Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 16th to 21st September, 2019
Launch of NIRVIK – a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS)
By: Ministry of Commerce & Industry through Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC)
Aim: To enhance loan availability and ease the lending process
The ECGC cover provides additional comfort to banks as the credit rating of the borrower is enhanced to AA rated account. Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4%and 8% respectively for exporters.
Under ECIS, insurance cover percentage has also been enhanced to 90% from the present average of 60% for both Principal and Interest.
Launch of Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019 and Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) – 2019
Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP)- To build higher managerial capabilities of existing higher education leaders and administrators and to draw fresh talent into the management of higher education systems, a National Initiative “Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP)” was launched to design and deliver a structured scheme of leadership development for HEIs. LEAP is a three weeks leadership development training programme (2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training) for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions. The main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads that are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.
Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) – Ministry of Human Resource Development launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) in November, 2018. ARPIT is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM. For implementing ARPIT, discipline-specific National Resource Centers (NRCs) are identified which are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
President of India in Slovenia
This is the first ever presidential visit from India to Slovenia.
India’s growth and Slovenia’s technology and manufacturing capacity complement each other. India is targeting to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025. There are immense possibilities of cooperation between the two countries in the fields of high technology, especially clean technology, robotics and artificial intelligence. Start-up and innovation sectors also present opportunities. Slovenia has developed niche technology in the defence sector and is a proven leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence, defence equipment and clean water technologies.
- India values Slovenia’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.
- The President urged Slovenia to join the International Solar Alliance and strengthen India’s efforts to combat climate change.
- India and Slovenia signed and exchanged seven MoUs and Programmes of Cooperation in the fields of Investment, Sports, Culture, River Rejuvenation (Clean Ganga Mission), Science & Technology and Standards in the presence of the two Presidents.
Do you know?
- Slovenia is located in southern Central Europe at a crossroads of important European cultural and trade routes.
- It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest
Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance
Electronic-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes. These include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices. These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavours and their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children.
Upon promulgation of the Ordinance, any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognizable offence punishable with an imprisonment of up to one year or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh or both for the first offence; and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for a subsequent offence. Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
Impact: The decision to prohibit e-cigarettes will help protect population, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through E-cigarettes. Enforcement of the Ordinance will complement government’s efforts for tobacco control and will help in reduction of tobacco use and reduction in associated economic and disease burden.
World Ozone Day
Day: 16 September
Theme: “32 years and healing”
The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.
The phase-out of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change; furthermore, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.
The latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion completed in 2018, shows that, as a result, parts of the ozone layer have recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000.
- At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone will heal completely by the 2030s.
- The Southern Hemisphere will follow in the 2050s and Polar Regions by 2060.
- Ozone layer protection efforts have also contributed to the fight against climate change by averting an estimated 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, from 1990 to 2010.
Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol: It entered into force on 1 January 2019. By phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent climate-warming gases, this amendment can avoid up to 0.4°C of global temperature rise by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. And by combining action to phase-down HFCs with energy efficiency improvements in the cooling industry, we can achieve bigger climate benefits.
India became one of the first countries in the world to launch a comprehensive Cooling Action plan in March, 2019, which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors such as residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport and industries. The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand, which will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions.
ICAP has been appreciated internationally as an important policy initiative which has the potential to provide socio-economic and environmental benefits related to reduced refrigerant use, climate change mitigation and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many countries are now involved in development of cooling action plans keeping in view the significant environmental benefits and the fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goals.
The India Cooling Action seeks to
(i) reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38,
(ii) reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38,
(iii) Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38,
(iv) recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme,
(v) training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission.
ICAP recommends synergies with ongoing government programmes and schemes such as Housing for All, the Smart Cities Mission, Doubling Farmers Income and Skill India Mission, in order to maximize socio-economic co-benefits.
As part of the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) phase out programme, India has proactively taken the challenge of complete phase out of HCFC 141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises by 1.1.2020. Towards meeting this compliance target, the Ozone Cell of the Ministry is providing technical and financial assistance to foam manufacturing enterprises along with UNDP.
MoEFCC is implementing a project jointly for upskilling and certification of 100,000 Refrigeration and Air-conditioning service technicians with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) under Skill India Mission – Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Training and certification of Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (RAC) service technicians will allow securing environmental benefits and livelihood enhancement for technicians. This sector is largely unorganized. Already 20000 service technicians have been upskilled and certified in the first phase. In addition 14, 000 technicians have also been trained under HPMP in collaboration with GIZ.
First Raksha Mantri to fly ‘LCA Tejas’: Shri Rajnath Singh
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh green signals writing of India’s border history: The work will cover various aspects of borders including tracing its making; making & unmaking and shifting of borders; role of security forces; role of borderland people encompassing their ethnicity, culture and socio-economic aspects of their lives. The project is expected to be completed within two years.
FM hands over restituted 12th Century Buddha statue to Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Culture Minister
- The 12th Century Buddha statue, which was stolen 57 years ago and finally traced at an auction in the United Kingdom (UK)
- The 12th Century AD Bronze image of Buddha seated in the Bhumipasara mudra was amongst the 19 bronze images/statues stolen from the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Nalanda site museum in August 1961.
RTI can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the 31st of October, 2019. There were mischievous rumours that, because J&K will become a Union Territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.
- The first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours.
- For the PIO to reply to the application, timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application.
- For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first Appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory.
- Only in case of second appeal, the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the Central Information Commission on-line within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received.
Waste Management Accelerator for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs (WAWE Summit 2019): It will be jointly organized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Institute of Waste Management (IIWM) at Jaipur. It will be part of a series of activities to encourage entrepreneurship amongst young graduates.
Skill India and IBM come together for nationwide Train-the-Trainer program in Artificial Intelligence: As part of the program, ITI trainers will be trained on basic Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills towards using the technology in their day-to-day training activities. This program aims at enabling the trainers with basic approach, workflow and application of artificial intelligence that they can apply in their training modules. IBM aims at training 10,000 faculty members from ITIs across the country and the program will be executed over aperiod of one year with 14 trainers across 7 locations with over 200 workshops.
National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) Scheme for better learning outcomes in Higher Education
Objective: To use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalised and customised as per the requirements of the learner. This requires development of technologies in Adaptive Learning to address the diversity of learners.
- MHRD would act as a facilitator to ensure that the solutions are freely available to a large number of economically backward students. MHRD would create and maintain a National NEAT platform that would provide one-stop access to these technological solutions.
- EdTech companies would be responsible for developing solutions and manage registration of learners through the NEAT portal. They would be free to charge fees as per their policy. As their contribution towards the National cause, they would have to offer free coupons to the extent of 25% of the total registrations for their solution through NEAT portal.
- MHRD would distribute the free coupons for learning to the most socially/economically backward students.
- AICTE would be the implementing agency for NEAT programme. The scheme shall be administered under the guidance of an Apex Committee constituted by MHRD. Independent Expert Committees would be constituted for evaluating and selecting the EdTech solutions. MoUs will be signed with the shortlisted EdTech companies. Awareness programs would be taken up by MHRD to create awareness of the NEAT solutions to teachers and students.
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana Reaches One Crore Beneficiaries
Scheme: A flagship scheme of the Government for pregnant women and lactating mothers
- PMMVY is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme under which cash benefits are provided to pregnant women in their bank account directly to meet enhanced nutritional needs and partially compensate for wage loss.
- Under the ‘Scheme’, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) receive a cash benefit of Rs. 5,000 in three installments on fulfilling the respective conditionality, viz. early registration of pregnancy, ante-natal check-up and registration of the birth of the child and completion of first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family. The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on an average, a woman gets Rs. 6,000.
Joint Unveiling of Buddha Statue by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President of Mongolia HE Mr. Khaltmaagiin Battulga
Installed at the historic Gandan Tegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar
- Prime Minister had offered prayers at the Gandan Tegchenling Monastery during his visit to Mongolia in 2015 and had announced to gift a statue of Lord Buddha to the monastery, underlining the common Buddhist heritage and civilizational links between our two countries and peoples.
- The Statue depicts Lord Buddha in a sitting posture along with his two disciples conveying the message of compassion along with peace and co-existence. The statue was installed and consecrated at the Gandan Monastery earlier this month during the third edition of SAMVAAD dialogue held in Ulaanbaatar from 6 – 7 September 2019. Third edition of SAMVAAD dialogue brought together Buddhist religious leaders, experts and scholars from different countries to deliberate on contemporary issues related to Buddhism.
- Gandan Tegchenling Monastery is a prominent centre of Mongolian Buddhists and a treasure house of valuable Buddhist heritage. It hosted the 11th General Assembly of Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace (ABCP) from 21-23 June 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the Conference. Over 150 guests from 14 countries including India, South Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, North Korea, LPDR, Thailand, Japan etc. had participated in the event.
India and Mongolia are not just ‘Strategic Partners’ but also ‘Spiritual Neighbours’ connected by our shared Buddhist Heritage
- The President appreciated Mongolia for its consistent support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
- He also appreciated Mongolia’s decision to join the ‘International Solar Alliance’. He said that this will strengthen our partnership in the renewable energy sector and help us combat Climate Change.
- Centuries-old people-to-people exchanges have been the bedrock of our ties. Buddhist monks and traders from India traveled to Mongolia with the message of peace, harmony and friendship. Similarly, over the ages, Mongolian scholars and pilgrims came to India in pursuit of Buddhist studies and spiritual blessings. This ageless tradition continues. India, today, is privileged to host around 800 Mongolian students engaged in Buddhist studies.
ISRO and DRDO ink MoUs to provide technologies for human centric systems for Human Space Mission
Aim: To demonstrate its human space flight capabilities
The technological capabilities existing in DRDO laboratories for defence applications will be customised to meet the requirements of the human space mission of ISRO. Some of the critical technologies to be provided by DRDO to ISRO include space food, space crew health monitoring and emergency survival kit, radiation measurement and protection, parachutes for safe recovery of crew module and others.
Air-to-Air missile Astra successfully flight tested from Su-30 MKI: The missile was launched from Su-30 MKI as a part of User trials. The live aerial target was engaged accurately demonstrating the capability of first indigenous air-to-air missile.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) ‘Astra’ from Su-30 MKI platform: Astra BVRAAM has range of more than 100 kms with modern guidance and navigation techniques. The missile has midcourse guidance and RF seeker based terminal guidance to achieve target destruction with pin point accuracy. The present flight trials have proved the end to end performance of the missile system in various combat scenarios giving greater confidence to users. The five successful trials of Astra will culminate into induction of the missile system into Indian Air Force, which will certainly be a force multiplier considering its accuracy and effectiveness in neutralizing aerial threats.