IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 29th April to 6th May, 2018

  • IASbaba
  • May 7, 2018
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 29th April to 6th May, 2018



HRD Ministry notifies 75 National Resource Centres (NRCs) for online refresher programmes for Higher Education faculty through SWAYAM

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

For online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM

  • All in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority will have an enabling opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in their disciplines through the technology based online refresher course.
  • It is highly flexible and can be done at one’s own pace and time
  • The NRCs will revolutionize professional development of faculty by catering to massive numbers by leveraging ICT and online technology platform of SWAYAM.

Cabinet approves

Doubling of Investment Limit for Senior Citizens from Rs. 7.5 lakh to Rs.15 lakh under Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY) as part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.

  • Investment limit of Rs 7.5 lakh per family in the existing scheme is enhanced to Rs 15 lakh per senior citizen in the modified PMVVY, thereby providing a larger social security cover to the Senior citizens.  It will enable upto Rs.10000 Pension per month for Senior Citizens.
  • PMVVY is being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
  • The scheme provides an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly / quarterly / half yearly and annual basis. The differential return, i.e. the difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.

Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants: to establish a mutual co-operation framework for

  • The advancement of accounting knowledge
  • Professional and intellectual development
  • Advancing the interests of their respective members
  • Positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession in South Africa and India.

Continuation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana up to 2019-20: Aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary healthcare facilities in different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served States in particular.

  • Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region.
  • Upgradation programme broadly envisages improving health infrastructure through construction of Super Specialty Blocks/Trauma Centers etc. and procurement of medical equipment for existing as well as new facilities on Central and State share basis.
  • Will lead to employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Further, indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS. Expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well.

PMSSY has two components –

  • Setting up of AIIMS-like institutions
  • Up-gradation of existing State Government Medical College (GMCs)

Accession to the Protocol under WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products: It will be applicable to both smoking and chewing or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).  India is a party to WHO FCTC. The protocol:

  • Lays down obligations of the parties. It spells out supply chain control measures that must be adopted by the parties viz. licensing of manufacture of tobacco products and machinery for manufacturing of tobacco products, due diligence to be kept by those engaged in production, tracking and tracing regime, record keeping, security; and measures to be taken by those engaged in e-commerce, manufacturing in free-trade zones and duty free sales.
  • Lists out offences, enforcement measures such as seizures and disposal of seized products
  • Calls for international cooperation in information sharing, maintaining confidentiality, training, technical assistance and cooperation in scientific and technical and technological matters.


  • Elimination of illicit trade in tobacco products through strengthened regulation will help in strengthening comprehensive tobacco control, leading to reduction in tobacco use which in turn, will result in reduction in disease burden and mortality associated with tobacco use.
  • Accession to such treaty will provide actionable alternatives against such prevailing practices that are affecting public health at large.
  • India, being at the forefront of tobacco control, would be able to influence the international organizations including World Custom Organization in controlling such illicit trade.

The protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products is a path breaking initiative in strengthening global action against tobacco and is also a new legal instrument in public health. It is a comprehensive tool to counter and eventually eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products and to strengthen legal dimensions for international health cooperation.


The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO.

Objective: To provide a framework for supply and demand reduction measures for tobacco control at the national, regional and global levels.

Financial assistance to sugar mills for clearing cane dues of farmers:

Why: Due to higher sugar production against the estimated consumption during the current sugar season 2017-18, the domestic sugar prices have remained depressed since the commencement of the season. Due to depressed market sentiments and crash in sugar prices, the liquidity position of sugar mills has been adversely affected, leading to accumulation of cane price dues of farmers which have reached to more than Rs.19,000 crore.

In order to stabilize sugar prices at reasonable level and to improve liquidity position of mills thereby enabling them to clear cane price dues of farmers, Government has taken following steps in past three months:

  • Increased customs duty on import of sugar from 50% to 100% in the interest of farmers.
  • Imposed reverse stock holding limits on producers of sugar for the months of February and March, 2018.
  • Government has also fully withdrawn the customs duty on export of sugar to encourage sugar industry to start exploring possibility of export of sugar.
  • In view of the inventory levels with the sugar industry and to facilitate achievement of financial liquidity, mill-wise Minimum Indicative Export Quotas (MIEQ) have been fixed for sugar season 2017-18. Export Quotas of 20 Lakh tonnes of all grades of sugar; viz. raw, plantation white as well as refined, have been prorated amongst sugar factories by taking into account their average production of sugar achieved by the sugar mills during last two operational sugar seasons and the current season (up to February,2018).
  • Further, to facilitate and incentivize export of surplus sugar by sugar mills, Government has allowed Duty Free Import Authorization (DFIA) Scheme in respect of sugar.

Renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK)

  • The restructured programme would provide better socio economic infrastructure facilities to the minority communities particularly in the field of education, health & skill development as compared to the present situation, which would further lead to lessening of the gap between the national average and the minority communities with regard to backwardness parameters.
  • The flexibility introduced in the programme will enable addressing important issues that would result in speedier implementation leading to greater inclusiveness of the minority communities.
  • The criteria for identification of Minority Concentration Towns and Clusters of Villages have been rationalized by lowering the population percentage criteria of Minority Communities and fulfilment of backwardness parameters in the following manners:-
    • Earlier only those Towns which were found backward in terms of both in Basic Amenities and Socio-economic parameters were taken up as MCTs. Now, the Towns which were found backward in either or both of the criteria have been taken up as MCT.
    • Earlier only those Cluster of Villages which were having at-least 50% population of Minority Community were taken. Now the population criterion has been lowered to 25%.

Continuation of Umbrella Scheme ‘Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana’ in Agriculture Sector:

These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce. The Schemes/Missions focus on creating/strengthening of infrastructure of production, reducing production cost and marketing of agriculture and allied produce.

The Schemes that are part of the Umbrella Schemes are:-

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH):

  • To promote holistic growth of horticulture sector
  • To enhance horticulture production
  • Improve nutritional security and income support to farm Households

National Food Security Mission (NFSM), including National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP):

  • To increase production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops, through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a suitable manner in the identified districts of the country
  • Restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level and enhancing farm level economy
  • Augment the availability of vegetable oils and to reduce the import of edible oils.

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA): Promoting sustainable agriculture practices best suitable to the specific agro-ecology focusing on integrated farming, appropriate soil health management and synergizing resource conservation technology.

Submission on Agriculture Extension (SAME):

  • To strengthen the ongoing extension mechanism of State Governments, local bodies etc., achieving food and nutritional security and socio-economic empowerment of farmers
  • To institutionalize programme planning and implementation mechanism
  • To forge effective linkages and synergy amongst various stake-holders
  • To support HRD interventions
  • To promote pervasive and innovative use of electronic / print media, inter-personal communication and ICT tools, etc.

Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP):

  • To increase production of certified / quality seeds
  • To increase SRR
  • To upgrade the quality of farm saved seeds
  • To strengthen the seed multiplication chain
  • To promote new technologies and methodologies in seed production, processing, testing etc.,
  • To strengthen and modernizing infrastructure for seed production, storage, certification and quality etc.

Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)

  • To increase the reach of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers and to the regions where availability of farm power is low
  • To promote ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ to offset the adverse economies of scale arising due to small landholding and high cost of individual ownership
  • To create hubs for hi-tech and high value farm equipment
  • To create awareness among stakeholders through demonstration and capacity building activities
  • To ensure performance testing and certification at designated testing centres located all over the country.

Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ)

  • To minimize loss to quality and yield of agricultural crops from the ravages of insect pests, diseases, weeds, nematodes, rodents, etc. and to shield our agricultural bio-security from the incursions and spread of alien species
  • To facilitate exports of Indian agricultural commodities to global markets
  • To promote good agricultural practices, particularly with respect to plant protection strategies and strategies.

Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES)

  • To undertake the agriculture census, study of the cost of cultivation of principal crops
  • To undertake research studies on agro-economic problems of the country
  • To fund conferences/workshops and seminars involving eminent economists, agricultural scientists, experts and to bring out papers to conduct short term studies
  • To improve agricultural statistics methodology and to create a hierarchical information system on crop condition and crop production from sowing to harvest.

Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC)

  • To provide financial assistance for improving the economic conditions of cooperatives, remove regional imbalances and to speed up – cooperative development in agricultural marketing, processing, storage, computerization and weaker section programmes
  • To help cotton growers fetch remunerative price for their produce through value addition besides ensuring supply of quality yarn at reasonable rates to the decentralized weavers.

Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM)

  • To develop agricultural marketing infrastructure
  • To promote innovative and latest technologies and competitive alternatives in agriculture marketing infrastructure
  • To provide infrastructure facilities for grading, standardization and quality certification of agricultural produce
  • To establish a nation­wide marketing information network; to integrate markets through a common online market platform to facilitate pan-India trade in agricultural commodities, etc.

National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A):

  • To bring farmer centricity & service orientation to the programmes
  • To enhance reach & impact of extension services
  • To improve access of farmers to information & services throughout crop-cycle
  • To build upon, enhance & integrate the existing ICT initiatives of Centre and States
  • To enhance efficiency & effectiveness of programs through making available timely and relevant information to the farmers for increasing their agriculture productivity.

9th India-Japan Energy Dialogue

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

Both Japan and India, as the third and the seventh largest economies respectively,

  • Recognized that having access to reliable, clean and economical energy is critical for their economic growth and in achieving this, both Ministers agreed on further strengthening of bilateral energy cooperation for energy development of both countries, while also contributing to worldwide energy security, energy access and climate change issues.
  • With a view to implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognized the importance of development and deployment of next generation technologies including hydrogen to realize de-carbonization.
  • Appreciated the relevance of the grid stability given the high penetration of variable renewable energy. Both countries agreed to initiate the discussion towards development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) by collaborating with “Policy dialogue on next generation/Zero emission vehicles”.
  • Reiterated the continued importance of coal-based electricity generation in the energy mix in both the countries and also agreed to promote the cooperation on environmental measures for coal-fired power plants.
  • Confirmed their commitment to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets and affirmed to promote transparent and diversified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market through the relaxation of destination clause.


First ever Ladies Special train in the world: Ran between Churchgate and Borivali on 5th May, 1992

Exercise Harimau Shakti 2018: Between the Indian Army and the Malaysian Army

Oldest scientific department in the country: Survey of India set up in 1767

Has been brought on board to facilitate the Ganga rejuvenation task by using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology – to strengthen planning and implementation at national/state/local levels

  • Use of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) technology would ensure accurate data collection, an important aspect for river basin management planning, and enable identification of entire topography of an area making it easy for policy makers to analyse the available data thereby supporting the decision-making process.
  • Critical hotspots are also easily identified through this technology.
  • Will also ensure decentralisation- The data collected and subsequent actions taken by the government can easily be shared with the local public through geo portals and mobile apps.
  • The technology will also enable people to send their feedback up to the national level thereby providing an interactive and transparent platform.
  • For effective discharge management, outlet of sewerage and other discharges from all units – industrial, commercial and all types of other institutions will be mapped from the source outlet to the public drainage network.
  • High resolution GIS enabled data will help in regulating the proposed protected and regulatory zones along the banks of river.

NITI Aayog to Collaborate with IBM: To develop a crop yield prediction model using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide real time advisory to farmers in Aspirational Districts. The partnership aims to work together towards use of technology to provide insights to farmers to improve crop productivity, soil yield, control agricultural inputs with the overarching goal of improving farmers’ incomes.

  • Scope of this project: To introduce and make available climate-aware cognitive farming techniques and identifying systems of crop monitoring, early warning on pest/disease outbreak based on advanced AI innovations.
  • Includes deployment of weather advisory, rich satellite and enhanced weather forecast information along with IT & mobile applications with a focus on improving the crop yield and cost savings through better farm management
  • 10 Aspirational Districts: Across the States of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh

Buddha Purnima:

  • Marks the birthday of Lord Buddha
  • Constitution also takes inspiration from the teachings of Lord Buddha and emphasizes equality, justice and liberty for all citizens.


  • Land of Adi Shankara, the greatest exponent of Advaita philosophy
  • Land of Cheraman Juma Masjid, the very first mosque in India
  • Land of Thomas the Apostle who walked this land in the sixth century AD
  • Land where the Hindu rulers like Sthanu Ravi Varma of Venad gifted a plot of land in the 9th century AD to build a church.

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas

  • Run by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti under Union Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Navodaya Vidyalayas were started in 1986 to provide modern quality education to the talented children predominantly from rural areas and that have produced, for many years, excellent results.
  • The concept of opening a JNV in every district of India was born as a part of the National Policy on Education, 1986 with an aim of providing excellence coupled with social justice

GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) – DHAN scheme: The scheme aims to positively impact village cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste

  • Create new rural livelihood opportunities
  • Enhance income for farmers and other rural people
  • Generation of energy from cattle waste

The scheme envisages the implementation of 700 bio-gas units in different states of the country in 2018-19.

Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) comprises two main components for creating clean villages –

  • Creating open defecation free (ODF) villages
  • Managing solid and liquid waste in villages

Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’- Saubhagya: To achieve universal household electrification in the country by 31st December 2018.

National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC): Repository of nation-wide water resources data

  • To provide a ‘Single Window’ source of updated data on water resources & allied themes
  • Provide value added products and services to all stakeholders for its management and sustainable development
  • To empower, inform and enrich every citizen with up-to-date and reliable water data (other than classified data) and information through web based India Water Resources Information System (India-WRIS) on a GIS platform in Public Domain
  • To develop value added products and services for all aspects of integrated water resources management serving the nation through research, capacity building, linkages, outreach and better governance in water resources sector.
  • Collaborate with leading research institutes nationally as well as internationally to provide technical support to other central and state organizations dealing with water, emergency response for hydrological extremes.

Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 (RERA): Seeks to protect the interests of home buyers and also boost investments in the real estate sector

  • To create a more equitable and fair transaction between the seller and the buyer of properties, especially in the primary market
  • To make real estate purchase simpler, by bringing in better accountability and transparency, provided that states do not dilute the provisions and the spirit of the central act.
  • Will give the Indian real estate industry its first regulator – The Real Estate Act makes it mandatory for each state and union territory, to form its own regulator and frame the rules that will govern the functioning of the regulator.

Maharashtra was the first & the only state in India to commence on-line registration of new & ongoing Real Estate projects on the mid-night of 30th April/1stMay 2017. Maharashtra is also the only state in India so far to have the maximum number of Real Estate projects (more than 16,000) registered.

RERA Explained: Link 1


Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation –

On Education: “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any”.

On Sustainable development: The earth has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.”

Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President of India:

On Research & Development: Research and Innovation is the bedrock of advancing knowledge, and knowledge alone holds the key to finding solutions to the problems we face in our world, nation and society.

On Healthcare & Disease Control: As societies evolve, economies develop and population patterns change, countries go through epidemiological transitions. India too is experiencing such a transition. It is marked by three challenges in disease control. And we have to manage all three simultaneously.

First, India has to reduce maternal and infant mortality as well as communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, vector-borne diseases such as malaria, water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, and vaccine-preventable like measles and tetanus.

Second, India has to find an answer to the rise in non-communicable or lifestyle diseases – like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many cancers.

Third, we need to develop systems to detect and cope with new and re-emerging infectious diseases like HIV, avian flu and H1N1 influenza. In a globalised world, with people travelling in and out of our country in larger and larger numbers, a few small cases can very quickly scale up into a large outbreak.

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