Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 20th January to 26th January – 2020

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  • February 2, 2020
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 20th to 26th January, 2020



Government of India and the World Bank sign USD 210 million loan agreement

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

The Government of India, the Government of Maharashtra and the World Bank signed a loan agreement of USD 210 million to support small holder farmers 

  • Participate in competitive agriculture value chains
  • Facilitate agri-business investments
  • Increase market access and productivity in focus commodities
  • Build resilience of crops to recurrent floods or droughts in the Indian state of Maharashtra

The USD 210 million Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project will 

  • Help build capacity of the nodal departments and institutions
  • Increase private sector investments in agricultural value chains
  • Remove constraints for producers and entrepreneurs in accessing emerging domestic and export markets
  • Build the capacity of the state to respond to commodity-price fluctuations by providing access to timely information on markets and production trends
  • Enhance adoption of climate resilient production techniques in the state

The project will be implemented in all 36 districts of Maharashtra. Over one million farming households will directly benefit from the project. At least 43 percent of farmers and farm-workers participating in project activities are expected to be women. Specific focus will be given to women-led enterprises and the participation of women in the decision-making processes of farmer producer organizations.

Current Situation: Many of these changes have led to several positive developments for Maharashtra where production is labour intensive (example, in horticulture and floriculture), is climate-resilient (pulse-based cropping systems increases resilience, e.g. pigeon pea intercropping leads to higher soil carbon sequestration than monocrop system) and responds to domestic and global market needs.

Challenges: However a combination of increasing production and downturn in the commodity prices are affecting farmers’ profitability. Commodities like cotton, soybean, sugar, (covering 44 per cent of the cropped area in Maharashtra), are strongly influenced by global price movements. Broad shifts in the global prices of such commodities affect farmers who then find it difficult to cover the cost of production in many cases.

The focus of the project on enhancing the capacity of the state to effectively manage and deliver agricultural technical support and services, increasing credit linkages to formal financing institutions, improving Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards and investing in business development services will help small holder farmers become more competitive and increase their links to organized domestic and export markets.

Ministry of Rural Development signs MoU with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) 

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

The MoU reiterates DAY-NRLM and the Foundation’s shared focus on improving the lives of India’s poor and the marginalized with the aim of reducing poverty through institutions of marginalized rural women for promotion of diversified and gainful self-employment while creating skilled wage employment opportunities.

  • Strives to remove barriers such as poor health, gender inequality and lack of opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship while providing them access to financial institutions and markets
  • The foundation’s support will include assistance in improving implementation quality, documenting best practices, and designing of monitoring learning and evaluation.
  • The scheme lays special emphasis on targeting the poorest and the most vulnerable communities, as it recognizes the need to address barriers to their development. 
  • DAY-NRLM is also building social capital and ensuring financial linkages to alleviate poverty and enhance the quality of the life of rural poor women. It has ambitious plans on innovations for alternate channels of financial inclusion like digital finance, creating value chains around rural products, improving market access, rural enterprise and also creating awareness on social development issues and services.  

Cabinet approves 

MoUs among India, Tunisia and Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission for elections for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration: The MOUs would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance/ capacity support for the Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia (ISIE) and the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) for elections for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration, envisaging cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration and providing a leg-up to such bodies in conducting elections in their respective countries. This would also result in bolstering India’s international relations.

Model MoU with foreign countries for unilateral/bilateral recognition of Certificates of Competency of seafarers: The unilateral MoU would facilitate unilateral recognition by another country of the certificates issued by the Directorate General of Shipping to Indian seafarers, without seeking similar recognition by India of the certificates issued by that country. Indian Seafarers, therefore, will be eligible to be placed on ships under the flag of that country for employment, thus leading to increased employment opportunities. The proposed bilateral MoU will enable India and another country with which such an MoU may be entered, to mutually recognize maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, documentary evidence of training and medical fitness certificates, issued to the seafarers who are citizens of respective countries in accordance with the provisions of regulation 1/10 of the STCW Convention. The bilateral MoU would therefore, make the seafarers of both the countries to be eligible for employment on ships of either party based on the certificates so recognized.  India being a seafarer supplying nation with large pool of trained seafarers will stand to be benefitted.

Agreement between India and Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters: The Agreement aims to enhance effectiveness of both the countries in investigation and prosecution of crime through cooperation and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. In the context of transnational crime and its linkages to terrorism, the proposed Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with the Federative Republic of Brazil in investigation and prosecution of crime as well as in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds and instruments of crime as well as the fund meant to finance terrorist acts.

Extension, of tenure of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the constitution to examine the issue of sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes in the Central List

  • The Communities in the existing list of OBCs which have not been able to get any major benefit of the scheme of reservation for OBCs for appointment in Central Government posts & for admission in Central Government Educational Institutions are expected to be benefitted upon implementation of the recommendations of the Commission. The Commission is likely to make recommendations for benefit of such marginalized communities in the Central List of OBCs.
  • All persons belonging to the castes/communities which are included in the Central List of SEBCs but which have not been able to get any major benefit of the existing scheme of reservation for OBCs in Central Government posts & for admission in Central Government Educational Institutions would be benefitted.

MoU between India and Brazil for cooperation in the oil and natural gas sector: The MoU will enhance cooperation between the two sides in oil and natural gas sector. Under the MoU, both sides will work towards establishing cooperation in the E&P initiatives in Brazil and India, research & development in this sector, explore collaboration in Liquefied Natural Gas projects in Brazil, India and third countries, and also encourage collaboration in oil energy and environmental issues, including energy policies such as energy efficiency, energy research development and expansion of the regional energy infrastructure networks.

Signing of MoU between Brazil and India for bilateral cooperation in the field of early childhood: It will strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and increase bilateral cooperation on the issues of early childhood care.  Both countries will benefit from exchange of best practices of the respective countries in the field of early childhood.

MoU between India and Brazil on Cooperation in field of Geology and Mineral Resources: The MoU will provide an institutional mechanism between Geological Survey of India, Ministry of Mines of the Republic of India and Geological Survey of Brazil – CPRM, Ministry of Mines and Energy of the Federative Republic of Brazil for cooperation in field of Geology and Mineral Resources.


India achieves complete phase out of one the most potent ozone depleting chemical

(Topic: Climate Change)

India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). (HCFC)-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.

The phase out of HCFC-141b from the country has twin environmental benefits viz. 

(i) Assisting the healing of the stratospheric ozone layer

(ii) Towards the climate change mitigation due to transitioning of foam manufacturing enterprises at this scale under HPMP to low global warming potential alternative technologies.

Steps taken by Government

India had proactively and successfully taken the challenge of complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises. Nearly, 50 % of the consumption of ozone depleting chemicals in the country was attributable to HCFC-141 b in the foam sector. The polyurethane foam sector has links with important economic sectors related to buildings, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure, automobiles, commercial refrigeration, domestic appliances such as refrigerators, water geysers, thermoware, office and domestic furniture applications, specific high value niche applications etc. In India, the foam manufacturing sector is mix of large, medium and small enterprises having varying capacities, with preponderance of MSMEs. Many of the MSMEs operate largely in the informal sector.

  • As part of the Government’s commitment for moving towards environment friendly technologies, in a significant first, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) brought out a notification in the Gazette of India through which the issuance of import license for HCFC-141b is prohibited from 1st January, 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • HCFC-141b is not produced in the country and all the domestic requirements are met through imports. With this notification, prohibiting the import of HCFC-141 b, the country has completely phased out the important ozone depleting chemical. Simultaneously, the use of HCFC-141 b by foam manufacturing industry has also been closed as on 1st January, 2020 under the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2014.
  • To ensure minimal dislocation in the sector and for enhancing the capacities of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in converting to low-GWP non-ODS technologies, training and awareness programmes on non ODS and low GWP alternatives to HCFCs including adoption of such alternatives have been organized in close collaboration with Industry and MSMEs will also be facilitated for adequate tie-ups with system houses, laboratories for getting their material tested, etc, in addition to organizing study tours, field visits, etc.

Prelims oriented News

National Voters’ Day: 26th Jan; Theme: Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy

Chief Justice of India: Mr. Justice S.A. Bobde

President of the Federative Republic of Brazil: Mr Jair Bolsonaro

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep: Ross Island of Andaman & Nicobar Island

First Chief Election Commissioner of India: Sukumar Sen; Sh Sen had served as the first Chief Election Commissioner of India from 21st March 1950 till 19th December, 1958.

Article 6th of the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial property of 1883 (1967 Stockholm Act) protects armorial bearings, flags and other State emblems as well as official signs and hallmarks of the States party to the Paris Convention. 

  • The signs published with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under this act are prevented from being registered or used as trademarks, across the world, without authorization. 
  • KVIC is fighting cases in several countries for violation of the Khadi Mark Regulations. The regulations issued in 2013 by the Ministry of MSME, empowered KVIC to grant ‘Khadi Mark’ registration and take royalties from any producer using the Khadi Mark. 
  • In continuation, KVIC has issued notices against 600 entities in India, including a renowned garment chain and 3 entities in the International market for misusing these symbols and indulging in unfair trade practices in the recent past.

Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar: In the aftermath of any disaster, many organisations and individuals work silently but effectively to alleviate suffering of the affected population. 

  • A good deal of work is done in research/ innovations in early warning, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, rescue, relief and rehabilitation. 
  • In order to recognise the excellent work done by individuals and institutions in India in the field of disaster management, Government of India has instituted an annual award known as Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar. 
  • The award is announced every year on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Critically Analyse:

  1. Artificial Intelligence can play a significant role in judicial functioning.
  2. Consensus is the lifeblood of Democracy.


  1. Tax Invasion is a Social Injustice to fellow citizens.
  2. Netaji Subhash Chandra continues to be the guiding light for Indian youth in 21st century.
  3. A movement of ethics must be initiated at all levels in governance of the country.
  4. India needs Process Reengineering in governance.
  5. The new decade of 2020, has brought a new ray of hope in the life of the Bru-Reang community.

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