Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 3rd March to 9th March – 2019

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  • March 11, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 3rd March to 9th March – 2019



Launch of Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) Yojana

(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections)

What: A pension scheme for unorganized workers is being implemented for an estimated 42 crore workers, constituting around 85 per cent of the total labour force of the country.

The scheme is for unorganised workers who are mostly engaged as home-based workers, street vendors, mid-day meal workers, head loaders, brick kiln workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washer men, rickshaw pullers, rural landless labourers, own account workers, agricultural workers, construction workers, beedi workers, handloom workers, leather workers, audio- visual workers, and in similar other occupations, according to the release.

Objective: Will assure a monthly pension of Rs.3000 for the enrolled unorganized sector workers during their old age.

Administration: Administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India and CSC eGovernance Services India Limited (CSC SPV). LIC will be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.

It is for the first time since independence that such a scheme is envisaged for the crores of workers engaged in the informal sector

  • It is a central sector scheme open to unorganised workers, whose monthly income is Rs. 15,000 or below and who have an Aadhaar number as well as savings bank account. The minimum age for joining the scheme is 18 years and the maximum is 40 years
  • PM-SYM is a voluntary and contribution-based scheme under which the subscriber gets an assured minimum monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 from the age of 60 years onwards.
  • A contribution of equal amount as that of the beneficiary will be made by the Union Government. The cost incurred by the Common Service Centre for enrolling a beneficiary will be borne by the Union Government.

Cabinet approves

Scheme to Rebate State and Central Embedded Taxes to Support the Textile Sector: This will enable the Government to take various measures for making exports of apparel and made-ups zero rated. The proposed measures are expected to make the textile sector competitive. Rebate of all Embedded State and Central taxes/levies for apparel and made-ups segments would make exports zero-rated, thereby boosting India’s competitiveness in export markets and ensure equitable and inclusive growth of textile and apparel sector.

Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre Ordinance, 2019: This decision is expected to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions to attract all eligible talented candidates. This decision will allow filling up of more than 5000 vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers’ Cadre duly ensuring that the Constitutional Provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 21 shall be complied with and stipulated reservation criteria for the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes are met with.

Continuation of National AIDS Control Programme-IV (NACP-IV) beyond 12th Five Year Plan for a period of three years from April, 2017 to March, 2020:

  • More than 99% of population will be kept HIV free.
  • More than 70 lakhs of key population covered annually through a comprehensive HIV prevention programme.
  • Around 15 crores of vulnerable population (including five crore pregnant women) will be tested for HIV in three years of project.
  • Two crore 32 lakh units of blood will be collected at NACO’s supported blood banks during three year of project.
  • Two crore 82 lakh episodes of sexually transmitted infections will be managed under project during three years of project.
  • Seventeen lakhs of PLHIV will be put on free anti-retroviral treatment by end of project period.

Revival and development of un-served and under-served air strips of State Governments, Airports Authority of India, Civil enclaves, CPSUs, helipads and water aerodromes: As an outcome, small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/un-served airports and it will further boost the economic development in these as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.

Additional funds under the Scheme for extending financial assistance to sugar mills for enhancement and augmentation of ethanol production capacity: The approval of interest subvention will help in:

  • Improving liquidity of sugar mills by way of value addition to their revenues from supply of ethanol under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP);
  • Reducing sugar inventories and thereby facilitate timely clearance of cane price dues of farmers
  • Achieving 10% blending target of EBP

Measures to promote Hydro Power Sector:

  • These include Declaring Large Hydropower Projects (HPO) as part of non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). Large Hydropower Projects to be declared as Renewable Energy source (as per existing practice, only hydropower projects less than 25MW are categorized as Renewable Energy).
  • HPO as a separate entity within non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation to cover LHPs commissioned after notification of these measures (SHPs are already covered under Non-Solar Renewable Purchase Obligation). The trajectory of annual HPO targets will be notified by Ministry of Power based on the projected capacity addition plans in hydropower sector. Necessary amendments will be introduced in the Tariff Policy and Tariff Regulations to operationalize HPO.
  • Tariff rationalization measures including providing flexibility to the developers to determine tariff by back loading of tariff after increasing project life to 40 years, increasing debt repayment period to 18 years and introducing escalating tariff of 2%;
  • Budgetary support for funding flood moderation component of hydropower projects on case to case basis
  • Major Impact including employment generation potential: As most of the hydro power potential is located in the higher reaches of Himalayas and North- East Region, it will result in overall socio-economic development of the region by providing direct employment in the power sector. It will also provide indirect employment/entrepreneurial opportunities in the field of transportation, tourism and other small-scale businesses. Another benefit would be of having a stable grid considering 160 GW capacity addition by 2022 from infirm sources of power like solar and wind.
  • Background: India is endowed with large hydropower potential of 1,45,320 MW of which only about 45,400 MW has been utilized so far. Only about 10,000 MW of hydropower has been added in the last 10 years. The hydropower sector is currently going through a challenging phase and the share of hydropower in the total capacity has declined from 50.36% in the 1960s to around 13% in 2018-19.
  • Besides being environment friendly, hydropower has several other unique features like ability for quick ramping, black start, reactive absorption etc. which make it ideal for peaking power, spinning reserve and grid balancing/ stability. Further, hydropower also provides water security, irrigation and flood moderation benefits, apart from socio-economic development of the entire region by providing employment opportunities and boosting tourism etc.

“FMBAP” for Flood Management Works in entire country and River Management Activities and works related to Border Areas during 2017-18 to 2019-20: The FMBAP Scheme will be implemented throughout the country for effective flood management, erosion control and anti-sea erosion. The proposal will benefit towns, villages, industrial establishments, communication links, agricultural fields, infrastructure etc. from floods and erosion in the country. The catchment area treatment works will help in reduction of sediment load into rivers.  The aim of the Scheme is to assist the State Governments to provide reasonable degree of protection against floods in critical areas by adopting optimum combination of structural and non-structural measures and enhancing capabilities of State/Central Government officials in related fields.

MoU between India and Austria: The MoU aims to create an effective framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of Road Transportation, Roads/Highways infrastructure development, management and administration, Road safety and Intelligent Transport Systems between both countries. The MoU will further strengthen ties, promote long standing bilateral relations and enhance trade and regional integration between Republic of India and the Republic of Austria.

Agreement between India and Belarus on MLAT in Civil and Commercial Matters: The proposal aims to benefit the citizens of the respective Parties seeking Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters in the requested Party irrespective of any gender, class or income bias.

MoU between India and Germany on Cooperation in the field of Occupational Safety and Health: The collaboration till date has immensely helped in adopting the modern training techniques and tolls on various aspects of Occupational Safety and Health in different sectors of economic activity.

  • Under the MoU, German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) through the International Social Security Association (ISSA) is bringing in knowhow to meet the OSH challenges, especially in the construction and manufacturing sector.
  • Also, it will benefit the large work force by improving their safety and health, and preventing occupational injuries and diseases.  
  • The cooperation is expected to result in capacity building of Directorate General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), the technical arm and attached office of Ministry of Labour, India & Chief Inspector of Factories Officers (CIFs) in the field of OSH, Strengthening of Inspection system for meeting emerging challenges, upgradation of laboratories for carrying out applied research in the area of OSH, Development of OSH Standards and development in Safety Culture for enhancing the well-being of the Indian workforce.

Amendment to the Article 3 of the Agreement between India and Bhutan regarding MHEP in order to extend the loan repayment tenure by two years: The proposal aims to secure:

  • The First Year Tariff for import of power from the 720 MW MHEP in Bhutan at Indian Rupees 4.12 per unit.
  • Certainty of supply of surplus power to India by Bhutan from MHEP.
  • Strengthening India-Bhutan economic relations and inter-linkages especially in the field of hydro-power co-operation and overall deepening of India-Bhutan relations.

MoU between India and UK on Cancer Research Initiative: The India-UK Cancer Research Initiative will identify a core set of research challenges that address issues of affordability, prevention and care of cancer by bringing together leading Indian and UK experts across clinical research, demographic research, new technologies and physical sciences. The initiative will provide funding to develop new research alliances and undertake impactful research to enable significant progress against cancer outcomes.

The India-UK Cancer Research Initiative sets forth a roadmap for catalysing collaborations that align the best researchers, scientists, healthcare organizations and institutions to a multi-disciplinary research platform leading to high value, low cost outcomes for cancer care. Through this initiative the number of positions for doctoral-level, post-doctoral level researchers and early career scientists are expected to grow. They will not only be trained in cutting technology but will also be trained in essential leadership and project management skills which would help them in securing tenure-track research positions in academia or in related bio-pharma industry.

Background: The India-UK Cancer Research Initiative is a collaborative 5-year bilateral research initiative by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, India and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) that will focus on affordable approaches to cancer.

Government of India and ADB sign $926 Million Loan Agreement

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate)

Why: To operationalize two lines for the Mumbai Metro Rail System that will ease the distress of millions of commuters each day and help provide a cleaner, less congested city.

  • The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will implement the project.
  • Once operational by the end of 2022, an estimated 2 million passengers a day will use the two new lines, travelling in improved safety and comfort.
  • It will also reduce emissions from vehicles, with carbon dioxide emissions expected to fall by about 166,000 tons a year.

Government of India and World Bank

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate)

A.Sign $250 Million Agreement: The National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) to boost rural incomes across 13 States in India.

  • Benefit: Will help women in rural households shift to a new generation of economic initiatives by developing viable enterprise for farm and non-farm products. It will provide technical assistance, skills building and investment support to strengthen women-owned and women-led producer collectives diversify into high value farm and non-farm commodities such as commercial crops and livestock products, and fisheries.
  • Key Focus of the Project
    • Promote women-owned and women-led farm and non-farm enterprises across value chains
    • Enable them to build businesses that help them access finance, markets and networks
    • Generate employment
  • About the project: The National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) is an additional financing to the $500 million National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) approved by the World Bank in July 2011.  The NRLP which is currently being implemented across 13 states, 162 districts and 575 blocks, has so far mobilized more than 8.8 million women from poor rural households into 750,000 self-help groups (SHGs). These SHGs have been further federated into 48,700 Village Organizations and 2900 Cluster/Gram Panchayat-level Federations.  While these 13 states will continue to be supported under the new project signed today, 125 new districts will be added from within these states.

B.Signs Loan Agreement of USD 25.2 Million: Chhattisgarh Public Financial Management and Accountability Program

  • This support will cover Expenditure Planning, Investment Management, Budget Execution, Public Procurement and Accountability.
  • The Chhattisgarh Public Financial Management and Accountability Program, which is the First Bank-Financed State-Level Project in Chhattisgarh in nearly a decade, will also help the State strengthen its Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and Tax Administration Systems.
  • The New Project will build capacity of the State’s Human Resources and the Institutions Handling Management of Public Finances. The World Bank will facilitate cross-learning from Public Financial Management (PFM) Reforms undertaken by it in other Indian States while bringing in global experiences.

C.Signs Loan Agreement for USD 96 Million: To provide additional funds to the State of Uttarakhand in its post-disaster recovery plans, ongoing since the floods of 2013, as well as strengthen its capacity for Disaster Risk Management (the technical capacity of the State Entities to respond promptly and more effectively to such crises in the future).

  • The Project has helped in strengthening the State’s Disaster Risk Management Capacity which has led to enhanced investment in long-term resilience through policies and institutions.
  • The capacity of the SDRF, meant to be at the forefront during emergency situations of the State, has also been significantly strengthened and it has so far conducted over 250 operations rescuing over 3,500 people, during the high pilgrimage season.
  • While the impacts of climate change in future disasters remain uncertain, efforts to ensure that the State has additional capabilities and resilient infrastructure to reduce the potential damages and recover more quickly from disasters will translate into important beneficial ripple effects on the State’s economy and livelihoods in the long term.


Amendment in Hazardous Waste (Management& Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation)

Aim: To strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste in the country

By: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

The amendment has been done keeping into consideration the “Ease of Doing Business” and boosting “Make in India” initiative by simplifying the procedures under the Rules, while at the same time upholding the principles of sustainable development and ensuring minimal impact on the environment.

Some of the salient features of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management& Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019 are as follows:

  • Solid plastic waste has been prohibited from import into the country including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented Units (EOU).
  • Exporters of silk waste have now been given exemption from requiring permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, if found defective can now be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Industries which do not require consent under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, are now exempted from requiring authorization also under the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016, provided that hazardous and other wastes generated by such industries are handed over to the authorized actual users, waste collectors or disposal facilities.

Smart Fencing on Indo-Bangladesh border

(Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas)

The Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) project will vastly improve the capability of BSF in detecting and controlling the cross-border crimes like illegal infiltration, smuggling of contraband goods, human trafficking and cross border terrorism etc.

Project: BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) has been implemented along riverine border, it was not feasible to construct border fencing. The 61 kms of border area in Dhubri where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh consists of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guarding in this area a challenging task especially during rainy season.

CIBMS involves deployment of a range of state-of-the-art surveillance technologies — thermal imagers, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms, aerostats for aerial surveillance, unattended ground sensors that can help detect intrusion bids, radars, sonar systems to secure riverine borders, fibre-optic sensors and a command and control system that shall receive data from all surveillance devices in real time. Implementation of CIBMS projects on Indo – Pakistan and Indo – Bangladesh border will enhance the capabilities of Border security Force (BSF).  

Prelims oriented News:

Bogibeel Bridge: Longest rail-cum-road bridge in India

Launch of First indigenous semi high speed train: Vande Bharat Express between Delhi and Varanasi

National Council of Science Museums of Culture Ministry collaborates with Google Arts & Culture: For largest interactive online exhibition on inventions and discoveries

Sampriti – 2019: India-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise; The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.  The exercise will involve tactical level operations in a counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment under the UN mandate.

Launch of Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS): For providing industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship Promotional Scheme (NAPS).

  • The program aims to enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing ‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.
  • SHREYAS is a programme conceived for students in degree courses, primarily non-technical, with a view to introduce employable skills into their learning, promote apprenticeship as integral to education and also amalgamate employment facilitating efforts of the Government into the education system so that clear pathways towards employment opportunities are available to students during and after their graduation.
  • SHREYAS is a programme basket comprising the initiatives of three Central Ministries, namely the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Labour& Employment viz the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), the National Career Service (NCS)and introduction of BA/BSc/BCom (Professional) courses in the higher educational institutions.

World’s largest Bhagavad Gita: It measures over 2.8 meters and weighs over 800 kg; at ISKCON-Glory of India Cultural Centre, New Delhi.

Note: Lokmanya Tilak had written the “Gita Rahasya,” while in jail, in which he explained in a simple way, Lord Krishna’s message of Nishkam Karma.

India’s first indigenous semiconductor chips for 4G/LTE and 5G NR modems: By Signal chip

  • India is just breaking into the elite club of the world and this will have huge implications for India’s data security and data sovereignty, besides the positive economic implications.
  • At present only 8 companies and a few countries can design and build semiconductor chips and launch of Indigenous Chip is in a real sense Make in India for the World.
  • The pioneering work will lead to a whole new architecture of tower building mainly in the light of emission complaints and growing environmental concerns.
  • These chips also support positioning using India’s own satellite navigation system, NAVIC.

National War Memorial: Near India Gate in New Delhi, and is a fitting tribute to our soldiers who laid down their lives defending the nation, post-independence.

  • The National War Memorial also commemorates the soldiers who participated and made the supreme sacrifice in Peace Keeping Missions, and Counter Insurgency Operations.
  • The layout of the National War Memorial comprises four concentric circles, namely, the ‘Amar Chakra’ or Circle of Immortality, the ‘Veerta Chakra’ or Circle of Bravery, the ‘Tyag Chakra’ or Circle of Sacrifice, and the ‘Rakshak Chakra’ or Circle of Protection.
  • The National War Memorial complex includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame, and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by Indian Army, Air Force and Navy.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban): The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has approved the construction of another 5,60,695 more affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor.

  • The scheme envisions provision of Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
  • The Mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:
  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource
  • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy
  • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.

Van Dhan Scheme: An initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED, launched to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products. TRIFED has also launched the “Friends of Tribes” Scheme for sourcing of CSR funds from Public Sector Organizations (PSUs) were requested to fund tribal Entrepreneurship Development Programme through their CSR initiatives.

Rail Drishti: To promote transparency and accountability; encompassing all the digitisation efforts in Indian Railways and promoting transparency and accountability. It brings information from various sources on a single platform and gives access to key statistics and parameters to every citizen of the country.

Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI) programme:

  • Nodal agency: ICAR – National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) in Cuttack (Odisha)
  • Being implemented in 118 districts of seven Eastern states.
  • With its implementation, more than 25% of yield increase has been recorded in the states of Assam, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, whereas 12-15% yield increase has been reported in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Eastern UP.

The Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) is an international collaboration of governments, government agencies and multinational organisations dedicated to improving the health and well-being of their citizens through the best use of evidence-based digital technologies. Governments are making significant investments to harness the power of technology and foster innovation and public-private partnerships that support high quality, sustainable health and care for all. The GDHP facilitates global collaboration and co-operation in the implementation of digital health services.

Gandhi Peace Prize for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 awarded to –

  1. Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari for the year 2015: For its contribution in Education, Rural Development, and Development of Natural Resources
  1. Akshaya Patra Foundation (for providing mid-day meals to the children) and Sulabh International (for improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers) for the year 2016 (Jointly)
  2. Ekal Abhiyan Trust for the year 2017: Recognizes the manifold contribution of Ekal Abhiyan Trust over vast number of villages in providing education to Rural and Tribal children in remote areas pan India, in spreading awareness about Health and Hygiene, in promoting Rural Entrepreneurship through natural farming and skills, in making rural communities aware of issues related to Gender and Social Equality and thus realizing Gandhian concept of Gram Swaraj through voluntary efforts.
  3. Sh Yohei Sasakawa for the year 2018: For the work of leprosy eradication in India and across the world through his tireless advocacy to promote greater awareness and understanding of leprosy and for speaking out against stigma and discrimination.

About the Award:

  • Gandhi Peace Prize for Social, Economic and Political transformation through Non-violence was instituted in the year 1995. The Award comprises an amount of Rs. One Crore and a Citation.
  • This annual award is given to individuals, associations, institutions or organizations who have worked selflessly for peace, non-violence and amelioration of human sufferings particularly of the less-privileged section of society contributing towards social justice and harmony. The Award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or gender.
  • Normally, contributions made during ten years immediately preceding the nomination are considered.

Janaushadhi Diwas: 7th March 2019 (making quality healthcare affordable for all); Health is one of the most important part of development and this Government has been incessantly working to ensure quality healthcare affordable for all, through schemes like Ayushman Bharat, PMBJP among others. The Janaushadhi medicines have played a big role in bringing down the out of pocket expenditure of patients suffering from life threatening diseases in India. The PMBJP scheme has led to total savings of approximately Rs.1000 crores for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50% to 90% of average market price.

Azaadi ke Diwane Museum: Red Fort, Delhi

  • Created by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the museum within the Red Fort complex pays homage to all the unsung heroes of freedom struggle of the nation, who would have otherwise been merged away in forgetfulness.
  • The museum is fifth in the series of recently inaugurated museums in the Red Fort Complex – others being, Subhash Chandra Bose and INA museum, Yaad-e-Jallian museum, Museum on 1857 – India’s first war of Independence and Drishyakala – Museum on Indian Art.

Scheme for Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) for Specified Agriculture Products: To provide assistance for the international component of freight and marketing of agricultural produce which is likely to mitigate disadvantage of higher cost of transportation of export of specified agriculture products due to trans-shipment and to promote brand recognition for Indian agricultural products in the specified overseas markets.

Permanent Commission to Women

Indian Air Force: All branches, including Fighter Pilots are now open for women officers.

Indian Navy:

  • All non-sea going Branches/Cadre/Specialisation have been opened for induction of women officers through Short Service Commission. In addition to education, Law & Naval Constructor branch/cadre, women SSC officers have been made eligible for grant of Permanent Commission in the Naval Armament branch, at par with the male officers.
  • The proposal for induction of three new training ships for the Indian Navy is underway. This will provide the requisite infrastructure for training of both men and women officers. Indian Navy will start inducting women in all branches, once the training ships are in place.

Indian Army:

  • Women officers will be granted Permanent Commission in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where women are inducted for Short Service Commission.
  • So, besides the existing two streams of Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps, now PC will be granted in Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Intelligence also to women officers.
  • SSC women officers will give their option for PC before completion of four years of Commissioned Service and they will exercise option for grant of PC and their choice of specialisation.
  • SSC Women officers will be considered for grant of PC based on suitability, merit etc and will be employed in various staff appointment.

National Common Mobility Card, NCMC: India’s first indigenously developed payment platform

    • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs brought to the fore the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) to enable seamless travel by different metros and other transport systems across the country besides retail shopping and purchases.
    • India’s First Indigenously Developed Payment Eco-system for transport consisting of NCMC Card, SWEEKAR (Swachalit Kiraya: Automatic Fare Collection System) and SWAGAT (Swachalit Gate) is based on NCMC Standards.
    • These are bank issued cards on Debit/Credit/Prepaid card product platform. The customer may use this single card for payments across all segments including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail.
  • Benefits:
    • Help in higher digital payments penetration, savings on closed loop card lifecycle management cost
    • Reduced operating cost
    • The rich data insights may be used by operators for business intelligence leading to efficient operation.
    • With NCMC Ecosystem, Banks will get an access to segments which are highly driven by cash but stickiness in nature.
    • NCMC Ecosystem will further help government in digitization of low value payments and reduced cost for the entire ecosystem.

The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) 2018-19


  • 96.5% of the households in rural India who have access to a toilet use it.
  • 95.4% of the villages surveyed found to have minimal litter and minimal stagnant water
  • The NARSS also re-confirmed the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of 90.7% of villages which were previously declared and verified as ODF by various districts/States.

SBM, the world’s largest sanitation program, has changed the behaviour of hundreds of millions of people with respect to toilet access and usage. 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open since the SBM began, down from 550 million at the beginning of the programme to less than 50 million today. Over 9 crore toilets have been built across rural India under the Mission. Over 5.5 lakh villages and 615 districts have been declared ODF, along with 30 ODF States and Union Territories.

Time to work on it – Essay topic: Science and technology is the fulcrum for the levers of government to effect social and economic change

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