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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 20th December to 26th December – 2020

  • IASbaba
  • December 30, 2020
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 20th to 26th December, 2020

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GS-2

Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020

(Topic: Government policies)

  • These Rules emanate from the conviction that the power systems exist to serve the consumers and the consumers have rights to get the reliable services and quality electricity.
  • As the Distribution Companies across the country are monopolies – whether government or private – and the consumer has no alternative – therefore it was necessary that the consumers’ rights be laid down in Rules and a system for enforcement of these rights be put in place.
  • These rules are also an important step towards furthering the ease of doing business across the country. Implementation of these Rules shall ensure that new electricity connections, refunds and other services are given in a time bound manner.  Wilful disregard to consumer rights will result in levying penalties on service providers.

Key areas are covered in the Electricity (Rights of consumers) Rules:

  • Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees
  • Release of new connection and modification in existing connection
  • Metering arrangement
  • Billing and Payment
  • Disconnection and Reconnection
  • Reliability of supply
  • Consumer as Prosumer
  • Standards of Performance of licensee
  • Compensation Mechanism
  • Call Centre for Consumer Services
  • Grievance redressal mechanism

India-Vietnam Leaders’ Virtual Summit

(Topic: International Relations)

Indian Prime Minister held a Virtual Summit with H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam.

Key takeaways 

  • A ‘Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People’ document was adopted during the Summit, to guide the future development of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Both leaders also welcomed the signing of a Plan of Action for period 2021-2023 for further implementation of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to implement the Joint Vision.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd December 2020

Announcements made:

  • Implementation of the High Speed Guard Boat (HSGB) Manufacturing Project for Vietnam Border Guard Command under the US$ 100 million Defence Line of Credit extended by Government of India to Vietnam;
  • Completion and handing over of seven Development Projects with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US$ 1.5 million for the benefit of local community in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.
  • Enhancing the number of annual Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) from currently five to ten commencing FY 2021-2022.
  • Three new Development Partnership projects in heritage conservation in Vietnam (F-block of Temple at My Son; Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam province; and Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen province).
  • Launch of bilateral project for preparing an Encyclopedia on India – Vietnam Civilizational and Cultural Relations.

World Bank Signs $500 Million Project to Develop Green, Resilient and Safe Highways in India

(Topic: India and international organisations)

The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $500 million project to build safe and green national highway corridors in the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The project will also enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.

The Green National Highways Corridors Project will support MoRTH construct 783 km of highways in various geographies by integrating safe and green technology designs such as local and marginal materials, industrial byproducts, and other bioengineering solutions. 

The project will 

  • Help reduce GHG emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways.
  • Set new standards in the construction of safe motorable roads. 
  • The selected stretches in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh will also help improve connectivity and promote economic development.
  • Will provide seamless connectivity and reduce logistics costs
  • Support analytics to map the freight volume and movement pattern on the National Highway network, identify constraints, and provide innovative logistics solutions.

Historically, the transport sector in India has offered limited employment opportunities for women. The project will support the ministry with an in-depth analysis of gender-related issues in the transport sector along with help in creating jobs for women by training women-led micro enterprises and women collectives to implement green technologies in the highway corridors.


GS-3

Year End Review: Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying

  1. Rs. 15000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund set up under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan for incentivizing investments by individual entrepreneurs, private companies, MSME, Farmers Producers Organization (FPOs) and Section 8 companies to establish (i) the dairy processing and value addition infrastructure, (ii) meat processing and value addition infrastructure and (iii) Animal Feed Plant
  2. Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme for 20,000 bovines per district for 600 districts in the country was recently launched. So far, under NAIP Phase-II, 2.64 lakh AIs performed and 1.73 lakh farmers have been benefited.
  3. Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has introduced a new component “interest subvention on Working capital loans for Dairy sector” as one of the component under its scheme “Supporting Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer organizations engaged in dairy activities” (SDC&FPO). 
  4. A Special drive has been undertaken to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. Animal Husbandry & Dairying farmers have been included in this drive. This will enable such farmers to gain access to institutional credit at concessional interest rate. 2.5 crore farmers will be covered and will benefit from credit flow of about Rs 2 lakh crores. 

Year End Review 2020: Department of Fisheries

The fisheries sector has been recognized as a powerful income and employment generator as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries and is a source of cheap and nutritious food, at the same time it is an instrument of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population of the country. Fishery sector occupies an important place in the socio-economic development of the country. Fisheries and aquaculture continue to be an important source of food, nutrition, income and livelihood to millions of people.

  • Fisheries is a fast-growing sector in India, which provides nutrition and food security to a large population of the country besides providing income and employment to more than 28 million people.
  • India is the second largest fish producing country in the world accounting for 7.56% of global production and contributing about 1.24% to the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA) and over 7.28% to the agricultural GVA.
  • Export earnings from the Fisheries sector has been Rs.46,662.85 crores during 2019-20. 
  • The sector provides livelihood support to about 280 lakh people at the primary level and almost twice the number along the value chain and the annual average growth rate in the Fisheries sector has been 7% over the last few years. 
  • Fish being an affordable and rich source of animal protein, is one of the healthiest options to mitigate hunger and nutrient deficiency. 

The sector has immense potential to double the fish farmers’ income by 2022, as envisioned by the Government of India. Hence it is essential that sustained and focused attention is given to the fisheries sector through policy and financial support to accelerate its development in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund

The Union Government in its Budget 2018 has set aside Rs. 7,550crore for setting up of a dedicated Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF). The fund has the potential to benefit over 4 million marine and inland fishers especially women, SHGs, weaker sections, due to availability of modern infrastructure and added value of produce. FIDF will provide concessional finance to the State Governments/Union Territories, State entities, cooperatives, individual entrepreneurs, etc. for development of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and inland fisheries sector.

  • Fill the large infrastructure gaps in fisheries sector
  • Create employment opportunity to the rural population in fishing and allied activities
  • Contributes towards enhancement of fish production and productivity
  • Offers manifold benefits
  • Fulfill the requirements of tapping the full fisheries potential and achieving the vision given by the Hon’ble Prime Minister for doubling farmers’ income.

KCC to Animal Husbandry farmers and Fisheries: As on date, a total of 44,935 KCCs have been issued to fishers and fish farmers. In addition, about 3.80 lakh applications from fishers and fish farmers are with the Banks at various stages for issuance of KCCs

Brood banks (including seaweed banks) : 6 Nos approved

SagarMitras : 1997 Nos approved.

Integrated Development of Reservoirs: 12 Reservoirs approved.

Fish Farmers Producers Organizations(FFPOs): State/UT-wise targets for 720 FFPOs has been issued advising the States/UTs to submit the proposals.

MatsyaSevaKendra: 20 units approvedState/UT-wise targets prepared. Concept on establishment and operation of the MSK is being finalized.

Integrated Coastal Villages: Action Plan prepared and is being finalized.

Integrated Aqua Parks: Action plan prepared. Salient feature of the action plan is being forwarded to the States/UTs requesting them to submit the proposals accordingly.


Air Quality Commission directs strict enforcement of dust control measures to curb Air Pollution

(Topic: Pollution)

The Commission of Air Quality Management in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas reviewed the deteriorating air quality situation and has directed strict enforcement of dust control measures to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Strict action must be taken against violators of construction demolition waste rules and the guidelines. 

  • The body also issued statutory directions to Central Pollution Control Board and Pollution Control Boards and Delhi Pollution Control Committee to constitute teams for inspection and strict enforcement of dust control measures. 
  • It also issued directions to levy environment compensation charge from violators and stoppage / prohibition of construction / demolition activities based on extent of violations. 

Dust emanating from the construction and demolition activities continues to be a major source of air pollution throughout the year.  Such activities generate significant amount of dust, adversely impacting the Air quality by raising PM2.5 and PM10 levels. 

In order to ensure strict compliance of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and guidelines on dust mitigation measures for handling Construction and Demolition Wastes, the Commission has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB),  State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) of Haryana, Rajasthan, UP and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) will constitute surprise  inspection teams and to furnish fortnightly inspection reports to the Commission regarding compliance of rules with  respect to construction and demolition activities in the National Capital Region.  


Successful Maiden Launch of MRSAM

(Topic: Defence)

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) achieved a major milestone with the maiden launch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). The missile completely destroyed a high speed unmanned aerial target which was mimicking an aircraft with a direct hit.

  • Army version of MRSAM is a surface to Air Missile developed jointly by DRDO, India and IAI, Israel for use of the Indian Army. 
  • MRSAM Army weapon system comprises of Command post, Multi-Function Radar and Mobile Launcher system. 
  • The complete Fire Unit has been used during the launch in the deliverable configuration. 
  • The team from the users i.e. Indian Army also witnessed the launch. Number of range instruments such as Radar, Telemetry and Electro-Optical Tracking System were deployed and captured the complete mission data, validating the weapon system performance including the destruction of the target.

Prelims oriented News

Kisan Diwas: 23rd December

Good Governance Day: 25th December, 2020

Leopards in India: India now has 12,852 leopards. More than 60% increase in population has been recorded over the previous estimate which was conducted in 2014.

India’s first-ever driverless train operations: On Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line

  • The driverless trains will be fully automated, which will eliminate the possibility of human error. After the start of driverless services on the Magenta Line, the Pink Line of Delhi Metro is expected to have driverless operations by the mid of 2021.

Air Quality Commission directs for 100 percent switching over of industries in Delhi to PNG.

  • Delhi Pollution Control Committee directed to identify the industries using unapproved fuels and take stringent penal action in case of non-compliance.
  • Though sizeable number of Industries are using PNG, the Commission stressed the need to switch over to PNG by all identified Industries in Delhi considering the fact that industrial sector is one of the major contributors to air pollution in Delhi and National Capital Region.  
  • Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) were impressed upon to complete the pipeline network, metering and associated infrastructure.

Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex: India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex (hypersaline) in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site, which is a second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

  • A high-altitude wetland complex, consisting of two principal waterbodies
  • Situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India. It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.
  • The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway. The site is also one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India. This IBA is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.

1st in Ladakh: The freshwater Startsapuk Tso India now has forty-two Ramsar sites.

Ramsar List

The aim of the Ramsar list is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits”.

Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. They are, in fact a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change would be working closely with the UT Wetland Authority to ensure wise use of this site.

  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.
  • Those wetlands which are of international importance are declared as Ramsar sites.
  • Mission: Conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.
  • The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

Other recently added Ramsar sites: Click here

Launch of Mobile Application “Swachhata Abhiyan”: To Identify and Geotag the data of Insanitary Latrines and Manual Scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them.

KVIC Brings Alive 1000-yrs Old Monpa Handmade Paper Industry in Tawang to Revive the Heritage Art; a Historic Feat for North East

The 1000-year old heritage art – the Monpa Handmade Paper of Arunachal Pradesh – which was driven to the extinction, has come to life once again, with the  committed efforts of  Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

The art of making Monpa handmade paper originated over 1000 years ago. Gradually the art became an integral part of local custom and culture in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Once produced in every household in Tawang, this handmade paper was a major source of livelihood for the locals. However, the handmade paper industry almost disappeared in the last 100 years; prompting KVIC to plan revival of this ancient art.

The fine-textured handmade paper, which is called Mon Shugu in the local dialect, is integral to the vibrant culture of the local tribes in Tawang. The paper has great historic and religious significance as it is the paper used for writing Buddhist scriptures and hymns in monasteries. The Monpa handmade paper, will be made from the bark of a local tree called Shugu Sheng, which has medicinal values too. Hence availability of raw material will not be a problem.

Back then, such was the scale of production that Monpas used to sell these papers to  countries like Tibet, Bhutan ,Thailanand and Japan as no paper making industry existed in these countries at that time. However, the local industry gradually began declining and the indigenous handmade paper was taken over by inferior Chinese paper. An attempt for the revival of the this  handmade paper industry was made in 1994 but failed as it was a mountainous task owing to various geographical challenges in Tawang.

TRIFED Signs MoU with MOFPI for Upliftment of Tribal Lives through the Implementation of the PM- FME Scheme

MoFPI is implementing the Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme, which is a landmark initiative under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to support micro-level food entreprenuers, FPOs, SHGs and co-operatives. An important component of this scheme is the tribal sub-plan.

  • With the necessary funding under the PM-FME Scheme of MoFPI, the TriFood range of tribal food products would be developed, branded, and packaged by TRIFED. It has also been agreed that the SHGs working under the Van DhanYojana would be provided support under the PM-FME Scheme including for handholding, training, capital investment, and working capital.
  • TRIFED will identify the eligible SHGs and their members and “Van DhanYojana” groups and their members engaged in food products and create a list with necessary details on their level of operations, type of product, marketing channels, means of production, production facilities, training, etc. and share them with State Government and MoFPI.
  • As a part of capacity building,it has been decided that MoFPI under PMFME scheme would also provide necessary funds to TRIFED to undertake training, capacity building of tribals engaged in food processing.
  • TRIFED will also provide handholding support to Tribal SHGs and Van Dhan SHG groups and their members in preparation of DPRs, application process, getting necessary technical training, etc. so as to enable them to benefit from various provisions under PMFME scheme including for capital investment.

Cabinet approves 

Signing of revised air services agreement between India and Philippines: The revised Air Services Agreement signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between the two countries.  It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both sides ensuring greater safety and security.  It has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Signing of revised air services agreement between India and Afghanistan: The revised Air Services Agreement signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between the two countries and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries bringing it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector.  It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both sides ensuring greater safety and security.

Government launches COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) grand challenge

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) along with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced the launching of “CoWIN”, a grand challenge for strengthening the Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system.
  • This will be a digitalised platform to be used to effectively roll out and scale up the mechanism for Covid Vaccine Distribution System, nationally.
  • The solutions once integrated with the platform through open APIs will be assessed for robustness and scalability
  • Top two contestants from the challenge will be rewarded with ₹40 lakh and ₹20 lakh respectively post successful migrations of the developed solutions on the cloud on which the CoWIN is hosted, apart from their integration with CoWIN.
  • MoHFW has identified seven focus areas of technology development to holistically address the likely limitations associated with complete and effective vaccine distribution system and its seamless administration across India.

Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT: Will extend coverage to all the residents of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir; The scheme will ensure Universal Health Coverage and focus on providing financial risk protection and ensuring quality and affordable essential health services to all individuals and communities.

Achieving Universal Health Coverage: Universal Health Coverage (UHC) includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care and enables everyone to access the services, protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets and reducing the risk that people will be pushed to poverty. The Ayushman Bharat program, with its two pillars – Health and Wellness Centres and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna – is envisaged to achieve UHC.

Year-end Review – Ministry of AYUSH

New Legislations enacted- National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCIM) Act, 2020 and National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) Act, 2020: The NCIM Act, 2020 and NCH Act 2020 were enacted on 21stSeptember, 2020, to replace the existing Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and the Central Council of Indian Medicine established there under and Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and the Central Council of Homoeopathy established there under, respectively. The main objective of the said Acts inter-alia is to bring in reforms in the AYUSH education sector.

Establishment of Institute of National Importance (INI): The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Act, 2020 enacted on 22nd September, 2020 confers the status of INI to the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) at Jamnagar by conglomerating four institutes at Gujarat Ayurved University, campus Jamnagar.

Status of Deemed to be University on NIA Jaipur: National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur, Ministry of AYUSH has been declared as an Institution Deemed to be University under De-novo Category. 

Setting up of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India: Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the setting up of the Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in India. 

Inclusion of AYUSH practitioners in WHO Doctors population ratio: AYUSH registered medical practitioners have been included in registered medical practitioners data thus improving WHO Doctors Population Ratio.  

ICD (International Classification of Diseases) 11: The Ministry of AYUSH is actively engaging with WHO for development of Standardized Terminologies of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of Medicine and also the National AYUSH Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic (NAMASTE) Portal is being maintained successfully and the collection of Morbidity statistics through National Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Morbidity codes are being successfully undertaken through the portal. 

AYUSH Health &Wellness centres (AHWCs): Since April this year, under Ayushman Bharat scheme, AHWCs are being established with the help of States/UTs Governments 12500 AHWCs are to be operationalized by 2024. This year 4400 AHWCs shall be made functional.

Champion Service Sector Scheme: Ministry of AYUSH has taken initiatives for establishment of AYUSH Health Care Super Specialty Day Care / Hospital, Skill Development in AYUSH Sector and Establishment of AYUSH GRID under Champion Service Sector Scheme with the provision of Rs. 769 Cr. for three years in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoUwas signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Women and Child Development on 20th September, 2020 in New Delhi for controlling Malnutrition as a part of POSHAN Abhiyaan. The MoU will see some time-tested and scientifically proven Ayush-based solutions being adopted for controlling malnutrition in the country.

Establishment of Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) as a Subordinate Office  for enhancing the standardization outcomes of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control.

Inclusion of Sowa-Rigpa into AYUSH systems: The Government has suitably amended the Allocation of Business Rules and inter-alia included the business of formulation of policy for development and propagation of Sowa-Rigpa under the ambit of Ministry of AYUSH.

Setting up of National Research Institute of Sowa-Rigpa: The National Research Institute of Sowa-Rigpa was upgraded to “National Institute of Sowa Rigpa” in Leh, UT of Ladakh.

Setting up of Central AYUSH Drugs Control Framework: In order to control quality of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani& Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Drugs, a new initiative has been taken by forming an independent vertical structure in Central Drugs Standard Control Organization with creation of 9 regulatory posts. It will enhance the enforcement mechanism of the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules made there under thus assuring availability of quality drugs to public.

Yogasana as a competitive Sport– Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, has recognised NYSF as a Federation for Yogasana as a Competitive Sport. 

Setting up of four Satellite Centres of National Institutes of AYUSH: In view of 2017 National Health Policy, Ministry of AYUSH initiated the process to augment AYUSH educational facilities in India. The process to establish the Satellite Centres of existing National Institutes in the field of Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani was initiated in 2017. 

Pradhan Mantri VRIKSHAYUSH YOJANA: For the cultivation and post-harvest management of medicinal plants with the budget of Rs.4000 crore covering 10 lac hectares. This will also cover cultivation of medicinal plants in an area of 800 acres along the banks of river Ganga. 

AYUSH Grid: In pursuance to the National Health Policy 2017 and e-governance initiative of Government of India, Ministry of AYUSH is in process of creating an IT backbone in the form of AYUSH GRID for the entire AYUSH Sector. Digitization of entire AYUSH Sector will lead to transformation of AYUSH Sector in fields of health care delivery at all levels, research, education, various health programmes, drug regulations, etc. Currently, Ministry has developed around 15 pilot IT initiatives and in process of drafting DPR of the AYUSH GRID project. It is envisaged that within 2 years entire AYUSH sector will go digital.

AYUSH- Health Management Information System (A-HMIS): It was launched on 5th Nov 2018 and currently around 90 health facilities of the Autonomous bodies under the Ministry are using A- HMIS for day to day OPD functioning.

Ministry of AYUSH is developing Indian Standards as well as International (ISO) Standards in collaboration with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS): For Ayurveda, four Indian standards (IS) have been developed and two standards are accepted in program of work (PoW) of ISO. Work on nearly 25 standards including Yoga accessories and Panchakarma equipment are in pipeline. These standards incorporate all essential tenets of existing standards with inclusion of certain features for international compliance and their global acceptance. Development of such IS/ISO standards is poised to augment the domestic as well as cross-border trade of AYUSH products and services

Insurance coverage: AYUSH treatment has been covered under medical insurance with the efforts of Ministry of AYUSH. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has issued necessary notification in this regard.

NABH Accreditation: Ministry has initiated steps to get all its hospitals accredited as per National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH). So far All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi; National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur and ITRA, Jamnagar have been accredited.

ĀYURVEDAGRANTHASAMUCCAYAḤ a web portal for bringing all major classical compendia of Ayurveda on a single software platform has been developed.

Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib

  • Indian Prime Minister visited historic Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in New Delhi where the pious Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji’s mortal remains were cremated.
  • It is a historic gurudwara near Parliament House, New Delhi.
  • It was built in 1783, after Sikh military leader Baghel Singh Dhaliwal (1730–1802) captured Delhi, on 11 March 1783.
  • This one marks the site of cremation of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. 
  • The ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur dedicated his life to the betterment of humankind and to promote a sense of unity, service and fraternity in the society. He worked to alleviate the sufferings of the people and fought against oppression. For this reason, Guru Teg Bahadur is aptly called ‘Hind Di Chadar’.

PM Modi’s message at India-Japan SAMVAD Conference

  • The governments must keep “humanism” at the core of its policies. We had dialogues in past but they were aimed at pulling others down, now let us rise together.
  • Our actions today will shape the discourse in the coming times. This decade will belong to those societies that place a premium on learning and innovating together. It will be about nurturing bright young minds who will add value to humanity in the times to come
  • Proposed to create a library of traditional Buddhist literature and scriptures, adding that India would be happy to host the facility and provide appropriate resources for it.
    • Its (the library’s) research mandate will also include examining how Buddha’s message can guide our modern world against contemporary challenges
    • The library will collect digital copies of all such Buddhist literature from different countries. It will aim to translate them, and make them freely available for all monks and scholars of Buddhism
  • On SAMVAD Conference: Historically, lights of Buddha’s message spread out from India to many parts of the world. In this journey, Samwad has remained true to its fundamental objectives which include: to encourage dialogue and debate; to highlight our shared values; to carry forward our ancient tradition of spiritual and scholarly exchanges
    • Samvad Conference revolves around the need to build the future of Asia on the positive influence of traditions of non-violence and democracy in Asia.
    • The first conference, Samvad-I, was held in New Delhi in 2015, at Bodh Gaya.

Visva Bharati’s 100 years

  • Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati and Shantiniketan have always been centers of attraction in India and abroad
  • Be it the new ideas in the country’s cultural heritage, art and tradition, or the freedom struggle, Bengal has been 50 years ahead of the times than other parts of the country in every aspect
  • Shantiniketan and Visva Bharati have contributed to the framework of the education system in the country. 
  • Visva Bharati has always strived to rise above caste, religion and class to deliver the message of humanity. In Indian religion, there has been a system of preservation and promotion of philosophy, literature, music and art and VisvaBharati has amalgamated the literature and philosophy of European and other countries keeping in mind the basic mantra of world brotherhood of our Vedas to realise the mantra of “सर्वेभवंतुसुखिनः, सर्वेसंतुनिरामया”(may all become happy, may none fall ill). Unless we refresh the vision of rural development, we will not advance in the modern way, there cannot be all-round development of the country, which the Gurudev had started through VisvaBharati. From here, all such ideas as health, cleanliness, handicrafts andtechnology were taken forward.
  • After 50 years when we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Visva Bharati, we should aim to nurture at least ten people who excel in various fields and instil Gurudev Tagore’s ideas across the country and make them a part of life and society.

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

Idea of Globalism and Nationalism

  • Tagore denounced “nationalism” as a narrow concept that breeds xenophobia, hatred, and war-mongering. Any action can be legitimized in the garb of nationalism no matter how remote it maybe from truth and justice.
  • According to Tagore, the fetish for nationalism is what creates a “brotherhood of hooliganism” – cultivates absolutism, fanaticism, provincialism, greed, selfishness. He viewed British imperialism as a product of British nationalism.
  • He wanted equal treatment of all human beings, irrespective of nationality, race, religion, caste, sex etc. He advocated for a “rainbow world”, in which all races live together in amity, keeping their distinct characteristics intact, yet united by their bond of humanity and love.

On Cosmopolitanism:

The philosophical cosmopolitans are moral Universalists. Boundaries between nations, states, culture and societies are indeed irrelevant in terms of morally accepted notion of cosmopolitanism.

Cosmopolitanism shares some aspects of universalism, namely the globally accepted notion of human dignity that must be protected and enshrined with the internationalism instead of nationalism.

Rabindranath Tagore’s understanding is that, though colonialism steers to nationalism, it has its own boundaries, which must be overcome to acquire a larger citizenship of the world. He persists beyond nationalism and his closeness towards internationalism predominantly has its ethics and acceptability when the individual is located in the universal domain. Tagore’s literary works also reflect his philosophy of universal humanism. It is Tagore’s wide travels in almost all parts of the world that led him to think beyond the mere national for a global cooperation of all the nations.

Through his establishment of Visva-Bharati at Santiniketan, he tried to strengthen this notion of ‘Universalism’: Yatra visva bhabatyek nidam, that is, ‘where the whole world would find a shelter’. He wandered to different countries in the west and had rightly understood that coexistence of scientific advancement in the West and traditional culture of the East might have a positive effect in the resurgence of true humanity. Though he was a patriot, he believed and felt that co-existence of cultural and spiritual enlightenment along with the scientific ecstasy of the West could bring about an all-round progress and universal brotherhood. He was really in quest of union of all cultures in one place to signify the meaning of universalism.

His understanding of nationalism was influenced by the ruthless British colonial rule in India and the latter’s anti-colonial struggle for independence. His extensive tours in different countries and British rule in India gave him tremendous insight into the socio-political patterns and narrow interest of power within which western nations were restricted. The imperialistic thoughts embedded in the western nationalism were devoid of spiritual ecstasy. He strongly felt that nationalism finds its true meaning when self is not in subordination.

He wrote at a time when a wind of strong anti-colonial sentiments and extreme nationalistic fervour was blowing all over his country He was optimistic about India’s freedom and also felt the need of independence. But he believed that, a nation, which cultivates this moral blindness as a cult of patriotism will definitely meet with sudden and violent demise.

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.

Love is a selfless act of unconditional care and affection directed towards a person, object or even something abstract. It has little to do with what you are expecting to get and more with what you are expecting to give – which is everything. Rabindranath Tagore here talks about two intertwined important necessities of life- love and freedom.

Love by nature is an unconditional act; hence ideally it should free us from the expectations inherent in an otherwise transactional human relationship existing all around us. In view of this, when a person loves truly, he/she emanates a sense of freedom, a liberated environment for the other person to grow and exist.

When love does not claim possession, it exists as a beautiful engagement of motivation, respect and admiration for the receiving person or the object. For example: Relationships between youngsters, respect for teachers and parents etc.

The privilege of freedom associated with love can be seen in different societal institutions:

A mother’s love for her children is all encompassing, with no expectations of return, helping them grow, giving them free choices, freedom to learn from actions, all of it while being a protective parent. If a mother were to think her child is her possession, there are unrealistic expectations on the child, and a rigid existence with no freedom to learn and take decisions on their own.

Relationships between a husband and wife, life partners often flourish and spread harmony and happiness when there is freedom between the two. A partner who treats the other as a possession, restricting their choices, actions, and decisions is indirectly hampering the overall betterment of the person or their relationship.

There are frequent instances where a misguided idea of love often results in a false exertion of possession and leads to extremities:

There are cases of murder, harm and crimes due to love gone bitter or wrong, arising out of feelings of possession of the other.

Retarding the growth of an individual, development of his/her full capacity, due to narrow ideas of love and protectiveness.

Suffering inflicted due to actions of vengeance and payback by partners, parents and friends.

As Buddha famously said “When u like a flower, u just pluck it.  But when u love a flower, u water it daily..! “Love is also to give unconditionally. 

Love is truly realised when linked not to possession of the other but to submission of the self. It should enable an individual to feel content and be accepting of one another, paving way for a peaceful co-existence, rather than curbing freedom and base their actions on the lines of possessiveness and misunderstood idea of love.

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