Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 14th Jan to 20th Jan – 2019

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  • January 22, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 14th Jan to 20th Jan – 2019




(Topic: Art forms of India – Indian culture and its significance)

By: Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama

The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is the nodal agency of the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India to coordinate the matters related to Intangible Cultural Heritage and various UNESCO Conventions addressing Cultural Diversity and promotion and dissemination of multifarious cultural traditions and expressions of the country.

Aim: An initiative to document and promote the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and diverse cultural traditions of the country by direct public-participation.

This is a unique talent search where the participant will showcase their talent in the fields of music, dance, drama, puppetry, folk and tribal arts, culinary skills, painting, sculpture etc. The literal meaning of the term SĀNJHI is “to share” and “to partner”, and the cultural traditions of our country has developed and prospered on the notions of harmony.

Second phase of this campaign: Has its main focus area- the folk, traditional, customary, socially events and ritualistic art forms- woven as a cultural fabric around the harvest festival season of January. It is celebrated all across the country, known as various nomenclatures like Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri, Bhogali Bihu, Torgya, Uttarayan, Attukkal Pongal etc.

It intends to bring forth such forms that are aligned with the domains of intangible cultural heritage as per the Convention of Safeguarding the ICH under UNESCO:

  • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;
  • Performing arts;
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events;
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
  • Traditional craftsmanship


The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2019


  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes)

The amendment: Does away with the no-detention policy mentioned in the law.

  • The existing policy under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, prohibits schools from detaining students till they complete elementary education.
  • The no-detention policy banned the practice of making under-performing children repeat classes in elementary school to ensure they do not drop out.
  • It was meant to reduce the emphasis on year-end examinations and replace it with a form of evaluation that would track students’ progress through the year.

Post amendment:

Now, states can choose to hold a regular examination either at the end of Classes 5 and 8, or both. Students who fail this test will receive additional instructions and the opportunity to appear for a re-examination within two months of the declaration of the result. If the students still do not pass the exam, the state government may decide to detain them.

However, if states choose, they can continue the no-detention policy till Class 8. No child can be expelled from school before they complete elementary education, the amendment bill states.

Note: The House also passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill.

Year-end Review: Ministry of Women & Child Development

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP)

  • It is a tri-ministerial, convergent effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development with focus on Awareness and Advocacy Campaign; Effective enforcement of Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act and Enabling girls’ education.
  • The scheme is envisaged to bring an improvement in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) in the short term while Child Sex Ratio (CSR) with manifestation of over-all development such as improved health & nutrition, gender parity in education, better sanitation, opportunities and removal of asymmetries between the genders is endeavored in the long term.
  • Encouraging trends are visible as per the latest HMIS data of MoHFW for 161 BBBP districts for the time period between April-March, 2015-16 & 2016-17 indicating that, an improving trend in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) is visible in 104 districts, 119 districts have reported progress in first trimester registration against the reported Anti Natal Care registrations and 146 districts have reported improvement in institutional deliveries. In addition, as per Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) 2015-16, the girl’s enrolment in secondary education has increased to 80.97% against 76% in 2013-14. Construction of girl’s toilets in every school in selected districts has been achieved.

One Stop Centre:

  • For facilitating access to an integrated range of services including police, medical, legal, psychological support and temporary shelter to women affected by violence
  • The Scheme is funded through Nirbhaya Fund.
  • So far, 279 OSCs have become operational. These centres have offered support to over 1.93 Lakh women.

Sexual Harassment at Workplace:

  • The Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 covers all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protects them against sexual harassment at all workplaces whether organized or unorganized. Students, apprentices, labourers, domestic workers and even women visiting an officer are included in the Act.
  • In order to ensure the effective implementation of the Act, MWCD has developed an online complaint management system titled Sexual Harassment electronic–Box (SHe-Box) for registering complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace. SHe-Box portal offers the facility of making online complaints of sexual harassment at workplace to all women employees in the country, including all government and private employees.

Training of Elected Women Representatives:

  • The Ministry has taken up the training of elected women representatives (EWRs) in panchayats to empower them to govern their villages effectively and develop into grassroots changemakers.
  • The programme aims at improving the leadership qualities and managements skills of EWRs for better implementation of various schemes, impart knowledge on important legislations and monitor asset creation and public works.
  • First phase of the training (2017-18) trained 18,578 EWRs covering 414 Districts across 14 States. The second phase (started in Sept, 2018) is to train 13,950 EWRs covering 310 Districts across 19 States.

Grievance Redressal Cell: The Grievance Redressal Cell of the Ministry deals with the online grievances that are received on issues related to women and children. The cell has processed close to 39,347 complaints in the one year since its inception.

Scheme for Adolescent Girls: Government is implementing Scheme for Adolescent Girls to improve the nutritional and health status of out of school adolescent girls of age 11-14 years and to upgrade their skills. In addition to providing nutritional support to the adolescent girls, the scheme aims to motivate out of school girls to go back to formal schooling/ skill training.

Swadhar Greh – Krishna Kutir, Home for Widows at Vrindavan: With a capacity of 1000 beds to provide safe and secure place of stay, health services, nutritious food, legal and counseling services to widows.

Ujjawala Scheme: A scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.

POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to reduce mal-nutrition from the country in a phased manner, through the life cycle concept, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach. The Abhiyaan ensure mechanisms for timely service delivery and a robust monitoring as well as intervention infrastructure.

  • Target of Abhiyaan is to bring down stunting of the children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022. More than 10 crore people will be benefitted by this programme.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan ensures convergence with various programmes i.e Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Scheme for Adolescent Girls of WCD Ministry; Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM) of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Swachh Bharat Mission of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (DW&S); Public Distribution System (PDS) of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (CAF&PD); Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) of Ministry of Rural Development (M/o RD); Drinking Water & Toilets with Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Bodies through Ministry of Urban Development.
  • One of the key activities of Abhiyaan is implementation of ICDS-Common Application Software. As on 30th November, 2018, ICDS-CAS has been rolled-out in 64 districts across 9 States/UTs.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Programme to eligible pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Rashtriya Mahila Kosh: An apex micro-finance organization established in 1993 under the aegis of Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) to meet the credit needs of poor and asset less women in the informal sector for various livelihood support and income generating activities at concessional terms in a client-friendly procedure to bring about their socio-economic development.

Mahila E-haat: A unique direct online e- marketing platform to support Women entrepreneurs/SHGs/ NGOs. This is first of its kind direct online marketing platform for women to strengthen the socio-economic empowerment of women by way of mobilizing and providing avenue for their products & services.

Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) Scheme: To empower rural women through community participation and to create an environment in which they realize their full potential. It aims to provide an interface for rural women to approach the government for availing their entitlements and also empowering them through training and capacity building.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT): With the aim of reforming Government delivery system by re-engineering the existing process in welfare schemes for simpler and faster flow of benefits and services and to ensure accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication and reduction of fraud, Government of India has started Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) using Aadhaar as the primary identifier of beneficiaries in its schemes. Use of Aadhaar ensures that benefits go to individuals’ bank accounts electronically, minimising tiers involved in fund flow and thereby reducing delay in payment, ensuring accurate targeting of the beneficiary and curbing pilferage and duplication.

Khoya-Paya Portal: In order to bring citizen participation for protecting children, a citizen based portal Khoya Paya has been launched in June, 2015, which enables posting of information of missing or sighted children.

E-Box for Children who have suffered sexual abuse: Children are often unable to complain about sexual abuse. In order to provide them with a safe and anonymous mode of making a complaint, an internet based facility, POCSO  e-Box, has been provided at NCPCR website where the child or anyone on his/her behalf can file a complaint with minimal details.

Gender Budgeting (GB)

Why: Women face various forms of vulnerability and discrimination throughout their life cycle. It was recognized that budgets are an important way to significantly reduce these vulnerabilities.

Under the scheme of Gender Budgeting (GB):

  1. Steps are being taken to ensure the institutionalisation of GB from policy formulation to outcome achievement in the Centre and across State Governments. The scheme has three main focus areas:
  • Advocacy and guidance to Gender Budget Cells
  • Training and capacity building of stakeholders
  • Facilitating Gender Budget analysis and performance audit
  1. MWCD provides financial support to Central/ State Government Institutes for imparting training to different stakeholders to strengthen the process of gender budgeting.

Cabinet approves

MoU between India and Australia on the safety in Mines, Testing and Research Station: The MoU will help in establishing a partnership between DGMS and SIMTARS for:

  • implementation of risk based safety management system, providing training,
  • organising, conference, seminar and other technical meetings, setting up occupations safety and health academy and national mine disaster centre, and
  • Modernising R&D laboratory of DGMS

Ex-post facto approval for Agreement on the facilitation of visa arrangements signed between India and Maldives: The Visa Facilitation Agreement signed during the visit of Maldivian President to India aims to further deepen people to people exchanges between the two countries making it easier for Maldivian and India nationals to travel to each other’s’ countries for tourism, medical treatment, education as well as business and employment. The Agreement provides for 90-day visa free travel for tourism, medical and limited business purpose and also provides for easy conversion of such visa free entry to medical visa as well as visas for dependents of students and those pursuing employment in each other’s territories.

Recapitalisation of Export-Import Bank of India: Exim Bank is the principal export credit agency for India.

  • The infusion of capital into Exim Bank will enable it to augment capital adequacy and support Indian exports with enhanced ability.
  • The infusion will give an impetus to anticipate new initiatives like supporting Indian textile industries, likely changes in Concessional Finance Scheme (CFS), likelihood of new LoCs in future in view of India’s active foreign policy and strategic intent.

Prelims oriented News:

  1. Sree PadmanabhaSwamy Temple: Thiruvananthapuram
  1. Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas -2019: Varanasi
  1. Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
  • Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified, for development namely: North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
  • Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for infrastructure development of circuits.
  1. First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award presented to: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
  1. National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC): Mumbai; aims to take its visitors through an absorbing journey of over a century of Indian cinema in a story telling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artifacts, interactive exhibits and multimedia expositions.
  1. Voter Awareness Forums will be set up in Ministries, Government Departments, Non-Government Departments and other Institutions to promote electoral awareness.
  • VAF is part of the Electoral Literacy Club programme of ECI
  • Launched on the 8th National Voters Day
  1. WAQF properties will be utilized for Socio-Economic Empowerment of the needy sections of the society: Central Waqf Council is providing financial help to state waqf boards for digitalisation of waqf records so that state waqf boards can complete digitalisation work within decided timeframe as 90 per cent waqf properties already have been digitised. Remaining waqf properties will also be digitised soon. GIS mapping work of Waqf properties in the country have also been started.
  1. Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana Achieves one crore milestones:

For: Employment Generation

Implemented by: Ministry of Labour and Employment through the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)

Under the scheme

  • Government is paying full employers’ contribution of 12% (towards Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Pension Scheme both), for a period of 3 years in respect of new employees who have been registered with the EPFO on or after 1st April 2016, with salary up to Rs. 15,000 per month.
  • PMRPY has a dual benefit i.e. on the one hand, the employer is incentivised for increasing the employee base in the establishment through payment of EPF contribution of 12% of wage, which otherwise would have been borne by the employer and on the other hand, a large number of workers find jobs in such establishments. A direct benefit is that these workers have access to social security benefit through Provident Fund, Pension and Death Linked Insurance.
  1. Launch of UNNATI – Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training programme of ISRO: A capacity building programme on Nanosatellite development, is an initiative by ISRO to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE-50). The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite.
  1. Govt. to launch an end-to-end prediction system for predicting thunderstorms/lightning by April 2019: Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and IMD are developing prediction tools for thunderstorm/lightning.
    • IITM Pune has already installed 48 lightning sensors around the country which can locate the thunderstorm/lightning activities on real time.
  • IITM Pune also developed a Mobile App called “DAMINI” to give alerts on impending lightning activity over the area.
  1. The Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015,2016,2017 and 2018 has been conferred on the following
    • 2015: Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari for the year 2015 for their contribution in Rural Development, Education , Development of natural resources.
  • 2016: Jointly to AkshayaPatra Foundation for its contribution in providing mid-day meals to millions of children across India and Sulabh International for its contribution in improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers.
  • 2017: EkalAbhiyan Trust for their contribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender and Social Equality
  • 2018: Shri YoheiSasakawa for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.
  1. Womaniya on GeM: Government e Marketplace [GeM] has launched it to enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups [WSHGs] to sell handicrafts and handloom, accessories, jute and coir products, home décor and office furnishings, directly to various Government ministries, departments and institutions. The initiative seeks to develop women entrepreneurship on the margins of society to achieve gender-inclusive economic growth.
  • India has approximately 500 million Internet users and nearly 54 percent of them are more than 25 years of age with higher discretionary income and likely to transact more online, half of internet users reside in small towns and present new opportunities for e-commerce and most importantly women constitute 33 percent or 143 million Internet users and control 44 percent of household spending in India.
  • Womaniya on GeM will spur hyper-local economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs and address goals and objectives under United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Government e Marketplace is a 100 percent government owned company setup under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry for procurement of common use goods and services by Government ministries, departments and CPSEs. GeM was setup in 2016 and has 731,431 product categories, with 180,862 registered sellers and 32,114 government buyers. Since inception, GeM has processed 1,171,761 orders worth Rs. 16,976 crores in gross merchandise value.
  1. Govt. Launches two National level Initiatives in the field of science communication: The Department of Science and Technology (DST) along with Doordarshan (DD), Prasar Bharati today launched two science communication initiatives, DD Science and India Science .While DD Science is an one-hour slot on Doordarshan National channel, which will be telecast Monday to Saturday from 5 pm to 6pm, India Science is a internet-based channel, which is available on any internet-enabled device, and will offer live, scheduled play and video-on-demand services.
  • To elevate science into a celebration and bring it close to everyday life. DST and DD aim to make them jewels in the crown of the country for serving humanity for the furtherance of science.
  • The two channels will have science-based documentaries, studio-based discussions, and virtual walkthroughs of scientific institutions, interviews and short films and will be completely free to access.
  1. MoU signed for Inter-Ministerial Cooperation for Promotion and Facilitation of Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Education: In order to leverage the efforts, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for much-needed emphasis on multi-disciplinary R&D activities and nurturing innovations in Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Education.
  • Five to ten focused programmes both short, medium and long term will be developed and implemented.
  • The collaborations also encompass to promote agri-innovations and start-ups, through the well-established BIRAC mechanism. This flagship synergistic approach would be taken-up in mission mode through networking with the elite institutions in the country.


  • To plan and implement jointly the mutually agreed major National programmes through joint funding and sharing of resources in the priorities areas of agricultural biotechnology
  • To form common think tank of experts from ICAR and DBT and others to formulate policies;
  • To establish National platform/centres for services related to genomics, genotyping, data banking, agriculture bioinformatics, GM food detection, validation of technologies such as vaccines, diagnostics of veterinary/ fisheries use, molecular markers in crop and animal breeding
  • To formulate and introduce courses/training programmes in the area of IPR, biosafety, biodiversity conservation and germ plasm exchange, genomic selection and breeding for faculty and students through appropriate mechanisms and
  • Research prioritization with other ministries and foreign collation like Indo-UK SIC, BRICS, African countries and ‘Look East’ programme in relation to agricultural biotechnology.

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