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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 1st September to 6th September – 2020

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  • September 8, 2020
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 1st to 6th September, 2020

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GS-2

Cabinet approves “Mission Karmayogi”- National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB)

(Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive)

Context: Dubbed as the biggest bureaucratic reform initiative, the Union Cabinet approved ‘Mission Karmayogi’, a new capacity-building scheme for civil servants aimed at upgrading the post-recruitment training mechanism of the officers and employees at all levels.

Civil Service reform measures undertaken by government in recent past

  • Hiring reforms by bringing a nodal recruiting agency(NRA)
  • Lateral entry in joint secretary level positions
  • Provision of non IAS officers in policy making roles
  • Training of government servants through a program called ‘arambh’
  • Short term posting of young IAS officers at different central departments on a probation before their posting in districts

What are the existing impediments in Civil Service?

  • Diverse and fragmented training landscape
  • Evolution of silos at Department level preventing shared understanding of India’s development aspirations
  • Difficulty in finding officials with the right competencies for a task
  • Lack of linkages between the Role and Competency
  • Inconsistencies in training priorities, competency & pedagogy
  • Lack of common platform and barriers to exchange of knowledge
  • Lack of lifelong & continuous learning environment
  • Redundancy & duplication of efforts

What are the core guiding principles or the Policy Framework of NPCSCB Programme?

  1. To complement the physical capacity building approach with Online Learning
  2. Supporting Transition from ‘Rules based’ to ‘Roles based’ HR Management. Aligning work allocation of civil servants by matching their competencies to the requirements of the post.
  3. To create an ecosystem of shared training infrastructure including that of learning materials, institutions and personnel.
  4. To calibrate all Civil Service positions to a Framework of Roles, Activities and Competencies (FRACs) approach and to create and deliver learning content relevant to the identified FRACs in every Government entity.
  5. Enable adoption of modern technological tools such as digital platforms, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics

What is the Institutional Structure for Mission Karmayogi?

  1. PM led Human Resource Council
    • It will also include state Chief Ministers, Union Cabinet ministers and eminent national and global Academicians, thought leaders, Industry leaders
    • This council will approve and review civil service capacity building programmes.
    • Mandate of the Council includes:
    • Apex body driving & providing strategic direction to the Programme
    • Approves & Monitors Civil Service Capacity Building plan 
    • Reviews reports submitted by Capacity Building Commission
  2. Cabinet Secretary Coordination Unit 
    • It comprises of select secretaries and cadre controlling authorities, headed by Cabinet Secretary
    • The primary function of this body is to monitor progress, and execution of plans.
  3. Capacity Building Commission: It will include experts in related fields and global professionals. The mandate of the commission are:
    • To prepare annual Capacity building plans and seek approval from PM HR Council
    • Audit human resources available in the government.
    • Harmonize training standards and capacity building
    • Create shared faculty and resources
    • Supervisory role over all Central Training Institutions.
    • Set norms for common mid-career training programs
    • Undertake analysis of data from iGOT-Karmayogi
    • Prepare the Annual HR Report on health of Civil Services and Target Achievements
  4. Wholly owned Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) 
    • Legal: Company under Section 8 (of Companies Act) with 100% Government ownership
    • Board of Directors: Representing all participating entities of the Programme
    • Revenue Model: Self-sustaining – Annual Subscription fee of INR 431 per employee 

Key functions of SPV are:

  • Own and operate the online Platform, iGOT Karmayogi on behalf of Government
  • Operationalize a robust content ecosystem
  • Manage assessment & certification eco-system
  • Telemetry data based scoring – monitoring and evaluation
  • Feedback assessment – driven by Artificial Intelligence & evolvable and scalable platform
  • Curate & deliver programmes for capacity building of Civil Servants in other countries
  • The SPV will own all Intellectual Property Rights on behalf of the Government of India.

What is iGOT- Karmayogi platform?

  • The Karmyogi Programme will be delivered by setting up an Integrated Government Online Training (iGOT) Karmayogi Platform.
  • iGOT-Karmayogi is a continuous online training platform, which would allow all government servants from assistant secretary to secretary level to undergo continuous training, depending on their domain areas.
  • Courses from international universities will be made available on the platform for officers to take any time
  • The platform is expected to evolve into a vibrant and world-class market place for content where carefully curated and vetted digital e-learning material will be made available. 
  • Besides capacity building, service matters like confirmation after probation period, deployment, work assignment and notification of vacancies etc. would eventually be integrated with the proposed competency framework

How is Mission Karmayogi funded?

  • To cover around 46 lakh central employees, a sum of Rs 510.86 crore will be spent over a period of 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25. 
  • The expenditure is partly funded by multilateral assistance to the tune of $50 million.

How is the Monitoring & Evaluation Framework of the mission?

  • Monitoring and evaluation of all users on the basis of Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
  • Users include the individual learner (Civil Servant), the supervisor, the organisation, the peer group, the content creator and the technology service provider
  • Prime Minister’s Dash Board: Real-time reporting of Capacity Building KPIs with Annual Score Cards and Rankings for Departments
  • Capacity Building Plan- Annual Plans submitted by each Department aligned to National ambitions
  • Annual State of Civil Services Report: Consolidated Performance of Civil Services as a whole in a year with focus on achievements & contribution to National Progress
  • Independent Audits: Third Party Audit of Programme, in addition to regular Audit and Quality Assurance by Capacity Building Commission

Merits of the Mission

  • Democratized Civil Service: This is a New National Architecture for Civil Services Capacity Building that will herald into Silo-less Performance. It would help augment the capacities of over two crore officials in India. 
  • Holistic: This is a Comprehensive reform of the capacity building apparatus at individual, institutional and process levels for efficient public service delivery.
  • Competency driven HR Management policy: The mission ensures that right person with right competencies is at the right position
  • Enhanced Accessibility: The mission enables Civil Servants to learn from the best institutions and practices across the world (through marketplace of iGOT platform)
  • Increased Expertise The mission is Knowledge driven and aims at building competencies to transform Civil Servants into leaders and subject matter experts.
  • Better Governance: Capacity of Civil Services plays a vital role in performing core governance functions. The mission will help make Civil Servant more efficient, effective, accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizen 
  • Leads to better Work Culture: The mission organically links the transformation of work culture and strengthening public institutions through adopting modern technology (iGOT Karmayogi platform) which lays emphasis on skills
  • Professional Growth: It helps make available to all civil servants, an opportunity to continuously build and strengthen their Behavioral, Functional and Domain Competencies in their self-driven and mandated learning paths
  • Uniform Approach: The mission will enable a uniform approach in managing and regulating the capacity building ecosystem on collaborative and co-sharing basis.
  • Reduces the cost of training Civil Servants for both Centre & States, due to emphasis given on continuous online learning and shared ecosystem. Expenditure on foreign training will thence be cut down.

Do You Know?

  • iGOT Pilot Model has trained COVID Warriors and led India’s fight against COVID
  • Courses were provided for diverse audiences like Doctors, Nurses, NCC Cadets, NSS Volunteers and Technicians
  • The pilot model supported 12 languages and the content was delivered through multiple channels (Mobile, Desktop, Offline access by iGOT TV)
  • The pilot was a success with nearly 12.7 lakh registered users and 14.06 lakh certificates issues

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Finland for cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources

  • The MoU facilitates cooperation in the field of geology, training, mineral prognostication and suitability analysis, 3/4D modeling, Seismic and other Geophysical surveys finalised with the intent of reinforcing and strengthening scientific links between the two Organisations.
  • This MoU aims to provide with a framework and a platform to promote and foster cooperation in the fields of geology, and mineral resources between the Participants for mutual economic, social and environmental benefit; and share experiences on geological data management and information dissemination to promote exploration and mining, in the areas of geology and mineral resources.

Geological Survey of India (GSI) is a premier geo-scientific organisation of the Government of India of international repute for creation and updation of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment. These objectives are achieved through, ground surveys, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismotectonic study, and carrying out fundamental research.

Geological Survey of Finland has expertise in multi-thematic data integration and analysis using spatial platform with special emphasis on 3/4D modeling for mineral prognostication, hazard management, environmental impact assessment, and other areas of socio-economic significance and developing Decision Support System which can be used by users with minimal knowledge of GIS based modelling.


G20 Virtual Education Ministers’ Meeting

(Topic: Global platforms)

Education Ministers of G 20 nations have resolved to work together and share best practices in the area of education so that member countries can ensure  inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, even in times of crises.

Discussion Points: Education Continuity in Times of Crises, Early Childhood Education and Internationalization in Education

India: Government of India has been pursuing. India’s commitment for these themes is reflected in the new National Education Policy 2020 that seeks to bring in transformational changes in the education landscape of the country. India will continue the efforts it has taken  to reform and transform its education system and mitigate the challenge posed by the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Education Ministers adopted a communique 

  • Regarding ensuring education continuity in times of crises, the communiques recognizes the value of distance and blended teaching and learning and underscore the importance of enhancing access to high-quality education, professional development for educators, digital infrastructure and content, cybersecurity awareness, appropriate teaching methodologies and active learning, while recognizing that these approaches complement face-to-face learning. The  importance of research and data to assess the learning outcomes and quality of distance learning has also been stressed.
  • On the importance of Early Childhood Education (ECE) the communique emphasizes the importance of improving the accessibility and affordability of quality ECE for all children, especially those in vulnerable groups. It also stresses on the need to raise family and community awareness of the vital role of quality ECE that is delivered in accordance with children’s developmental needs at each stage.
  • The communique expresses the resolve to encourage internationalization in education by sharing of best practices in education and the adaptation of such practices at the local, national, and international levels, as appropriate. It also supports advancing the discussion on internationalization at the K-12 level. The communique emphasizes the impact of internationalization practices in a country in broadening students’ intercultural and global competencies and in providing equal learning opportunities and experiences for all.

Note:

Hosting G-20 Leaders’ Summit in 2020: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The G20 members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico,  Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU).


US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)

(Topic: International organisations and forums)

Theme: US-India Navigating New Challenges

The two democracies share deep commitment with each other, at the Government, Business and people to people levels. Both countries believe in free and fair trade, and the US is India’s largest trading partner. Going beyond the trade, in this interconnected world, the two nations can be the resilient trusted partners in global value chain.

Highlighted steps being undertaken in the country, to facilitate industry and investments:

  • GIS-enabled land bank has been launched on pilot basis, with six states on board, which will help the investors in identifying the land and location
  • The single-window system for clearances, which is being developed in cooperation with various approving authorities and agencies at the Central, State and Municipal levels

On the issue of trade agreement between the US and India, India is ready to sign initial limited trade package, and it is upto the US to move ahead.

The road ahead has challenges but also a number of opportunities

  • Economic activity in the country had suffered due to pandemic but there have been indications of sharp revivals
  • The amount of freight carried by the Indian railways, is 4% more in August 2020 than the corresponding period of 2019
  • Similarly, the exports which had reached 88% in July’20 compared to July’19, the momentum has gained further speed, and the August figures, which are being finalized, seem to be looking even better. 
  • If the data from the Oil and Gems/Jewelry sectors is excluded from the total exports, the upsurge will be even more.

Australia-India-Japan Economic Ministers’ Joint Statement on Supply Chains Resilience

(Topic: International organisations and forums)

  • The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to take a lead in delivering a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment and in keeping their markets open.
  • In light of the COVID-19 crisis and the recent global-scale changes in the economic and technological landscape, the Ministers underscored the necessity and potential to enhance the resiliency of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Recognizing the pressing need for regional cooperation on supply chain resilience in the Indo- Pacific, the Ministers shared their intention to work toward the launch of a new initiative to achieve the objective through cooperation. They instructed their officials to promptly work out the details of the new initiative for its launch later this year. The Ministers noted the important role of business and academia in realizing the objective.
  • The Ministers called for other countries in the region, which share the afore-mentioned views, to participate in the initiative

India: India wholeheartedly endorses the broad concept of working towards ensuring a trustworthy, dependable and reliable supply chain in the Indo-Pacific region. The diversification of supply chain is critical for managing the risks associated with supply of inputs including disciplining price volatility. India can provide the core pathway for linking value chains in the region by creating a network of reliable long term supplies and appropriate capacities.

On improving the competitiveness of sectors: Need to identify the manufacturing and services sectors which contribute most to the domestic value addition in the region. The digitization of trade procedures is a very important step for facilitating trade and thereby maintaining resilience in supply chains. 

Participation by interested countries: It is important that we look at countries with similar line of thinking in terms of being reliable and dependable suppliers for ensuring resiliency in the supply chains of the region. Some of the other key parameters that could be looked at are the market oriented policies, demography, growth potential, fiscal state of play including existing debt burdens and geo-political strategy.

On the need to expand trade between these countries: With Japan, it is seen that in many specific products, despite our global exports and Japanese global imports being high with zero preferential tariffs, the procurement from India was limited. This cuts across many sectors such as steel, marine products, processed agriculture, agro-chemicals, plastics, carpets, clothing, footwear etc. The proposed initiative must clearly try to bridge this and work towards enhancing mutual trade.

India’s economic expansion being now premised on the policy of being Atmanirbhar or self- reliant: The policy seeks to make India economically stronger with enhanced capacities ensuring resiliency of supply chains. India, in its tradition of treating the world as a family, played a crucial role during the COVID crisis with the export measures for supply of critical medical products put in place only to ensure equitable distribution. 


GS-3

Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity

(Topic: Energy)

The introduction of GTAM platform would lessen the burden on RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO. This would promote RE merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.

  • Will lead to increase in number of participants in renewable energy sector
  • Will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement
  • Will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to pan- India market

The Government of India’s target of 175 GW RE Capacity by 2022 is driving accelerated renewable penetration pan-India. Green Term Ahead Market contracts will allow additional avenues to the RE generators for sale of renewable energy; enable Obligated entities to procure renewable power at competitive prices to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO); and provide a platform to environmentally conscious open access consumers and utilities to buy green power.

Key features of GTAM:

  • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers, there will not be any difficulty in accounting for RPO.
  • GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO as RPO targets are also segregated.
  • Further, within the two segments GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts
  • Green Intraday Contract & Day Ahead Contingency Contract – Bidding will take place on a 15-minute time-block wise MW basis.
  • Daily & Weekly Contracts – Bidding will take place on MWh basis. Both buyers and sellers can submit the bid, however the seller will provide profile in terms of 15-minute time block wise quantity (MW) along with the price (Rs/MWh). After the contract gets executed scheduling will take place as per the profile. In case of multiple buyers, the profile will get allocated on a pro-rata basis.
  • Price discovery will take place on a continuous basis i.e. price time priority basis. Subsequently, looking at the market conditions open auction can be introduced for daily & weekly contracts.
  • Energy scheduled through GTAM contract shall be considered as deemed RPO compliance of the buyer.

Indian Astronomers discover one of the farthest Star galaxies in the universe

(Topic: Space)

India’s first Multi-Wavelength Space Observatory “AstroSat” has detected extreme-UV light from a galaxy located 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth. 

  • The galaxy called AUDFs01 was discovered by a team of Astronomers from the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics(IUCAA) Pune.
  • India’s AstroSat/UVIT was able to achieve this unique feat because the background noise in the UVIT detector is much less than one on the Hubble Space Telescope of US based NASA.
  • This discovery is a very important clue to how the dark ages of the Universe ended and there was light in the Universe.

India’s first Space Observatory AstroSat, which has made this discovery, was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on September 28, 2015

India’s capability in Space technology has risen to a distinguished level from where our scientists are now offering cues and giving leads to the Space scientists in other parts of the world.


Low ozone over Brahmaputra River Valley brings good news for health of people

(Topic: Technology)

Researchers have found that the concentration of near surface ozone in this region in the North-East corner of India is low compared to the other urban locations in India.

  • Tropospheric, or ground-level ozone, is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). It usually increases when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight, impacting human health.
  • The examination of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone concentrations in this study suggested that this site is well influenced by local sources such as adjacent major national highway. During the daylight hours, the site is in or nearly in a photo-stationary state, indicating a low impact of organic species on the ozone concentrations.

Newly discovered interaction between light and molecules can power optical devices

(Topic: Technology)

Low reflection lenses, high reflection mirrors in devices such as better binoculars and telescopes, colour changing paints, and inks may now be powered by a newly discovered property of the interaction between light and molecules. 

Scientists have found that UV and blue light combination reversibly switches the system between 3D and 1D photonic structure — a novel interaction that can help make tunable and effective optical devices. High levels of light in the blue wavelengths or actinic light lead to switching between two photo isomers — Chiral Nematic (Ch) and Twist Grain Boundary Smectic C* (TGBC*) which are liquid crystal phases possessing photonic structures in one and three dimensions, respectively.

Prelims-oriented Notes:

Global Innovation Index: India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48th

  • By the World Intellectual Property Organization 
  • India was at the 52nd position in 2019 and was ranked 81st in the year 2015.
  • The India Innovation Index, which was released last year by the NITI Aayog, has been widely accepted as the major step in the direction of decentralization of innovation across all the states of India. A constant thrust in monitoring and evaluating India’s position in global rankings has be provided by the NITI Aayog, including the global innovation index.

Ranking of states based on implementation of Business Reform Action Plan for the year 2019:

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. Telangana
  4. Madhya Pradesh
  5. Jharkhand
  6. Chhattisgarh
  7. Himachal Pradesh
  8. Rajasthan
  9. West Bengal
  10. Gujarat

One Nation One Ration Card: Ladakh and Lakshadweep integrated in existing national portability cluster of One Nation One Ration Card

  • The ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ plan is an ambitious endeavour of the Government 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 foodgrains 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.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Japan for cooperation in the field of good quality textiles: for improving quality and testing of Indian textiles and Clothing for the Japanese market. The MoU would enable M/s Nissenken Quality Evaluation Centre, Japan in assigning Textile Committee as their cooperative Testing and Inspection service providers in the Republic of India for Textiles & Apparel products including Technical Textiles and any other products mutually agreed upon at a later date for both domestic and overseas clients/buyers.

Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP)

Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) is implemented by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana –National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development, as a sub-scheme since 2016. 

  • With an objective to support the rural poor come out of poverty, supporting them setup enterprises and provide support till the enterprises stabilize, SVEP focusses on providing self-employment opportunities with financial assistance and training in business management and soft skills while creating local community cadres for promotion of enterprises.
  • SVEP addresses three major pillars of rural start-ups namely – finances, incubation and skill ecosystems. 
  • Activities under SVEP are strategically designed to promote rural enterprises, one of the key areas is to develop pool of community resource persons – enterprise promotion (CRP-EP) who are local and support entrepreneurs setting-up rural enterprises. 
  • Another key area is to promote the block resource center (BRC) in SVEP blocks, to monitor and manage the community resource persons, appraise SVEP loan application and acts as the repository of enterprise related information in the concern block. BRCs play the role to support sustainable revenue model to operate effectively and independently.

Making India Aatmanirbhar in Agarbatti Production: Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission

  • Aims at creating employment for unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the country while increasing domestic Agarbatti production substantially
  • The scheme designed by KVIC on PPP mode is unique in the sense that in a very less investment, it will create sustainable employment and help private Agarbatti manufacturers to scale up Agarbatti production without any capital investment by them. 
  • Under the scheme, KVIC will provide Automatic Agarbatti making machines and powder mixing machines to the artisans through the successful private Agarbatti manufacturers who will sign the agreement as business partners. 
  • KVIC has decided to procure only locally made machines by Indian manufacturers which also aims at encouraging local production.
  • The current job work rate for Agarbatti making is Rs 15 per kg. At this rate, 4 artisans working on one Automatic Agarbatti machine will earn minimum Rs 1200 per day by making 80 kg of Agarbatti. Hence every artisan will earn at least Rs 300 per day. Similarly, on powder mixing machine, each artisan will get a fixed amount of Rs 250 per day.
  • As per the scheme, the wages to the artisans will be provided by the business partners on weekly basis directly in their accounts through DBT only. Supply of raw material to the artisans, logistics, quality control and marketing of the final product will be the sole responsibility of the business partner.
  • Pillars of the programme – 
    • Continuously supporting the artisans through training, raw material, marketing and financial support;
    • Working on all aspects of this product, like innovation in the fragrance & packaging, use of new / alternate raw materials like re-usable flowers, coir pith etc., supply of bamboo sticks by closely working with Ministry of Agriculture etc. A ‘Center of Excellence’ for this purpose is being set up in FFDC (Flavour and Fragrance Development Center) Kannauj;
    • Setting up 10 clusters with proper marketing linkages under SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) scheme of the Ministry of MSME at a total cost of about Rs. 50 Crs, to benefit about 5000 artisans for their sustainable employment and enhanced earnings;
    • Strengthen the machine manufacturing capability to achieve self-sufficiency in the country and develop various other products by setting up ‘Centers of Excellence’ with IITs/NITs etc. at a cost of Rs. 2.20 crore.

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