Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th February to 16th February – 2020

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  • February 18, 2020
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 8th to 16th February, 2020



The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare conducts the tenth round of the National Deworming Day (NDD)

(Topic: Government policies and interventions in Health)

The NDD is implemented with an objective to reduce the prevalence of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH), commonly called the parasitic intestinal worms, among all children and adolescents. 

  • Infections with the main STH – roundworm, whipworm and hookworms – contribute to 50.1 lakh disability adjusted life-years (DALYs) worldwide (WHO, 2010). 
  • One DALY can be thought of as one lost “healthy” year from a life. 
  • In India, over 22 crore children under 14 years are at risk of STH infections (WHO, 2017).  

Launched in 2015, the NDD is the largest public health program implemented on a single day reaching crores of children and adolescents through two NDD rounds every year. This year today, 19 states took up activities to reach 9.35 crore of the target population.

Implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development, NDD is a key intervention of Anemia Mukt Bharat. Its success and impact lie in convergence with the Swachh Bharat Mission. NDD presents opportunities to further policy dialogue on health and nutrition as a way of supplementing efforts under POSHAN Abhiyaan.

Deworming through Albendazole is an evidence-based, globally-accepted, effective solution used to control worm infections in all children. However, it can have minor side effects and some children, especially those with high worm infections, might experience nausea, mild abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue.

Eradication of Child Labour

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

The Government has amended the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 and enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 which came into force with effect from 1.9.2016. 

The Amendment Act, inter-alia, provides for complete prohibition of work or employment of children below 14 years of age in any occupation and process and prohibition of adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes. 

The Amendment Act also provides for stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act and has made the offence as cognizable.

After strengthening the legislative framework through amendment in Child Labour Act, the Government has also framed the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017 which, inter-alia, specifies the duties and responsibilities of State Governments and District Authorities to ensure effective enforcement of the provisions of the Act. The Government has also devised a Standard Operating Procedure as a ready reckoner for trainers, practitioners and enforcing and monitoring agencies.

National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme

  • The Ministry of Labour and Employment is also implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme since 1988 for rehabilitation of child labourers. 
  • Under the NCLP, the children in the age group of 9-14 years are rescued/withdrawn from work and enrolled in the NCLP Special Training Centres, where they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care, etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system.  
  • The children in the age group of 5-8 years are directly linked to the formal education system through a close coordination with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour)

To ensure the effective enforcement of the provisions of the Child Labour Act and smooth implementation of NCLP Scheme, a dedicated online portal named PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) is developed in order to make the NCLP successful through better monitoring and implementation. The Portal connects Central Government to State Government(s), District(s), all Project Societies and the general public.   

“State of the World’s Children Report 2019”of UNICEF

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

Under 5 Mortality Rate in India is 37 per 1,000 live births against Global average of 39 per 1,000 live births in 2018, which translates to more than 8 lakhs under 5 deaths in India.

Major causes of child mortality in India are: 

  • Prematurity & low birth weight (29.8%)
  • Pneumonia (17.1%)
  • Diarrheal diseases (8.6%)
  • Other non-communicable diseases (8.3%)
  • Birth asphyxia & birth trauma (8.2%)
  • Injuries (4.6%)
  • Congenital anomalies (4.4%)
  • Ill-defined or cause unknown (4.4%)
  • Acute bacterial sepsis and severe infections (3.6%)
  • Fever of unknown origin (2.5%)
  • All Other Remaining Causes (8.4%)

Globalization, urbanization, inequities, humanitarian crises and climate shocks are driving unprecedented negative changes in the nutrition situation of children around the world.

Schemes by Government of India to tackle this crisis –

Prime Minister Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN): To prevent and reduce stunting, underweight and low birth weight by 2% per annum and the reduction of anaemia by 3% per annum.

The Anganwadi Services scheme provides a package of six services i.e. Supplementary Nutrition, Pre School Non-formal Education, Nutrition and Health Education, Immunization, Health checkups and referral services.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna (PMMVY) to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years

Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) strategy: In order to address child mortality and morbidity –

  • Strengthening essential new-born care at all delivery points, establishment of Sick New-born Care Units (SNCU), New-born Stabilization Units (NBSU) and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) units for care of sick and small babies
  • Home Based New-born Care (HBNC) and Home-Based Care of Young Children (HBYC) by ASHAs to improve child rearing practices and to identify sick new-born and young children
  • Early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for first six months and appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are promoted under Mothers’ Absolute Affection (MAA) in convergence with Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is being supported to provide vaccination to children against life threatening diseases such as Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Measles, Rubella, Pneumonia and Meningitis caused by Haemophilus Influenza B. The Rotavirus vaccination has also been rolled out in the country for prevention of Rota-viral diarrhoea. 
  • Mission Indradhanush is targeted to immunize children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated i.e. those that have not been covered during the rounds of routine immunization for various reasons. Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0 is rolled-out as per road-map for achieving 90% full immunization coverage across the country.
  • Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) have been set up at public health facilities to treat and manage the children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admitted with medical complications.
  • Defeat Diarrhoea (D2) initiative has been launched for promoting ORS and Zinc use and eliminating the diarrhoeal deaths by 2025.
  • Social Awareness and Actions to Neutralize Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS) initiative for reduction of Childhood morbidity and mortality due to Pneumonia.
  • Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) strategy as a part of Poshan Abhiyan aims to strengthen the existing mechanisms and foster newer strategies to tackle anaemia, which include testing & treatment of anaemia in school going adolescents & pregnant women, addressing non nutritional causes of anaemia and a comprehensive communication strategy. National Deworming Day (NDD) is implemented biannually every year for deworming of children (one to nineteen year of age).
  • All the children from 0 to 18 years of age are screened for 30 health conditions classified into 4Ds – Diseases, Deficiencies, Defects and Developmental delay under “Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram” (RBSK) to improve the quality of survival and to reduce out of pocket expenditure of families. District early intervention centre (DEIC) at district health facility level are established for confirmation and management of the 4D’s.
  • Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDs) are observed for provision of maternal and child health services and awareness on maternal and child Health and nutrition education through mass and social media to improve healthy practices and to generate demand for service uptake.
  • Name based tracking of mothers and children till two years of age is done through RCH portal to ensure complete antenatal, intranatal, postnatal care and immunization as per schedule.
  • Promotion of Institutional deliveries through cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free delivery including Caesarean section, post-natal care and treatment of sick infants up to one year of age. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is another maternity benefit programme under which cash incentive is provided to pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Highlights of Annual Report of PMJAY

(Topic: Government policies and interventions in Health)

  1. Strong Policy Framework: 
  1. All packages prone to fraud are reserved for public hospitals or need mandatory pre-authorization and require detailed documentation before claims are paid.
  2. National Anti-Fraud Unit (NAFU) has been created supported by State Anti-Fraud Units (SAFUs)
  1. Beneficiary Empowerment:
  1. Beneficiary empowerment is done by system generated messages to each beneficiary at the time of – e-card creation, hospitalization and discharge.
  2. Feedback is collected through outbound calls and letters after treatment
  1. Regular monitoring of empanelled hospitals:
  1. Utilization data is analysed on different triggers and results are shared with States for carrying out due diligence
  2. Capacity building of the states is done on medical audits and Joint medical audits of hospitals are done to identify any wrong doing.
  1. Fraud Control IT enhancements:
  1. Bio-authorization has been made mandatory at the time of admission and discharge. Pilot of the   same is done in 20 states and full implementation is done in 10 states.
  2. Investigation app has been made functional in 16 states for prompt medical audits
  3. Standard treatment Guidelines have been created for 30 abuse prone packages.
  1. Use of Artificial Intelligence:
  1. Partnership has been made with analytics companies to develop algorithms that can use big data to identify suspect transactions & entities. This would   go through Rule engines, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning   techniques.
  2. SAS has been selected as a partner to develop a comprehensive Fraud Analytics   and Forensics solution to detect fraud proactively.

Steps Taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs for Police Modernization

(Topic: Modernization of Police)

While ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State Subject as per schedule VII to the constitution of India, in order to supplement the efforts of the States for equipping and modernizing of their police forces, under the scheme of ‘Assistance to States for Modernisation of Police’ {erstwhile scheme of Modernisation of Police Force (MPF)}, the States have been provided central assistance for training gadgets, advanced communication, police buildings, police housing, mobility, and forensic equipment etc. as per the proposals of the State Governments in accordance with their strategic priorities and requirements.

The Union Government has created an all India digital network –Crime & Criminal Tracking Networking System (CCTNS) in 15152 out of 15985 police stations of the country which has digitised police processes like registering complaints, FIRs, Investigation details, etc. 100% FIRs are being recorded in 14,992 police stations. 

Launched Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) which integrates the process of speedy justice by facilitating data-exchange between the courts, police, prosecution, jails and the forensic laboratories

With a view to achieve the objectives of completion of police investigation within two months of filing FIR by police for sexual assaults, Government has facilitated monitoring of timelines in police investigation through the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) Portal, using CCTNS data. ITSSO is available to law enforcement agencies and gives details on pending cases. 

Launched a National Database of Sexual Offenders (NDSO) for law enforcement officers. NDSO allows tracking of repeat and habitual sex offenders as well as initiate preventive measures against sexual offences. A cyber-crime portal is also functional.

Cabinet approves 

MoU between India and Iceland in the field of Sustainable Fisheries Development

The MoU will strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Iceland and will enhance consultation and cooperation on Fisheries including consultation on bilateral issues.

  • Creation of facilities for exchange of scientists and technical experts and their proper placement, especially in areas of estimating Total Allowable Catches in off shore and deep sea areas;
  • Provision of training to fisheries professionals from key fisheries institutions in the various management aspects on areas of modern fisheries management and fish processing
  • Exchange of scientific literature research findings and other information.
  • Exchange of experts / expertise to study the prospects of fishing. Processing and marketing of products from high seas fisheries for entrepreneurship development.

Protocol amending the Agreement between India and Sri Lanka for avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income

Impact: Updation of preamble text and inclusion of Principal Purpose Test, a general anti abuse provision in the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) will result in curbing of tax planning strategies which exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules.


  1. The existing DTAA between India and Sri Lanka was signed on 22nd January, 2013 and entered into force on 22nd October, 2013.
  2. India and Sri Lanka are members of the Inclusive Framework and as such are required to implement the minimum standards under G-20 OECD BEPS Action Reports in respect of their DTAAs with Inclusive Framework countries. Minimum standards under BEPS Action 6 can be met through the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI) or through agreement bilaterally.
  3. India is a signatory to the MLI. However, Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the MLI as of now. Therefore, amendment of the India-Sri Lanka DTAA bilaterally is required to update the Preamble and also to insert Principal Purpose Test (PPT) provisions to meet the minimum standards on treaty abuse under Action 6 of G-20 OECD Base Erosion & Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.


The existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Sri Lanka was signed on 22nd January, 2013 and entered into force on 22nd October, 2013. India and Sri Lanka are members of the Inclusive Framework and as such are required to implement the minimum standards under G-20 OECD BEPS Action Reports in respect of their DTAAs with Inclusive Framework countries. Minimum standards under BEPS Action 6 can be met through the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI) or through agreement bilaterally. India is a signatory to the MLI.

Cooperation Agreement signed between India and Portugal in the field of Maritime Transport and Ports

(Topic: Agreement with other countries)

  • It will open avenues for cooperation to promote Maritime Transport between the two countries for better operation of their merchant fleets, cooperation to harmonize and unified their position with International Organization Institution, forums and conferences related to Maritime and Port activities.
  • It will also help both the countries to coordinate accession to international conventions so that the objectives of this Agreement can be strengthened.


Blue Revolution

(Topic: Fisheries sector)

Neel Kranti (Blue Revolution) plan to triple the country’s earning from fish exports; aims at increasing fish production by 50 per cent to 15.2 million tons and triple the export earnings through the same to Rs 1 lakh crore by year 2020. 

The scheme adopted a two-pronged approach: Sustainable capture fishery to harness marine and inland water resources and expanding the horizon of fish farming through increased coverage, enhanced productivity, species diversification and better market returns.

The major components of the CSS on Blue Revolution scheme are as under:

  1. Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture,
  2. Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post-harvest Operations,

iii. National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen

  1. Monitoring, Control and Surveillance and other need-based Interventions (MCS),
  2. Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector,
  3. Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector (SoDGIS),

vii. National Fisheries Development Board and its activities(NFDB)

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) 

  • Will be established under the Department of Fisheries for a robust fisheries management framework 
  • Will address critical gaps in the value chain, including infrastructure, modernisation, traceability, production, productivity, post-harvest management, and quality control 

India and Fishery

  • India is the world’s second-largest fish producer with exports worth more than Rs 47,000 crore. Fisheries are the country’s single-largest agriculture export, with a growth rate of 6 to 10 per cent in the past five years. Its significance is underscored by the fact that the growth rate of the farm sector in the same period is around 2.5 per cent.
  • The ‘fisheries and aquaculture sector’ is recognized as the sunshine sector in Indian agriculture. It stimulates growth of number of subsidiary industries and is the source of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population, especially fishermen, of the country. It helps in increasing food supply, generating adequate employment opportunities and raising nutritional level. It has a huge export potential and is a big source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.
  • Fishery is basically a State subject and the primary responsibility for its development mainly rests with the State Governments.

Challenges and issues facing the fisheries development 

  • Lack of accurate data on assessment of fishery resources and their potential in terms of fish production
  • Slow development of sustainable technologies for fin and shell fish culture
  • Low yield optimisation
  • Harvest and post-harvest operations
  • Landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels
  • Welfare of fishermen

India to host the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

(Topic: Environment; international agreements and forums)

What is it: An environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme

  • Theme: Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home
  • COP 13 logo: Inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional art form from southern India. In the logo, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles.
  • The mascot for CMS COP13: Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard; it is a critically endangered species which has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

As the host, India shall be designated the President for the next three years. 

  • The Government of India is Signatory to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory wild Animals (CMS) since 1983. The Government of India has been taking necessary actions to protect and conserve migratory marine species. 
  • The COP Presidency is tasked to provide political leadership and facilitate positive outcomes that further advance the objectives of the Convention, including steering efforts towards implementing the Resolutions and Decisions adopted by the Conference of Parties.
  • Seven species that include Dugong, Whale Shark, Marine Turtle (two species) have been identified for preparation of Conservation and Recovery Action Plan.

The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory water bird species, including 29 globally threatened species.

Migratory species of wild animals move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. The movement between habitats, can sometimes exceed thousands of kilometers/miles for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route will typically have nesting sites, breeding sites, availability of preferred food and requires the availability of suitable habitat before and after each migration.

India is home to several migratory species of wildlife including snow leopard, Amur falcons, bar headed Geese, black necked cranes, marine turtles, dugongs, humpbacked whales, etc. and has signed non legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).

India and Norway to work jointly towards mitigating marine plastic litter and microplastics

(Topic: International agreements to deal with climate change)

Actions that target climate change and air pollution at the same time pose a win-win situation. The two sides recognized that such actions should be stepped up, and agreed to work together to raise this agenda.

  • They recognized that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phasing down use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) could prevent up to 0.40C of warming by end of the century, Further, noting that universal ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol shall allow realization of its full potential.
  • If managed properly, the ocean holds the key to meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Integrated ocean management is central to achieving a sustainable blue economy. In 2019 Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Solberg welcomed the signing of the MoU on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue and the establishment of the Joint Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development. The two Ministers were pleased with the progress that has been made under this MoU, including the establishment of the Marine Pollution Initiative. They were particularly satisfied that Norway and India will sign a Letter of Intent on integrated ocean management including sustainable Blue Economy initiatives.
  • Noted the importance of delivering concrete, scalable solutions for ocean health and wealth at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon on June 2020
  • Further noted the importance of sustainable management of chemicals and waste and welcomed the cooperation between India and Norway on the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and on the minimisation of discharge of marine litter.
  • The Ministers emphasized a shared understanding of the global and urgent nature of marine plastic litter and microplastics and underlined that this issue cannot be solved by any one country alone. They are committed to supporting global action to address plastic pollution and exploring the feasibility of establishing a new global agreement on plastic pollution.
  • The Ministers agreed to support and work together with other political leaders to prompt a global and effective response to curb the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss. They agreed to work together to deliver an ambitious, strong, practical and effective global biodiversity framework at COP15 of CBD to be held in Kunming, China, in 2020.
  • Stressed that international supply chains and finance must de-invest from deforestation and destruction of nature and invest in companies and projects that improve smallholder livelihoods while promoting sustainable production and consumption. They agreed to continue the discussion on forests and deforestation free supply chains.
  • Norway and India will explore areas of cooperation in forestry and linking the same with climate change

Prelims oriented News:

Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial: Varanasi

Improvement in Sex Ratio: As per Census conducted by Registrar General of India, the trend in sex ratio has improved to 943 in 2011 from 926 in 1991.

Nikshay Poshan Yojana: 

  • 500 rupees per month is being provided to All TB patients towards nutritional support for the duration of their treatment. 
  • 750 rupees is being provided to all TB patients in tribal notified blocks towards travel support is an ongoing scheme since the twelfth plan.

Cervical and Breast Cancer Cases in Women

As per National Cancer Registry Program data of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated number of incidence of Breast and Cervical cancer for the country during the last three year is given below:

Year 2016 2017 2018
Estimated Breast cancer cases 1,42,283 1,50,842 1,59,924
Estimated Cervical cancer cases 99,099 1,00,306 1,01,536

Health is a State subject and the Central Government supplements the efforts of the State Governments to prevent and control cancer.

National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) – Awareness generation for Cancer prevention, screening, early detection and referral to an appropriate level institution for treatment. For cancer the focus is on three cancers, namely breast, cervical and oral.

BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise -2020

Member states: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar

This exercise will provide a platform for member states 

  • To evaluate existing capabilities
  • Share best emergency response practices
  • Improve existing emergency preparedness
  • Strengthen regional response mechanism
  • To conduct risk assessment in the context of cultural heritage sites at the time of disaster

In order to bring in a feel of real disaster scenario,  “simulated exercise sites including villages & Heritage Site (Konark Sun Temple)”were set up at Ramachandi Beach in Puri to depict flooded localities and houses due to the flood disaster. Large number of simulated dummy structures including multi-storied buildings and houses were erected in inundated condition with marooned people & livestock at the exercise site to reflect the real disaster scenario and ultimately it was helpful to all the participating teams to become familiar to preserve the damage cultural heritage during disasters.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY-PDMC): Focuses on enhancing water use efficiency at farm level through Micro Irrigation viz. Drip and Sprinkler irrigation. The Government provides financial assistance @ 55% for small and marginal farmers and @ 45% for other farmers for installation of Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation systems. In addition, some States provide additional incentives/top up subsidy for encouraging farmers to adopt Micro Irrigation.

Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM): To boost the farm mechanization in the country, under which subsidy is provided for purchase of various types of Agricultural implements and machinery used for tillage, sowing, planting, harvesting, reaping, threshing, plant protection, inter cultivation and residue management.

Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi: A special Scheme to support the efforts of the Governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution due to stubble burning and to subsidize machinery for the farmers for in-situ management of crop residue

Kisan Credit Card (KCC) Scheme: Enables farmers to purchase agricultural inputs and draw cash to satisfy their agricultural and consumption needs.  The KCC Scheme has since been simplified and converted into ATM enabled RuPaydebit card with, inter alia, facilities of one-time documentation, built-in cost escalation in the limit, any number of drawals within the limit, etc.

Setting Up of National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency

  • To address the present challenges in water sector, revision of National Water Policy has been envisaged by the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti
  • The main objective of the National Water Policy is to take cognizance of the existing situation in water sector, to propose a framework for creation of a system of laws and institutions and for a plan of action with a unified national perspective in planning, management and use of water resources.

Water quality of river Ganga is assessed as per primary water quality criteria for outdoor bathing notified by Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) in terms of potential Hydrogen (pH) (6.5-8.5), Dissolved Oxygen (DO) (≥5mg/L), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) (≤3mg/L) and Faecal Coliform (FC) (≤2500 MPN/100ml).

  • Under the Namami Gange Programme, the monitoring of water quality of river Ganga is carried out by State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)
  • Cleaning of river Ganga is a continuous process and under the Namami Gange Programme, several initiatives have been taken by Government of India which includes abatement and control of pollution at the source of pollution generation by adopting activities such as establishment/ upgradation of Wastewater Treatment Plants for the towns located on Ganga main stem and its tributaries, river front development, construction of Ghats and crematoria surface cleaning activities and solid waste management.
  • Due to various pollution abatement initiatives taken by the Government under the Namami Gange Programme, the water quality assessment of river Ganga in 2019 has shown improved water quality trends as compared to 2014.

Saakshar Bharat Programme: 

  • Under the programme, against the overall target of making 7 crore adult non-literates to be made literates, around 7.64 crore learners successfully passed the biannual Basic Literacy Assessment Tests conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) between August, 2010 to March, 2018 and were certified as literates.
  • In order to improve the female literacy rate in the country, the scheme of Saakshar Bharat was implemented in the rural areas of 410 districts in 26 States and one UT, that had adult female literacy rate of 50 per cent and below as per Census 2001, with special focus on women and other disadvantaged groups.

Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme: For promotion of adoption of electric/hybrid vehicles (xEVs) in India

  • Phase-II of FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of 3 years from 01st April, 2019 with a total budgetary support of Rs. 10,000 crore.
  • This phase will mainly focus on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation, and aims to support through subsidies approx. 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers. 
  • With greater emphasis on providing affordable & environment friendly public transportation options for the masses, the scheme will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or those registered for commercial purposes in e-3W, e-4W and e-bus segments. 
  • However, privately owned registered e-2W will also be covered under the scheme as a mass segment.

To promote electric/ hybrid vehicles (including shared mobility) use in various part of the country:

(i) Under new GST regime, GST on EVS is reduced from existing 12% rate to 5% as against the 28% GST rate with Cess up to 22% for conventional vehicles.

(ii) Ministry of Power has allowed sale of electricity as service for charging of electric vehicles. This will provide a huge incentive to attract investments into charging infrastructure.

(iii) The Government has also granted exemption to the Battery Operated Transport Vehicles and Transport Vehicles running on Ethanol and Methanol fuels from the requirements of permit.

(iv) The Government has proposed exemption of registration fees for battery operated/electric vehicles to promote the use of eco-friendly vehicles in the country.

(v) In the budget of 2019-20, the Finance Minister announced for providing additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles.

Scheme for ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India’

  • Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture is the nodal agency
  • SNA is collaborating with Zonal Cultural Centers of Ministry, collating and preparing a list of ICH elements for National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Along with this establishment of an ‘Indian Institute for Culture’ is at conceptual stage and a mission called National Culture Mapping portal is being conceptualized for aggregating art forms and artists. It is in pilot phase.

UN World Pulses Day: 10th Feb

  • In order to ensure proper value for the produce, Government has raised the MSP by one-and-a-half times based on recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee. 
  • eNAM has been strengthened with a view of One Nation One Market which has provided farmers access to better and wider market area ensuring a fair price. 
  • Already 585 Mandis have joined the eNAM portal and another 400 Mandis will be added soon. 
  • To strengthen the logistics associated with the Agriculture sector, a new Kisan Rail has been announced in this budget which will benefit both the Agriculture and Horticulture sectors.
  • The biggest role in increasing pulses production is to be played by country’s R&D, as technology is the major driving force in increased production than the price factor.

The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), established in 1963 in France, is now headquartered at Dubai since 2009. It is a non-profit Confederation to promote production, consumption, awareness and trade of pulses, representing every component of supply chain related to the pulse industry such as growers, traders, govt bodies, trade promotion entities, processors and consumers.

Solve: Critically examine the reasons for low productivity of pulses in India.

Guru Ravidas

  • Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet-sant of the ‘bhakti movement’ during the 14th to 16th century CE. 
  • Venerated as a guru (teacher) in the region of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh the devotional songs of Ravidas made a lasting impact upon the bhakti movement.
  • He was a poet-saint, social reformer and a spiritual figure. 
  • He is considered as the founder of 21st-century Ravidassia religion, by a group who previously were associated with Sikhism 
  • He gave the people a message of peace, harmony and fraternity. 
  • He made people aware of the evils of discrimination and urged overcoming them.

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