Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 9th Dec to 16th Dec – 2018

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  • December 18, 2018
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 9th Dec to 16th Dec – 2018



Steps to increase Female Labour Participation Rate

(Topic: General studies 1:

  • Role of women and women’s organization, women related issues, Social empowerment

General studies 2:

  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections)

The decline in female work force participation rate may be attributed to factors like increased educational attendance and higher level of participation in education and insufficient formal wage employment opportunities etc.

  • Establishment of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to coordinate the skill development schemes across various sectors.
  • National Career Service (NCS) Project comprises of 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.
  • Enactment of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 which provides for enhancement in paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and provisions for mandatory crèche facility in the establishments having 50 or more employees
  • Issue of an advisory to the States under the Factories Act, 1948 for permitting women workers in the night shifts with adequate safety measures.
  • In order to enhance the employability of female workers, the Government is providing training to them through a network of Women Industrial Training institutes, National Vocational Training Institutes and Regional Vocational Training Institutes.
  • The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 provides for payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for same work or work of similar nature without any discrimination.
  • Further, under the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the wages fixed by the appropriate Government are equally applicable to both male and female workers and the Act does not discriminate on the basis of gender.

Must Read: Link

The Government of India and ADB sign a $31 Million Loan Agreement to develop Tourism and boost Jobs in Tamil Nadu

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


  • Improve the tourism infrastructure in Tamil Nadu
  • Help the State in preserving the natural and cultural heritage
  • Boost economic opportunities for the local people, especially through skills training and community-based activities targeting the poor and women.

Three-Year Action Agenda (2017–2018 to 2019–2020)

Envisages the hospitality, travel, and tourism sector as a major driver of growth and employment. The Agenda recognizes India’s significant potential to increase:

(a) the number of arrivals

(b) global presence by leveraging its cultural industries

(c) capacity to create large-scale jobs among the poorest segments of the population.

The Project

  • Identifies key areas for action, including infrastructure, marketing, and skill development, all of which are aligned with the MFF Road Map.
  • Support the conservation and restoration of eight heritage monuments, one museum, three temples, and a pond.
  • Build various facilities at the sites, including information centres, rest centres, and toilet blocks, with facilities served by solar-powered lighting and energy efficient lighting.

The total cost of the Project is $44.04 million, of which the Government will provide $13.04 million. The estimated completion date is June 2020.

Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign a $60 Million Loan Agreement to reduce floods and the riverbank erosion in Assam

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

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $60 Million Loan Agreement to continue financing

  • Riverbank protection works
  • Renovation of flood embankments
  • Community-based flood risk management activities in critically flood-prone areas along the Brahmaputra River in Assam

The non-structural measures will cover community involvement and community-based flood risk management activities through establishing and training disaster management committees for strengthening local disaster preparedness and emergency response.

The Project will continue to support the institutional capacity development of the autonomous body anchored to the Assam Water Resources Department, named Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam (FREMAA), and Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), as the executing and implementing agencies for this Project.

Niti Aayog of India – 2018 Year Review

  1. Initiatives and Programmes

(i) Measuring performance and ranking States on outcomes in critical sectors

With emphasis on outcomes, NITI finalized indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education, water and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

  • District Hospital Index was developed to measure and monitor the performance of hospitals with a focus on outputs and outcomes.
  • Developed the ‘Healthy States, Progressive India’ Report also known as the ‘Health Index’ in February 2018
  • Composite Water Management Index was also launched
  • The ‘School Education Quality Index (SEQI)’, ‘SDG India Index’ and the ‘Digital Transformation Index’ (DTI) which will measure states’ progress in respective sectors are in the works.

(ii) Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH): SATH is aimed at initiating transformation in two key social sectors—education and health, by hand-holding States towards improving their social sector indicators and providing technical support over three years.

(iii) Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat: EBSB was conceptualized to make our country united, strong and promote excellence in all walks of life by means of long-term inter-state engagements through cultural exchanges and education.

(iv) Transforming of 115 identified Aspirational Districts: To realise the vision of ‘SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas’, and ensure that India’s growth process remains inclusive, the ‘Aspirational District Programme (ADP)’ was launched. It is a special initiative to rapidly transform 115 identified districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas and have emerged as pockets of under-development, thereby posing a challenge to ensure balanced regional development.

Under ADP, 49 key performance indicators (KPIs) have been identified across such sectors with the aim to improving ease of living, as well as enhancing the economic productivity of citizens residing in these districts. Health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development and basic infrastructure are main sectors where rapid transformation is envisaged.

  1. Promoting Inclusive Growth – Giving fillip to the goal of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas
  • New Guidelines have been issued to Ministry of Panchayati Raj for transparent and equitable allocation of funds amongst the States who were deprived of the central fund under the areas covered under sixth schedule of the Constitution.
  • To leverage the pivotal role of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), the expert committee constituted under the chairmanship of former Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog recommended restructuring of the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA). 
  • A report prepared on Revamping of Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs) to promote them as top class research institutes is being examined by NITI Aayog for further necessary actions.
  • Gaps in the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006 have been identified and forwarded to the department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for revision of the Policy.
  • The new NGO-Darpan Portal which went live in April 2017 was developed as a dynamic database of NGOs in the country, and for NGOs to obtain Unique ID to be eligible to apply for grants from any central Ministry/Department. 43,000 NGOs have already registered.
  1. Enabling evidence-based policy mailing and enhancing productive efficiency with long-term vision

(i) Three Year National Action Agenda and the Strategy for New India @75: Allows better alignment of the development strategy with the changed reality of India. 

(ii) Reform of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs): NITI Aayog in consultation with administrative ministries has made recommendations in four tranches for strategic disinvestment in PSUs. So far, based on NITI Aayog’s recommendations, more than 30 CPSEs have been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for in-principle strategic disinvestment. The process of divestment is being carried out by DIPAM and the first transactions are expected in the current financial year after a long gap of 14 years.

(iii) Balanced Regional Development

  • Release of Special Funds: To promote regional development NITI Aayog recommended release of balance funds to States namely Odisha, Bihar and West Bengal under the Special Plan (BRGF-State component) approved during the 12th Five Year Plan period, and release of one-time special assistance to the States namely Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura for the areas covered under sixth schedule of the Constitution.
  • Development support to the North East: A Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of CEO, NITI Aayog to examine and suggest a road map for a new industrial policy for the North Eastern and the Himalayan States.
  • NITI Forum for North East: It is the first ever regional forum constituted by NITI Aayog with representation from all the NE States and the concerned Central Ministries/Departments, to identify various constraints in the way of accelerated, inclusive but sustainable economic growth in the North East Region of our country, and also to recommend suitable interventions for addressing the identified constraints.
  • Holistic Development of Islands: NITI Aayog has been mandated to steer the process of holistic development of identified islands as unique models of sustainable development. Accordingly, in consultation with key stakeholders, NITI Aayog has shortlisted 10 islands in the first phase.  

(iv) Health & Nutrition Sector Reforms: NITI has been initiating radical reforms in the health sector.

  • National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) Bill, 2017 and the National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine Bill, 2017 have been finalized after extensive deliberations.
  • Evolving the National Nutrition Strategy: NITI formulated the National Nutrition Strategy which provides the rationale and roadmap for policy makers to bring nutrition to the centre of the stage in India’s Development Agenda. It focuses on inter-sectoral convergence and identifies priority districts to tackle malnutrition and meet the country’s nutrition needs and targets.
  • Launch of the POSHAN Abhiyaan: The POSHAN Abhiyaan has been launched with the aim of improving nutrition outcomes in India in the next three years.
  • Pushing Reforms in Pharmaceuticals Sector: NITI provided policy inputs for making available affordable drugs and devices.
  • National Institute for Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) – Evaluation of NIPERs was conducted and a way forward for pharmaceutical education suggested. 

(v) Driving India’s Energy Sector

  • In a stakeholder-driven, roadmap development exercise, NITI has prepared and launched a report on ‘India’s Renewable Electricity Roadmap 2030.’ The report summarizes the opportunities and barriers in the sector.
  • NITI Aayog had engaged Deloitte and PwC to prepare the state action plan (SAP) for re-integration in eight states. These SAPs have now been finalized.
  • Draft National Energy Policy (NEP) developed by NITI following large scale consultation with other departments and public feedback is being finalized.
  • NITI Aayog has developed the State Energy Index to measure the status and the efforts undertaken by the States towards ensuring accessibility and affordability, of energy, as well as gauging its sustainability and environment friendliness.
  • NITI Aayog is also developing a dynamic GIS Energy Map of India in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The consolidated energy map would provide requisite energy related information to all stakeholders which would help in better decision making.
  1. Implementation and Monitoring Progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

NITI Aayog is entrusted with the task of overseeing the implementation of SDGs in the country. NITI Aayog is developing a comprehensive SDG India Index comprising a set of indicators for measuring performance of States/UTs on SDGs. A dynamic national dashboard on SDGs is also being created to continuously monitor the progress on SDGs in the country.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres signed the Sustainable Development Framework 2018-22 for India in October 2018.

  1. Partnership to organise and promote stakeholder consultation in policy making

NITI has provided the platform to collaborate with national and international think tanks on wide-ranging areas. Through conferences, workshops and joint research projects NITI has enabled expert inputs in the policy making exercise of the government.

‘SAMAVESH’, – a major initiative aimed at networking and partnership with knowledge and research institutions using a hub and spoke model was launched.

  1. Promote Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Atal Innovation Mission: To promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): At the high school level, students from Class VI onwards work with Robots, 3D printers, internet of things.
  • Atal Incubation Centres (AIC): Under the Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) program, more than 100 institutions have been selected for setting up incubators around the country, in a mix of tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. 

Atal Innovation Mission is working at the grassroots level in different parts of the country, to help students and teachers transform into innovators, develop an entrepreneurial mindset, which will pave the way forward for developing a ‘New India’ by 2022.

Women Entrepreneurship Platform: Aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India. It aims to help women realize their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their businesses.

  1. Catalysing Reforms in Agriculture

In view of the goal of the government to double farmer’s income by 2022, a series of initiatives have been taken by NITI to usher in critical reforms in the agriculture sector.

(i) Model Act on Agricultural Land Leasing, 2017: To recognize the rights of the tenant and safeguard interest of landowners NITI Aayog formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 that would enable investment, technology, economy and employment in agriculture.

(ii) Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act

(iii) Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index: Developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitise States about the need to undertake reforms in three key areas of agriculture market, land lease and forestry on private land (felling and transit of trees). The aim of the index is to induce healthy competition between States.

(iv) Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana: A roadmap for PMKSY was prepared and shared with the concerned Central Ministries/Departments, the States and other stakeholders.

(v) Price Deficiency Payments: Concept of price deficiency payments as an alternative to physical procurement of agricultural produce by the government under Minimum Support Price (MSP) has been proposed by NITI.

(vi) Rejuvenating Fertilizer Sector: To achieve the aim of India becoming self-sufficient in the production of urea by 2022, NITI steered several committees for revival of new plants at Gorakhpur, Sindri, Barauni and Ramagundam, and selection of technology for Talcher plant. Pilot project of introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in fertilizer was successfully completed in several States and taken forward for implementation across all States.    

(vii) Alternative Mechanisms for Implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP): NITI Aayog, in consultation with the Central Ministries, States and other stakeholders, has laid down a mechanism comprising three options: Market Assurance Scheme, Price Deficiency Payment Scheme, and Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme.

Year End Review- 2018: Ministry of Labour & Employment

The Ministry of Labour and Employment is committed towards job security, wage security and social security for each and every worker. Along with bringing transparency and accountability in enforcement of Labour Laws, the Ministry has taken important initiatives during the year, to realize and establish the dignity of every worker through provision of social security, enhancing the avenues and quality of employment.

Labour Codes: In line with recommendations of Second National Commission on Labour, the Ministry has taken steps for formulating of four Labour Codes on (i) Wages; (ii) Industrial Relations; (iii) Social Security & Welfare; and (iv) Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions by amalgamating, simplifying, and rationalizing the relevant provisions of the existing Central Labour Laws.

Shram Suvidha Portal: To bring transparency and accountability in enforcement of labour laws and ease complexity of compliance.

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017: Increased paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and has benefited 18 Lakh women employees. Recently Government proposed to bear 7 weeks of salary to motivate employers.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa, regarding Cooperation in the Social and Labour Sphere: The MoU provides a mechanism for cooperation, collaboration and maximum synergy amongst BRICS member countries with the common objective of inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the new industrial revolution.

Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY): Government of India is now paying full employer’s contribution (EPF and EPS both) with effect from 1st April, 2018 for a period of three years to the new employees as well as to the existing beneficiaries for their remaining period of three years. Before 1st April, 2018, the Government was paying under PMRPY only the EPS share (8.33% of the wages) out of the total employer’s share of contribution (12% of the wages).


Agriculture Export Policy

(Topic: Agriculture)

The Government has formulated a comprehensive Agriculture Export Policy to consolidate the efforts for export of agricultural products.

The objectives of the Agriculture Export policy are:

  • To diversify the export basket, destinations and boost high value- and value-added agricultural exports including focus on perishables.
  • To promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports.
  • To provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
  • To strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest.
  • Enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market.

Schemes to promote exports, including exports of agricultural products:

  • Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)
  • Market Access Initiatives (MAI) Scheme
  • Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)

In addition, assistance to the exporters of agricultural products is also available under the –

  • Export Promotion Schemes of Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)
  • Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)
  • Tobacco Board, Tea Board, Coffee Board, Rubber Board and Spices Board.

These organisations also seek to promote exports through participation in international fairs & exhibitions, taking initiatives to gain market access for different products in different markets, dissemination of market intelligence and taking steps to ensure quality of exported products.

Year End Review 2018 – Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)

Keeping in view our commitment to a healthy planet and our Nationally Determined Contributions as per the Paris Accord on Climate Change, India made a pledge that by 2030-

  • 40% of installed power generation capacity shall be based on clean sources, it was determined that 175 GW of renewable energy capacity will be installed by 2022.
  • This includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro power.

The substantial higher capacity target will ensure greater energy security, improved energy access and enhanced employment opportunities. With the accomplishment of this ambitious target, India will become one of the largest Green Energy producers in the world, even surpassing several developed countries.

India has 5th Global position for overall installed renewable energy capacity, 4th position for wind power and 5th position for solar power.

Solar Energy

    • The Government has revised the target of Grid Connected Solar Power Projects from 20,000 MW by the year 2021-22 to 100,000 MW by the year 2021-22 under the National Solar Mission.
    • Solar Parks are being set up in the country. 47 solar parks of aggregate capacity 26,694 MW has been approved in 21 States up to November, 2018.
    • The National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy was issued in May 2018. The main objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for optimal and efficient utilization of wind and solar resources, transmission infrastructure and land. The wind – solar PV hybrid systems will help in reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA):

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) became first international intergovernmental organization headquartered in India on 6th December, 2017.

      • ISA is part of India’s vision to provide clean and affordable energy to all.
  • So far 71 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA. Out of these,48 countries have ratified the same.
    • India has recognized ISA’s judicial personality by entering into Headquarter agreement with ISA.

Wind Energy

The National Offshore wind energy policy was notified in October 2015 with an objective to develop the offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along the Indian coastline.

  • LiDAR was commissioned on the monopile platform in November 2017 at Gulf of Khambhat, off Gujarat coast for wind resource assessment.
  • The expansion of the wind industry has resulted in a strong ecosystem, project operation capabilities and a manufacturing base. State-of-the-art technologies are now available in the country for the manufacture of wind turbines.


  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been promoting programmes to promote Biomass Power and Bagasse Cogeneration in the country with an objective to utilize country’s available biomass resources like bagasse, rice husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut shells etc. for power generation.
  • Waste to Energy projects are also being set up for generation of Energy from Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Waste / Residues such as municipal solid wastes, vegetable and other market wastes, slaughterhouse waste, agricultural residues and industrial wastes & effluents.

Energy Storage

Energy Storage is one of the crucial & critical components of India’s energy infrastructure strategy and also for supporting India’s sustained thrust to renewables and electric mobility.  With an objective to strive towards leadership in the energy storage sector by creating an enabling policy and regulatory framework, a comprehensive National Energy Storage Mission (NESM) has been developed. The Mission focuses on demand creation, indigenous manufacturing, innovation and necessary policy support for proliferation of Energy Storage in the country.

Off-grid renewables

  • Implementation of off grid and Decentralized renewables programme for meeting energy demand for cooking, lighting, motive power, space heating, hot water generation, etc. Supporting deployment of decentralized solar applications like solar lanterns, solar street lights, solar home lights, solar pumps, etc. in the country

Research & Development

  • The focus is on promoting application-oriented innovation, integrated with research and development for for commercial applications and testing and standardization for quality and reliability assurance in renewable energy sector.
  • Technology Development and Innovation Policy (TDIP): It is based on a robust ecosystem for support for research, innovation and validation for technology development and demonstration, testing and standardization, awards for innovation linked with start-ups.

Policy initiatives taken by the Government to enhance domestic production of oil and gas

  • Policy for Relaxations, Extensions and Clarifications under Production Sharing Contract (PSC) regime for early monetization of hydrocarbon discoveries, 2014.
  • Discovered Small Field Policy, 2015.
  • Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy, 2016.
  • Policy for Extension of Production Sharing Contracts, 2016 and 2017.
  • Policy for early monetization of Coal Bed Methane.
  • Setting up of National Data Repository, 2017.
  • Appraisal of unappraised areas in Sedimentary Basins.
  • Re-assessment of Hydrocarbon Resources.
  • Policy framework to streamline the working of Production Sharing Contracts in Pre-NELP and NELP Blocks, 2018.
  • Policy to Promote and Incentivize Enhanced Recovery Methods for Oil and Gas, 2018.
  • Policy framework for exploration and exploitation of Unconventional Hydrocarbons under existing Production Sharing Contracts, Coal Bed Methane contracts and Nomination fields, 2018.

National Policy on Biofuels – 2018

(Topic: Energy)

The Government has notified National Policy on Biofuels 2018 which is expected to give boost to the biofuel programme of the country.

  • Categorization of biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bio ethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  • Expanding the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane Juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • The Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crores in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.

Year End Review 2018 – Ministry of Power

  • 9 States achieve 100 % household electrification under Saubhagya (universal electrification); total 16 states have 100 % household electrification now
  • More than 2 crore electricity connections released under Saubhagya and 100 per cent village electrification achieved under DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana – 100 per cent village electrification)
  • Energy deficit reduced to almost zero and India emerges as net exporter of electricity to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar
  • 31.68 crore LED bulbs distributed under UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LED for All) scheme and 74.79 lakh LED street lights have been installed
  • India’s rank improved to 24 in 2018 from 137 in 2014 on World Bank’s Ease of doing business – “Getting Electricity” Ranking
  • National E-Mobility Programme launched to provide an impetus to the entire e-mobility ecosystem including vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, fleet operators, service providers, etc.
  • The Chiller Star Labelling Program has been launched by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to encourage the deployment of Energy Efficient chiller systems. The program envisages providing star rating in terms of its energy performance.
  • Energy Conservation Guidelines launched for large scale industries to promote equipment efficiency by reducing energy consumption with the help of standardizing the energy performance values of various energy-consuming equipment and systems deployed for the manufacturing process.
  • PRAAPTI: A Web portal and an App namely PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement) for bringing transparency in invoicing of generators
  • Ash Track– linking fly ash users and power plants for better ash utilisation (Web based monitoring System and a Fly Ash mobile application). These platforms will enable better management of the ash produced by thermal power plants by providing an interface between fly ash producers (Thermal Power Plants) and potential ash users such as – road contractors, cement plants etc.

Successful Test Firing of Long-Range Missile Agni V

(Topic: Space and Technology; Indigenous technology)

Agni V, a long-range surface-to-surface Nuclear Capable Ballistic missile, was successfully launched from a canister on a road mobile launcher at the Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.


  • Has a strike range of 5,000 km
  • Agni-5 is a three-stage missile and is 17-metre-tall and 2 metre wide.
  • This is the seventh trial of the indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile.
  • It is capable of carrying 1.5 tonnes of nuclear warheads.
  • India has in its armoury the Agni missile series – Agni-1 with a range of 700 km, Agni-2 with a range of 2,000 km, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.
  • The Agni-5 is the latest and most advanced variant in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
  • The missile has a payload capacity of 1,500 kg of high-explosive warhead and once inducted in the military, India will join an exclusive club of countries like the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain which have intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities.

Programming of AGNI-5 Missile

  • The missile is programmed in such a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it turns towards the earth to continue its journey to the target with an increased speed, due to the earth’s gravitational pull, and its path precisely directed by the advanced onboard computer and inertial navigation system.
  • As the missile enters the earth’s atmosphere, the atmospheric air rubbing its outer surface skin raises the temperature to beyond 4,000 degree Celsius.
  • However, the indigenously-designed and developed heat shield maintains the inside temperature at less than 50 degree Celsius.
  • Finally, commanded by the onboard computer with the support of laser gyro-based inertial navigation system, micro inertial navigation system (MINS), fully digital control system and advanced compact avionics, the missile hit the designated target point accurately, meeting all mission objectives, the sources said.
  • The ships located in mid-range and at the target point tracked the vehicle and witnessed the final event.
  • All the radars and electro-optical systems along the path monitored the parameters of the missile and displayed them in real time.

Please Note:

  • Indian Railway employee conferred with prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel “Marom” in Santhali language: Shri Shyam Sundar Besra
  1. INDRA NAVY: The bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Federation Navy
  1. Rural Roads: State subject
  1. PM hands over tricolour to Arunima Sinha on her expedition to Mount Vinson, Antarctica: She is the first female Divyang to climb Mount Everest
  1. Rural housing scheme Indira Awaas yojana (IAY) has been restructured into Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana –Gramin (PMAY-G) which envisages training of Rural Masons with the objective of improving workmanship and quality of construction of houses while at the same time, increasing availability of skilled masons and enhancing employability of such masons.
  1. Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM): To deliver catalytic interventions to rural areas on the threshold of growth.
  1. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) has two components
  1. Centrally Sponsored Centrally Managed (CSCM) being implemented by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
  2. 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).

Training under PMKVY 2016-20 is being imparted in National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) aligned Job Roles. Under the scheme, focus on employment has been significantly enhanced and candidates have been placed in various sectors and industries including small and medium enterprises across the country including the State of West Bengal.

  1. Swasth North East Initiative: In addition to the efforts of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for improvement of healthcare facilities, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has taken up a total of 56 projects in the medical & health sector under its Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme, out of which 37 are already completed and 19 are ongoing. NLCPR scheme has been restructured as North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS), which is fully funded by the Central Government. One of the objectives of NESIDS is creation of infrastructure in the areas of primary and secondary sectors of education and health.
  1. Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana (PMUY): A deposit free LPG connection is provided to the woman member of a BPL family with cash assistance up to₹ 1600 per connection. Till date, the Government has released ₹ 7680 crore to OMCs in lieu of release of LPG connections under PMUY.
  1. PAHAL: Government, as a measure of Good Governance, has introduced well targeted system of subsidy delivery to LPG consumers through PAHAL.
  • Aimed at rationalizing subsidies based on approach to cut subsidy leakages, but not subsidies themselves.
  • PAHAL has entered into Guinness book of World record being largest Direct Benefit Transfer scheme. So far, more than Rs. 96,625 crore have been transferred into the bank accounts of consumers and more than 23.08 crore LPG consumers have joined.
  • PAHAL has helped in identifying ‘ghost’ accounts, multiple accounts and inactive accounts. This has helped in curbing diversion of subsidized LPG to commercial purposes. So far, estimated savings due to implementation of Pahal is approximately Rs 50,000 crore.
  1. SATAT Initiative: Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT initiative)
  1. FAME-India Scheme- Phase-I [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India]: In order to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
  • The Phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME-India) Scheme proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation.
  • The draft scheme envisages the holistic growth of EV industry, including providing for charging infrastructure, research and development of EV technologies and push towards greater indigenization. The scheme has not been finalized yet.
  1. Launch of ‘Ensure’ – National Livestock Mission-EDEG: To connect with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)
  • In order to make it better, simpler and transparent, the NABARD has developed an online portal “ENSURE” (https://ensure.nabard.org) so that the information related to beneficiary and processing of application can be made readily available.
  • Developed by NABARD and operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries
  1. Launch of Indian Ports Association Launches ‘PCS 1x’ to Increase Ease of Doing Business: ‘PCS 1x’ is a cloud based new generation technology, with user-friendly interface.  This system seamlessly integrates 8 new stakeholders besides the 19 existing stakeholders from the maritime trade on a single platform.
  1. Draft Space Activities Bill, 2017: To facilitate the overall growth of the space activities in India with higher order of participation of public/ non-governmental/ private sector stakeholders. The Bill provides for establishment of a regulatory mechanism through an appropriate body, by the Central Government for the purpose of authorization and licensing of space activities.
  1. Results of ‘Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households’ conducted by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in 2013, show that about 63.5 percent of the agricultural households in the rural areas of the country reported cultivation as their principal source of income.
  1. Implementation of Swaminathan Committee Report: One of the recommendations of Commission was that MSP should be at least 50 percent more than the weighted average cost of production. This recommendation was not incorporated in the National policy for Farmers 2007. However, recently Government has increased the MSP for all Kharif and Rabi crops and other commercial crops for the season 2018-19 with a return of at least 50 percent over cost of production, which was a historic decision by the Government.

Government fixes-the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) of various agricultural crops on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), after ascertaining the views of State Governments and Central Ministries/ Departments concerned. While recommending MSPs, CACP considers the following –

  • Cost of production
  • Demand-supply situation
  • Trends in domestic and international prices
  • Inter-crop price parity
  • Terms of trade between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors and
  • The likely impact of MSP on consumers and overall economy along with rational utilization of scarce natural resources like land and water
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana: Various measures namely, timelines for settlement of claims, leveraging of technology for assessment of yield by State Government agencies using smartphone/CCE Agri App, integration of all individual farmer data on National Crop Insurance Portal etc. have been taken under PMFBY.  However, due to use of manual process for transmission yield data; late release of their share in premium subsidy by some States like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; yield related disputes between insurance companies and States, non-receipt of account details of some farmers for transfer of claims etc. settlement of claims in some States has been delayed under the scheme.
  1. National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for identification of beneficiaries under two categories- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH). While the eligible families under AAY are to be identified as per the criteria evolved for the scheme, the identification under PHH is to be done as per the criteria evolved by the States/UTs.
  • 5th Meeting of India-Russia Parliamentary Commission

The Chairman of ‘Duma’ (counterpart of the Lok Sabha) of the Russian Parliament, Mr. Vyacheslav Volodin called for an enabling legislative framework to fully tap the immense potential of bilateral cooperation between India and Russia.

  • There is a need for enhancing parliamentary exchanges between the two countries to enable necessary legislative framework to fully harness the potential of India-Russia ties in various sectors.
  • There is a need to further build upon the traditional friendship between the two countries for mutual advantage in the fields of economy, human development and cultural cooperation”.
  • Referring to the immense opportunities in the fields of tourism and medical education, Mr. Volodin called for addressing bureaucratic delays. He further said that bilateral trade increased by about 21% last year and still there is scope to go much beyond.
  • 2018 – Landmark for India in terms of achievements in Sports arena

Government’s two-pronged approach to sports – nurture top sports talent and find untapped sports stars at the grassroots, has yielded positive outcome.

India recorded its best ever performance this year in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with 66 Medals, Jakarta Asian Games with 69 Medals and Para Asian Games with 72 Medals.

National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) was established with the objective of promotion of excellence in sports through support to top level sportspersons who are medal prospects in Olympics and other major international competitions and creation of sports infrastructure in priority disciplines etc. The Fund accepts contributions from private/public corporate sectors, other legal bodies like Trusts/Societies, individuals etc.

Performance in Commonwealth Games, 2018: With 26 Gold medals and a total of 66 medals (26 Gold, 20 Silver and 20 Bronze), India finished 3rd for the tournament. It was India’s best position since the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Khelo India Talent Identification Development scheme: The scholarship programme is designed to take care of their expenses including training, development, boarding and lodging and tournament exposure apart from offering them out of pocket expense allowance. Under this programme, an annual stipend of Rs. 1.2 lakhs will be given to the players on a quarterly to meet their out of pocket expenses, treating injuries and even smaller but very important elements like local travel for themselves and their parents/ family members.

National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA): As per the annual statistics report published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the number of anti-doping rule violation in India has come down. Such decrease in the number of doping incidences brought India from 3rd to 6th place globally.

Commendable performance by Indian Sportspersons in Asian Games, 2018, and Para Asian Games, 2018:

  • Indian sportspersons and teams put a very commendable performance in Asian Games 2018 held at Jakarta and Palembang (Indonesia) from 18th August to 2nd September, 2018.
  • India won 69 medals (15 Gold, 24 Sliver and 30 Bronze) and was placed at 8th position in medals tally.
  • India finished overall 9th in the medals tally with 72 medals (15 Gold, 24 Silver and 33 Bronze medals) the highest ever by India at an Asian Para Game (APG), outdoing the previous best by a huge margin.

2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships: In the finals of the light flyweight category Mary Kom of India beat Ukrainian boxer Hana Okhota to win the gold, creating history by becoming the first woman boxer to win six gold medals in the AIBA World Boxing Championships. India stood 3rd in the medal tally with one gold, one silver and two bronze.

National Centre of Sports Sciences and Research (NCSSR) which aims to support high level research, education and innovation with respect to high performance of elite athletes has been started. The scheme has two components: One is setting up of NCSSR at NIS, Patiala, and other is focused on creation of support to Sports Sciences Department in select Universities and Sports Medicine Departments in select Medical Colleges/ Institutes/ Hospitals.

  • Low Rate of Silk Cocoons

The major reasons for fall in cocoon prices are increase in arrival of cocoons to the market. As cocoon marketing is a state subject, the state governments have been providing various support measures to farmers including price incentives for cocoons.

The Government of India through Central Silk Board is implementing a Central Sector Scheme – Silk Samagra: To provide technical and technological support in the country including Karnataka State which comprises the following four components:

  1. Research & Development, Training, Transfer of Technology and I.T. Initiatives
  2. Seed Organizations
  3. Coordination and Market Development, and
  4. Quality Certification Systems (QCS) / Export Brand Promotion and Technology Up-gradation.

Under this scheme, assistance and subsidy is extended to silk farmers and stakeholders through states for Raising of kisan nursery

  • Plantation with improved mulberry varieties
  • Irrigation
  • Chawki rearing centres with incubation facility
  • Construction of rearing houses
  • Rearing equipment
  • Door-to- door service agents for disinfection and input supply
  • Support for improved reeling units like automatic reeling units, multi-end reeling machines, improved Vanya reeling & twisting machines
  • Support for post yarn facilities for quality silk and fabric production.

Support provided under these interventions and areas would enable the silk farmers and stake holders to get reasonable price for their produce.

  • National Mission on Government e-Market (GeM) portal

To accelerate the adoption and use of Procurement by Major Central Ministries, States and UTs and their agencies (including CPSUs/PSUs, Local Bodies) on the GeM platform.

  • Promote inclusiveness by catapulting various categories of sellers and service providers
  • Highlight and communicate ‘value add’ by way of transparency and efficiency in public procurement, including corruption free governance.
  • Achieve cashless, contactless and paperless transaction, in line with Digital India objectives.
  • Increase overall efficiency leading to significant cost saving on government expenditure in Procurement.
  • Maximizing ease in availability of all types of products and services bought by Government buyers.

GeM has brought transparency, efficiency, and inclusiveness in public procurement. It has reduced the time of procurements, reduced the process and enabled ease of doing business for both buyers and vendors.

  • Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD)

In order to give focused attention to policy issue and meaningful thrust to the activities aimed at welfare and empowerment of the person with disabilities, a separate Department of Disability Affairs was carved out of the Ministry of Social justice & Empowerment.

  • Undertaking following measures for rehabilitation:
  • Physical rehabilitation, which includes early detection and intervention counselling and medical rehabilitation and assistance in procuring appropriate aids and appliances for reducing the effect of disabilities;
  • Educational rehabilitation including vocational education and
  • Economic rehabilitation and social empowerment.
  • Developing rehabilitation professionals/personnel.
  • Improving internal efficiency/responsiveness/service delivery.
  • Advocating empowerment of person with disabilities through awareness generation among different sections of the society.

5 E’s have to be given importance:

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

Person in news

Mahakavi Subramania Bharatiyar

  • Ignited resurgence in Tamil literature and he drew inspiration from ancient sources of Indian culture.
  • Thiru Bharatiyar left behind an extraordinary legacy of poetry and prose writings and his works gave form and vitality to the present-day Tamil literature.
  • Shri Bharatiyar in one of his poems wrote that there is no caste system and it is a sin to divide people on caste basis. He advocated equality of human beings, and fought for rights of women
  • His appeal was to our common humanity, an eternal optimist, his rallying cry was, “Nalla kalam varuguthu!” – “the best of times lies ahead!” He urged his brethren to keep moving forward bravely, disregarding the daunting odds that blocked their path


Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

On 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

  • India takes note of the IPU is working on priority areas such as human rights, gender equity, child protection, sustainable development, climate change, migration etc.
  • 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) mirror our own vision of development. Several of our initiatives like the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Jan Dhan Yojana etc., closely relate to several targets of SDGs
  • Terrorism is a big menace to world community and it has no religion, but our neighbour is unfortunately funding and abetting it.
  • Poverty is also a challenge for all of us and we have to support each other and move forward with much greater coordination and cooperation

At PMNCH Partners’ Forum

  • It is only partnerships that will get us to our goals. Partnerships between citizens, Partnerships between communities, Partnerships between countries. The Sustainable Development agenda is a reflection of this.
  • Countries have moved beyond stand-alone efforts. They are committed to empowering communities, improving health and education, ending poverty and spurring boosting economic growth and ultimately, leaving no one behind. The health of mothers will determine the health of the children and the health of children will determine the health of our tomorrow.
  • The Partners’ Forum vision is in line with India’s ancient wisdom of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, ‘The World is one family’. It is also in line with my government’s philosophy of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”, which means, collective efforts and partnerships for inclusive growth.
  • When the Millennium Development Goals were agreed on, India had one of the world’s highest mortality rates for women and children. With sustained momentum, and a faster rate of decline during the last few years, India is on course to attend the SDG targets for maternal and child health, much ahead of the agreed date of 2030.
  • India was one of the first countries, to advocate focused attention on adolescence and implement an extensive health promotion and prevention programme for adolescents. Our effort ensured that they get their due recognition in the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health adopted in 2015.

Tackle malnutrition

  • Scientists working in the fields of health, agriculture and nutrition must work together and exchange knowledge
  • India needs to focus both on food security as well as nutrition security;
  • Prioritize the elimination of the triple burden of malnutrition; under-nutrition, over-nutrition and micronutrients deficiencies;

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