Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 11th November to 17th November – 2019

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  • November 18, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 11th to 17th November, 2019



Golden Leaf Award in the Most Impressive Public Service Initiative category for the year 2019: Tobacco Board of India

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

To Tobacco Board of India, for its efforts to initiate various sustainability (green) initiatives in Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco cultivation in India

The Golden Leaf Awards were created to recognize professional excellence and dedication in the tobacco industry by Tobacco Reporter, an international magazine in the year 2006. Tobacco Board got this award for its best outstanding public service in sustainability to the industry for its –

  • Initiatives on natural farming in tobacco cultivation for production of organic tobaccos,
  • Improving the soil health through green manuring, 
  • Introduction of 365 days green cover in tobacco cultivation, 
  • Promotion of advanced nursery technologies- Green Tech nurseries, 
  • Elimination of Non-Tobacco Related Material (NTRM), 
  • Elimination of pesticide residues in tobacco by encouraging residue free tobacco cultivation, energy conservation initiatives resulting in energy savings of 25%, 
  • Development of greenery through mandatory planting of trees by tobacco farmers and tobacco trade and educating and guiding farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Tobacco Board believes that these unique initiatives pioneered by Tobacco Board for the overall benefit of the farming community and sustenance of the tobacco industry as a whole are proving to be promising in achieving the ultimate goal of sustainability.

India is the world’s fourth largest producer of FCV tobacco. About 88,000 FCV tobacco farmers and their families in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are dependent on this crop for their livelihood.

In order to address the negative effects of tobacco cultivation that extend beyond those on health to economic problems and environmental degradation and to ensure sustainability, Tobacco Board has taken various initiatives relating to extension activities –

  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • Natural farming in tobacco cultivation for production of organic tobaccos(on the lines of ZBNF now being advocated by Government of India)
  • 365 days green cover in tobacco cultivation
  • Promotion of advanced nursery technologies
  • Elimination of Non-Tobacco Related Material (NTRM)
  • Elimination of pesticide residues
  • Energy conservation initiatives
  • Development of greenery with growers and trade and initiated a series of measures for achieving sustainability in the sector

Tobacco Board is a statutory body established under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The main functions of the Board include regulating the production and curing of Virginia tobacco in India, implementation of extension and developmental activities for improving the yields and quality of tobacco, facilitating sale of tobacco through e-auctions on the auction floors of the Board, undertaking various grower welfare measures and export promotion of tobacco and tobacco products.

MELPL – Visionary Indo – French Collaboration (Largest FDI Project of Railways)

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

Indian Railways has entered into Procurement cum Maintenance Agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL), a joint venture of Indian Railways and M/s Alstom. 

As part of largest Foreign Direct Investment project of Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways and Alstom came together in 2015 to transform the heavy freight transportation landscape of the country. A landmark agreement worth 3.5 billion Euro was signed to manufacture 800 electric locomotives for freight service and its associated maintenance.

As part of the project, factory along with township has been set up in Madhepura, Bihar with capacity to manufacture 120 locomotives per year. The project will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. More than Rs 2000 Crores invested in the project already by the company.

Benefits of Project

  • Indian Railways have taken decision to have 12000 horse power twin Bo-Bo design Locomotive with 22.5 T (Tonnes) axle load upgradable to 25 Tonnes with design speed of 120 kmph. This locomotive will be game changer for further movement of coal trains for Dedicated Freight Corridor. 
  • With the success of this project it will boost the “Make in India” programme of the Government of India. This will further develop ancillary units for locomotive components.
  • The project will allow faster and safer movement of heavier freight trains. It will haul 6000T trains at maximum speed of 100 kmph. 
  • With 100% electrification, the new locomotive will not only bring down operational cost for Railways, the locomotive will also reduce the congestion faced by Indian Railways. This will be used to haul heavier trains such as coal and iron ore.

Launch of UNESCO MGIEP Digital Learning draft Guidelines at the General Conference in Paris

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

On the occasion of the 40th UNESCO General Conference, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Union Minister, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, launched the first of its kind ‘Industry Guidelines on Digital Learning (discussion draft)’ at the Ministerial Roundtable on ‘Media and Information Literacy and Games in the Digital World’.

The Roundtable was jointly organized by the Government of Finland and the Government of India, in partnership with UNESCO Headquarters and UNESCO’s category 1 institute, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

The Draft Guidelines were developed by UNESCO MGIEP, based in New Delhi, responding to the Vizag Declaration on Digital Learning adopted at TECH 2018, an international conference co-organized by UNESCO MGIEP and the State Government of Andhra Pradesh. 

Building on the neurosciences of learning, which shows that parts of the brain can be ‘wired’ or ‘trained’ in intellectual as well as emotional intelligence, the Institute promotes the whole-brain approach to learning and harnesses the power of digital technologies to enable innovative pedagogies.

Technology is increasingly permeating our everyday lives. Leveraging the power of technology is key to high quality, inclusive and equitable education. According to a KPMG and Google report, the EdTech market in India is set to grow to $1.96 billion with around 9.6 million users by 2021, from $247 million and 1.6 million users in2016.The massive influx of digital learning resources has made the task of selecting appropriate digital learning games, applications or tools difficult for teachers, parents and school leaders.

These challenges highlight the importance of creating a set of guidelines for educational technology developers to integrate principles of good learning with digital pedagogies that are aligned with the values of peace, non-discrimination and sustainable development as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prelims oriented News

TIGER TRIUMPH: India US joint Tri services Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise

Exercise DUSTLIK-2019: Indo-Uzbekistan Joint Field Training Exercise (FTX)-2019

Analysis of the legislative work done by the Upper House since it came into being in 1952

  • A total of 3,818 Acts of Parliament have been made since the first general elections in 1952
  • First Bill passed : The Indian Tariff (Second Amendment) Bill, 1952
  • First Bill concerning social change: The Special Marriages Bill, 1952
  • First Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Rajya Sabha: The Constitution (Second Amendment) Bill, 1953 for readjustment of representation in Lok Sabha by increasing the size of population per constituency.

Chairman Shri Venkaiah Naidu said; “Indeed, Rajya Sabha has all through been a lively and sagacious institution. It should continue to function with even greater vigor and zeal towards fulfilling the aspirations of the people, especially, the younger ones. Still, some missed opportunities may not be ruled out. We need to learn from the experience of the last 67 years and strive to make our Parliament even more effective towards building a New India which compares favorably with the better placed in the comity of the nations. Time is the essence in doing so and for making up for the missed opportunities.”

Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan

  • To strive to make our beaches clean and create awareness amongst citizens about the importance of coastal ecosystems, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) are undertaking a mass cleanliness-cum-awareness drive in 50 identified beaches under the “Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan”, from 11th -17th November, 2019. 
  • The identified beaches are in 10 coastal States/Union Territories (UTs) namely Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. The beaches have been identified after the consultation with the States/UTs.

Launch of winter-grade diesel suitable for extreme winters of up to -30O Celcius for Ladakh Region

Motorists in high-altitude sectors like Ladakh, Kargil, Kaza and Keylong face the problem of freezing of diesel in their vehicles when winter temperatures drop to as low as -30o Celsius. Indian Oil has come up with an innovative solution to this problem by introducing a special winter-grade diesel with a low pour-point of -33o Celsius, which does not lose its fluidity function even in extreme winter conditions.

The new status will accelerate the pace of holistic development of the region and bring prosperity to the people at par with the rest of India. Availability of winter-grade diesel will promote tourism and smooth transportation in Ladakh Region during extreme winters – big step towards promoting ease of living

Launch of iDEX portal: 

  • Would provide wider publicity and better visibility of iDEX activities and enable more efficient running of future challenges through better information management.
  • The iDEX initiative of the Department of Defence Production was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in April 2018 with the objective to encourage and nurture innovations in the Indian Defence sector and create an ecosystem where Startups, MSMEs and individual innovators could interact easily with the Indian defence establishment and provide the latest technological innovations for specific challenges experienced in operational environments through co-development and co-production of innovative solutions.

“The human mind is the most powerful and creative laboratory which tests millions of ideas on a daily basis. And when ideas are given the wings of freedom and the flight of imagination, new and innovative solutions are created”

Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA): ITPGRFA also known as Seed Treaty, is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use. It also recognizes farmers’ rights, subject to national laws.

Personality in news

T N Seshan

  • Born in Thirunellai, Palakkad district of Kerala, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1996.
  • T N Seshan was credited for enforcing the model code of conduct to reign in muscle and money power during elections during his tenure as the 10th CEC.
  • Seshan also waged war against the tendency of politicians to flout the model code of conduct, which they were supposed to abide by. Polling was suspended in a Madhya Pradesh constituency as a serving governor campaigned for his son, ultimately leading to his resignation. In Uttar Pradesh, a minister was forced to quit the dais at a rally as the campaign period had just ended.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 

Period: 28 May 1883 – 26 February 1966

Cause of Death: Fasting (Sallekhana Prayopavesa)

He was commonly known as Veer Savarkar (“brave” in his native Marathi language)

  • An Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer, writer, and the formulator of the Hindutva philosophy
  • Championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved orthodox Hindu belief. In fact, he even dismissed cow worship as superstitious. Savarkar was a radical and his Hindutva too was a radical break in the Hindu thought: anti-caste, reformist, modernist and futuristic. It was a modern Hindu response to the modern world
  • Organised a youth group named ‘Mitra Mela’
  • In London, Veer Savarkar inspired his fellow Indian students and formed an organisation ‘Free India Society’ to fight against Britishers for freedom.
  • Was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.
  • Provided legal defence to Madan Lal Dhingra, who was accused in a murder case of a British Indian army officer named Sir William Hutt Curzon Wyllie.
  • Veer Savarkar also founded the two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’ calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations. In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution. In 1937, he also became the president of ‘Hindu Mahasabha’.
  • A fierce critic of the Indian National Congress (INC) and Mahatma Gandhi; opposed the ‘Quit India Movement’ and later objected to INC’s acceptance of Indian partition. He proposed the co-existence of two nations in one country.


The main challenge thrown by the British rule and colonial modernity under the pale of capitalism was for Hindus to justify their existence as a society. Who were they? Could Hindus survive in a modern world dominated by the expansionist organised religions, nations and nation-state?

Savarkar responded to these challenges. The coming together of various pagan traditions as Hinduism to meet the challenge of the Abrahamic monotheism is a centuries-old process. Savarkar consolidated it under a new ideological construct. He wielded it into a coherent political construct, Hindutva that aimed to answer the challenges of the modern world, especially the charge of the colonialists that India is not a nation and hence unworthy of self-rule.

For India to be able to resist imperialism, a nation had to be born. For Savarkar, that nation was a Hindu Rashtra. Only a Hindu nation transcending caste, regional and linguistic barriers was capable of resisting imperialism. No longer would invading armies roam around the countryside; no longer would India be a playground for colonial powers; no longer would its people and cities be pulverised by warlords for they would have to face a powerful Indian state created on the foundation of a Hindu nation. And the foundation of this Hindu nation was Hindutva.

Savarkar was a radical and his Hindutva, too, was a radical break in Hindu thought: anti-caste, reformist, modernist and futuristic. It was a modern Hindu response to the modern world.

50 years of imprisonment – Kaala Paani

  • Savarkar wrote a book titled “The History of the War of Indian Independence”- wrote about the guerilla warfare tricks used in 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. 
  • While the book was banned by Britishers, Madama Bhikaji Cama published the book in Netherlands, Germany and France, which eventually reached many Indian revolutionaries.
  • Savarkar was arrested in 1909 on charges of plotting an armed revolt against the Morle-Minto reform. He also tried to escape by diving in the water but was arrested. He was sentenced to two life sentences i.e. 50 years in the cellular jail of Andamans, also known as Kala Pani, in 1911.

Death – 1964: Savarkar declared his wish to attain Samadhi and started hunger-strike on February 1, 1966 and passed away on February 26, 1966. He believed that his purpose of life is solved as India has gained Independence.

In 2002, Port Blair airport at Andaman and Nicobar’s Island was renamed after Veer Savarkar International Airport.



The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

On inclusive development

  • Labourers and farmers contribute to economy not only through their hard work, but they also create demand in the economy as consumers. Therefore, it is necessary to increase their purchasing power to give a further fillip to the inclusive development.
  • Concentration of wealth in few hands leads to disbalance in economy and resentment in society
  • Highlighting that both capital and labour are important for wealth creation, the Vice President called for cooperation and harmony between the two.
  • Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Trusteeship, he said that wealth is not for individual luxury rather it is collectively owned by the community and should be used for the welfare of public.
  • New legislative architecture is being created for a transparent, sustainable, efficient, high growth inclusive economy. Noting that India has the third largest pool of Start-ups, he said that new Start-up actors are emerging in our economy.
  • Institutions like Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh and Bhartiya Kisan Sangh should spread awareness about various Government programs and should train the workers and farmers in new technologies
  • Lauding various organisations created by Shri Dattopanth Thengri such as – Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat, Bhartiya Adhivakta Sangh and Sanskar Bharti, the Vice President said that democracy should not merely remain limited to casting of votes, rather people should be actively involved in national affairs. Such organizations help in giving constructive voice to people’s aspirations.

On Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

  • He called upon the students to rise above the divisions of caste, creed, religion etc. and imbibe the virtues of ‘Sharing and Caring’ in line with the Bharatiya Philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’.
  • Shri Naidu opined that our education system must mould ideal and responsible citizens, who are socially conscientious with a national outlook. He told the children that they were the future of the nation and asked them to inculcate Indian values and understand and respect India’s great heritage, culture and traditions.
  • Women’s education and empowerment was a pre-condition to the nation’s development. Describing women’s education as a priority mission, he said that no compromises can be made when it comes to providing the women of the country equal opportunities for growth. They should get an equal platform to contribute to the progress of the nation

On Journalism

  • Urged the media to not color news with views and stressed the need to maintain objectivity, fairness and accuracy. The neutrality and sanctity of newsrooms should be upheld at all times.
  • The cardinal principle of journalism is to present fair, objective, accurate and balanced information to the reader and viewer without journalists assuming the role of the gatekeepers.
  • Sensationalism, biased coverage and paid news have become the modern-day afflictions of the media, adding that under no circumstances can slanted and opinionated reporting be termed as ‘interpretative reporting’.
  • Maintaining that freedom and responsibility cannot be considered as inseparable, he opined that media must not only act as the watchdog to protect democracy but must also act as the true champion of the underdog. It has to be in the vanguard of fighting the ills that are plaguing the society.
  • Media landscape has transformed dramatically over the years and so have the values of journalism. In the past, journalism was treated as a mission for the nation’s service.
  • In view of the critical role journalism plays in protecting democracy and in serving the larger good of the society, we should strengthen this important fourth pillar by ensuring that ‘truth’ is never compromised

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