IASbaba Press Information Bureau 5th to
11th August, 2018
National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 Passed in Parliament
(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Amendment: 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017
- It seeks to grant the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
- The Bill seeks to remove the power of the NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.
The NCBC is a body set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. It has the power to examine complaints regarding inclusion or exclusion of groups within the list of backward classes, and advise the central government in this regard.
Composition and service conditions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will comprise of five members appointed by the President. Their tenure and conditions of service will also be decided by the President through rules.
- Investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented
- Inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights
- Advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes. The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
- Powers of a civil court: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints. These powers include:
- Summoning people and examining them on oath
- Requiring production of any document or public record
- Receiving evidence
Impact assessment of development in Gram Panchayats
(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
By: Ministry of Panchayati Raj
Why: To assess the effectiveness of utilization of Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) grants by selected Gram Panchayats (GPs) in eight States viz. Assam, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh during 2017
Main focus areas of CRM:
- Availability of fiscal resources in the Panchayats
- Transfer of FFC grants
- Devolution of functions
- Convergence of schemes
- Timely transfer of funds to GPs
- Effective utilization of the funds in basic services
- Preparation of plans and public perception
- Maintenance of records including accounts
- Transparency and accountability
New Defence Production Policy
(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
In the Budget Speech 2018, Government has announced that it will bring out an industry friendly Defence Production Policy 2018 to promote domestic production by public sector, private sector and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The salient features of the Draft Policy which is already placed in public domain for consultation with stakeholders is as follows:
- Creation of a dynamic, robust and competitive defence and aerospace industry as an important part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- Creation of a tiered defence industrial ecosystem in the country.
- Reducing current dependence on imports and strive to achieve self-reliance in development and manufacture of weapon systems / platforms
- Transfer of Technology or enhanced Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for domestic production in the event of non-availability of manufacturing capabilities in the country.
- Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) should focus on system integration, design and development, and actively engage domestic vendors in the private sector for other assembly work.
Draft National Forest Policy, 2018
The basic thrust of the draft National Forest Policy of 2018 is for conservation, protection and management of forests along with addressing other issues associated with forest and forest management.
- To protect the interest of tribals, the Draft Policy of 2018 proposes to launch Community Forest Management Mission for management of community forest resources though a participatory forest management approach.
- Specific provisions have been made in the draft policy to ensure that the interests of local communities are protected and also provisions are made to consider them as partner in management of forests.
- Forest rights of tribals and others traditional forest dwellers are safeguarded under a separate Act, namely, “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Right) Act, 2006” (Forest Rights Act, 2006) which recognizes and vests the forest rights of the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be vested.
Extension of the term of the Commission to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes in the Central List
MoU between India and Indonesia on Health cooperation:
- Research and development, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and IT-based medical equipment
- Human Resource Development
- Health services
MoU between India and Canada on collaboration among Chartered Accountant Institutions
MoU between India and Korea on Trade Remedy Cooperation: Promote cooperation between the two countries in the area of trade remedies viz. anti-dumping, subsidy and countervailing and safeguard measures, which will enhance the bilateral trade relations.
MoU between India and Indonesia on Scientific and Technological Cooperation: To promote cooperation in the fields of science and technology between India and Indonesia on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
MoU signed between TRIFED (M/o Tribal Affairs) and National Medicinal Plant Board (M/o AYUSH) to promote Medicinal and Aromatic Plants forest produce for livelihood development among tribals
Aim: To promote Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) forest produce for livelihood development of tribal people by promoting primary level value addition to MAPs produce from forest area at grassroots level.
- While tribal people have been growing medicinal plants, they are as yet unaware of the actual value of their produce. This MoU will help them realise the potential of their produce and help them achieve the true remuneration of their product.
- Since most of the tribal people are associated with farming, this MoU is also a step in the direction of achieving the vision of Prime Minister of Van Dhan and doubling the income of farmers.
The activities proposed to be supported by NMPB under the MoU are as follows:
- To identify potential Medicinal plant species of the tribal areas.
- To support training and awareness program on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) & Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP).
- Support skill upgradation and capacity building.
- Facilitate and render financial assistance for plantations and nursery development for MAPs through the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra SHGs.
- Facilitate standardising norms for MAPs, render assistance for establishing of research and testing centre.
The activities proposed to be supported by TRIFED under the MoU are as follows:
- Establishment of the ‘Van-Dhan Vikas Kendra’ specifically for Medicinal plants & its products, for providing skill upgradation and capacity building including training in primary processing and primary processing facility.
- Creation of Van Dhan SHGs clusters under the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra that would undertake primary value addition of the MFPs based on MFPs available in the area and provide facility for MAPs raw material primary processing i.e cleaning, packaging & storage facility etc.
- Setting-up of primary processing facility, infrastructure support and value addition facility for MAPs.
- Supply chain for Minor Forest Produce (MFPs)
- Provision of working capital for the SHGs through tie up with financial institutions and other organizations.
- To establish herbal garden of various types to develop and promote the usefulness of commonly available and frequently used Medicinal Plants through SHGs involved in Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.
- Research and Development studies on Medicinal Plants collected by MFP gatherers. In consultation with NMPB and TRIs
- For standardising norms for MAPs, setting up Research and testing centres.in consultation with NMPB.
National Energy Storage Mission
(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy)
Energy Storage is one of the most crucial & critical components of India’s energy infrastructure strategy and also for supporting India’s sustained thrust to renewables.
Objective: To strive for leadership in energy storage sector by creating an enabling policy and regulatory framework that encourages manufacturing, deployment, innovation and further cost reduction.
NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute’s joint report on India’s Energy Storage Mission has proposed three stage solution approach –
- Creating an environment for battery manufacturing growth
- Scaling supply chain strategies
- Scaling of battery cell manufacturing
Key areas for energy storage application include:
- Integrating renewable energy with distribution and transmission grids;
- Setting Rural micro grids with diversified loads or stand-alone systems; and
- Developing Storage component of electric mobility plans.
Global Innovation Index, GII- 2018:
NITI Aayog to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII – India ranked number one on ICT service exports
- Transform India’s Innovation Ecosystem by formulating a New Innovation Policy to attract R&D investment into cutting edge technologies and build appropriate infrastructure and institutions
- Tap Global hotspots of Innovation in latest technologies like AI, Blockchain and Robotics etc.
- Connect Tinkering labs in schools with start-ups, business and high end educational institutions
- Target efficient, productive and outcome driven R&D in the Government Sector
Kaziranga National Park: Assam
- Hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site
- Declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006
- Home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
- Recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.
Highest tiger density: In Orang National Park, Assam
Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim: Becomes 11th Biosphere Reserve from India to be included in the UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
- One of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level. It includes a range of ecolines, varying from sub-tropic to Arctic, as well as natural forests in different biomes that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats.
- India has 18 Biosphere Reserves and with the inclusion of Khangchendzonga, the number of internationally designated WNBR has become 11, with 7 Biosphere Reserves being domestic Biosphere Reserves.
PARIVESH – Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub
- An environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances
- Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.
- Offers a framework to generate economic growth and strengthens Sustainable Development through EGovernance, he also stated that with automatic highlighting of non-compliance by the system, PARIVESH helps in improving the overall performance and efficiency of the whole appraisal process.
‘Adopt a Heritage’ project:
Focusses on providing basic public conveniences and amenities which include cleanliness, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardized signage, illumination and advanced amenities such as surveillance system, night viewing facilities, tourism facilitation center, etc.
Aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.
Primary objectives of the project include:
- To develop basic and advanced tourism infrastructure in and around heritage monuments and any other tourist sites in collaboration with the public/private sector.
- To promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods of local communities of respective heritage site/monument/tourist site.
- To develop sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensuring proper Operations and Maintenance therein and thus increase the attractiveness of the tourist destinations.
Bye-election: To fill elected offices that have become vacant between general elections
‘Halkaa’: The film that has been made under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)
Exercise Maitree: Joint military exercise between Indian Army and Royal Thai Army
Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) and Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage – two IT initiatives of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry that are aimed at expediting pre construction processes relating to bidding and land acquisition respectively.
NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as ‘Aspirational Districts’: These districts have been selected on the basis of composite index which includes published data of deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census, Health &Nutrition, Education and Basic Infrastructure.
Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA):
Central assistance is provided for opening of new Model Degree Colleges(MDCs) in ‘Aspirational Districts’ identified by NITI Aayog and in unserved & underserved districts in North Eastern and Himalayan States.
- Support provided under the component of new MDCs is infrastructural in nature in which funds are released for creation of Colleges with requisite infrastructure such as appropriate number of class rooms, library, laboratory, faculty rooms, toilet blocks and other essential requirements for technologically advanced facilities
- Commitment is given by the State Governments that all recurring expenditure (including salaries) in respect of the MDC being established, will be borne by the respective State Government.
- Under a separate component of RUSA viz., Faculty Recruitment Support, central support is provided for creation of additional posts of Assistant Professors subject to specific norms and approved period of the scheme (i.e. upto 31st March 2020).
Ishan Vikas and Ishan Uday schemes: For the students of North Eastern region
- Ishan Vikas is coordinated by IIT, Guwahati and under the programme, selected school children from North Eastern States are brought in close contact with the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) during the vacation period to motivate them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to facilitate internship opportunities for the engineering college students in various institutes of national importance.
- Under Ishan Uday Scholarship Scheme, scholarship is provided to the economically backward students from the North East Region for pursuing general degree courses, technical and professional degree courses.
Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme for Electronics and Information Technology (IT):
- To enhance the number of PhDs in Electronics System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) and IT/IT Enabled Services (IT/ITES) sectors in the country
- To give thrust to Research & Development, create an innovative ecosystem and enhance India’s competitiveness in these knowledge intensive sectors
- To encourage working professionals and non-PhD faculty members to pursue PhD
Government runs various employment generation schemes for beneficiaries –
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005:
- Run by Ministry of Rural Development
- Provides at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- The demand for work itself is influenced by various factors
- Rain-fall pattern
- Availability of alternative and remunerative employment opportunities outside MGNREGA
- Prevailing unskilled wage rates
Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP): Implemented by Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises – merged Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojana (PMRY) and Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) for generation of employment opportunities through establishment of micro enterprises in rural as well as urban areas.
Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY): Run by Ministry of Rural Development – part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth.
Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM): Implemented by Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs – To reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, resulting in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong grassroots level institutions of the poor
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY): To extend collateral free loans by Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to small/micro business enterprises in the non-agricultural sector to individuals to enable them to setup or expand their business activities.
Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana: Initiated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for incentivizing employers for promoting employment generation.
National Career Service (NCS) Project which comprises a digital portal that provides a nation-wide online platform for jobseekers and employers for job matching in a dynamic, efficient and responsive manner and has a repository of career content.
Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme: Aims at attracting those meritorious students from across the country including North East Region, who have completed or are in the final year of B.Tech. or Integrated M.Tech of M.Sc. in science and technology streams in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) to pursue research in the frontier areas of science & technology in IITs, IISc and IISERs. Government is open to suggestions to make the scheme more inclusive.
Government e- Marketplace (GeM):
- An online platform for government users which leverages technology to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
- It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value of their money.
- It is paperless, cashless and contactless platform giving end to end solution.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER):
- Assistance is provided to Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs)/ entrepreneurs for development of value chains/ marketing of organic produce.
- Supporting the production and marketing of organic produce in the country to reduce their costs and prices.
- Use of organic inputs like PROM, vermicompost, organic/bio-fertilizers, city compost, waste decomposer have been promoted under these schemes which will further reduce the costs of production in organic farming.
Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH):
- For the holistic development of horticulture sector in the country covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo through various interventions.
- Assistance is provided for protected cultivation through Green House structures/poly houses.
- Training of farmers, entrepreneurs, field level workers and officials is envisaged, including for poly-houses.
- Further, 22 Precision Farming Development Centres (PFDCs) have been established in the country to standardize precision farming, promote use of various plasticulture technologies and to provide training & awareness programmes.
- Farmers are also provided technical literature and information about financial assistance under the scheme in local languages.
Startup India’s Academia Alliance Programme
Aim: To fulfill the Government of India’s mission to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country
What: A unique mentorship opportunity between academic scholars and startups working in similar domains
- To reduce the gap between scientific research and its industrial applications in order to increase the efficacy of these technologies and to widen their impact
- By creating a bridge between academia and industry, the Alliance strives to create lasting connections between the stakeholders of the startup ecosystem and implement the third pillar on which the Startup India Action Plan is based – Industry Academia Partnerships and Incubation.
- First of its kind MHRD supported Pan-IIT + IISc joint initiative, now open for private institutions too, 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.
- IMPRINT provides the overarching vision that guides research into areas that are predominantly socially relevant.
- The implementation of 142 projects under IMPRINT-1 has got underway. These projects have received support from several ministries, councils and departments in addition to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
PENCIL online portal for effective enforcement of the Child Labour Act and National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme
SWAYAM – Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds:
- By the Ministry of HRD
- Will provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
- This covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.
- The objective is to ensure that the every student in our country has access to the best quality higher education at the affordable cost.
The steps taken by the Government to check the pollution of water bodies, inter alia, include
- Formulation and notification of standards for effluents from industries, operations or processes
- Enforcing of these standards by State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) through consent mechanism and regular monitoring
- Setting up of monitoring network for assessment of water quality
- Installation of Online Continuous Effluent Monitoring systems (OCEMS) to check the discharge of effluent directly into water bodies
- Promotion of cleaner production processes
- Installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plants for cluster of Small Scale Industrial units
- Issuance of directions for implementation of Zero Liquid Discharge in certain categories of highly polluting industries
- Issuance of directions under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and under Section 18(1)(b) of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, etc.
To expedite and enable resolution of NPAs of banks:
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) has been enacted to create a unified framework for resolving insolvency and bankruptcy matters. Under this, by adopting a creditor-in-saddle approach, with the interim resolution professional taking over management of affairs of corporate debtor at the outset, the incentive to resort to abuse of the legal system has been taken away.
- This, coupled with debarment of wilful defaulters and persons associated with NPA accounts from the resolution process, has effected a fundamental change in the creditor-debtor relationship.
- The Banking Regulation Act, 1949 has been amended to provide for authorisation to RBI to issue directions to banks to initiate the insolvency resolution process under IBC.
- As per RBI’s directions, cases have been filed under IBC before the National Company Law Tribunal in respect of 39 large defaulters, amounting to about Rs. 2.69 lakh crore funded exposure (as of December 2017).
- The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 has been amended to make it more effective with provision for three months imprisonment in case the borrower does not provide asset details and for the lender to get possession of mortgaged property within 30 days. Also, six new Debts Recovery Tribunals have been established to expedite recovery.
- Under the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) Reforms Agenda, PSBs have created stressed asset management verticals for stringent recovery, segregated pre- and post-sanction follow-up roles for clean and effective monitoring, initiated creation of online one-time settlement platforms and committed to monitoring large-value accounts by tying up with specialised monitoring agencies for loans of Rs. 250 crore and above.
The Government has taken several steps to address air pollution which inter alia, include
- Notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
- Setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality
- Introduction of cleaner / alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG etc.), ethanol blending, launching of National Air Quality index
- Universalization of BS-IV from 2017
- Leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards by 1st April, 2020
- Notifications regarding ‘Mandatory Implementation of Dust Mitigation Measures for Construction and Demolition Activities for projects requiring EC’ and ‘Mandatory Implementation of Dust Mitigation Measures for all Construction and Demolition Activities’
- Notification of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules
- Banning of burning of biomass
- Promotion of public transport network
- Streamlining the issuance of Pollution Under Control Certificate
- Issuance of directions under Section 18(1)(b) of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- Installation of on-line continuous (24×7) monitoring devices by major industries; etc.
- Two pilot projects namely “To demonstrate the effectiveness of air pollution mitigation by Pariyayantra filtration” to ManavRachna Innovation and Incubation Centre to install Pariyayantra filtration on the roof top of 30 buses and “Deployment and Evaluation of air purification units (for traffic junction pollution abatement) in Delhi” to National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to install Wind Augmentation and Air Purifying Unit (WAYU) devices at 7 traffic intersections have been sanctioned to tackle dust pollution.
National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
A long-term time bound national level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in comprehensive manner.
- The overall objective is to augment and evolve effective ambient air quality monitoring network across the country, besides ensuring comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
- The NCAP focuses on collaborative and participatory approach comprising all sources of pollution and coordination between relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other stakeholders.
- Hundred (102) non-attainment cities have been selected for formulation and implementation of city specific action plan under NCAP.
- In addition, NCAP has many other components viz. Technical Assessment Cell, technology support, sharing of international best practices, awareness and capacity building, source apportionment studies, plantation drive, intensive inspection drive etc to support the time bound implementation of NCAP”.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY): A nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu
On science, scientific organisations and India’s development
- Scientists should come up with path-breaking innovations and should nurture talent and foster path-breaking innovations to transform the socio-economic landscape of the country.
- Scientific organizations have to set ambitious goals and strategically position themselves to become leading institutions in the world.
- Science is the key lever for sustainable development and a country’s prosperity and security are directly dependent on its scientific and technological progress.
- The government must facilitate this quest for excellence by providing funds, freedom and flexibility and the private sector also needs to come forward to liberally support research.
- Emphasized the need to hugely step up investments in R & D to promote the culture of innovation and discovery.
- Reducing procedural bottlenecks, removing hierarchical barriers and resetting priorities is also crucial and the leadership in scientific institutions should encourage bright young scientists to come up with new and unconventional ideas and projects.
- The spirit of enquiry and the scientific temper, the spirit of asking relevant questions and seeking practical answers must become an integral part of our school and college education systems.