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IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 15th April to 21st April, 2018

  • IASbaba
  • April 24, 2018
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 15th to 21st April, 2018

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GS-2

Scheme of Electoral Bonds

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

Electoral Bond is a bearer instrument in the nature of a Promissory Note.

  • The Purchaser is allowed to buy electoral bond (s) only on due fulfilment of all the extant KYC norms and by making payment from a bank account. The Bond does not carry the name of payee or any other details by which the buyer can be identified.
  • Likewise no detail of political party depositing the bonds is noted on the electoral bonds. Thus, any particular bond cannot be identified or associated with any particular buyer or political party deposits it.  
  • The Electoral Bonds have some built in security features to eliminate chances of forgery or presentation of fake bonds. These include a random serial number invisible to the naked eye. This number is not noted by the SBI in any record associated with buyer or political party depositing a particular electoral bond. It is, thus not linked to any party transaction when the Bank issues a bond to the buyer. As such the number is not being used or can be used to track the donation or the buyer.

Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi writes to Chief Ministers of all States/UTs highlighting necessary steps for dealing with sexual offences

(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States)

  • All police officers should be re-trained on various aspects of sexual offences particularly those related to collection and preservation of evidence.
  • Instructions may be issued to all police officers that utmost priority is to be given to complete the investigation of cases of sexual offences against children strictly as per the timelines of Law.
  • State Governments must take strict action against those police officers who are found to be obstructing the investigation or colluding with the perpetrators of such cases.
  • A quick and timely professional investigation is the only method in which a potential offender can be deterred but this can be done only by the states as the police department is the state subject. Forming a special cell only for sexual offences or specially for sexual offences on children, would be a significant step in this regard.

Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for a New India (DARPAN) Project

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

Aims: To connect all 1.29 lakh Rural Branch Post Offices in the country, to enable them to do online Postal and Financial Transactions

Hand held devices with SIM connectivity and solar power backup are being installed in all Branch Post Offices in the Country.

The total project cost is more than Rs.1300 crores. 61,941 Branch Post Offices have been rolled out under DARPAN Project.


Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

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

Aim: A nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages

Since its inception in 2000, has been able to provide connectivity to 1,52,124 habitations (85.37% against 1,78,184 eligible habitations).

Improving roads, improving lives: PMGSY not only strives to build roads but good quality roads.

Transparency: The scheme has put in place a Citizen Feedback system through the MeriSadak App. This provides a direct interfa ce with the citizens and this G2C platform enables citizens to provide real time feedback on the implementation of the PMGSY programme.

Green roads: Use of non-conventional, locally available construction materials (waste plastic, cold mix, fly ash, jute and coir geo-textiles, iron and copper slag, cell filled concrete, panelled cement concrete etc.) and “Green Technologies” have been encouraged for climate resilient roads in PMGSY.

Use of IT: Satellite imagery is being used to verify the completion of road length being reported by States on the programme software i.e. OMMAS as well as to verify habitation connectivity.  Further use of geo spatial technology for mapping rural roads built under PMGSY are being geo mapped using remote sensing technology, through NRSC and CGARD –NIRD.

Key Priorities for PMGSY for financial year 2018-19

  • Accordingly, Ministry has set a target of construction of 61,000 kms road length by providing connectivity to 19,725 habitations during the financial year 2018-19.
  • Similarly, a target of about 12,000 kms has been set for construction of roads using green technologies.
  • During the financial year 2018-19, about 8,670 inspections of National Quality Monitors and 35,630 inspections of State Quality Monitors are targeted to be completed.

Visit of Prime Minister of India to Sweden

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

A new trend in Indian diplomacy — Collective engagement with key regional groups

In Stockholm, Modi met the leaders of the Nordic group — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — both collectively and individually. This marks an end to the prolonged Indian neglect of a very important sub-region that has always punched way above its weight in the world.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart has agreed upon a joint action plan (JAP) for both countries to take forward a wide range of initiatives in defence, trade and investment, counterterrorism, renewable energy, smart cities, women’s skill development, space and science and healthcare.
  • Characterising the JAP as a “win-win partnership” for New Delhi and Stockholm, Mr. Modi underscored the critical role of the defence sector and security initiatives as a pillar of the bilateral relationship.
  • On counterterrorism, Mr. Modi and Mr. Löfven emphasised that the global counterterrorism legal framework should be regularly updated to address the changing threat of terrorism with strength.
  • Under the Sweden-India Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future, the Swedish government will kick start Innovation Partnership by providing up to 50 million Swedish kronor (over $59 million) for innovation cooperation in the field of smart cities and sustainability.

Sweden India Joint Action Plan

To further promote bilateral cooperation, they decided on the following India-Sweden Joint Action Plan, under which India and Sweden, through relevant ministries, agencies and actors, aim to:

Innovation

  • Initiate a multi-stake holder Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future, underpinning our mutual commitment to drive prosperity and growth and address societal challenges such as climate change and sustainable development through innovation.
  • Carry out dialogue and cooperative activities in the field of intellectual property rights under the MoU signed between the Swedish Patent Registration Office and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of India.

Trade and investment

  • Encourage trade and facilitate investment in both directions, such as Sweden’s investment in India through ‘Invest India’ and Indian investment in Sweden through ‘Business Sweden’. –
  • Encourage the work of the India-Sweden Business Leaders Round Table (ISBLRT) to further strengthen India-Sweden business cooperation within inter alia smart cities, digitization, skills development and defence, and to move its relations, ideas, partnerships and recommendations forward.

Smart Cities and Next Generation Transport

  • Exchange knowledge and explore cooperation on smart cities, including transit-oriented urban development, air pollution control, waste management, waste-to-energy, waste-water treatment, district cooling and circular economy, including through dialogue and capacity building. –
  • Exchange know-how and explore cooperation in the areas of electro-mobility as well as renewable fuels.
  • Exchange know-how and explore cooperation in the area of railways, such as railway policy development, safety, training and operation and maintenance of railways.

Smart, sustainable and renewable energy

  • Engage and seek mutual collaboration on the demonstration and development of smart grid technologies such as smart metering, demand response, power quality management, distribution automation, electric vehicle/charging infrastructure as well as renewable integration, through research, capacity building, policy cooperation and learning on market design prerequisites including business models.
  • Expand research, innovation and business cooperation on new innovative energy technologies through the India-Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator, focusing on technologies to utilise renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Women’s skills development and empowerment

  • Encourage joint efforts towards women’s empowerment by skilling employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women through projects such as “Kraftsamla”- a project undertaken by Swedish and Indian actors in Pune, Maharashtra which provides skills training for women in jobs suitable for industry such as forklift drivers, warehouse managers, assembly operators and more.

Defence

  • Explore the finalization of a bilateral agreement on exchange and mutual protection of classified information for cooperation in the defence area.
  • Enhance Indo-Swedish dialogue on defence cooperation. Proceed with India-Sweden defence seminars in India and Sweden in 2018-19 and explore, together with the ISBLRT, opportunities for investment in Defence Production Corridors in India
  • Encourage industry partners to develop supply chains for small and medium sized enterprises (SME) with major Defence & Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)

Space and science

  • Acknowledge the importance of bilateral cooperation on space research, technology, innovation and applications. Encourage the space agencies and other space entities to enhance space cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding, particularly in Earth observation, planetary exploration and satellite ground station activities, through inter alia an Indo-Swedish Space Seminar and a visit by an Indian delegation to Swedish space establishments.
  • Explore possible collaboration between the European Spallation Source (ESS), hosted by Sweden, and Indian partners.

Health and Life Sciences

  • Enhance collaboration on the priority issues identified in the field of health, such as health research, pharmacovigilance and anti-microbial resistance, under the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of health care and public health.

India-US Strategy Energy Partnership Joint Statement

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

The Partnership affirms the strategic importance of energy cooperation to the U.S.-India bilateral relationship and sets the stage for deeper and more meaningful engagements through government and industry channels.

  • Through the Partnership, the United States and India collectively seek to enhance energy security, expand energy and innovation linkages across our respective energy sectors, bolster our strategic alignment, and facilitate increased industry and stakeholder engagement in the energy sector.
  • Under the Partnership, the United States and India will pursue four primary pillars of cooperation:
      • Oil and Gas
      • Power and Energy Efficiency
      • Renewable Energy and Sustainable Growth
      • Coal
    • Elevates the role of energy in advancing shared goals, including
  • universal energy access,
  • strengthened energy security
  • increased energy efficiency.

The Partnership will create important opportunities for advancing favorable policies and commercial investments in support of these goals, including in natural gas markets.

  • India and the United States are engaged in the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for cooperation concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which represents an important milestone in our strategic relationship.

UK-India Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister to UK

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

UK and India share a global outlook and commitment to a rules-based international system that strongly opposes unilateral actions that seek to undermine that system through force or coercion.

The United Kingdom and India will make commitments to help create a more sustainable, prosperous, secure and fairer future for all Commonwealth citizens by taking action:

  • To promote coordinated global action to tackle plastic pollution including through the Commonwealth and India’s role as host of World Environment Day 2018
  • To provide practical support to help Commonwealth member-states boost cyber security capacity;
  • To help Commonwealth member-states implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement by providing technical assistance and increased support for the Commonwealth Small States’ offices.

India Signs Loan agreement with World Bank for usd 48 million for Meghalaya Community – Led Landscapes Management Project:

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

Objective of the Project: To strengthen community-led landscapes management in selected landscapes in the State of Meghalaya.

The Project consists of three components:

  • Strengthening Knowledge and Capacity for Natural Resource Management
  • Community-led landscape planning and implementation
  • Project Management and Governance

Why Meghalaya?

Meghalaya’s natural resource such as land, water sources and forests is a source of livelihood for a majority of the population in the State. The Project will help manage these depleting resources, by strengthening the communities and traditional institutions. Restoration of degraded and highly degraded landscapes under the Project will increase water for local communities and improve the soil productivity which will in turn increase incomes and reduce poverty.


GS-3

Launch of Star-Rating Protocol of Garbage Free Cities

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) focuses on two key objectives-

  • Eradication of open defecation
  • 100% scientific solid waste management (SWM) across all 4041 statutory towns and cities

The 7-star rating is innovatively designed on a SMART (Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification and Targeted towards outcomes) approach – making it the first-of-its kind rating tool for assessing cleanliness of cities and towns in India. The system, based on 12 parameters, builds on the spirit of healthy competition among cities and the aspirations of cities to progress towards higher standards of “Swachhata” and its sustainability.

It is a single metric rating system, based on 12 parameters:

  1. Door-to- Door Collection
  2. Segregation at source
  3. Sweeping of public, commercial and residential areas (no visible eyesores on
  4. streets)
  5. Waste Storage Bins, Litter Bins and material recovery facility
  6. Bulk Waste Generators compliance
  7. Scientific Waste Processing, Scientific Landfilling and C&D Waste Management
  8. User Fees, Penalties, Spot Fines for littering and Enforcement of Ban on Plastic
  9. Citizen grievance redressal and feedback system
  10. Eradication of crude dumping of garbage and dump remediation
  11. Cleaning of storm drains and surface of water bodies
  12. Waste Reduction
  13. Visible beautification in the city.

Key Features of 7-star rating-Designed on a SMART approach:

  • SINGLE METRIC – Rating criteria encapsulates all components of MSWM as well as plastic waste, waste in drains and water bodies
  • MEASURABLE – Criteria under each star rating has measurable parameters (e.g.% of HHs covered by D2D collection, % of waste processed, etc.)
  • ACHIEVABLE – Each criteria and associated parameter has been devised to ensure that it is realistically achievable by cities.
  • RIGOROUS VERIFICATION – Robust 2-step verification mechanism of both self-declaration and third party verification. Cities rated 1, 2 and 4-star must carry out self-assessment and self-verification, while 3-star, 5-star and 7-star cities will need to be certified through an independent third party. Moreover, a city should be ODF before going for 3-star and above certification.
  • TARGETED TOWARDS OUTCOMES – Based on verifiable outcomes rather than inputs and processes (e.g. remediation of dumpsites, regular sweeping, collection of user charges, etc.)

Strengths of star rating protocol

  • Outcome-based tool rather than process based, hence will enable institutionalization of good practices such as source segregation, scientific waste processing, penalties & spot fines for littering, and compliance of bulk waste generators, etc.
  • Designed to enable cities to gradually evolve into a model (7-star) city, with progressive improvements in their overall cleanliness
  • At the 7-star level, 3R components of 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) incorporated.

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

Objective: To play a crucial role in addressing the increasing air pollution across the country in a comprehensive manner –

  • comprehensive management plan for prevention,
  • control and abatement of air pollution
  • augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country.

Focuses on:

  • Collaborative and participatory approach covering all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other stakeholders
  • Intensive awareness, training and capacity-building drive, with specific impetus on augmentation of manpower and infrastructure facilities of CPCB and SPCB under the capacity building component of NCAP.

Technology is one of the critical elements of NCAP: solutions that are nationally acceptable, but more importantly, which are locally possible

Key components of NCAP include –

  • City-specific air pollution abatement action plan for 100 polluting cities of the country similar to one for Delhi,
  • Increasing the number of monitoring stations, data dissemination, public participation on planning and implementation
  • Setting up of Air Information Centre for data analysis, resource apportionment studies, setting up of national inventory, guidelines for indoor air pollution and setting up of rural monitoring stations.

Environment Ministry notifies Plastic Waste Management (amendment) rules

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

The amended Rules lay down that the phasing out of Multilayered Plastic (MLP) is now applicable to MLP, which are “non-recyclable, or non-energy recoverable, or with no alternate use.”

  • Prescribe a central registration system for the registration of the producer/importer/brand owner.  
  • Any mechanism for the registration should be automated and should take into account ease of doing business for producers, recyclers and manufacturers.  
  • The centralised registration system will be evolved by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration of the producer/importer/brand owner.  
  • A national registry has been prescribed for producers with presence in more than two states
  • A state-level registration has been prescribed for smaller producers/brand owners operating within one or two states

Framing of New Draft Coastal Regulation Zone Notification

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

The salient features of the draft CRZ Notification, 2018 and changes with respect to CRZ Notification, 2011, are as under:-

  1. The High Tide Line (HTL) has been demarcated by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) and shall be reckoned as a universal standard for the HTL for all regulatory purposes under the CRZ Notification, 2018.
  2. Hazard line mapping has also been carried out by Survey of India.  The Hazard Line has, however, been delinked from the CRZ regulatory regime and shall be used only as a tool for Disaster Management and planning of adaptive and mitigation measures.
  3. CRZ limits on land along the tidal influenced water bodies has been proposed to be reduced from 100 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less, to 50 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less.
  4. A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been proposed to be stipulated for all Islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land.
  5. For CRZ-III areas, two separate categories have been proposed viz.:
  • CRZ-III A – Densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census.  Such areas shall have an NDZ of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the HTL stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
  • CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.
  1. The procedure for CRZ clearances has been simplified and delegations have been made at various levels for recommending/according CRZ clearances to the projects/activities.  Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I & IV areas, shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the MoEF&CC. For all other project activities located in CRZ-II/III areas, CRZ clearance shall be considered at the level of the CZMA.
  2. As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen at 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels.  In the Draft CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been proposed to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification.
  3. Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have been proposed in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also proposed to be permissible in the No Development Zone (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas.
  4. Wherever there is a National or State Level Highway passing through the NDZ in CRZ-III areas, temporary tourism facilities have been proposed to be taken up on the seaward site of the roads.  On the landward side of such roads in the NDZ, Resorts/Hotels and other tourism facilities have also been proposed to be permitted subject to the extant regulations of the concerned State.
  5. Regulated limestone mining is proposed to be permitted, subject to strict Environmental safeguards, in areas adequately above the height of HTL, based on recommendations of reputed National Institutes in the Mining field.

GSLV-F10/Chandrayaan-2 Mission

(Topic: Achievements in Space)

Chandrayaan-2, 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.
  • The mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 weighing around 3290 kg and would orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of 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.

Government’s new policy paying dividends in containing Left Wing Extremism

(Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security)

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been implementing the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ since 2015 to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE). This envisages a multi-pronged strategy involving security and development related measures.

Significant features of the new policy: Zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of development reached the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas.

  • MHA had categorized 106 districts in 10 states as Left Wing Extremism affected. These districts are covered under the Security Related Expenditure Scheme (SRE) of the MHA for the purpose of reimbursement of security related expenditure like transportation, communication, hiring of vehicles, stipend for surrendered Maoists, temporary infrastructure for forces etc. to the states.
  • Out of 106 districts, 35 districts which accounted for 80-90 % of country-wide LWE violence were categorized as ‘Most Affected Districts’. This categorization provided the basis for focused deployment of resources – both security and development related.
  • Over the last few years, a number of districts have been carved into smaller districts. This has resulted in the geographical area of the 106 SRE districts to be spread over 126 districts and that of the 35 most affected districts to be expanded to 36 districts.

Over the last four years, there has been a substantial improvement in the LWE scenario:

  • Incidents of violence have seen a 20% decline with a 34% reduction in related deaths in 2017 as compared to 2013.
  • The geographical spread of LWE violence also shrunk from 76 districts in 2013 to just 58 districts in 2017.
  • Besides, just 30 of these districts account for 90% of the LWE violence in the country. At the same time certain new districts have emerged as the focus of expansion by the Left Wing Extremists.

Please Note:

21st April: Civil Services Day

Kayakalp awards: Awarded for people’s work in maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene in public health facilities

Southwest Monsoon:

Owes its origin to the great difference of temperature which exists during the summer months between the heated land surface of India and the surrounding oceans –

  • The warm air over the land rises
  • Damp air from the sea flows into India to take its place

…thus resulting in the strong south-west winds, the rainfall itself being due to the cooling of the air as it rises over India.

POSHAN Abhiyaan: targets reduction in the level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition related schemes. It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and in this endeavour.

Mandates under National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges

  • Provide policy directions to address India’s nutritional challenges through coordinated inter-sectoral action.
  • Coordinate and review convergence between Ministries.
  • Review programmes for nutrition on a quarterly basis

Atal Amrit Abhiyan: Seeks to provide access to quality medical care to 3.2 crore people

Atal Tinkering Labs: Under the Atal Innovation Mission of the NITI Aayog, they were envisioned as innovative makerspaces, setup across India, in every school, accessible to every child. Equipped with modern technologies to help navigate and impart crucial skills in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the ATLs are at the vanguard of the promoting scientific temper and an entrepreneurial spirit in children today.

‘Study in India’ portal: Institutes of National Importance to be opened to foreign students in the first ever initiative of its kind; 160 Institutions offer 15,000 seats under the programme in the first round

Creation of District Plan: To involve the districts more actively in the growth of the Indian economy and to formulate a common development vision starting from the district level, through a participatory mechanism

  • There is need to create resource based plans, for the districts based on a bottom-up approach and implement the plan by going beyond a silo-ed mind-set.  
  • An addition of 3% growth at the district level will ensure that USD 5 trillion target for the Indian economy becomes achievable.
  • The Plan will provide specific interventions taking into account resources, strengths of the districts, sectoral interventions for agriculture including mapping of cropping pattern, industry including MSME and services relevant for the districts, skilling initiatives, Ease of Doing Business, access to credit and convergence of existing efforts in public and private sectors.
  • Active participation of the State governments and district administration will be sought for effective implementation of the plan.  

e-Vidhan: is a mission mode project to digitize and make the functioning of State Legislatures in India paperless.  It is a part of the broader Digital India Programme of the Government and is likely to contribute to the cleanliness & environment by reducing the use of papers to a great extent.

Cabinet approves the restructured Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan:

  • The approved scheme of RGSA will help more than 2.55 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to develop governance capabilities to deliver on SDGs through inclusive local governance with focus on optimum utilisation of available resources.
  • The key principles of SDGs, i.e. leaving no one behind, reaching the farthest first and universal coverage, along with gender equality will be embedded in the design of all capacity building interventions including trainings, training modules and materials.
  • Priority will be given to subjects of national importance that affects the excluded groups the most, e.g. poverty, primary health services, nutrition, immunization, sanitation, education, water conservation, digital transactions etc.
  • The scheme is designed keeping in view programmatic convergence with Mission Antyodaya GPs and 115 Aspirational districts as identified by NITI Aayog. As Panchayats have representation of Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes and women, and are institutions closest to the grass­roots, strengthening Panchayats will promote equity and inclusiveness, along with Social Justice and economic development of the community.
  • Increased use of e-governance by PRIs will help achieve improved service delivery and transparency. The scheme will strengthen Gram Sabhas to function as effective institutions with social inclusion of citizens particularly the vulnerable groups. It will establish the institutional structure for capacity building of PRIs at the national, state and district level with adequate human resources and infrastructure. Panchayats will progressively be strengthened through incentivisation on the basis of nationally important criteria which will encourage competitive spirit among them.

Personality in News

Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker

  • Was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta
  • He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism
  • His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”.
  • He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts “Atman (Soul, Self) exists”, while Buddhism asserts that there is “no Soul, no Self”.
  • He is reputed to have founded four mathas (“monasteries”), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist

Quotes

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

Education

Advised the students to remember the seven sins mentioned by Mahatma Gandhi –

  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce without morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Religion without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

Agriculture

  • India must equip farmers with knowledge, insights and products.
  • You must ‘dialogue’ with farmers, ‘discover’ new products and practices and ‘disseminate’ new insights and knowledge for development
  • For a better India, we should be serious about –
  • Farmer’s incomes
  • Farm productivity
  • Long term environmental sustainability

Swarajya

  • Translating “legislative intent” into “programmatic content” and demonstrating to the common citizens what “Surajya” actually looks like in day to day administration, the civil services have an enormous opportunity today.
  • A clean, competent, people-friendly, proactive administrative leadership is the need of the hour. There is a need for honest introspection into the effectiveness and efficiency of our administrative structures and processes.

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