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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 27th May to 7th June – 2019

  • IASbaba
  • June 10, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 27th May to 7th June – 2019

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Landmark decision taken in the first Cabinet meeting of the NDA Government offers pension coverage to crores of farmers

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

This is a path breaking scheme, also for the first time since independence, that such pension coverage has been envisioned for farmers.

It is estimated that 5 crore small and marginal farmers will benefit in the first three years itself.  The Central Government would spend Rs. 10774.50 crore for a period of 3 years towards its contribution (matching share) for providing social security cover as envisaged under the scheme.

The salient features:

  • A voluntary and contributory pension scheme for all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) across the country.
  • Entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision of minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- on attaining the age of 60 years. For example, a beneficiary farmer is required to contribute Rs 100/ – per month at median entry age of 29 years.  The Central Government shall also contribute to the Pension Fund an equal amount as contributed by the eligible farmer. 
  • After the subscriber’s death, while receiving pension, the spouse of the SMF beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension, provided he/she is not already an SMF beneficiary of the Scheme.  If, the death of the subscriber happens during the period of contribution, the spouse shall have the option of continuing the Scheme by paying regular contribution.

Synergy between schemes, prosperity for farmers: The farmers can opt to allow his/her monthly contribution to the Scheme to be made from the benefits drawn from the Pradhan Mantri KisanSAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme directly. Alternatively, a farmer can pay his monthly contribution by registering through Common Service Centres (CSCs) under MeitY. 


PM-KISAN Yojana extended to all farmers

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

PM-KISAN Scheme extension to include all eligible farmer families irrespective of the size of land holdings –

  • The revised Scheme is expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, with an estimated expenditure by Central Government of Rs. 87,217.50 crores for year 2019-20.
  • The key element of PM-KISAN is income support of Rs. 6000/- to the small and marginal landholder farmer families with cultivable land holding upto 2 hectare across the country.
  • The amount is being released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs.2000/- each over the year, to be credited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries held in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer mode.

New initiative to control Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis to support the livestock rearing farmers

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

These diseases are very common amongst the livestock – cow-bulls, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs etc.

If a cow/buffalo gets infected with FMD, the milk loss is up to 100% which could last for four to six months. Further, in case of Brucellosis the milk output reduces by 30%, during the entire life cycle of animal. Brucellosis also causes infertility amongst the animals. The infection of brucellosis can also be transmitted to the farm workers and livestock owners. Both the diseases have a direct negative impact on the trade of milk and other livestock products.

The Central Government has decided to now bear the entire cost of the programme to ensure complete eradication of these diseases and better livelihood opportunities for all the livestock rearing farmers in the country.


Draft National Education Policy

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education)

By: Dr K. Kasturirangan Committee

The Government of India had initiated the process of formulating a New Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the requirements of the population with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry. The extant National Policy on Education, 1986 modified in 1992 required changes to meet the contemporary and futuristic needs of our large youth population.

For this, the MHRD initiated an unprecedented collaborative, multi-stakeholder, multi-pronged, bottom- up people-centric, inclusive, participatory consultation process. The extensive consultations undertaken across multiple levels of online, expert and thematic, and from the grassroots ranging from Village, Block, Urban Local bodies, District, State, Zonal and the National level, provided an opportunity to every citizen to engage in this massive exercise.

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 is built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability.

For Ministry: The Committee has proposed to rename MHRD as Ministry of Education (MoE).

For Students:

  • In School Education, a major reconfiguration of curricular and pedagogical structure with Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as an integral part of school education is proposed.
  • The Committee also recommends Extension of Right to Education Act 2009 to cover children of ages 3 to 18.
  • A 5+3+3+4 curricular and pedagogical structure based on cognitive and socio-emotional developmental stages of children: Foundational Stage (age 3-8 yrs): 3 years of pre-primary plus Grades 1-2;  Preparatory Stage (8-11 years): Grades 3-5; Middle Stage (11-14 years): Grades 6-8; and Secondary Stage (14-18 years): Grades 9-12.
  • Schools will be re-organized into school complexes.
  • It also seeks to reduce content load in school education curriculum. There will be no hard separation of learning areas in terms of curricular, co-curricular or extra- curricular areas and all subjects, including arts, music, crafts, sports, yoga, community service, etc. will be curricular.  
  • It promotes active pedagogy that will focus on the development of core capacities: and life skills, including 21st century skills.

For Teachers

  • The Committee proposes for massive transformation in Teacher Education by shutting down sub-standard teacher education institutions and moving all teacher preparation/education programmes into large multidisciplinary universities/colleges.
  • The 4-year integrated stage-specific B.Ed. programme will eventually be the minimum degree qualification for teachers.

For Higher education institutes

  • In higher education, a restructuring of higher education institutions with three types of higher education institutions is proposed- Type 1: Focused on world-class research and high quality teaching; Type 2: Focused on high quality teaching across disciplines with significant contribution to research; Type 3: High quality teaching focused on undergraduate education.
  • This will be driven by two Missions -Mission Nalanda & Mission Takshashila. There will be re-structuring of Undergraduate programs (e.g. BSc, BA, BCom, BVoc) of 3 or 4 years duration and having multiple exit and entry options.

For Governance

  • A new apex body Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog is proposed to enable a holistic and integrated implementation of all educational initiatives and programmatic interventions, and to coordinate efforts between the Centre and States.
  • The National Research Foundation, an apex body is proposed for creating a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  • The four functions of Standard setting, Funding, Accreditation and Regulation to be separated and conducted by independent bodies: National Higher Education Regulatory Authority as the only regulator for all higher education including professional education; Creation of accreditation eco-system led by revamped NAAC; Professional Standard Setting Bodies for each area of professional education and UGC to transform to Higher Education Grants Commission (HEGC).
  • The private and public institutions will be treated on par and education will remain a ‘not for profit’ activity.

Other recommendations

  • Several new policy initiatives for promoting internationalization of higher education, strengthening quality open and distance learning, technology integration at all levels of education, adult and lifelong learning  and initiatives to enhance participation of under-represented groups, and eliminate gender, social category and regional gaps in education outcomes are recommended.
  • Promotion of Indian and Classical Languages and setting up three new National Institutes for Pali, Persian and Prakrit and an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) has been recommended.
  • The path breaking reforms recommended will bring about a paradigm shift by equipping our students, teachers and educational institutions with the right competencies and capabilities and also create an enabling and reinvigorated educational eco-system for a vibrant new India.

Withdrawal of India’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits by USA

(Topic:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests)

These are unilateral, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory benefits extended by some developed countries to developing countries. India as part of the bilateral trade discussions, had offered resolution on significant US requests in an effort to find a mutually acceptable way forward. It is unfortunate that this did not find acceptance by the US.

The sectors which would be impacted include most imitation jewellery, leather articles, pharmaceuticals, chemical and plastics, basic and processed agri goods.

The decision undermines the objective recognised in the preamble to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement that there is a need for ‘positive efforts’ to ensure that developing countries secure a share in their growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development

The US has alleged that India is not providing equitable market access to its companies and has raised serious concerns over capping of prices of certain medical devices. It is also seeking market for its dairy products.


Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and World Bank sign $287 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme

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

The programme aims to improve the quality of health care, reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and fill equity gaps in reproductive and child health services in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu ranks third among all Indian states in the NITI Aayog Health Index which is reflected in vastly improved health outcomes. The state’s maternal mortality rate has declined from 90 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 62 deaths in 2015-16 while infant mortality has declined from 30 deaths per 1000 live births to 20 in the same period. A key contribution to these achievements has been the establishment of emergency obstetric and neonatal care centres and the 108 ambulance service with previous support from the World Bank. These have ensured that no mother has to travel more than 30 minutes to access emergency obstetric and neonatal care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Despite these impressive gains, certain challenges in health care remain, including quality of care and variations in reproductive and child health among districts. Tamil Nadu is also dealing with a growing burden of NCDs as they account for nearly 69 percent of deaths in the state.

The Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Program will support the state government to:

  • Develop clinical protocols and guidelines;
  • Achieve national accreditation for primary, secondary, and tertiary-level health facilities in the public sector;
  • Strengthen physicians, nurses and paramedics through continuous medical education;
  • Strengthen the feedback loop between citizens and the state by making quality and other data accessible to the public.

The programme will

  • Promote population-based screening, treatment and follow-up for NCDs, and improve monitoring and evaluation
  • Patients will be equipped with knowledge and skills to self-manage their conditions
  • Lab services and health provider capacity will also be strengthened to address mental health
  • To tackle road injuries, the programme will improve in- hospital care, strengthen protocols, strengthen the 24×7 trauma care services and establish a trauma registry.

Another key aim of this programme is to reduce the equity gaps in reproductive and child health. Special focus will be given to nine priority districts, which constitute the bottom quintile of the RCH indicators in the state and have a relatively large proportion of tribal populations.


Prelims Oriented News

31st May: World No Tobacco Day

5th June: World Environment Day (WED); this year’s theme is ‘Air Pollution’.

India’s forest cover increased by 1% in the last 5 years

National Clean Air programme (NCAP)

  • It is a mid-term 5 Year Action Plan with targets of 20-30% reduction of PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration in 102 cities, out of which 84 cities have already submitted their action plan.  
  • The main objective of NCAP is to control and abate air pollution across the country.  
  • It is a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach with mainstreaming and integration.

Nipah Virus

  • Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious disease that broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
  • It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • The infection is also known to affect human beings.
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus.
  • Nipah virus infection gets its name from the village in Malaysia where the person from whom the virus was first isolated succumbed to the disease.

How does Nipah spread or get transmitted?

  • The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
  • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
  • Nipah Virus, which is a zoonotic disease, was known to affect humans in Malaysia and Singapore after coming in direct contact with the excretions or secretions of infected pigs.

Symptoms of the Nipah infection:

  • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.
  • There is no specific treatment for Nipah Virus. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

Elections

People should elect their representatives on the basis of 4 Cs—

  • Character
  • Conduct
  • Capacity
  • Calibre

People should not give importance to other 4 Cs—

  • Cash
  • Caste
  • Community
  • Criminality  

Padma Awards

  • Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, are amongst the highest civilian awards of the country.
  • Instituted in 1954, these Awards are announced on the occasion of the Republic Day every year.
  • The award seeks to recognize ‘work of distinction’ and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields/disciplines, such as, Art, Literature and Education, Sports, Medicine, Social Work, Science and Engineering, Public Affairs, Civil Service, Trade and Industry etc. All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these Awards.
  • Government servants including those working with PSUs, except Doctors and Scientists, are not eligible for Padma Awards.

Operation Safed Sagar

  • The code name assigned to the Indian Air Force’s role in acting jointly with Ground troops during the Kargil war that was aimed at flushing out Regular and Irregular troops of the Pakistani Army from vacated Indian Positions in the Kargil sector along the Line of Control.
  • It was the first large scale use of Airpower in the Jammu and Kashmir region since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

The ‘Missing Man’ formation : It is an aerial salute accorded to honour the fallen comrades-in-arms. It is basically an Arrow Formation, with a gap between two aircraft in a way that the formation depicts the Missing Man.

DRDO successfully test fires AKASH – MK -1S

Akash Mk1S is an upgrade of existing AKASH missile with indigenous Seeker. AKASH Mk1S is a surface to air missile which can neutralize advanced aerial targets. The Akash weapon system has combination of both command guidance and active terminal seeker guidance. Seeker and guidance performance have been consistently established in both the missions.

Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019

In order to ensure smooth and flawless compliance of Copyright Act in the light of technological advancement in digital era and to bring them in parity with other relevant legislations, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India has now proposed to introduce the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2019.

The copyright regime is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright Rules,2013. The Copyright Rules,2013 were last amended in 2016 through the Copyright Amendment Rules, 2016.

Swachh Bharat has led to reduced ground water contamination: Study by UNICEF

These studies, commissioned by UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates, were aimed at assessing the environmental impact and communication footprint of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) respectively.

  • The rural sanitation coverage in the country had crossed the 99% mark and that the Mission was in the final stretch of its completion with 30 States and Union Territories already having declared themselves free from open defecation.
  • The Mission is focusing on sustaining the gains of this progress and to extend the momentum to the ODF-plus phase which includes solid and liquid waste management.
  • The study findings indicated that these substantial reductions may potentially be attributed to the improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices, as well as supportive systems such as regular monitoring and behaviour change messaging, which have all been critical aspects of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).

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