at the National level.

Change in NCERT curriculum:

National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been advised to undertake an exercise to review its syllabus with a view to reducing the curriculum load on the students.

Why: The purpose of education is to bring out a good human being out of the system. For real development along with knowledge, Life Skill education, value education, physical education, experiential learning is essential. Creative skills need to be nurtured. And because of heavy curriculum, there is no time left for all these aspects.

Plan of action for reducing the Curriculum burden:

Analysis of NCERT’s syllabi and textbooks across subject areas and classes focusing on the following:

  • Learning outcomes
  • Curriculum linkages across classes and subjects
  • Overlapping in the content (science and geography; physics and chemistry, etc.)
  • Comprehensibility of language
  • Age-appropriateness of the content
  • Diverse contexts

Inviting suggestions from teachers, students, parents and other stake holders through web portal on the reduction of curriculum load

Developing framework for Experiential Learning through mapping of curricular concepts, life skills and values for holistic development of children

POSHAN (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment)


  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

Jan Andolan: Incorporates inclusive participation of public representatives of local bodies, government departments of the state, social organizations and public at large

Behaviour change communication is the key component of POSHAN Abhiyaan for converting it into Jan Andolan.

Key agents of change: Mother-in-law and husband; Mission is designed to develop orientation of these key members towards healthy mother and child through proper nutrition.

Key Nutrition strategies and interventions are –

  • Supplementary nutrition
  • IYCF(Infant and Young Child Feeding)immunisation
  • Food fortification
  • Adolescent nutrition
  • Dietary diversification and maternal health & nutrition

Activities to be undertaken by States/UTs as part of POSHAN Abhiyaan:

  • Implementation of Convergence Action Plan at State/UT Level.
  • Procurement of Smartphones, Tablets and Growth Monitoring Devices by States/UTs.
  • Roll-Out of ICDS-CAS(Common Application Software).
  • Implementation of ILA(Incremental Learning Approach) and CBE(Community based events).

Must Read: Link 1

LaQshya – Improving quality of care in labour room and maternity Operation Theatre (OT)


  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

The Program will

  • Improve quality of care for pregnant women in labour room, maternity Operation Theatre and Obstetrics Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and High Dependency Units (HDUs).
  • Reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality, improve quality of care during delivery and immediate post-partum period and enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries and provide Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) to all pregnant women attending public health facilities.
  • Multi-pronged strategy has been adopted such as improving infrastructure up-gradation, ensuring availability of essential equipment, providing adequate human resources, capacity building of health care workers and improving quality processes in the labour room.

India has come a long way in improving maternal survival as Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has reduced from 301 maternal deaths in 2001-03 to 167 in year 2011-13, an impressive decline of 45% in a decade.

Must Read: Link 1

Budget Allocation for National AYUSH Mission (NAM) Increased

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

Budget for 2018-19: Rs. 504.43 Crores


  • To provide cost effective AYUSH Services, with a universal access through upgrading AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries, co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs).
  • To strengthen institutional capacity at the state level through upgrading AYUSH educational institutions, State Government Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Pharmacies, ASU & H Drug Testing Laboratories and enforcement mechanism.
  • Support cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so as to provide sustained supply of quality raw-materials and support certification mechanism for quality standards, Good Agricultural/Collection/Storage Practices.
  • Support setting up of clusters through convergence of cultivation, warehousing, value addition, marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs.

Agreements with the WHO for cooperation in promoting traditional Medicine

Cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of serving provision in traditional and complementary Medicine, and consumer protection between WHO and Ministry of AYUSH, India, 2016-2020. In this project, areas of collaboration are-

  • Development of the WHO publications
  • Benchmarks for training in Yoga, Ayurveda, Unani, Panchakarma, basic (essential) terms for T&CM practitioners
  • Support the establishment of a network of international regulatory cooperation for T&CM practice

Achievement: Ministry of AYUSH has developed comprehensive document on Ayurvedic Terminologies with National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes through a consultative process of experts.

Note: Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH has developed a AYUSH Drug QOL-2C for improving the quality of life in cancer patients.

Also, read: Link 1

Solve: The government has been promoting AYUSH as an alternative medicine system. What do you understand by the term AYUSH? What are its benefits?

Tuberculosis Free India Campaign

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

To Aid Prime Minister’s vision: To end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the SDG’s


  • India’s estimated annual TB burden is 28 lakh, 27% of the global total; our population is only 18%. Every day 1,200 Indians die of TB — 10 every three minutes.
  • According to Health Ministry data, only 63% of the patients infected with the airborne disease are currently under treatment. Further, 1,47,000 patients are resistant to first and second line TB medicines.
  • At the current rate of progress, global targets to eliminate TB by 2030 will be missed by a 150 years.

Objective of the Campaign: Take the activities of National Strategic Plan for TB elimination forward in Mission mode

  • The National Strategic Plan for TB elimination is backed by funding of over 12,000 crore rupees over the next three years to ensure every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment, and support.
  • The new NSP adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to ‘Detect’ all TB patients with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations

India’s War on TB:

In designing TB control, three processes must be understood: Infection, Progression, and Transmission

Infection occurs when TB bacilli are inhaled –

  • Bacilli may stay in the lungs or travel to other organs. Infection is lifelong, with bacilli lying dormant. This phase is “latent TB”, diagnosed by a tuberculin skin test (TST).
  • The “annual rate of TB infection” (ARTI) is about 1%. Cumulatively, 40% to 70% of us are living with latent TB.
  • From this reservoir pool, a few progress to TB disease, one by one, 5-30 years, average 20 years, later.

Progression occurs – When bacilli become active, multiply and cause pathology; now we have “active TB”.

Transmission – Only when active TB affects the lungs do bacilli find an exit route to the atmosphere, necessary for transmission.

Why exactly is the TB treatment not bringing down the TB burden?

A person with lung TB disseminates TB bacilli over several weeks. By the time treatment stops dissemination, unfortunately, all his close contacts would have been already infected.

The Way Forward – Countering Delay in Diagnosis:

  • To block transmission, treatment should begin as soon as a symptom shows up. As cough is a very common symptom of many diseases, doctors don’t think of TB until other treatments fail.
  • Partnership with the private sector is essential for early diagnosis of TB.
  • Universal primary health care, a basic human right, and a diagnostic algorithm for early diagnosis are essential for TB control.
  • To retard progression: Employ the biomedical method is drug treatment of latent TB. Experts recommend an age window of 5-10 years when all children must be screened with TST; those with latent TB must be treated to prevent progression.

Cash benefit for TB patients: About 35 lakh identified Tuberculosis patients across the country will soon get Rs. 500 every month from the Centre as social support. The cash benefit for social support will cover loss of wages, travel and mainly nutrition.

Web-based Application – Nikshay

To enable health functionaries at various levels across the country to monitor TB cases in their areas

  • Patients receive daily SMSes to ensure they continue their medication.
  • The medicines come with a toll free number that is visible only after the medicine has been taken out of the foil pack; patients are required to give the number a missed call.
  • Every missed call is tracked, and when there are too many gaps, the patient is traced, often by treatment supervisors who travel to remote areas on bikes that the programme pays for.

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways – Steps to Prevent Road Accidents

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

Multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on 4 ‘E’s –

  1. Education
  2. Engineering (both of roads and vehicles)
  3. Enforcement
  4. Emergency Care

National Road Safety Policy: Outlines various policy measures such as promoting awareness, establishing road safety information data base, encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws etc.

National Road Safety Council: Apex body to take policy decisions in matters of road safety

Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017

  • Provision of creation of Motor Vehicle Accident Fund
  • Implementation of Cashless Treatment Scheme during Golden Hour
  • Setting up of a dedicated agency for road safety viz. National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board (NRSTMB)
  • Enhancement of penalty for traffic rule violations, etc. which have direct impact on road safety

Other steps taken –

  • Road safety has been made an integral part of road design at planning stage.
  • Road Safety Audit of selected stretches of National Highways has been taken up. The threshold for four laning of national highway has been reduced from 15,000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) to 10,000 PCUs. About 52,000 Km of stretches of State Highways has been identified for conversion to national highways.
  • Setting up of model driving training institutes in States and refresher training to drivers of Heavy Motor Vehicle in the unorganized sector
  • Advocacy/Publicity campaign on road safety through the electronic and print media
  • Tightening of safety standards for vehicles like Seat Belts, anti-lock braking system etc.
  • For Black Spots
    • High priority has been accorded to identification and rectification of black spots (accident prone spots) on national highways, guidelines for carrying out road safety audits and preparation of road safety improvement proposals on NHs and also guidelines on implementation of road safety engineering measures on state roads under Central Road Fund (CRF) have been issued.
    • As a measure of supplementing the efforts of States / UTs for minimizing the accident potential at the identified locations / stretches through engineering improvement on state roads, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways had taken a decision to sanction road safety works on state roads with an earmarked allocation of 10% of funds allocated to the state roads under Central Road Fund.
  • Guidelines for pedestrian facilities on National Highways for persons with disabilities have also been issued to all States / UTs.
  • Two National Level Workshops and several Regional Training workshops in 11 states have been organized on Road Safety Engineering.
  • A Certification Course for Road Safety Auditors has been commenced in Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) and 42 Auditors are certified.

Cabinet Approves

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between India and Iran in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine: Will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine

Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between India and Iran: will stimulate flow of investment, technology and personnel from India to Iran & vice versa, and will prevent double taxation. The Agreement will provide for exchange of information between the two Contracting Parties as per latest international standards. It will thus improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

MoU between India and Iran for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors: Provides for cooperation in the areas of

  • Agricultural crops, agricultural extension, horticulture, machinery, post-harvest technology, plant quarantine measures, credit and cooperation
  • Soil conservation and water management, integrated nutrients management, seed technology and agricultural marketing
  • Livestock improvement, dairy development, animal health and other fields

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

  • Exchange experience in training of medical doctors and other health professionals;    
  • Assistance in development of human resources and setting up of health care facilities;
  • Regulation   of pharmaceuticals,   medical devices and   cosmetics and exchange of information thereon;
  • Cooperation  in the field  of medical research,  new technologies and knowledge based initiatives;
  • Public health, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and cooperation in international health;

Continuation of ongoing urea subsidy scheme beyond 12th Five Year Plan: Ensure that adequate quantity of urea is made available to the farmers at statutory controlled price

Effects of Neem Coating of Urea:

  • Improvement in soil health
  • Reduction in costs with respect to plant protection chemicals
  • Reduction in pest and disease attack

Must Read: Link

Cabinet apprised of an MoU signed between India and Sri Lanka for promoting cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics: Intends to promote closer co-operation in the areas of e-Governance, m-Governance, e-Public Services Delivery, cyber security, software technology parks, start-ups ecosystem etc.

INDIA and ADB Sign $120 Million Loan to Improve Rail Infrastructure

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

Aimed at:

  • Enhancing the efficiency of the rail infrastructure through electrification, introduction of modern signaling system, and doubling rail tracks on key routes in the country
  • The Program will help develop an energy-efficient, safe, and reliable railway system that will result in reduced travel time along project rail routes and improved operational and financial efficiency

The investment program is targeting busy freight and passenger routes in the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, including the “Golden Quadrilateral” corridor that connects Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delh.

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind Visits Mauritius


  • India and its neighbourhood- relations
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests)

India accords great importance to the steady development of relations between the countries. India-Mauritius bilateral cooperation is comprehensive and multi-faceted. Regular high-level interaction between political leaders of the two countries has given direction and impetus to this partnership. Shared values of democracy, rule of law and social harmony further reinforce our relationship.

Mauritius is a gateway to the Indian Ocean Region and to Africa, and can serve as a hub for Indian companies looking to access the African mainland. As the proverbial “Star and Key” of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has a natural convergence of interests with India – cooperation in maritime security and counter-terrorism.

Agreements/MoUs exchanged

  • Naval Diplomacy: New Line of Credit of USD 100 million by India offered a Multi-Purpose Offshore Patrol Vessel (MPOPV) to Mauritius to augment its security capacity (with an additional grant component of USD 5 million) as part of its Indian Ocean Region outreach that focuses on maritime security and developing the ‘blue economy’. In the past, Indian assistance has enabled Mauritius to establish an effective force of maritime reconnaissance aircraft and a coastal radar network
  • MoU on cooperation between Nalanda University in Bihar and Mauritius
  • MoU on the establishment of an Ayurveda Chair at the University of Mauritius
  • MoU between the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India and the Public Service Commission of Mauritius: The UPSC will provide necessary assistance for capacity building to its Mauritian counterpart; and an agreement to facilitate cultural exchanges between the two countries.


  • Apravasi Ghat World Heritage Site in Mauritius represents the location where members of the early Indian community arrived in Mauritius as indentured labourers in the 19th century.
  • President of the Republic of Mauritius: Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
  • It is the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence from colonial rule.
  • India had help Mauritius in its efforts to gain due recognition from UNESCO for the Aapravasi Ghat and Bhojpuri Geet Gawai.
  • The 11th World Hindi Conference is going to be held in Mauritius in August 2018.


Policy measures for increasing share of renewable energy in India’s energy mix

(Topic: Energy Security)

  • Provision of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under the National Tariff Policy;
  • Notification of the long term growth trajectory of RPO for solar and non-solar energy for next 3 years from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19;
  • Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects;
  • Development of power transmission network through Green Energy Corridor project;
  • Making roof top solar as a part of housing loan provided by banks;
  • Waiver of Inter-State Transmission Charges and losses;
  • Repowering of Wind Power Projects for optimal utilization of wind resources;
  • Offshore wind energy policy for development of offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone;
  • Supporting research and development on various aspects of renewable energy including with industry participation;
  • Financial incentives for off-grid and decentralized renewable energy systems and devices for meeting energy needs for cooking, lighting and productive purposes; and
  • Permitting 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in sector through automatic route

Solar Revolution in India

(Topic: Energy Security)

India has set up an ambitious target of setting up of 1 lakh MW solar power plants in the country by 2022

Solar technology-led innovations:

    1. “Suryajyoti” – a micro solar dome: More than 5, 000 households are benefiting from Suryajyoti to light up their homes. The target is to cover 100,000 homes with “Suryajyoti” by the year 2019.
  • Solar water purifier: Each machine can purify about 400 litres of water per day; s ideally suited for village schools, primary health centres and tourist lodges where conventional electricity is very erratic or not available. The solar water purifier removes iron and other sediments and kills all bacteria through ultra-filtration and UV.
  • Solar jacket: Useful for emitting a focused light, lighting up the identification tag and a facility to recharge mobile phones. It is particularly useful for defence personnel and forest officials working in remote and far-flung areas. It will have proper insulating material for use in cold regions.
  • Production of a solar ATM in distant rural areas: Biometric ATM – as most of the people are unlettered and withdraw money from banks using their thumb signature

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) – provides for:

  • Installation of grid-connected solar power plants each of capacity up to 2 MW in the rural areas;
  • Installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfill irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid;
  • Solarisation of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also enable them to sell surplus solar power generated to DISCOM and get extra income; and
  • Solarisation of tube-wells and lift irrigation projects of Government sector

International Solar Alliance (ISA): The first treaty based global inter-governmental organization set up in India

  • Headquarter is located at National Solar Energy Institute (NSEI) at Gurugram in Haryana
  • Aim: To bring the world together on a platform to promote the use of solar energy and make the solar power available for all at cheaper rates.

Prelims oriented Notes:

  1. Scheme for Pension and Medical Aid to Artistes: Financial assistance in the form of monthly pension is provided to old artists and intellectuals of the age of sixty years and above
  2. Strategic Partnership Model in Defence Acquisition:
  • To institutionalise a transparent, objective and functional mechanism to encourage broader participation of the private sector, in addition to   DPSUs / OFB, in the manufacture of defence platforms and equipment such as aircraft, submarines, helicopters and armoured vehicles
  • To enhance competition, increase efficiencies, facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology
  • Create a tiered industrial ecosystem, ensure development of a wider skill base and trigger innovation, leading to reduction in dependence on imports and greater self-reliance in meeting national security objectives.  
  • The following four segments have been identified for acquisition under Strategic Partnership (SP) route: Fighter Aircraft + Helicopters + Submarines + Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) / Main Battle Tanks (MBTs).
  1. FDI limit for Defence sector:
  • Foreign investment up to 49% is permitted under automatic route.
  • Foreign investment beyond 49% (up to 100%) is permitted through government approval in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country or for other reasons to be recorded.
  1. National Testing Agency (NTA): Cabinet approved an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country (which are currently being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE))
  • The examinations will be conducted in online mode twice a year in order to give adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best.
  • In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, NTA would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would provide hands-on training to the students.
  1. SWAYAM: Portal or providing online learning courses offered by the best teachers to anyone desirous of learning, at anyone, anytime and anywhere from School to Universities level.
  2. Bharatmala Project: The second largest highways construction project in the country since NHDP, under which almost 50,000 km or highway roads were targeted across the country.
  • Bharatmala will look to improve connectivity particularly on economic corridors, border areas and far flung areas with an aim of quicker movement of cargo and boosting exports.
  • Expected to create nearly 100 million man days of jobs during the road construction and subsequently 22 million jobs as a result of the increased economic activity across the country
  • Expected to increase the speed of vehicles and decrease supply chain costs from the current average 18 per cent to six per cent.
  1. Project UNNATI of the Ministry of Shipping
  • Benchmark operational and financial performance of the 12 major ports with selected Indian private ports and best-in-class international ports for identifying improvement areas
  • Undertake capability maturity assessment for key processes and functional capabilities (e.g., IT, HR, Environment, and Health) and identify gaps and areas for further strengthening.
  • Detailed deep-dive diagnosis and root cause analysis for the identified opportunity areas in each of the 12 major ports to understand underlying reasons for performance bottlenecks.
  • Develop practical and actionable solutions on the basis of root cause findings, and develop a comprehensive improvement roadmap for each of the 12 major ports.
  1. Two Big Achievements of India Tourism at World’s Tourism exhibition At “Internationale Tourismus Borse” (ITB) 2018 in Berlin –
  • India Was Awarded “Best Exhibitor” Award for Australia and Oceania Category
  • India Tourism New Campaign Film “Yogi on the Race Track” Has 7 Million Views on Twitter till Date
  1. Sharing and Management of Cauvery River Water: Karnataka to be given additional 14.75 TMC of the river water while 177.25 TMC of water be released for Tamil Nadu. The allocation of Karnataka which used to be 270 TMC has been increased to 284.75 TMC.

Must Read: Link 1

  1. Public health: State subject
  2. Bamboo: The Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 exempts bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree and classified it as a “Grass,” thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling/transit permit for its economic use – free movement of bamboo.
  • Ensure that the production and consumption centers are seamlessly integrated
  • Will make farmers realize the true potential from the entire value chain in the bamboo ecosystem
  • Government is also revamping the National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs. 1200 crore.
  1. ‘SRIJAN’: Station Rejuvenation Initiative through Joint ActioN – Redevelopment of around 635 major Railway stations across the country
  2. CSIR and Vietnam National University (VNU) to Collaborate for Joint Research: In the areas of material science, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and general technology applications.  Partnerships could be in the form of joint research projects, training programmes or through Technology Transfer arrangements.
  3. Command Area Development and Water Management (CADWM) Programme:


  • Bridge the gap between potential created and their utilization through micro level infrastructure development and efficient farm water management practices.
  • Optimization of agricultural productivity & production, and
  • Improvement in socio-economic conditions of farmers

At present: The programme is being implemented pari-passu with AIBP since XII Plan. Being implemented under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) as a component of Har Khet Ko Pani and More Crop Per Drop

  1. CHANDRAYAAN-II: India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
  • After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.
  • Objective: Remote sensing the moon – The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
  1. ASHTRACK: Mobile  based Application to help Fly Ash Users & Power Plants
  2. Blue Revolution- Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries: To achieve economic prosperity of the country and the fishermen through utilization of full potential of water resources for development of fisheries in a sustainable manner
  3. The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and the bonded labour rehabilitation scheme mandate the States to provide for economic and social rehabilitation of the freed bonded labourers including their skilling and capacity building. States have also been specifically requested to make use of the prevailing skill development schemes for training of the freed bonded labourers.
  4. Cyber Gram Project: Pilot project for Digital Literacy of Minority Communities in a minority dominated village Chandauli in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Students of minority communities are provided hands on training in computers to enable them to acquire basic Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills to become digitally literate and to actively participate in knowledge based activities, access financial, social and government services and to use internet for communications.
  5. Uttar Pradesh’s biggest solar power plant of 75 MW (101DC) capacity: In Mirzapur; The power plant has been set up by the French firm ENGIE through a transparent bidding process under the Solar Park Scheme of the New and Renewable Energy Ministry.
  6. Development of Ramayana Circuit: Is one of the fifteen thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism. The State Government of Bihar has submitted a proposal for development of Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga under Ramayana Circuit.
  7. Steps taken for increasing the inflow of foreign tourists:
  • Launching the Swadesh Darshan Scheme for integrated development of theme based tourist circuits.
  • Launching the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme to beautify and improve amenities and infrastructure at pilgrimage sites.
  • Promoting India as a holistic tourism destination in the domestic and international markets.
  • Launching of Incredible India 2.0 Campaign marking a shift from generic promotions to market specific promotional plans.
  • Launching e-Visa for citizens of 163 countries.
  • Developing and promoting ‘Niche Tourism’ products.
  • Generating sufficient manpower to meet the requirements of the tourism and hospitality industry.
  • Launching 24×7 toll free Multi-Lingual Tourist Helpline.
  1. Theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2018: Making Digital Markets Fairer
  2. Swadhar Greh Scheme targets the women victims of difficult circumstances who are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they could lead their life with dignity. The Scheme envisages providing shelter, food, clothing and health as well as economic and social security for these women.
  3. Char Dham National Highway (NH) connectivity programme comprises projects of improvement/development of 889 km length of NHs leading to Yamunotri Dham, Gangotri Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Badrinath Dham and part of route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra (Char Dham lie within the State of Uttarakhand only)
  4. Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) aimed at sustainable ground water management with community participation in select over-exploited and ground water stressed areas in seven States (Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh).
  5. District Mental Health programme (DMHP) under the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 517 districts of the country
  • Provide mental health services including prevention, promotion and longterm continuing care at different levels of district healthcare delivery system.
  • Augment institutional capacity in terms of infrastructure, equipment and human resource for mental healthcare
  • Promote community awareness and participation in the delivery of mental healthcare services.
  • Broad-base mental health into other related programs
  1. Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN): Set up to provide financial assistance to patients, living below poverty line and who are suffering from major life threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment at any of the super speciality Hospitals/Institutes or other Government hospitals.
  2. Medical Devices Rules, 2017: For comprehensive regulation of Medical devices notified under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, including their import, clinical investigation, manufacture, sale and distribution. The new rules are harmonised with the international regulatory practices and provide comprehensive legislation for the regulation of Medical Devices to foster India specific innovation and provide a fillip to Make in India.
  3. Scheme for out of school adolescent girls (11-14 years): The scheme contains both Nutritional and non-nutritional components.
    • The nutritional support is provided to the beneficiaries for 300 days in a year.
  • The scheme also aims at motivating out of school girls to go back to formal schooling or /skill training under   non-nutrition component of the scheme.
  1. Child Protection Services: For supporting children in difficult circumstances, as envisaged under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
  2. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY):
  • Providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child
  • The cash incentives provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers
  1. Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E): To introduce System-wide Governance Transformation in School Education. These roadmaps, which operate between 2018 to 2020, lay out detailed interventions which will be taken by the three participating States- Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha – aiming to become ‘Role Model States’ in school education. These roadmaps present the first-of-its-kind, customized, action-oriented programmes, outlining interventions at the individual, district and State level.
  2. Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE): Initiative to recognise, respect, showcase, reward innovations and to foster a supportive ecosystem for innovators
  • Will provide a platform for innovators for building linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in coming years to develop their ideas into implementable projects for the larger social good
  • Help in promoting lateral learning and linkages among the innovators to enrich the ecosystem for sharing of ideas
  • Provide a window to showcase creative and innovative solutions for social development through innovation emerging from grassroots, student ideas and other technologies. These innovations can positively impact fields such as agriculture, rural development, sanitation, health, women and child development, biotechnology and medicine.
  • FINE also includes an “In-Residence” Program as part of which a batch of ten innovation scholars will stay within the President’s Estate and will be provided mentoring as well as opportunities for idea sharing with key stakeholders.

Personality in News:

Smt. D.K. Pattammal:

  • Rose to become one of the female trinity of Carnatic music, the other two being the legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi and iconic M.L. Vasanta Kumari
  • Carved out a path as a professional musician against all social odds – was a self-taught musician with no formal gurukula training. She had a remarkable musical ear that enabled her to absorb the nuances of classical music effortlessly.

Rajagopalan Vasudevan

  • Recognized with a Padma Shri in 2018
  • A professor from Madurai who developed and patented an innovative method to reuse plastic waste in the construction of roads. The roads made using this method are more durable, water resistant and load bearing.
  • At the same time he has found a constructive use for the ballooning problem of plastic waste. This technology has already been used to lay over 5,000 kilometers of roads across 11 states.

Arvind Gupta: Recognized with a Padma Shri in 2018, for inspiring generations of students to learn Science from Trash by using household materials and garbage to make toys for scientific experiments

Chintakindi Mallesham: Recognized with a Padma Shri in 2017,for inventing the Laxmi ASU Machine which significantly reduced the time and labour required to weave Sarees.

Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

Was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, an incurable motor neurone disease, and given two years to live.

First breakthrough was in the work he did for his PhD thesis: The expanding universe and the unstoppable collapse of a black hole under its own gravity present two extreme spectacles for the physicist to grapple with. Inspired by Roger Penrose’s ideas on the latter, Hawking came up with a singularity theorem for the universe. This work and its extensions, known as the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems, brought him international acclaim.

Formulated the laws of black hole mechanics, which resemble the laws of thermodynamics with two others: Thinking along these lines led him to a contradiction — that this theory predicted that black holes would exude radiation, whereas in a purely classical picture, nothing could escape the black hole, not even light. He resolved this contradiction by invoking quantum mechanics. The radiation of the black hole was named Hawking radiation. Rather than being voids producing nothing at all, black holes actually glow.

Helped confirm the Big Bang theory: Drawing once again from Einstein’s equations, he and Penrose showed that 13.8 billion years ago the universe emerged violently from a single compressed point no bigger than an atom

His best-selling book describing in non-technical terms the structure, development and fate of the universe: A Brief History of Time

Are You Ready For A Big Dose of Inspiration?

“Black holes are not the eternal prisons they were once thought,” he said. “Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly come out in another universe. If you feel you are trapped in a black hole, don’t give up. There is a way out.”

In 2007, when he was 65, Stephen Hawking took part in a zero-gravity flight. Asked why he took such risks, he said, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

The Importance of Having a Sense of Humor: “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

Quotes: For Essay & Mains

Mahatma Gandhi: Literacy in itself is no education. Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning. By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit.

Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

On Education

  • India needs education system with greater emphasis on Indian history, heritage and culture. Education system must inculcate strong ethical, moral and humanistic values. While acquiring knowledge from across the globe, the students must remain rooted to India’s glorious culture, traditions, ethos and heritage.
  • Education does not end with mere acquisition of knowledge or degrees. It is aimed at holistic development of an individual, who will be able to face the challenges of a fast-changing world with vision of a seer and temperament of a scientist.
  • Education must help in building the character, capacity, calibre and promoting proper conduct. It is for empowerment, enlightenment, enhancement of knowledge and to seek gainful employment.
  • People in education sector should address the critical issues in our education system like high dropout ratio especially at secondary and tertiary level, obsolete syllabus and conventional pedagogy, lack of industry-institute linkage, lack of research awareness and shortage of trained teachers.

On Agriculture

Six possible drivers of income for farmers’ growth, and sincere implementation of which would double farmers’ income by 2022:

  1. Diversification of farm activities towards high-value crops and enterprises
  2. Improving irrigation facilities to double productivity
  3. Better price realization for farmers through competitive markets, value chains and improved linkage between field and fork.
  4. Improvement in the terms of trade for agriculture
  5. Technology up gradation
  6. Shifting cultivators from farming to non-farm occupations

On Housing: Right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution to include the right to shelter

For Match the Following type questions from this detailed table:

The Government has plans for upgradation of 100 Adarsh monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

Sl. No. Name of State Adarsh Monuments Phase –I (Approved) Adarsh Monuments Phase –II (Approved)
1. Andhra Pradesh Virabhadra Temple, Lepakshi Dist. Anantpur (NT)
      Bhuddist Remains, Salihundum (NT)
2. Arunachal Pradesh
3. Assam Rang Ghar, Sibsagar (T)
4.  Bihar Vaishali – Kolhua (T) Sher Shah’s Tomb, Sasaram(T)
      Excavated Remains at Nalanda     (T)
5. Chhattisgarh Lakshman Temple, Sirpur, Dist. Mahasamund (T)
6. Goa Church of St. Augustine, Old Goa (NT)
7 Gujarat Rani-Ki-Vav, Patan (T) Champaner Monument, Champaner (T)
      Archaeological Remains of  a Harappan Port Town, Lothal (NT)
      Diu Fort (NT)
      Dholavira (NT)
      Sun Temple, Modhera( T)
8 Haryana Shikh Chilli’s Tomb (T)
      Jal Mahal, Narnual (NT)
9 Himachal Pradesh Masrur Rock Cut Temple (T)
10 Jammu & Kashmir Martand Temple , Kashmir (NT) Pari Mahal, Srinagar (NT)
    Leh Palace, Leh (T) Ram Nagar Palace (T)
11 Jharkhand Ancient Tank and excavated remains, Benisagar, Dist. Singhbhumi (NT)
12 Karnataka Group of monuments at Hampi (T) Dariya Daulat Bagh, Shrirangpattnam (NT)
    Group of Temples, Pattdakal (T) Group of Temples, Aihole (T)
      Fort Bidar, Dist. Bidar (NT)
      Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalal, Belur   (NT)
      Shravanbelagola (NT)
      Gol- Gumbaz, Bijapur (T)
13 Kerala Bekal Fort (T)
      Kudakaliu Parabmu, Thrissur (NT)
      St. Anjelo Fort, Kannur, Kerala (NT)
      St. Francis Church, Cochin (NT)
14 Madhya Pradesh Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho (T) Budhhist Monuments at Sanchi (T)
    Royal Palace, Mandu (T) Pre-historic rock shelters of Bhimbetka (NT)
      Group of Temples at Amarkantak (NT)
      Gwalior Fort, Gwalior (T)
      Shiva Temple, Bhojpur. (NT)
15 Maharashtra Elephenta Caves (T) Aga Khan Palace, Pune (NT)
    Daultabad Fort (T) Ajanta Caves (T)
      Ellora Caves (T)
      Tomb of Rabia-Duarani (Bibi-ka-Maqbara) (T)
      Buddhist Cavs, Kanheri (T)
16 Manipur
17 Meghalaya
18 Mizoram Vangchina Group of Monuments, Mizoram (NT)
19 Nagaland Remains of a fort (Dimapur Ruins), Dimapur (NT)
20 Odisha (Orissa) Sun Temple, Konark (T) Udaygiri-Khandgiri, Caves (T)
21 Punjab Noar Mahal ki Sarai (NT)
      Tombs of Mohammad Momin and of Haji Jamal (NT)
      Sanghol, Ropar (NT)
      Dakkani Sarai (NT)
22. Rajasthan Kumbhal Garh Fort (T) Deeg Palace, Jaipur (T)
      Chittorgarh Fort (T)
      Ranthambhore Fort (NT)
      Arthuna Group of Temples (NT)
      Sas Bahu Temple, Nagda (NT)
23. Sikkim
24. Tamil Nadu Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram (T) Vellore Fort (NT)
    Bahadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur (NT) Caves, Sittannavasal (T)
      Fort Gingee . (T)
      Muvarkoil with surrounding sub-shrines, stone enclosure and stone well in the north-east corner (T)
      Kailash Nath Temple, Kanchipuram (NT)
25. Telangana (from June 2, 2014)` Golkonda Fort (T)
      Ramappa Temple (NT)
26. Tripura Sculptures and rock-cut relief of Unakuti Tirtha, Unakuti Range (NT)
27. Uttar Pradesh Taj Mahel, Agra (T) Rani Jhansi Fort, Jhansi (T)
    Fatehpur Sikri (T) Residency, Lucknow (T)
    Sravasti (T) Kalinjar Fort (T)
    Sarnath (T) Agra Fort (T)
      Akbar’s Tomb (T)
      Itimad-Ud-Oaula’s Tomb (T)
      Site, Stupa & Monastery of the Sakyas, Priprahwa (NT)
      Lal Khan Tomb, Rajghat, Varanasi (NT)
      Kushinagar (NT)
28. Uttarakhand Jogeshwara Temple (NT) Lakhamandal (NT)
      Sun Temple, Katarmal (NT)
      Baijnath Temple (NT)
      Gopeshwar (NT)
29. West Bengal Hazardwari Place (T) Adina Masjid (NT)
      Temples at Bishnupur (T)
      Koch Bihar Palace (T)
30. Delhi Humayun’s Tomb (T) Safdarjung Tomb (T)
    Red Fort (T) Purana Qila (T)
    Qutb Complex (T)  

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