Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 16th Dec to 23rd Dec – 2018

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  • December 26, 2018
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 16th Dec to 23rd Dec – 2018


Note: Since the yearly reviews are included in this, PIB this week is extremely Prelims specific. However, it acts as a goldmine for questions in Mains that deals about the steps taken by Government to deal with a specific issue. It is important that you be cognizant of the fact that not every information is to be remembered; as some of the information helps you shape your perspective and refine it further. All the very best!


NITI Aayog to release SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are ambitious global aspirations on development that address key aspects of universal wellbeing, across different socio-economic, cultural, geographical divisions as well as the interconnectedness among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.

NITI Aayog has the twin mandate:

  • To oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country
  • Promote Competitive and Cooperative Federalism among States and Union Territories (UTs)

In exercise of these roles, NITI has developed the SDG India Index, a comprehensive Index to measure progress of States / UTs, through a single measurable Index and the First Baseline Report for 2018, prepared with the support of Global Green Growth Institute and UN in India.

  • The Index is designed to function as a tool for focussed policy dialogue, formulation and implementation, moving towards development action pegged to globally recognisable metrics of SDG framework.
  • The Index also supplements NITI Aayog’s continuous efforts towards encouraging evidence-based policy making by supporting States/UTs to benchmark their progress, identifying priority areas and share best practices.
  • The SDG India Index will also help highlight crucial gaps related to tracking SDGs and the need for India to develop its statistical systems at National & State/UT levels. This shall lead to the index evolving and becoming more comprehensive over the coming years.

Year End Review 2018: Ministry of Tribal Affairs

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes for development of Scheduled Tribes.

The Scheduled Tribes comprise about 8.6% of India’s population (according to the 2011 census).

In the year 2018, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs focused on education of tribal people, new initiatives to substantially step up economic empowerment of the tribal population as well as bring into spotlight the tribal culture by constructing museums to highlight the tribal freedom fighters.

  • Scheduled Tribes Component across all Ministries witnesses a substantial increase from Rs. 31,920.00 Cr. in the year 2017-18 to Rs. 37,802.94 Cr in 2018-19.
  • Government announces important measures to revamp and expand scheme of setting up EMRSs; 462 new EMRSs to be set up: Eklavya Model Residential School is an excellent approach for imparting quality education to ST children. Apart from school building including hostels and staff quarters, provision for a playground, students’ computer lab, teacher resource room etc. are also included in the EMRSs. The scheme aims to bridge the gap in literacy level between the general population and tribal population.
  • Launch of Van Dhan Yojana by Prime Minister to improve income and livelihood for about 5 crore tribal people: It aims to provide skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.
  • Two National level and four state level museums to celebrate contribution of tribal freedom fighters being set up

Women’s Reservation Bill

Commonly known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, it seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies. It has been ten years since the Bill was drafted and yet, an overwhelmingly male parliament has failed to enact the legislation that aims to boost the number of women in the Lower House.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008 seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies.  The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.
  • One third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies.
  • Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.
  • Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of this Amendment Act.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • There are divergent views on the reservation policy. Proponents stress the necessity of affirmative action to improve the condition of women. Some recent studies on panchayats have shown the positive effect of reservation on empowerment of women and on allocation of resources.
  • Opponents argue that it would perpetuate the unequal status of women since they would not be perceived to be competing on merit. They also contend that this policy diverts attention from the larger issues of electoral reform such as criminalisation of politics and inner party democracy.
  • Reservation of seats in Parliament restricts choice of voters to women candidates. Therefore, some experts have suggested alternate methods such as reservation in political parties and dual member constituencies.
  • Rotation of reserved constituencies in every election may reduce the incentive for an MP to work for his constituency as he may be ineligible to seek re-election from that constituency.
  • The report examining the 1996 women’s reservation Bill recommended that reservation be provided for women of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) once the Constitution was amended to allow for reservation for OBCs. It also recommended that reservation be extended to the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils. Neither of these recommendations has been incorporated in the Bill.

Way Forward

It is high time that we focused on gender equality. Women have to be given a level playing field. 5 E’s have to be given importance:  

  • Education of high quality
  • Equality of opportunity in all fields
  • Empowerment through skilling
  • Emancipation from discriminatory and exploitative practices
  • Enabling conditions for economic upliftment, including equal rights to proeperty

Promotion of e-Education in the country

e-pathshala: e-pathshala has been developed by NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training) for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials.

Shagun portal: A web portal called ShaGun (from the words Shaala and Gunvatta) which has two parts, one of which is a Repository of good practices, photographs, videos, studies, newspaper articles etc on school education, State /UT wise has been developed which is in public domain. Its purpose is to showcase success stories and also to provide a platform for all stakeholders to learn from each other. This also instils a positive competitive spirit among all the States and UTs.

National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) is an initiative to bring together all digital and digitizable resources across all stages of school education and teacher education. 

The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) an integrated platform for online courses, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level.  

National Digital Library of India (NDL) is a project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility.  

NITI Aayog’s National Strategy for New India

The forty-one chapters in the document have been disaggregated under four sections: DriversInfrastructureInclusion and Governance.

The first section on Drivers focuses on the engines of economic performance with chapters on growth and employment, doubling of farmers’ incomes; upgrading the science, technology and innovation eco-system; and promoting sunrise sectors like fintech and tourism.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on drivers include:

  • Steadily accelerate the economy to achieve a GDP growth rate of about 8% on average during 2018-23. This will raise the economy’s size in real terms from USD 2.7trillion in 2017-18 to nearly USD 4 trillion by2022-23. Increase the investment rate as measured by gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) from the present 29% to 36% of GDP by 2022.
  • In agriculture, shift the emphasis to converting farmers to ‘agripreneurs’ by further expanding-National Agriculture Markets and replacing the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act with the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act.
  • Give a strong push to ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ techniques that reduce costs, improve land quality and increase farmers’ incomes. This has emerged as a tested method for putting environment carbon back into the land.
  • To ensure maximum employment creation, complete codification of labor laws and a massive effort must be made to upscale and expand apprenticeships.
  • Launch a mission “Explore in India” by revamping minerals exploration and licensing policy.

The second section on Infrastructure deals with the physical foundations of growth which are crucial to enhancing the competitiveness of Indian business as also ensuring the citizens’ ease of living.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on infrastructure include:

  • Expedite the establishment of the Rail Development Authority (RDA), which is already approved. RDA will advise or make informed decisions on an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the railways.
  • Double the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways. Initially, viability gap funding will be provided until the infrastructure is fully developed. Develop an IT-enabled platform for integrating different modes of transport and promoting multi-modal and digitized mobility.
  • With the completion of the Bharat Net programme in 2019, all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats will be digitally connected. Aim to deliver all government services at the state, district, and gram panchayat level digitally by2022-23.

The section on Inclusion deals with the urgent task of investing in the capabilities of all of India’s citizens. The three themes in this section revolve around the dimensions of health, education and mainstreaming of traditionally marginalized sections of the population.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on inclusion include:

  • Successfully implementing the Ayushman Bharat programme including the establishment of 150,000 health and wellness centres across the country, and rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (PM-JAY).
  • Create a focal point for public health at the central level with state counterparts. Promote integrative medicine curriculum.
  • Upgrade the quality of the school education system and skills, including the creation of a new innovation ecosystem at the ground level by establishing at least 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs by 2020.
  • Conceptualize an electronic national educational registry for tracking each child’s learning outcomes.
  • As already done in rural areas, give a huge push to affordable housing in urban areas to improve workers’ living conditions and ensure equity while providing a strong impetus to economic growth.

The final section on Governance delves deep into how the governance structures can be streamlined and processes optimized to achieve better developmental outcomes.

Some of the key recommendations in the section on governance include:

  • Implement the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission as a prelude to appointing a successor for designing reforms in the changing context of emerging technologies and growing complexity of the economy.
  • Set up a new autonomous body, viz., the Arbitration Council of India to grade arbitral institutions and accredit arbitrators to make the arbitration process cost effective and speedy, and to pre-empt the need for court intervention.
  • Address the backlog of pending cases – shift part of workload out of regular court system.
  • Expand the scope of Swachh Bharat Mission to cover initiatives for landfills, plastic waste and municipal waste and generating wealth from waste.

The full document can be accessed here: http://niti.gov.in/the-strategy-for-new-india

Year End Review-2018: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Swachh Bharat Mission

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched on 2nd October, 2014 to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage in India and promote access to safe sanitation in India.

    • The SBM aims at achieving an Open Defecation Free (ODF) nation by 2nd October, 2019, a befitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
  • The SBM identifies behaviour change as the primary and fundamental tool for the achievement of ODF outcomes.
  • As a result, rural sanitation coverage has increased significantly from 38.7% at the launch of SBM(G) in 2014 to 96.88%, as on 5thDecember 2018. 

NamamiGange: The NamamiGangeProgramme is an initiative of Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR), to make villages on the bank of river Ganga ODF and interventions dealing with solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) are being implemented by MDWS.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG):

  • Under Namami Gange programme, a total of 254 projects worth Rs.24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as sewage infrastructure, ghats & crematoria development, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation, and public participation.
  • Total 6 no. of projects on biodiversity conservation and restoration of aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga including Dolphin, Ghariyal, Otter, water birds and fish & fisheries have been taken up

Swachhata Action Plan (SAP): In order to ensure annual planning and implementation of sanitation related activities.

Swachh Iconic Places (SIP): MDWS has undertaken a multi-stakeholder initiative focusing on cleanliness in 100 locations across the country, which are “iconic” due to their heritage, religious and/or cultural significance. The goal of the initiative is to improve the cleanliness conditions at these locationsto a distinctly higher level. This initiative is in partnership with Ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Tourism and Culture with MDWS as the nodal ministry. So far, in the first three phases, 30 iconic places have been identified. Mostof these SIPs have also received financial and technical support from PSUs and corporates.

GOBARdhan scheme: MDWS launched the Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resource dhan or “GOBARdhan” scheme, aimed at keeping villages clean while increasing the income of farmers and cattle owners by promoting local entrepreneurs to convert cattle dung, and other organic resources, to biogas and organic manure.

Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) brought together Ministers of sanitation and sector specialists from around the world. The participating countries shared sanitation success stories and best practices, along with learning from the experience of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Swajal: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation launched Swajal, a community demand driven, decentralized, single village, preferably solar powered, mini PWS programme for the 117 aspirational districts identified by NITI Aayog. Gram Panchayats in partnership with rural communities and State sectoral agencies would be involved in the execution of the scheme and also operate and maintain the scheme. The programme would also sustain ODF status.

World Toilet Day: 19th November, 2018

Year End Review 2018- Ministry of AYUSH

The Ministry of AYUSH through its multi-pronged strategy in year 2018 has been able to bring alternative system of medicine particularly Ayurveda and Homeopathy in to mainstream of the public health system in India.

National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB): To ensure availability and regular supply of raw material of medicinal plants for AYUSH drugs, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) under its “Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants” is augmenting the medicinal plants resources in the wild and also promoting their large scale cultivation in farmers’ field under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM). The major achievements of NMPB are as under:

  • NMPB in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) developed e-Bhuvan herbs mobile app. for geo-tagging and monitoring of the organizations funded by NMPB for carrying out various activities related to medicinal plants.
  • NMPB has collaborated with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to implement space based tools in monitoring & strategic decision making in the field of medicinal Plants.

“Ayush” Finds a Place in English Language: In pursuance of the proposal of the Ministry of AYUSH, the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology has decided to adopt the word “AYUSH” in Hindi and English languages for scientific and technical purposes. As approved by the Commission, the word “AYUSH” will have the meaning “Traditional and Non-Conventional Systems of Health Care and Healing which include Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, Homoeopathy etc.”

First Siddha Day 2018: 4thJanuary, 2018

September, 2018 was celebrated as “PoshanMaah” in all the AYUSH hospitals/ dispensaries, teaching institutes, research councils and their peripheral units

Cabinet approves

Memorandum of Understanding between India and France in the field of new and renewable energy: The objective of the MoU is to define the modalities of discussions concerning, in particular, the future collaboration regarding in a pilot project to provide SECI an e-vehicle charging station with embedded batteries, powered by solar panels and optimized connection to the grid in order to support the Indian governments ambitious plan for the deployment of electrical vehicles by maximizing solar mobility and minimizing its grid impact.

Memorandum of Understanding between India and Afghanistan in the field of human resource development: The MoU would facilitate students and faculty of Educational Institutions in Afghanistan to register and use the SWAYAM Courses. Also, it would facilitate them to upload on SWAYAM, the courses developed in Afghanistan.

MoU between India and Australia for Cooperation in the Disability Sector: The MoU will encourage cooperation between India and Australia, through joint initiatives in the disability sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Australia. Further, the MoU will facilitate in improving rehabilitation of persons with disabilities especially for persons with intellectual disability and mental illness in both the countries. Both the countries will take up specific proposals in disability sector as mutually agreed upon, for implementation.


Formulation of Reform Agenda for Banks

Reforms Agenda of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) aimed at Enhanced Access & Service Excellence (EASE) and encapsulating a synergistic approach to ensuring prudential and clean lending, better customer service, enhanced credit availability, focus on Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and better governance has been adopted.

Reforms in the agenda include, inter alia,

  • Making it easier for MSMEs and retail customers to transact
  • Significantly increasing access to banking services
  • Near-home banking services
  • Time-bound refund on unauthorised electronic transactions
  • Mobile ATMs in underserved districts

Steps taken by Government to reform Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) include:

  • Enactment of Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Act 2015 to strengthen the capital base and improve their overall capabilities and making provision for RRBs to raise capital from source other than Central Government or State Government or Sponsor Bank, subject to the shareholding of Central Government and Sponsor Bank shall not be less than fifty-one per cent
  • Revision of guidelines to make the system of appointment of auditors for RRBs more objective and transparent to improve quality of audit
  • Improvement in the recruitment process

Law to check scams in Banks

The Government has initiated formulation of laws to secure prudential banking and help effect a culture of credit discipline, including:

  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) has been enacted to create a unified framework for resolving insolvency and bankruptcy matters. IBC, by adopting a creditor-in-saddle approach, with the interim resolution professional taking over management of affairs of corporate debtor at the outset, 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 Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to banks to initiate the insolvency resolution process under IBC.
  • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 has been enacted to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, provides for attachment of property of a fugitive economic offender, confiscation of such offender’s property and disentitlement of the offender from defending any civil claim.
  • To make other recovery mechanisms as well more effective, the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act) has been amended to provide for three months’ imprisonment in case borrower does not provide asset details, and for lender getting possession of mortgaged property within 30 days. Six new Debts Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) have been established and the minimum pecuniary limit for filing of cases in DRTs has been revised in 2018 from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh to enable focus on higher value cases in these fast-track tribunals.

Steps to ensure Cyber Security

Government has taken a number of legislative, technical and institutional measures for addressing issues related to cyber security. Some specific measures taken by the Government of India to strengthen cyber security system in the country are as under:

  • National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) under National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) coordinates with different agencies at the national level for cyber security matters.
  • Information Technology Act, 2000 was enacted to provide legal recognition for electronic communication, electronic commerce and cybercrimes etc. IT Act has deterrent provisions to deal with cyber threats and cyber-attacks.
  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issues alerts and advisories regarding latest cyber threats and countermeasures on regular basis.
  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) has been established for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) has been launched for detection of malicious programs and provide free tools to remove the same.
  • National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) has set up to generate necessary situational awareness of existing and potential cyber security threats and enable timely information sharing for proactive, preventive and protective actions by individual entities.
  • Under Cyber Crime Prevention for Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme, Government of India has released grants to States/UTs including Andhra Pradesh for setting up of a Cyber Forensic cum Training Laboratory and organizing capacity building programme on cyber awareness and cyber-crime investigation. Rs. 4.42 Crore has been released to Andhra Pradesh for the purpose.
  • A Division has been established under the Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with Cyber and Information Security.
  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its overseas counterpart agencies/Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) for information exchange and collaboration for cyber security incident responses.

Launch of Asiatic Lion Conservation Project

By: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Aim: To protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem – Will strengthen the ongoing measures for conservation and recovery of Asiatic Lion with the help of state-of-the –art techniques/ instruments, regular scientific research studies, disease management, Modern surveillance/ patrolling techniques.

Asiatic lions that once ranged from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in Eastern India were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss. A single population of less than 50 lions persisted in the Gir forests of Gujarat by late 1890’s. With timely and stringent protection offered by the State Government and the Center Government, Asiatic lions have increased to the current population of over 500 numbers. The last census in the year 2015 showed the population of 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network of 1648.79 sq. km. that includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, Protected Forests, and Unclassed Forests.

International Cooperation on Disaster Management

India plays an active role in global initiatives on disaster management. India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and is committed to achieve the priorities and the objectives through systematic and institutional efforts.

With multi-dimensional initiatives and expertise, India is taking a leading role in strengthening regional cooperation among South Asian countries for reducing disasters. India is one of the participating countries and works closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). India has been working closely with many countries for the exchange of ideas and expertise in disaster management.

India had signed bilateral/ multilateral agreements with the several countries for cooperation in the field of disaster management like:

  • Agreement between the Republic of India and the Swiss Confederation on Cooperation in the event of Disasters.
  • Agreement between India and Russia on cooperation in the field of Emergency Management.
  • SAARC Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Indonesia on cooperation in the field of Disaster Management.
  • Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany on cooperation in the field of Disaster Management.
  • Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan in the field of disaster risk reduction.
  • MoU between the Republic of India and the Govt. of Republic of Tajikistan on Cooperation in the field of Disasters Management.
  • Government of India has partnership with various International Agencies in the field of Disaster Management such as United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR), Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), International Search and Rescue Advisory Group  (INSARAG), Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and

Note: The Government of India will organize a Joint Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states to improve collective preparedness in March, 2019.

Steps taken by Government to promote use of Domestically Manufactured Drugs and Medicines

  • National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy, 2012 (NPPP-2012) was notified with the objective to put in place a regulatory framework for pricing of drugs so as to ensure availability of required medicines – “essential medicines” at reasonable prices even while providing sufficient opportunity for innovation and competition to support the growth of pharma industry thereby meeting the goals of employment and shared economic well-being for all.
  • In order to promote and to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all through specific outlets, a scheme in the name of ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ (PMBJP) is functioning across the country.
  • In order to promote domestically manufactured drugs, the Government is providing financial support for research and development through Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Research Programme (DPRP) run by the Department of Science & Technology. The companies undertaking Research & Development activities are provided income tax benefits.
  • The Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013, Para-32(iii) provides exemptions from price control to a manufacturer producing a new drug involving a new delivery system developed through indigenous Research and Development for a period of five years from the date of its market approval in India.
  • The government has withdrawn exemption of customs duty on certain categories on Bulk Drugs/APIs to provide level playing field to the domestic manufacturers.
  • In order to make generic medicines more accessible, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has requested all the States/Union Territories to explore and enforce the proposal of keeping a separate shelf/rack for generic medicines in every pharmacy in the country.

Year End Review: Department of Biotechnology

Union Cabinet has approved “The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018”. The Bill has been formulated for the regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology with the aim to establish the identity of certain category of persons including the victims, offenders, suspects, under trials, missing persons and unknown deceased persons and provides provision for establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board (DRB).

India – UK Cancer Research Initiative launched in collaboration with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) focussing on affordability of cancer prevention and care, and the potential to make significant progress against cancer consequences. Both CRUK and the DBT will invest £5m (~47 Crores INR) each in this initiative.

Indo-US collaboration on Genome Engineering/ Editing launched to provide opportunity to brightest Indian students and scientists to gain exposure and access to world class research facilities in leading U.S. institutions through student’s internship, overseas fellowship and visiting professorship programmes.

1stClean Energy International Incubator has been set up under Mission Innovation. Startups from 23 participating EU countries can potentially come & incubate in India and likewise startups from this incubator can go to the partnering countries facilitating access to global opportunities.

SAEN (Secondary Agriculture Entrepreneurial Network) was launched in 2018 to promote new enterprises and to support existing industry in the secondary agriculture sector.

A major Mission program on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) was launched in October, 2018 with the vision to develop indigenous and cost-effective therapies against AMR; categorization of AMR-specific pathogen priority list of India; establishment of Bio-repository for AMR-specific pathogens; and development of rapid and cost-effective diagnostic kits to identify AMR-specific pathogens.

Year End Review: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (Ministry of Science & Technology)

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) today is one of the largest public funded R&D organisations in the world, covering a wide spectrum of science and technology areas. CSIR has the Prime Minister of India as the Council’s head.

The year 2018 has been of great significance for CSIR. Some of the major achievements during the year are as follows:

CSIR Incubation Centres: CSIR is creating entrepreneurship through world class translational research and is setting up “Incubation Centres” which would work in identified domains. The CSIR Incubation Centres are a multipurpose facility. 

India’s first biofuel-powered flight: CSIR Technology for Aviation Grade Biofuel: A historic flight powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel based on patented technology of CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun completed journey from Dehradun to Delhi. With this maiden flight India joined the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation. The use of bio jet fuel, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent and Sulfur Oxides (SOx) emissions by over 99 percent, is expected to provide indigenous jet fuel supply security, possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up, superior engine performance and reduced maintenance cost for the airline operators.

Successful Inaugural Flight of SARAS PT1N: The primary objective of PT1N is to evaluate system performance in about 20 flights and the data collected from this shall be used to freeze the design of 19-seater production version aircraft – SARAS MkII. 

Drishti Transmissometer: Deployment across Indian Airports: Drishti is an Indigenous – Innovative –Cost effective visibility measuring system –- First of its type and CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL) is the only organization to have developed this technology in the country. It is useful for airport operations and gives information to pilots on the visibility at the runway. Drishti Transmissometers have been installed at a number of airports across the country.

CSIR Mission on Sickle Cell Anaemia: The project envisages managing genetic burden of Sickle Cell Anaemia and understanding genetic basis of differential response to Hydroxyurea Therapy, Drug discovery and development for management of SCA, Genome editing and stem cell research approach for the treatment of SCA and development and on-ground implementation of an affordable, accurate and accelerated diagnostic kit.

CSIR’s new patented Clot buster, PEGylated Streptokinase set to revolutionize the treatment of Strokes: Ischemic stroke is a condition caused by a dysfunction in the supply of blood to the brain due to emboli, thrombus or atherosclerosis occurring in cerebral arteries. Surprisingly, the prevalence of stroke is much higher in India than the West and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

CSIR-IGIB and Dr Lal Path Labs enter into partnership to enable Diagnosis of Prevalent Genetic Diseases: Genetic diseases, though are individually rare, cumulatively affect a large number of individuals, estimated to affect over 70 million Indians.

AI based Movement Detection System to Boost Border Security: CSIR-CSIO, Chandigarh has developed a technology which can differentiate human movement from that of vehicles and cattle to check terrorism, drug influx and ensure full-proof border security.  The system is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) –driven warning system. It generates an alarm and sends sky information via email and text message to the registered users.

Development and licensing of affordable Water Disinfection System OneerTM: CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow has developed technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System” with Trade name “OneerTM”. It is useful for continuous treatment of water. Oneer will provide safe and clean drinking water at a cost of just 2 Paise / Ltr. The Community level model is of 450 LPH capacity. It can be scaled up to 5000 to 1 lakh L/day;

CSIR Phytopharmaceuticals Mission: The CSIR Phytopharmaceutical Mission is envisaged to bring transformative change in the medicinal plants sector through captive cultivation of selected medicinal plants, including rare, engendered and threatened species, production of quality planting material and development of region specific agro-technologies; technology packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts; and phytopharmaceutical development from important medicinal plants.

Innovative Processes and Technologies for Indian Pharmaceuticals and Agrochemical Industries (IMPROTICS): The project aims to develop cost effective, profitable processes for key drugs and agrochemicals. In case of pharmaceuticals, new or non-infringing processes that are free to operate shall be developed. Thus, this proposal wishes to serve the country with its contributions to ‘Make in India’ program and also toward better health and food security for all Indians.

Waterless Chrome Tanning Technology- a Game Changing Technology: Chromium is the most sought-after tanning agent with about 2.0 billion sq. ft. of leather being made in India. About 20 thousand tons of chrome tanning agent is discharged in the wastewater. In order to overcome the problem, CSIR-CLRI has developed waterless chrome tanning technology.

Zero liquid discharge leather technology: A zero-wastewater discharge process technology based on Electro-oxidation (EO) has been developed for the first part of the leather manufacturing process, the pre-tanning processes. The potential environmental benefits and potential social impacts for India includes:

  • No discharge of wastewater from tanneries
  • The possible reduction of cost will be about Rs. 96 million per annum from reduction in the cost of wastewater treatment
  • This system does not result in generation of sludge (about 160 tons’ sludge per annum) and less average annual fatalities due to release of H2S.

Year End Review – 2018: Department of Science and Technology

The year 2018 saw Indian Science getting further recognized as one of the most powerful instruments of growth and development, especially in the emerging scenario and competitive economy.

Department of Science & Technology (DST) established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology plays the role of a nodal department for organizing, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country

    • National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) addresses the ever-increasing technological requirements of the society, and takes into account the international trends and road maps of leading countries for the next generation technologies.
    • The Global Cooling Prize, an innovation challenge that aims to spur development of a residential cooling solution that has at least five times (5x) less climate impact than today’s standard products. This technology could prevent up to 100 gigatons (GT) of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2050.
    • 1st ASEAN-India InnoTech Summit’s main objective was to exhibit and build networks between Indian and ASEAN researchers, scientists, Innovators, Technocrats, private companies and Start-ups etc to facilitate building an ASEAN-India Innovation and Technology Databank for sharing among India and ASEAN country stakeholders.
    • To combat vehicular pollution WAYU (Wind Augmentation and purify Ying Unit) was inaugurated which will help in reducing ambient air pollution levels ejected by vehicles at places, which have high concentration of pollutants. WAYU can reduce PM10, PM2.5, CO, VOCs, HC emitted in the atmosphere.
    • In July, a major partnership was announced between Indian Government and Republic of Korea in terms of establishment of Indo-Korean Center for Research and Innovation (IKCRI) in India, which will act as the hub for systematic operation and management of all cooperative programmes in research and innovation between the two countries including innovation & entrepreneurship and technology transfer.
    • India – UK Science & Innovation Policy Dialogue wherein it was agreed to scale up collaboration to tackle global challenges realizing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), digital economy, health technologies, cyber security and promoting clean growth, smart urbanisation, future mobility, environment (removal of plastic and micro-plastics from land and ocean), fight against climate change and participation in International Solar Alliance (ISA).
    • Department of Science and Technology and the National Technological Innovation Authority of Israel jointly established a US$ 40m “India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4 Fund)” for a period of five years. This fund will extend support to joint R&D projects aimed to co-develop innovative technology-driven products, services or processes that have potential for commercialization. The Fund will provide opportunity for techno-economic cooperation between India and Israel by extending institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions.
  • Launch of three Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)’s Schemes
    • Teacher Associate ship for Research Excellence (TARE): The Scheme aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions who are well trained but have difficulty in pursuing their research due to varied reasons including lack of facilities, funding and guidance. This scheme facilitates mobility of such faculty members to carryout research in a well-established public funded institution such as IITs, IISc, IISERS and other National Institutions (NITs, CSIR, ICAR, ICMR labs, etc) and Central Universities located preferably nearer to the institution where the faculty member is working. Up to 500 TAs will be supported under this scheme.
    • Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF): This scheme offers opportunities for up to 100 PhD students admitted in the Indian institutions for gaining exposure and training in overseas universities / institutions of repute and areas of importance to country for period up to 12 months during their doctoral research.
    • SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA): DIA has been initiated to recognize and reward Principal Investigators (PIs) of SERB/DST projects who have performed remarkably well. The scheme aims not only to reward the best PIs of completed projects but also to motivate the ongoing PIs to perform exceedingly well. DIA is a one-time career award devised to specifically cater to the younger scientists who have not received any other prestigious awards or fellowships.
  • Inauguration of India’s first supercritical Brayton Cycle CO2 test facility at IISc Bangalore, which has the potential to pave the way for highly efficient compact power plants driven by wide range of heat sources including Solar; Organization of Children’s Science Congress all over the country on the Focal Theme of “Science Technology and Innovation for Clean, Green and Healthy Nation”.

Year End Review: Ministry of Earth Sciences

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is mandated to provide services for weather, climate, ocean and coastal state, hydrology, seismology, and natural hazards; to explore marine living and non-living resources in a sustainable way and to explore the three polar-regions (Arctic, Antarctic and Himalayas).
  • High Performance Computing (HPC): The Ministry of Earth Sciences has augmented its HPC facility by 6.8 Peta Flops (PF) which has been installed at two of its constituent units namely, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune with 4.0 Peta Flops capacity and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida with 2.8 Peta Flops capacity. With this facility, a paradigm shift in weather and climate modeling activity for operational weather forecast has been achieved.
  • India’s ranking has moved from the 368th position to around the top 30 in the Top500 list of HPC facilities in the world. India is now placed at the 4thposition after Japan, UK and USA for dedicated HPC resources for weather/climate community.
  • Improved Weather and Cyclone Predictions: A very high resolution (12 km) state of the art Global Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS) were commissioned by MoES. The resolution (12 km) of the EPS is the highest among all the operational global operational weather forecast centres in the world. The Ensemble forecasts enhance the weather information being provided by the current models by quantifying the uncertainties in the weather forecasts and generate probabilistic forecasts.
  • A Mumbai Weather Live Mobile App has been developed by collating ground measurements recorded by IMD and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, observations from SAFAR-Mumbai, to provide live location specific information on rainfall. Currently, the app covers about 100 sites spread across Mumbai city, suburban areas, Navi Mumbai and surrounding areas.
  • Agro-Meteorological Advisory Services (AAS): The Ministry in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) provides the district level Agromet Advisory Services (AAS) for the benefit of farmers. Farmers make use of these services for planning the operations like sowing, irrigation, application of fertilizer and pesticide, harvest and protection of crops from weather disasters.  
  • Services to Power Sector: India Meteorological Department (IMD) and POSOCO have launched a web portal dedicated exclusively to energy sector. As the demand of power consumption changes due to change in weather conditions, the forecasts of weather including temperature, wind and rainfall helped in better load assessment including generation and distribution of power.
  • Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) Advisories: The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) continued to provide its flagship service of Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, which contains information on the regions of fish availability. PFZ advisories are generated based on the satellite data on Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and ocean colour along with other environmental parameters such as water clarity and sea level. There was a remarkable growth in user community during 2018
  • Desalination of water: The world’s first ever Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination project was launched in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep. OTEC is a renewable form of energy utilizing thermal gradient present across the ocean depth. The proposed plant will utilize clean and green energy provided by OTEC to power desalination and this plant will be set up at Kavaratti. This would not only pave the way for setting up of more environmentally friendly self-sustainable desalination plants but also help in scaling up the OTEC technology for mainland uses.
  • Ocean Science and Technology for Islands: The Atal Centre for Ocean Science and Technology for Islands in Port Blair; The activities are focused towards offshore open sea cage culture for marine fishes, deep sea microbial technology aimed at the production of novel bioactive compounds from actinobacteria and other deep sea microorganisms, isolation and production of bio-molecules from macro algae and seawater quality monitoring.
  • Coastal Research: The National Centre for Climate research (NCCR) is an attached office of the ministry with a mandate to address societal needs of the country. The NCCR would provide scientific and technical support to the coastal states for conservation and sustainable management of the resources to address blue economy in association with the coastal states.
  • This would provide a strong institutional and scientific backing to solve the critical coastal issues and aid in the Nation building exercise.The coastline of India is undergoing changes due to various anthropogenic and natural interventions. Population explosion along the coastal area has added to an increase demand for coastal resources. Precise information on shoreline changes is essential to address the various coastal problems such as coastal erosion; closure of river / lagoons /creeks mouths, etc.

Please Note:

Vijay Diwas: To remember the indomitable spirit of the brave soldiers who fought in 1971

Timeless Laxman: Book is based on the famous cartoonist RK Laxman

Sardar Patel Award for National Integration: This award would be given for outstanding efforts to further national integration.

Mantra of Textiles Ministry: Zero defect, Zero Effect  (This industry contributes to 7% of industrial output in value terms, 2% of India’s GDP and 15% of the country’s export earnings.)

Assam is the third largest silk producing state in the country, having potential for production of 3 varieties of silk (mulberry, eri and muga), sharing around 15% of country’s total raw silk production. Muga silk of Assam is the unique golden-yellow silk produced only in India.

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced results of the first ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018:

  • Best Performer: Gujarat
  • Top Performers: Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Rajasthan

24th December: National Consumer Day; with the theme “Timely Disposal of Consumer Complaints”

  • On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the president. The enactment of this Act is considered as a historic milestone in the consumer movement in the country.
  • The Consumer Protection Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices. This day provides an opportunity for individuals to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.

A UNESCO Category 2, International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography: At INCOIS, Hyderabad; Established as a training facility at INCOIS will give an opportunity to the South Asian and African states bordering the Indian Ocean and the small island nations in the Pacific to benefit from the expertise and experience of INCOIS in the areas of ocean science and management.

National Productivity Council (NPC) has done a study on ‘Soil Testing Infrastructure for Faster Delivery of Soil Health Cards in India’ and found that as a result of application of fertilizers as per recommendations of soil health card, there is a decrease in use of chemical fertilizers in the range of 8-10% and increase in yield of crops to the tune of 5-6%.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 was amended under Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act 2008 to provide stringent penalties for manufacture of spurious and adulterated drugs. Certain offences have also been made cognizable and non-bailable.

National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) Project: a device neutral and member centric application created to equip to handle diverse House Business smartly by putting entire information regarding member contact details, rules of procedure, list of business, notices, bulletins, bills, starred/unstarred questions and answers, papers laid, committee reports etc. in their hand-held devices/ tablets and equip all Legislatures/ Departments to handle it efficiently.

  • Citizens would also gain access to this information at their fingertips.
  • Through the cloud technology (Meghraj), data deployed can be accessed anywhere at any time.
  • Further, live webcasting of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TVs is also available on this application.
  • Doordarshan has already been enabled with provision to incorporate similar facility in respect of State Legislatures.

Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), the sub-scheme under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) has the objective of helping rural households including women to set-up enterprises.

  • As on 30th November 2018, a total of 30,352 enterprises were formed across 20 States where the scheme is operational.
  • Skill building support is provided to all the entrepreneurs supported under Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme through Community Resource Persons for Enterprise Promotion (CRP-EP).

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been made operational from the year 2014-15 which aims at making agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific integrated /composite farming systems; soil and moisture conservation measures; comprehensive soil health management; efficient water management practices and mainstreaming rainfed technologies.

  • On Farm Water Management (OFWM): Implemented with the objective of enhancing water use efficiency by promoting technological interventions like drip & sprinkler technologies, efficient water application & distribution system, secondary storage etc. Thereafter, these activities have been subsumed under the ‘Per Drop More Crop (PDMC)’ component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) during 2015-16.
  • The PMKSY-PDMC mainly focuses on water use efficiency at farm level through precision/ Micro Irrigation (Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation). Besides, promoting precision irrigation and better on farm water management practices to optimize the use of available water resources, the component also supports micro level water storage or water conservation /management activities to supplement source creation.
  • Rainfed Area Development Programme: The programme focuses on Integrated Farming System for enhancing productivity and minimizing risks associated with climatic variability. Under this system, crops are integrated with activities like horticulture, livestock, fishery, vermi-organic compost, green manuaring, apiculture etc. to enable farmers maximising farm returns for sustained livelihood and mitigate the impacts of drought, flood or other extreme weather events with the income opportunity from allied activities.
  • Soil Health Management (SHM) aims at promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilizers including secondary and micro nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio fertilizers for improving soil health and its productivity, strengthening of soil and fertilizer testing facilities to improve soil test based recommendations to farmers for improving soil fertility.
  • Soil Health Card will provide information to farmers on soil nutrients status of their soil and recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana: AAY families are to be identified by States/Union Territories (UTs) as per the following criteria:

  • Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans /craftsmen, such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitute and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas;
  • Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons/disabled persons/ persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support;
  • Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence;
  • All primitive tribal households;
  • All eligible Below Poverty Line (BPL) families of HIV positive persons

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA): Aims to link the Higher Education Institutions with atleast (5) villages, so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.

  • Inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.
  • It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between the society and an inclusive university system, with the latter providing knowledge base; practices for emerging livelihoods and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and private sectors

Objectives of the scheme are

  • To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions in understanding rural realities
  • Identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of existing technologies and development of new technologies, or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions, as required by people
  • To allow Higher Educational Institutions to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government Programs.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana: To provide skilling to one crore people under Short Term Training (STT), Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Special Project (SP) across the country for over four years i.e. 2016-2020.

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2016-20 has two components known as Centrally Sponsored Centrally Managed (CSCM) being implemented by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Centrally Sponsored State Managed (CSSM) being implemented by State Skill Development Missions of the States/ UTs popularly known as State- Engagement Component of PMKVY (2016-20).

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY): Primary objective of developing the micro enterprise sector in the country by extending various supports including financial support so as to achieve the goal of “funding the unfunded”

Pradhan Mantri Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyan (PM-YUVA): Under the scheme, entrepreneurship education is given to encourage entrepreneurship and help people to become self-employed within the country.

Boost to educational infrastructure in tribal areas

  • Each block with over 50% tribal population and over 20,000 tribals to have EMRSs
  • 462 new Eklavya Model Residential Schools to set up
  • Autonomous Society under M/o Tribal Affairs to run the EMRSs
  • Cabinet approves revamping of ‘Eklavya Model Residential Schools’

National Digital Communications Policy 2018

  • Objective: Catalyse the achievement of the Digital India dream of our Government by nurturing and promoting a robust, competitive, and sustainable digital communications sector
  • Objectives such as Broadband for All and the promise of Creating 4 Million Jobs in the sector have the potential to drastically alter the dynamics of the sector, and make it possibly the single-most important enabler of socio-economic development of the country. 

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) policy

The salient features of the SEZ scheme are: –

  • A designated duty-free enclave to be treated as a territory outside the customs territory of India for the purpose of authorised operations in the SEZ;
  • No licence required for import;
  • Manufacturing or service activities allowed;
  • The Unit shall achieve Positive Net Foreign Exchange to be calculated cumulatively for a period of five years from the commencement of production;
  • Domestic sales subject to full customs duty and import policy in force;
  • Full freedom for sub-contracting;
  • No routine examination by customs authorities of export or import cargo;
  • SEZ developers, co-developers and units enjoy direct tax and indirect tax benefits as prescribed in the SEZs Act.

Measures to help the Rubber Growers

The Government has taken various measures to help rubber farmers struggling due to price fall of natural rubbers –

  • Domestic rubber prices are highly sensitive to import of natural rubber. To regulate the import of natural rubber, the Government has increased duty on import of dry rubber to create demand for locally produced rubber.
  • Port restriction imposed on the import of natural rubber by restricting the port entry to Chennai and Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru Port) since 20th January, 2016.
  • Rubber production incentive scheme is under implementation in the major rubber growing state of Kerala for providing financial support to rubber growers under which the difference between the scheme reference price and the daily market price is credited to the bank account of the farmer directly on the basis of purchase bills.

Project ‘Mausam’

  • Implementation by: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies.
  • Aim: To explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean.
  • Objective: To inscribe places and sites identified under Project Mausam as trans-national nomination for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS)

  • Launched to promote Social Science Research in the country
  • Under the Scheme, 1500 research projects will be awarded for 2 years to support the social science research in the higher educational institutions and to enable research to guide policy making.

POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to reduce malnutrition from the country in a phased manner, through the life cycle concept, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach.

  • Ensure mechanisms for timely service delivery and a robust monitoring as well as intervention infrastructure.
  • The POSHAN Abhiyaan through the targets will strive to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies.
  • It will create synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue alerts for timely action, and encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals. Convergance, organising Community Based Events, IEC and Advocacy, Jan Andolan, Incremental Learning training, ICDS-CAS etc. are core components of POSHAN Abhiyaan which will also help to bring down stunting in children.

Government Initiatives in North Eastern region

  • NITI Forum for North East – Focussed attention for development of NER: To prepare plans for the development of the North East Region. The development projects in the NER would be based on the concept of “HIRA” (Highways, Inland Waterways, Railways and Airways) and the emphasis would also be made on Education, Health and Skill Development in the region.
  • National Bamboo Mission: Allocation of Rs.1,290 crore
    • Sikkim arrives on India’s air link map: Pakyong Airport in Sikkim; the first airport in the Himalayan State, and the 100th airport in the country. In order to ensure that Pakyong Airport is affordable to the common man, this airport is part of the UDAN scheme.
    • Digital North East Vision 2022 released: The Vision Document identifies eight digital thrust areas – Digital Infrastructure, Digital services, Digital empowerment, Promotion of Electronics Manufacturing, Promotion of IT and ITes including BPOs, Digital Payments, Innovation & Startups and Cyber security.
  • India’s first National Sports University

World Heritage Sites in India

Name of Site State
Agra Fort (1983) Uttar Pradesh
Ajanta Caves (1983) Maharashtra
Ellora Caves (1983) Maharashtra
Taj Mahal (1983) Uttar Pradesh
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) Tamil Nadu
Sun Temple, Konarak (1984) Odisha
Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) Goa
Fatehpur Sikri (1986) Uttar Pradesh
Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) Karnataka
Khajuraho, Group of Temples (1986) Madhya Pradesh
Elephanta Caves (1987) Maharashtra
Great Living Chola Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004) Tamil Nadu
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987) Karnataka
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) Madhya Pradesh
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993) Delhi
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993) Delhi
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) Madhya Pradesh
Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004) Gujarat
Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007) Delhi
Hill Forts of Rajasthan

 (Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013)

(Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums)

Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan (2014) Gujarat
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda (2016) Bihar

Under Protection of Ministry of Railways

23. Mountain Railways of India (Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla (2008) West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
24. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) Maharashtra

Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee

 25 Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, (2002) Bihar


Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums  

26. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010) Rajasthan


Under Protection of Chandigarh Administration

27. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016) Chandigarh


Under Protection of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

28. Historic City of Ahmedabad  (2017) Gujarat


Under Protection of Bombay Municipal Corporation

29. Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (2018) Govt of Maharashtra


Under Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes

30.  Kaziranga National Park (1985) Assam
31. Keoladeo National Park (1985) Rajasthan
32. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985) Assam
33. Sunderbans National Park (1987) West Bengal
34. Nanda Devi  and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005) Uttarakhand
35. Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
36 Great Himalayan National Park (2014) Himachal Pradesh


Under Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes

37. Khangchendzonga National Park (2016) Sikkim


The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

India’s soft power

  • India must use its moral and cultural strength to influence public opinion for establishing a truly peaceful, just and more equitable world order.
  • Soft power has been defined as the ability of nations to shape the preferences and influence the behavior of other nations through appeal and attraction as opposed to coercion. It includes the ability to affect others through persuasion, agenda-framing and positive attraction using culture, values, inherent knowledge, spirituality, wisdom and foreign policy.
  • Soft Power represents one of the newest frameworks through which India could leverage its role in the international order.
  • India never had ambitions of hegemony or attacked anybody and always believed in peaceful co-existence with other nations in an equitable world order. India always believed in using soft power for the welfare and betterment of the entire humanity. Share and care is the core of Indian philosophy.
  • From Yoga to spirituality to Bollywood, from Bharatnatyam to Budhism, from cuisine to tourism, India has immense potential to use its soft power for expanding global outreach. All-pervading presence of the internet should be used to project India’s soft power.

To promote safe driving

  • Every year, road accidents claim over one lakh lives and, in most cases, victims are youngsters. These tragedies are avoidable if basic precautions are taken. Negligence, over-speeding, disobeying traffic rules, drunken driving & bad roads are the reasons for most road accidents
  • Stipulations like wearing helmets and seat belts must be implemented strictly and effectively. Faulty road designs and frequent accident-prone zones should be identified and adequate precautionary measures must be taken to prevent road accidents. Scientific management of traffic, smart policing and stringent punishment to rules violators will aid ensuring better behavior on roads.
  • Suggested to adopt “SAFE” principles to prevent road accidents:

S – Speed in limit

A – Awareness spreading

F – Follow traffic rules

E – Empathise with the victims

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