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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 28th July to 1st August – 2020

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  • August 5, 2020
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC –28th July to 1st August, 2020

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GS-2

Cabinet Approves National Education Policy 2020

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources)

Did You Know?

  • The last NEP was that of 1986 and modified in 1992. 
  • The current policy is based on the report filed by the committee headed by eminent space scientist K. Kasturirangan.
  • NEP 2020 policy envisages 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030

Key Takeaways from NEP 2020

  1. School Education:
    • Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, will be extended to cover children between 3 and 18 years
    • Structure: The current 10+2 system will be divided into (3 to 8 years) +3 (8to 11 years) + 3 (11 to 14 years) + 4 (14 to 18 years) format.
    • Co-curriculum and vocational subjects like sports, arts, commerce, science will be treated at the same level.
    • Computer Skills: Students will be allowed to take up coding from class 6 onward.
    • Vocational Education to start from Class 6 with Internships.
    • Additional Meal: Provision of an energy-filled breakfast, in addition to the nutritious mid-day meal, to help children achieve better learning outcomes.
    • Regular Exams: To track progress, all students will take school examinations in grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
    • Class 10 and 12 board examinations to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorised facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice
    • Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, and will make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning
    • Capabilities: A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with NCERT
  2. Medium of Instruction:
    • The policy says that wherever possible, the medium of instruction in schools until at least Class 5, but preferably until Class 8 and beyond, will be the home language or mother tongue or regional language
    • The three languages learned by children will be the choices of states, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India
  3. Higher Education
    • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035 (presently it is at 26.3%)
    • Flexibility in Higher Education: NEP 2020 proposes a multi-disciplinary higher education framework with portable credits, and multiple exits with certificates, diplomas and degrees
    • The common entrance exam for all higher education institutes to be held by NTA. The exam will be optional and not mandatory
    • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
    • The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education
    • M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary.
  4. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)
    • It will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
    • It will be a single, lean body with four verticals for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation so as to provide “light but tight” oversight
    • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
  5. Technology & Foreign Institutes
    • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
    • National Assessment Centre- ‘PARAKH’ has been created to assess the students.
    • It also paves the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

What are the merits of new NEP 2020?

  • Comprehensive: NEP seeks to address the entire gamut of education from preschool to doctoral studies, and from professional degrees to vocational training. 
  • Early Childhood Education: In adopting a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3, NEP recognises the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future
  • Easy on Regulations: NEP 2020 makes a bold prescription to free our schools, colleges and universities from periodic “inspections” and place them on the path of self-assessment and voluntary declaration
  • Holistic: The policy, inter alia, aims to eliminate problems of pedagogy, structural inequities, access asymmetries and rampant commercialisation. 
  • Promote Inclusion: The Policy proposes creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education

What are the Challenges ahead w.r.t implementing NEP 2020?

  • Cooperation from States
    • Any educational reform can be implemented only with support from the States, and the Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans
    • The idea of a National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organisation is bound to be resented by States
  • Inadequate check on donations: Fee regulations exist in some States even now, but the regulatory process is unable to rein in profiteering in the form of unaccounted donations. 
  • Funding: Progress on these crucially depends on the will to spend the promised 6% of GDP as public expenditure on education.

Conclusion: If implemented in its true vision, the new structure can bring India at par with the leading countries of the world.

 

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Zimbabwe on Cooperation in the field of Traditional System of Medicine and Homeopathy

This will provide a frame work for the cooperation between the two countries for the promotion of traditional systems of medicine and homeopathy and will mutually benefit the two countries in the field of Traditional Medicine. 

Objective: The main objective of the MoU is to strengthen, promote and develop co-operation in the field of traditional systems of medicine between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. 

  1. Promotion in the regulation of teaching, practice, drugs, and drugless therapies within the scope of the MoU
  2. Supply of all medicine materials and documents necessary for demonstration and reference in achieving the objectives specified within the framework of the MoU;
  3. Exchange of experts for the training of practitioners, paramedics, scientists, teaching professionals and students;
  4. Accommodation of interested scientists, practitioners, paramedics and students in Institutions for Research, Educational and Training Programmes;
  5. Mutual recognition of Pharmacopoeias and Formularies;
  6. Mutual recognition of systems of medicines which are officially recognized by the Parties;
  7. Mutual recognition of Educational Qualifications awarded Central/State recognized Universities of the Parties;
  8. Provision of Scholarships for education in recognized Institutions;
  9. Recognition of traditional preparations on a reciprocal basis by the qualified practitioners as per the existing laws of the respective Countries;
  10. Permission to practice on reciprocal basis by the qualified practitioners as per the existing laws of the respective Countries;

GS-3

Tiger Census

(Topic: Conservation)

  • India has 70 percent of world’s tiger population.
  • Jim Corbett national park in Uttarakhand is the largest habitat of the big cats in India (231 tigers). 
  • Corbett is followed by Nagarhole (127) and Bandipur (126), both in Karnataka.

India’s tiger population now stands at 2967 which is 70 percent of the global tiger population. A feather in India’s cap was added with the Guinness World Records recognizing the country’s efforts as the world largest camera trap survey of wildlife.

With the presence of nearly 30 percent of India’s tigers outside tiger reserves, India had embarked upon assessing management interventions through the globally developed Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) framework, which will now be extended to all fifty tiger reserves across the country.  

The detailed report of the 4th All India Tiger Estimation is unique in the following ways;

  • Abundance index of co-predators and other species has been carried out which hitherto was restricted only to occupancy
  • Sex ratio of tigers in all camera trap sites has been carried out for the first time.
  • Anthropogenic effects on tiger population have been elaborated in a detailed manner.
  • Tiger abundance within pockets in tiger reserves has been demonstrated for the first time.

Note:

  • July 29: Global Tiger Day
  • Lidar is a method for measuring distances by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor.

Development of a “No-touch” & “Painless” device for non-invasive screening of bilirubin level in new-borns

(Topic: Technology)

Careful screening of bilirubin level in new-borns is mandatory as per American Academy of Paediatrics (2004), to reduce incidents of a type of brain damage called kernicterus that can result from high levels of bilirubin in a baby’s blood. Although invasive capillary collection of blood and the subsequent biochemical test is considered a gold standard for jaundice detection in neonates, transcutaneous bilirubin measurement using non-invasive instruments has obvious added advantages.

The device called “AJO-Neo” is reliable in measuring bilirubin levels in preterm, and term neonates irrespective of gestational or postnatal age, sex, risk factors, feeding behavior or skin color. Detection of neonatal blood bilirubin (Hyperbilirubinemia) faster is extremely important for therapeutic management in order to avoid Kernicterus leading to Neuo-psychiatry problems in neonatal subjects.


Induction of Rafale In Indian Air Force

(Topic: Modernisation efforts in Defence)

The first five Indian Air Force (IAF) Rafale aircraft have arrived at Air Force Station, Ambala. Induction of these next generation aircrafts is a true testimony of Government’s commitment of building on India’s defence capabilities.

  • The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation of France.
  • By February 2021, India will receive 18 Rafale jets and by April 2022, India will get all the 36 Rafale.
  • Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. 

Do you know?

  • In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition following the surprise announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015. 
  • The acquisition of the Rafale fighter jets and the S-400 air defence system will go a long way in addressing the depleting squadron strength of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Prelims oriented News

World Hepatitis Day: 28th July

  • Theme: Keep your Liver Safe in COVID times
  • Viral Hepatitis is a very common and serious disease in India, but is virtually unknown to health care providers and the general public. Individuals with viral B & C hepatitis are at increased risk for liver cancer and chronic liver disease, yet an estimated 80 percent of persons with chronic viral hepatitis do not know that they are infected.
  • National Viral Hepatitis Program: It is the largest program for Hepatitis B and C diagnosis and treatment in the world.

Bye-elections

By-elections are elections conducted to fill elected offices that have become vacant between general elections. This may happen due to

  • Resignation
  • Death or dismissal of the person holding the office until then

Central Consumer Protection Authority established

Objective: To promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers; will function from Indian Institute of Public Administration premises

  • It will be empowered to conduct investigations into violation of consumer rights and institute complaints / prosecution, order recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuation of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has come into force from 20th July, 2020. As provided in section 10 of the Act, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established w.e.f. 24th July, 2020.

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

In order to contribute directly and indirectly to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunites to them and to provide employment to youth, start-ups are being encouraged. Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, new technology in the field of agriculture and allied sectors through start-ups and agripreneurship will be promoted.

  • For the year 2020-21, in the first phase, 112 startups in the area of agro processing, food technology and value addition will be funded for  a sum of Rs. 1185.90 lakhs which will contribute to enhancing the income of farmers.
  • Traditional knowledge of Indian communities should be coupled with technology and skill sets of youth and agriculture graduates to translate the full potential of Indian agriculture in transforming rural areas.
  • To boost agriculture and allied activities and give an impetus to the rural economy, the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) which aims at strengthening infrastructure in agriculture and allied areas, has been revamped.

Launch of Gramodyog Vikas Yojana

The programme aims to enhance the production of ‘Agarbatti’ in the country and create sustainable employment for the traditional Artisans, by providing them regular employment and increase in their wages. This will give a boost to the domestic Agarbatti Industry in the country and will reduce imports of Agarbatti.

For: the benefit of artisans involved in manufacturing of Agarbatti and to develop village industry under ‘Gramodyog Vikas Yojana’

  • As per the programme, initially four Pilot Projects will be started, including one in North Eastern part of the country. 
  • Each targeted cluster of artisans will be supported with about 50 Automatic Agarbatti making machines and 10 Mixing machines.
  • Accordingly, a total of 200 Automatic Agarbatti making machines and 40 Mixing machines will be provided to the artisans.

Decisions made till now – 

  1. Placing the ‘Agarbatti’ item from “Free” trade to “Restricted” trade in the import policy
  2. Enhancing the import duty from 10% to 25% on ‘round bamboo sticks’ used for manufacturing of Agarbatti 

This decision will help to boost the indigenous production of ‘Agarbatti’and will pave way to generate rural employment. This will also start the process of mitigating the gap between the indigenous ‘production and demand’ and will reduce import of ‘Agarbatti’ in the country.

One Nation One Ration Card scheme

  • The One Nation One Ration Card is an ambitious plan and endeavour of DoFPD, to ensure the delivery of food security entitlements to all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), irrespective of their physical location anywhere in the country, by implementing nation-wide portability of ration cards under the ongoing central sector scheme on ‘Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS)’ in association with all States/UTs.
  • Through this system, the migratory NFSA beneficiaries who frequently change their place of dwelling in search of temporary employments, etc. are now enabled with an option to lift their entitled quota of food grains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice anywhere in the country by using their same/existing ration card with biometric/Aadhaar based authentication on an electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device installed at the FPSs.
  • It was started in mid-2019 with pilot project in 4 states and was supposed to be rolled-out across country by June 2020

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. 
  • The bank currently has 82 members as well as 20 prospective members from around the world.
  • The United Nations has addressed the launch of AIIB as having potential for “scaling up financing for sustainable development” and to improve the global economic governance.
  • The bank was proposed by China in 2013 and the initiative was launched at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2014

AIIB 2030-Supporting Asia’s Development over the Next Decade – India’s expectations

  • Introduction of new financing instruments
  • Mobilising private sector finance
  • Providing financing for social infrastructure to achieve the SDGs 2030
  • Integrating development of climate resilient
  • Sustainable energy access infrastructure into the recovery response to the COVID-19 crisis
  • Establish Regional Presence which would aid in effective project management and implementation

Personality in News

Padma Shri Ren Sonam Tshering Lepcha

  • A very respected veteran of nation from field of folk music
  • The first among the Lepcha community to feature on All India Radio in 1960. 
  • Played a major role in the revival of Lepcha culture which is one of the indigenous cultures of Sikkim.
  • The frontal icon to encourage Lepcha Community festivals like most popular ‘tendong-Lho-Rum-Faat”

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak – 100th Punya Tithi

  • Father of Indian Unrest
  • Popularly known as Lokmanya, and dedicated his life for the cause of “Purna Swaraj” (complete self-rule)
  • One of the founders of the Fergusson College in Pune
  • One of the first advocates of Swaraj or self-rule. He gave the slogan, “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it.”
  • Along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, he was called the ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’ trio of extremist leaders
  • One of the founders of the All India Home Rule League, along with Annie Besant and G S Khaparde, and served as its president and in 1916 he concluded the Lucknow Pact with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which provided for Hindu-Muslim unity in the nationalist struggle
  • Newspaper: Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English
  • In 1893, the Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak praised the celebration of sarvajanik Ganesha utsav in his newspaper, Kesari, and dedicated his efforts to launch the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organised public event

Qn: Compare and contrast the nationalism of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

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