Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 16th December to 21st December – 2019

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  • December 28, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 16th to 21st December, 2019



GEM launches National Outreach Programme – GEM Samvaad

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

Government e Marketplace (GeM) is the national public procurement portal offering end to end solutions for all procurement needs of Central and State Government Departments, PSUs, autonomous institutions and local bodies. Since its commencement on 9th August 2016, GeM has transformed public procurement in the country by leveraging technology and making procurement contactless, paperless, and cashless.

GeM has more than 15 lakh products and around 20,000 services, more than 3 lakh registered sellers and service providers and more than 40,000 Government buyer organizations. In its short journey of three years, GeM has processed more than 28 lakh orders worth Rs. 40,000 crores in Gross Merchandise Value out of which 50% has been transacted by MSMEs.

National Broadband Mission

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

Aim: To fulfill all aspirations of the people and enables fast track growth of digital communication infrastructure

To fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion and provide affordable and universal access of broadband for all. Some of the objectives of the Mission which is structured with strong emphasis on the three principles of universality, affordability and quality are:

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022
  • Facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services for across the country and especially in rural and remote areas
  • Laying of incremental 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable and increase in tower density from 0.42 to 1.0 tower per thousand of population by 2024
  • Significantly improve quality of services for mobile and internet
  • Develop innovative implementation models for Right of Way (RoW) and to work with States/UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for RoW approvals required for laying of OFC
  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure and conducive policy ecosystem within a State/UT.
  • Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country
  • Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
  • Address policy and regulatory changes required to accelerate the expansion and creation of digital infrastructure and services
  • Work with all stakeholders including the concerned Ministries / Departments/ Agencies, and Ministry of Finance, for enabling investments for the Mission

Year End Review -2019 of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

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

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is responsible for co-ordination of all skill development efforts across the country, removal of disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower, building the vocational and technical training framework, skill up-gradation, building of new skills, and innovative thinking not only for existing jobs but also jobs that are to be created. The Ministry aims to Skill on a large Scale with Speed and high Standards in order to achieve its vision of a ‘Skilled India’.


National Skill Development Mission (NSDM): Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) formed in 2014 to give a fillip and focus to the skill development and entrepreneurship efforts in the country. Because of the efforts under NSDM, more than One Crore youth are being imparted skills training annually under various programs of the Central Government.

Skill India Portal: A strong IT Platform, namely Skill India portal launched to converge the skilling data of various Central Ministries, State Governments, Private Training Providers and Corporates on a single platform. This will now enable data driven decision making by the policymakers and help remove information asymmetry in the skilling ecosystem. This will also be single touch point for the citizens of India to access skilling opportunities and seeking related services.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): Launched the Flagship Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (1.0 & 2.0) in 2015 to provide free skill training avenues to youths of India. Under the program about 87 Lakhs youth have been trained till date. Under the placement linked program under PMKVY 2016-19, more than 54% have been linked to employment.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK): Out of the 812 allocated PMKKs, 681 centres had been established and target to train over 18 Lakh candidates under PMKVY scheme was allotted out of which training has been imparted to 9,89,936 candidates, 8,85,822 Assessed, 7,40,146 certified and 4,35,022 candidates have been placed successfully. 501 centres had been inaugurated.

STRIVE: The main focus of the scheme is to improve the performance of ITIs. Under phase one, 314 ITIs have been selected & 198 Performance Based Grant Agreements have been signed. The scheme also works towards increasing Capacities of State Governments to Support ITIs and Apprenticeship training. Till date, 31 States have signed MoU i.e. Performance Based Funding Agreement (PBFA). To improve Teaching and Learning techniques, NSQF Trainings are being imparted to training officers, Principals and Instructors across the 36 States and UTs for NSQF.

PM-YUVA Yojana (Pradhan Mantri Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyan): The project aims to promote entrepreneurship as an alternative career choice and enable sustained long-term mentoring support through the journey to potential and early stage entrepreneurs, by imparting entrepreneurship education and mentoring support to trainees/ beneficiaries from skilling ecosystem.

Launch of an MIS portal for Jan Shikshan Sansthan: An MIS portal was launched for Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS). The benefits from the adoption and implementation of the solution have been enhanced monitoring & management capabilities, along with scaling up scheme operation.

ADB, India sign $250 million loan to expand energy efficiency investments in India

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

To expand energy efficiency investments in India that will benefit agricultural, residential and institutional consumers. In addition, $46 million financing will be provided from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to be administered by ADB.

  • The project is expected to contribute to the mission of Government of India to promote energy efficiency and meet Government’s commitments to reduce energy intensity of the economy.
  • Introduction of energy-efficient technologies in eligible states including smart meters, distributed solar photovoltaic systems and electric vehicles will help reduce electricity network losses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • This is one of the few ADB projects specially focused on demand-side energy efficiency targeting upstream efficiency opportunities and business models that can be scaled up in India and other ADB developing member countries. The project’s smart metering component will help address billing and collection inefficiencies.
  • EESL will also explore business models to generate greater public demand for e-vehicles to support India’s current push for electric vehicles.
  • Promoting awareness of the benefits of using energy efficient technologies is another feature of the project. Awareness campaigns will engage local organisations in knowledge-sharing and training, with a focus on women electricity consumers. Capacity building for electricity distribution, regulatory agencies, and other government bodies will also be carried out.

India-US 2+2 Dialogue 

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

This 2+2 Ministerial is the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries and provides for a review of the security, defence and strategic partnership between India and the United States.  This was the second 2+2 meeting and the first in US.

At the Dialogue, both sides have

  • Positively appraised the growing partnership between India and the United States, and noted that important milestones had been achieved since the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in 2018. Both sides reiterated their commitment to advancing a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. 
  • Committed to further deepen military-to-military cooperation, including between the Indian Navy and the US Navy Fleets under US Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command, and Africa Command and intend to expand similar cooperation between their respective Armies and Air Forces. A number of other initiatives to enhance military-to-military cooperation were also agreed upon. 
  • Concluded the Industrial Security Annex during the visit. Priority initiatives have been identified for execution under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) programme. Also concluded a standard operating procedure for this process. These measures are expected to provide momentum to collaboration between the private defence industries of both India and the US. Agreed to move forward in their engagement in the area of defence innovation. 


Successful launch of two BrahMos missiles from land and air platforms

(Topic: Space)

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Air Force (IAF) and BrahMos jointly successfully conducted two BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles tests, one each from land and air platforms.

  • The first missile launch was from a land based mobile launcher, where most of the components were indigenous, including the missile airframe, fuel management system and DRDO designed seeker.
  • The second launch of the missile was carried out by Indian Air force (IAF) from SU-30MKI platform against a sea target. 

The test conducted in user configuration, revalidated the ship attack capability of the advanced air-launched cruise missile. During the test, the missile was gravity dropped from the air combat platform’s fuselage and the two-stage weapon’s engine fired up and the missile straightaway propelled towards the intended target positioned at the sea, piercing it with pin point accuracy.

DRDO successfully flight-tests Pinaka Missile System

(Topic: Space)

  • The Pinaka is an Artillery Missile System capable of striking into enemy territory up to a range of 75 kilometres with high precision.
  • The Pinaka MK-II Rocket is modified as a missile by integrating with the Navigation, Control and Guidance System to improve the end accuracy and enhance the range. The Navigation system of the missile is also aided by the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The mission achieved all the objectives including enhancing the range, accuracy and sub-system functionality.

CSIR and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France ink MoU for Promotion and Support of Scientific and Technological Research

(Topic: Technology)

Aim: To establish a framework for cooperation between the two towards promotion and support of scientific and technological research.

In view of the potentially beneficial and synergistic cooperation possibilities for translating science into technology CSIR and CNRS may explore strengthening their cooperation to foster joint innovation and transfer of technologies applicable to India or/and France and to other nations. This cooperation could include sharing good practices, promoting technology transfer and enhancing industry-academia cooperation. The broad research areas of mutual interest include 

  • Biotechnology including plant and marine biotechnology
  • Health research
  • Environment and climate change studies
  • Engineering science and technology
  • Material science and technology
  • Energy science and technology 
  • Water research

Prelims oriented News

Exercise SURYA KIRAN-XIV: A joint military training exercise between India and Nepal

Global Innovation Index: India ranked 52nd; India became the first developing country to launch the Global Innovation Index (GII) in association with World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Confederation of India (CII).

EChO Network: A national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment. EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology. With no precedent for such a network anywhere in the world, EChO Network establishes a new platform to change how science is embedded in our modern society.

India’s remarkable jump in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report 2020

  • India ranks 63rd among 190 countries improving by 14 ranks from its rank of 77 in 2019. 
  • The 2020 edition of the Report acknowledges India as one of the top 10 improvers, third time in a row, with an improvement of 67 ranks in 3 years. It is also the highest jump by any large country since 2011.
  • Launch of Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called ‘NIRVIK’ for exporters in which increased insurance cover for export credit has been extended by banks from existing average of 60% to 90% for both Principal and Interest.
  • The online “Origin Management System” gives single access point for all exporters, for all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) and for all agencies. India has 15 FTAs/PTAs and 7 lakh ‘Certificates of Origin’ are issued annually.

Launch of Phase III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

  • Aims at consolidation of 1,25,000 Kms Through Routes and Major Rural Links that connect habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals with an estimated cost of Rs. 80,250 crores (Central Share of Rs. 53,800 crores) for the period 2019-20 to 2024-25. 
  • The funding pattern for the PMGSY-III will be 60:40 between Centre and the States for States other than NE & Himalayan States and 90:10 for NE and Himalayan States as applicable for Central sponsored schemes.
  • As on 16 December 2019, a total of 1,53,491 rural road works have been completed under the PMGSY Scheme connecting 97.27% of the eligible and feasible habitations and adding up a road length of 6,07,900 Kms across the country. Out of the above, a road length of 36,063 Kms has been constructed using green technologies, a major portion of which includes Waste plastic and cold mix technology.

Annular Eclipse of the Sun on 26th December

  • The next solar eclipse will be visible from India on June 21, 2020. It will be an annular solar eclipse.
  • A solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when the Moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun and when all the three objects are aligned. An annular solar eclipse will occur when the angular diameter of the Moon falls short of that of the Sun so that it cannot cover up the latter completely. As a result a ring of the Sun’s disk remains visible around the Moon.
  • Eclipsed Sun should not be viewed with the naked eye, even for a very short time. It will cause permanent damage of the eyes leading to blindness even when the moon covers most portion of the Sun. Safe technique to observe the solar eclipse is either by using proper filter like aluminized Mylar, black polymer, welding glass of shade number 14 or by making projection of Sun’s image on a white board by telescope.  


There is a need to create a ‘Sankalpit Bharat, a ‘Sashakt Bharat’, a ‘Swachch Bharat’ and a ‘Shrestha Bharat’”.

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