Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th Sep to 15th September – 2019

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  • September 18, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th  to 15th September, 2019



India joins the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub

(Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health)

Objective: To be able to work with all partners to leverage their existing capabilities, resources and collectively focus on new R&D intervention to address drug resistant infections.

Antimicrobial Resistance: AMR is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe. Today, the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance continues unabated around the world. Given the important and interdependent human, animal, and environmental dimensions of antimicrobial resistance, India considers it reasonable to explore issues of antimicrobial resistance through the lens of One Health approach which should be supported by long-term commitments from all stakeholders.

Sources of AMR

Pharmaceutical industry effluents:

  • In India, effluents generated from pharmaceutical industries are treated as per the pharmaceutical wastewater discharge guidelines prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board.
    The current standards do not include antibiotic residues, and they are not monitored in the pharmaceutical industry effluents.
  • No consensus guidelines on the antibiotic residue discharge limits in industrial waste globally.
  • The existing framework under the WHO (2016) is restricted to drug safety and does not include environmental safeguards.

Discharge of untreated urban waste:

  • The uncontrolled discharge of untreated urban waste is another major source for AMR.
  • Large proportions of the wastewater from hospitals, communities and urban runoff is discharged untreated or partially treated into rivers, lakes and seas.

Veterinary source:

  • Antibiotic consumption in animal food. The misuse of antibiotics in poultry, livestock and fish to treat and prevent infections is very common.

National Action Plan in India

In India, a national action plan, meant to deal with the issue of AMR, focuses on six priority areas —

  • Awareness and understanding through education
  • Communication and training
  • Strengthening knowledge and evidence through surveillance
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Optimised antimicrobial use in health, animals and food
  • AMR-related research and innovation and strengthened leadership and commitment at international, and national

It highlights the need for the integrated approach in multiple sectors such as human health, animal husbandry, agriculture and environment to overcome the AMR issues.

Global AMR R&D Hub

The Global AMR R&D Hub was launched in May 2018 in the margins of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly, following a call from G20 Leaders in 2017. 

  • It supports global priority setting and evidence-based decision-making on the allocation of resources for AMR R&D through the identification of gaps, overlaps and potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and leveraging in AMR R&D. 
  • The operation of the Global AMR R&D Hub is supported through a Secretariat, established in Berlin and currently financed through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).
  • India joining it expands the global partnership working to address challenges and improve coordination and collaboration in global AMR R&D to 16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).
  • In a major boost to combat one of the gravest risks to global health a dedicated special vehicle in terms of Global AMR R&D Hub may allow partners to devote expertise in order to accelerate global action against antimicrobial resistance.

India & ADB sign $200 million loan to improve rural connectivity in Maharashtra

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

Aim: To upgrade rural roads to all-weather standards in 34 districts of Maharashtra State to improve road safety and better connect rural areas with markets and services. Enhanced road connectivity and better access to markets will help the farmers increase agricultural productivity and incomes

Impact of the project: The project will improve the condition of about 2,100 kilometers (km) of rural roads to all-weather standards, with climate resilience and safety features, connecting rural communities with productive agricultural areas and socioeconomic centers

Background: Maharashtra has an extensive road network, with rural roads making up two thirds of the network. But more than half of these rural roads are unsealed, making them unsuitable for motorized traffic and impassable during the rainy season. Road safety has been a growing concern with the state accounting for over 8% of all fatal road accidents in India.

The Loan: Accompanying the loan is a technical assistance grant of $1 million for institutional strengthening of the MRRDA in areas such as road asset management, road safety, climate-resilient design and construction and web-based real-time project monitoring. Outreach for road users will be carried out in the state to build awareness of road safety, gender issues including human trafficking, and enhancing women’s road construction and maintenance skills.

About Asian Development Bank: ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion.


Energy and India

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy)

Energy access, higher standard of living and improved prosperity in developing countries will primarily drive the energy demand. It is important for the low income, low per capital energy consuming countries to have access to technology and capital when it comes to energy efficiency and clean tech. That will provide better energy security than short term interventions in fossil fuel supply and price.

The Issue: Due to poor and imbalanced energy infrastructure, 400 million people in Asian region have no access to electricity, and rural residents have no access to clean electricity. Therefore, providing safe, stable, affordable and efficient energy has become an important task for governments of all countries.

Energy Vision of India 

It is based on four pillars i.e. 

  1. Energy access
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Energy sustainability
  4. Energy security

What do we need to do?

Matching Investment with Consumption: In India, we have to improve availability of energy to over 1.3 billion people, whose per capita energy consumption is lower than the global average. Now, India is the third-largest energy consumer in the world, and its energy demand is growing faster than all major economies of the world. Our share of total global primary energy demand is set to double to 11% by 2040. We are preparing for such a growth path of energy demand in the country. This calls for making matching investments in the energy sector.

Energy Justice to be the core objective: As part of our integrated approach towards energy planning, energy justice will be a key objective in itself. In this context, we are working towards the early realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7. A number of transformative policies and initiatives have been taken in India to realize the above objectives. 

  • Significantly expanding the energy infrastructure – be it power generation, more renewables and gas-based infrastructure -pipelines, city gas network, LNG terminals. 
  • Launched a major campaign to improve access to clean cooking fuel under the Ujjwala Yojana scheme three years back, and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi handed over the 80 millionth LPG connection couple of days back. 
  • A ‘Blue Flame Revolution’ is underway. LPG coverage has reached more than ninety percent from fifty-five percent five years ago. 
  • India attained universal electrification all villages. This year, India aims to achieve hundred per cent electrification of households, through SAUBHAGYA. 
  • Clean transportation is another area of high priority in India. We are jumping directly from BS-VI to BS-VI fuel by April 2020. 
  • India is moving towards a gas-based economy by increasing the share of gas from 6% to 15% in the energy mix by 2030. 
  • Constructed over 16,000 km of gas pipeline and an additional 11,000 km is under construction; covered over four hundred districts and 70 percent of our population. 
  • There is already a cardinal shift to renewable energy sources; the target is 175 GW by 2022, with solar target of 100 GW by 2022.
  • Promoting alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel in a big way. A National Bio-Fuel Policy 2018 was unveiled, targeting 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.

About BEE

  • The BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India. 
  • It assists in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy. 
  • BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organizations to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.

14th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

(Topic: Environment Conservation, Climate Change)

Desertification affects over 23rds of countries of the world. This makes a compelling case for action on land front combine this with the water crisis facing the world. Because when we address degraded lands we also address water scarcity issue.

Augmenting water supply enhancing water recharge, slowing down water runoff and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy.

India and Desertification

  • India had been able to increase its tree cover. Between 2015 to 2017 India’s tree and forest cover had been increased by 0.8 Mn Hectares.
  • In India any diversion of forest land for development purposes has to be compensated by making an equivalent land mass available for afforestation. It is also required that a monetary payment of the value of timber which such forest land would have yielded.
  • Introduced a program to double the income of the farmers by increasing crop yield through various measures. This includes land restoration and micro irrigation. 
  • Working with the motto of per drop more crop.  At the same time the focus is also on zero budget natural farming. 
  • Introduced a scheme to determine the soil quality of each of the farms and are issuing soil health cards to the farmers. This enables them to grow right type of crops, fertilizers, and use the right quantity of water. So far about 217 Million Soil Health Cards have been distributed. The use of bio fertilizers and reducing the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is also being initiated.
  • Water management is another important issue for which Jal Shakti Ministry has been created to address all water related important issues in totality. 
  • Recognizing the value of water in all forms, Zero liquid discharge has been enforced in many industrial processes. 
  • Provides for treatment of waste water to a degree that it can be put back into the river system without harming life in water. 

Plastic Waste – A big Menace: Another form of land degradation which if not prevented could be impossible to reverse. This is the menace of plastic waste. Apart from having adverse health implications, this is going to render lands unproductive and unfit for agriculture.

India is putting an end to single waste plastic by committing to the development of environment friendly substitutes and also an efficient plastic collection and disposal method. Human empowerment is closely linked to the state of environment be it harnessing water resources or reducing the usage of single use plastic, the way ahead is behavioral change. It is only when all sections of society decide to achieve something we can see the desired results. 

India’s Commitment

  • India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status from 21 Million Hectares to 26 Million Hectares between now and 2030.
  • This will support India’s large commitment to achieve an additional Carbon Sink between 2.5 Bn MT to 3 Bn MT through tree cover.
  • India uses remote sensing and space technology for multiple applications including land restoration, and would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies, through cost effective satellite and space technology.
  • In order to further develop a scientific approach and facilitate induction of technology to land degradation issues, a centre for excellence in India is being set up at the Indian Council for Forest Research and Education. This will actively engage, to promote South-South cooperation with those who wish to access knowledge, technology and training of manpower to address land degradation related issues.

Drought Toolbox launched: A one-stop shop for all actions on drought; the toolbox is a sort of knowledge bank which contains tools that strengthen the ability of countries to anticipate and prepare for drought effectively and mitigate their impacts as well as tools that enable communities to anticipate and find the land management tools that help them to build resilience to drought.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. 
  • The 17 SDGs are integrated—that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability. 
  • The SDG-15 refers to: Protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Delhi Declaration: An ambitious statement of global action by each country on how to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality

Biggest Tribal Movement to promote tribal enterprise through Bamboonomics at ‘COP 14 UNCCD – TRIFED-GIZ’: Tribal community has lived in a very eco-friendly manner for generations in and around the forest areas and they have never degraded the forest lands. So, their expertise and experience should be taken into consideration. 

  • A goal of additional 5 mha has been therefore set. 
  • Under the Bonn Challenge, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED would strive to support this national commitment. TRIFED will involve the tribal community of India for rehabilitating the degraded land without compromising the income of the poor in the garb of environmentally friendly development.
  • Bamboonomics has been designed in such a way that while doing the environmental services, the tribals will be earning.


Prelims oriented Notes

President of India Unveils Statue of Mahatma Gandhi: Villeneuve, Switzerland

Engineers’ Day: 15th Sep

Indian Aviation Sector

  • India’s Tallest Air Traffic Control Tower: Indira Gandhi International Airport which will ensure up-scaled services and systems for efficient, smooth and uninterrupted air traffic management.
  • DigiSky: An online portal to regulate the entire gamut of activities relating to governance and operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)/Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs)/drones has been made operational. While ensuring safety and security in drone operations, it will also help in promotion of drone technologies.
  •  Esahaj: 100% of security clearances pertaining to the Ministry have been made online on Esahaj online portal launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The portal is operational for granting clearances in respect of 24 categories.
  • DigiYatra Trial for rollout of DigiYatra initiative has been started at Bangalore and Hyderabad airports. The initiative envisages seamless and hassle free passenger travel using biometric technologies to improve passenger experience, reduce queue waiting time as passengers can walk through e-gates by using advanced security solutions. It will remove redundancies at check points and enhance resource utilization.

DRDO successfully flight-tests indigenously developed low weight, fire & forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile: 

  • The missile was launched from a man portable Tripod launcher and the target was mimicking a functional tank. The missile hit the target in top attack mode and destroyed it with precision. All the mission objectives were met.
  • This is the third series of successful testing of MPATGM. The missile is incorporated with state-of-the-art Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics. 
  • The test paves the way for the Army to have developed 3rd generation man portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile indigenously.

Launch of Maritime Communication Services in India: Maritime Connectivity will enable high-end support to those in sea by providing access to Voice, Data and Video services while traveling on sailing vessels, cruise liners, ships in India, using satellite technology. Nelco, India’s leading VSAT solutions provider is the first Indian company that will now provide quality broadband services to the maritime sector.

Launch of Curriculum for Life Skills (Jeevan Kaushal) designed by University Grants Commission (UGC)

  • The curriculum is designed to impart and strengthen the knowledge, skills and dispositions believed to be the best requisites of the current Industry and thereby empower the talent inherent in each learner.
  • Life Skills like communication skill, interpersonal skill, time management, problem solving ability, decision making capacity, leadership ability and integrity play a crucial role in boosting the employability of the students.
  • Life skills (JeevanKaushal) curriculum cover the set of human talents acquired by an individual via classroom learning or life experience that can help them to deal with problems encountered in day to day life. This includes the core skills each individual must possess internally as well as externally for the betterment of self and the society as a whole. Adoption of life skills is the key to success and quality in life.

Launch of Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) 2019: A massive countrywide awareness and mobilization campaign on Swachhata

  • SHS 2019, with special focus on ‘plastic waste awareness and management’ is being organized from 11th September to October 2nd 2019, as the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is poised to dedicate an ODF India to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.

Indo-Thailand Joint Military Exercise – Maitree: Notably, in the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, Exercise MAITREE with Thailand is a significant in terms of the security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of changing facets of global terrorism.  The scope of this exercise covers company level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.

Launch of National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons: A pension scheme for the Vyaparis (shopkeepers/retail traders and self-employed persons) with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 1.5 crore. It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision for minimum assured pension of Rs 3,000/- monthly on attaining the age of 60 years.

National Animal Disease Control Programme: For eradicating the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis in the livestock

  • With 100 Percent funding from the Central Government, of Rs 12,652 Crores for a period of five years till 2024, the programme aims at vaccinating over 500 Million Livestock including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs against the FMD.
  • The programme also aims at vaccinating 36 Million Female Bovine Calves annually in its fight against the Brucellosis disease.
  • The Programme has two components – to control the diseases by 2025 and eradication by 2030.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi shall also be launching the National Artificial Insemination Programme on that day.
  • Also expected is the simultaneous launch of the nationwide workshops in KrishiVigyanKendras in all the 687 Districts of the country on the topic of vaccination, disease management, artificial insemination and productivity.

Kisan Man Dhan Yojana: 

  • The Scheme shall secure the lives of 5 Crore Small and Marginal Farmers by providing a minimum pension of Rs 3000 per month, to those who attain 60 years of age.
  • All the small and marginal farmers who are currently between the ages of 18 to 40 years can apply for the scheme.
  • Farmer’s monthly contribution can be made from the instalments of PM-KISAN or through CSCs.

India Post Payments Bank Announces Rollout of Aadhaar Enabled Payment Services at the First Anniversary of its Business Operations: Rollout of Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) Services by India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), giving a strong boost to its efforts in expanding access to financial services for millions of unbanked and underbanked customers.

  • With the launch of AEPS services, IPPB has now become the single largest platform in the country for providing interoperable banking services to the customers of ANY BANK by leveraging the last mile unprecedented reach of the Postal network.
  • IPPB’s unparalleled network complimented with robust interoperable technology platform set up by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is poised to take banking to each & every household across the remotest parts of the country. 
  • With AePS services any common person with a bank account linked to Aadhaar can perform basic banking services such as cash withdrawals and balance enquiry irrespective of the bank they hold their account with. 
  • To avail these services, a customer with an Aadhaar linked account can simply authenticate his/her identity with fingerprint scan & Aadhaar authentication to complete a transaction. 
  • AePS services are bank-agnostic and are driven by an inexpensive infrastructure enabling low cost delivery of doorstep banking services to every section of the society without discrimination, thus bringing forth the dawn of a ‘Truly Inclusive Financial System’.

About India Post Payments Bank

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has been established under the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication with 100% equity owned by Government of India. 

  • IPPB has been set up with the vision to build the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man in India. The fundamental mandate of India Post Payments Bank is to remove barriers for the unbanked & underbanked and reach the last mile leveraging the Postal network comprising 155,000 Post Offices (135,000 in rural areas) and 300,000 Postal employees.
  • IPPB’s reach and its operating model is built on the key pillars of India Stack – enabling Paperless, Cashless and Presence-less banking in a simple and secure manner at the customers’ doorstep, through a CBS-integrated smartphone and biometric device. Leveraging frugal innovation and with a high focus on ease of banking for the masses, IPPB delivers simple and affordable banking solutions through intuitive interfaces available in 13 languages.
  • IPPB is committed to provide a fillip to a less cash economy and contribute to the vision of Digital India. India will prosper when every citizen will have equal opportunity to become financially secure and empowered. Our motto stands true – Every customer is important, every transaction is significant and every deposit is valuable.


Personality in News

Sir M. Visvesvaraya

Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, a scholar, statesman, educationist and the most celebrated engineer in India, was born 158 years ago today in the village of Muddenahalli in the Kingdom of Mysore (now in Karnataka).

This day, every year since 1968, is celebrated as the Engineers Day in India, to recognise the contribution of engineers’ in the development of the nation. Visvesvaraya was responsible for the construction of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Mysore. He was the chief engineer in the project. He was also the chief designer of the flood protection system of Hyderabad.

He also designed and patented the automatic weir floodgates, which were first installed at the Khadakwasla reservoir in Pune in 1903. He is believed to have transformed Mysore into the ‘model state’ of the India.

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