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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 9th January to 17th January – 2021

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  • January 21, 2021
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 9th to 17th January, 2021

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GS-2

16th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas

(Topic: Indian Diaspora)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 16th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention. 

  • Addressing the event, he told Indians across the world that they are connected in minds because of ‘Maa Bharti’ and lauded the efforts of the overseas Indians in fighting the challenges last year. 
  • He assured the Indian diaspora that the country always stands with them, while mentioning that over 45 lakh people were repatriated under the Vande Bharat mission during the pandemic. 
  • The Prime Minister said the lessons learnt by India during the pandemic have become an inspiration for the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, and this movement for self-reliance is meant to help others as “Made in India” products and solutions will benefit the world. 
  • In this regard, he spoke about the two “Made in India” coronavirus vaccines. He said India will continue to play its role as the world’s pharmacy and protect humanity from Covid-19, adding that the world is not only waiting for India’s vaccine, but everyone is watching how India runs the world’s largest vaccination programme. 

Role of Indian Diaspora

There are close to 32.1 million NRIs and PIOs residing outside India. They are huge reservoirs of talent and potentiality that India needs to draw upon. The Indian diasporic community are “unnamed ambassadors” promoting and maintaining the rich Indian culture and interests on foreign lands.

Indian diaspora as a biggest strategic asset for India:

  • Global labour source: With one of the largest pools of relatively low wage semi-skilled and skilled labour, India can become a critical centre of global labour sources. The past few decades has seen an upsurge of migration from India to the Gulf and, to North America. Given these emerging realities, India take advantage of these future trends to not only maximise the welfare of Indians outside the country, but also those within the country Can international migration and the Diaspora be a strategic asset for the country instead of just depleting its best and brightest.
  • Influential Positions: From Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Nobel laurete scientist Har Gobind Khorana and Microsoft CEO Sathya Nadella to world’s one among the leading music conductors Zubin Mehta, the list of NRIs and their contribution to the world goes endlessly. The President of Singapore, Governor-General of New Zealand and prime ministers of Mauritius and Trinidad and Tobago were all of Indian descent.
  • As a Pressure groups: The influential Indian diaspora affects not just the popular attitude, but also government policies in countries where they live, to the benefit of India. India benefits tremendously through these people in luring large multinational companies as well as entrepreneurial ventures. Example: lobbying for the US-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement Bill in 2008
  • Agents of change: Diaspora acts as ‘agents of change’ facilitating and enhancing investment, accelerating industrial development, and boosting international trade and tourism. Another tangible long-term advantage in nurturing ties with an active Diaspora is an accelerated technological sector.
  • Soft Power:  The spread of Yoga, Ayurveda, Indian spiritualism, Bollywood, Indian cuisine across the world has made India famous. It has even led to revival of many lost relationships with many countries.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: There are many instances where diaspora has stood up for their Indian kins in times of disaster. Example: during the recent Kerala floods, immense help in the form of men, material and money from diaspora was given. Indian diaspora residing in China’s Shanghai has contributed Rs. 32.13 lakh to the Chief Minister’s distress relief fund for Kerala floods.
  • Political power: Many people of Indian origin hold top political positions in many countries, in the US itself they are now a significant part of Republicans and Democrats, as well as the government. The three ministers Rishi Sunak, Alok Sharma, and Priti Patel have held top roles in the UK government currently.

Measures taken by the Government to help the distressed diaspora during COVID-19

  • Vande Bharat Mission was the biggest evacuation exercise to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad amidst the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions. It was also considered as the largest exercise to bring back Indian citizens since the evacuation of 177,000 from the Gulf region in the early 1990s at the start of hostilities between Iraq and Kuwait during the first Gulf War.
  • The mission has given priority to Indian citizens with “compelling reasons to return” – like those whose employment have been terminated, those whose visas have expired and not expected to be renewed under the present circumstances and those who have lost family members in recent times.
  • The program named Samudra Setu by Indian navy entails to bring back around two thousand Indians in two ships during the first phase of evacuation.
  • INS Jalashwa and INS Magar are being operated as part of efforts to repatriate Indian nationals from foreign shores.

Year End Review: Department of Telecommunications

The telecom sector is the backbone for achieving various pillars of Digital India programme. The significant growth in this sector is a result of key reforms and initiatives undertaken by the Government. This has facilitated creation of infrastructure and investment in this sector leading to social and economic growth of all citizens, improved rural digital connectivity and near universal coverage of telecom services. India has the second largest number of telephone connections in the world.

  • Tele-density reaches to 86.37%
  • The number of Internet subscribers stood at 776.45 million at the end of September 2020
  • Cost of data reduces to Rs. 10.55 per GB, enabling affordable internet access for millions of citizens
  • From more than 10 major Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), the sector now has 3 major private TSPS in addition to two PSUs, BSNL and MTNL.
  • BSNL and MTNL turns EBIDTA positive in first half of FY 2020-21
  • COVID Quarantine Alert System (CQAS) developed for in-house monitoring and management of the quarantine geo-fence
  • Over 300 crore SMS alerts sent to citizens in 10 vernacular languages in 26 States/UTs for Covid-19 awareness under Covid-19 Savdhaan System
  • Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) approved by Union Cabinet to accelerate proliferation of Broadband Internet services through Public Wi-Fi network in the country
  • Revival of BSNL and MTNL: The long pending mater of revival of BSNL and MTNL was approved by the Cabinet. The comprehensive revival plan consists of several measures including reduction of staff cost through Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), allotment of spectrum for 4G services, monetization of land/building, tower and Fiber assets of BSNL/MTNL, debt restructuring through sovereign guarantee bond and in-principle approval of merger of BSNL and MTNL.
  • Service delivery in villages through BharatNet: For achieving the goal of Digital India programme, the Government is implementing the flagship BharatNet project in a phased manner to provide broadband connectivity to all the Gram Panchayats (approx. 2.5 lakh GPs) in the country.UnderBharatNet project around 1.50 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) have already been connected with high speed broadband connectivity which will help in launching various services in the rural areas. 
  • Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to Chennai established
  • Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for North Eastern Region (NER): In order to provide connectivity to uncovered areas of North Eastern Region (NER), the Department is executing a project to install of 2004 towers to cover 2128 villages and National Highways. More than 1,300 towers are now radiating.
  • Mobile connectivity to uncovered villages of and Ladakh: For providing connectivity to uncovered villages of J&K, Ladakh and other priority areas, the Government is implementing a scheme to provide mobile services on technology neutral outcome based approach in 354 villages.
  • 4G service in Aspirational Districts: A plan has been drawn up for provisioning of 4G based Mobile service in 502 uncovered villages of Aspirational Districts of four states namely, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan at an estimated cost of Rs.686.71 crore.
  • 5G Technology: The emerging 5G technology has the potential for major societal transformation in India by enabling massive expansion of digital products and services across all sectors. In order to launch 5G services in India, DOT has setup indigenous 5G testbed, a consortium project led by IIT Madras and other leading institutions. A 5G hackathon was also organized for development of India specific use cases. First 5G use case lab has been setup at Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDBRT), Hyderabad in financial sector.

Year End Review 2020: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs

As a response to COVID-19, soon after the first phase of the lockdown, a revised version of the existing Swachhata-MoHUA App was launched to enable citizens to get their COVID-related complaints redressed by their respective ULBs.

  • E-sampada- new web portal & mobile app launched on good governance day– to simplify processes & bring uniformity in systems across India &benefit in allotment for over one lakh government accommodations in 28 cities
  • E-dharti geo portal launched to ensure ease of living, bring transparency & accountability in management of more than 60,000 l&do properties
  • Master plan of Delhi 2041 -to foster a sustainable, liveable and vibrant Delhi  
  • The Smart City Mission ensured that the Smart Cities remained in the forefront in leveraging technology to manage COVID crisis. More than 50 smart cities transformed their Integrated Control & Command Centres (ICCCs) into COVID-19 war rooms to enable collaboration with various government departments dealing with COVID response.
  • AMRUT Mission helped in improving public health & hygiene during COVID induced lockdown and around 15 lakh water tap connections and more than 9 lakh sewer connections were provided since lockdown.
  • PM SVANidhi, a unique scheme for the urban street vendors was launched in June 2020for providing affordable collateral free working capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that were adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown. This scheme targets to benefit over 50 lakh street vendors and provides incentives in the form of interest subsidy @ 7% per annum on regular repayment of loan and cash-back upto Rs. 1,200 per annum on undertaking prescribed digital transactions. On timely or early repayment, the vendors are eligible for loans of up to Rs. 20,000 during the second cycle and up to Rs. 50,000 during the third cycle.  
  • An end-to-end solution through an IT platform has been developed in collaboration with Small Industries Development Bank of India. So far, more than 33.6 lakh loan applications have been received. Out of these more than 17.3 lakh loans have been sanctioned and more than 12.7 lakh loans disbursed.
  • National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) coordinated with around 50 thousand SHGs for preparing and supplying about 7 Crore Masks, over 3 lakh liters Sanitizers and 2 lakh PPE kits. The Mission also ensured free supply of 3 meals a day in Shelters for Urban Homeless to over 1 lakh homeless, including migrants.SHGs’also organized community kitchens in 14 States to provide food to about 60 thousand persons each day during lockdown.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) as a sub scheme under PMAY-U was approved to provide ease of living to urban migrants/poor in Industrial Sector as well as in non-formal urban economy to get access to dignified affordable rental housing close to their workplace.

SBM-URBAN:

SBM 2.0 is being actively considered to make Swachhtha a way of life.  The focus over the next five years will be to ensure that all cities of Urban India are certified ODF+ and rated at least 3 Star Garbage Free, and all cities with less than 1 lakh population certified as ODF++. Additionally, 50% of cities with less than 1 lakh population to be Water+ certified. With tremendous achievements during the last six years, the Mission has indeed been able to script a new chapter in the journey towards a Swachh’, Swasth’, ‘Sashakt’, ‘Samridhh’ and ‘Atmanirbhar’ Bharat.

  • Over 6.2 lakhs community/ public toilets have been constructed
  • In an effort to make public toilets more accessible to citizens, the Ministry partnered with Google to map public toilet blocks on Google Maps.
  • Solid Waste Management- Door-to-door collection and source segregation of waste, which were almost negligible before 2014, now stands at 97% (83,435 wards out of 86,284 wards) and 77% (66,400 out of 86,284 wards) respectively.  The percentage of waste processing which stood at 18% before 2014 has grown more than three times over and now stands at 68%. The Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Citieswas introduced in January 2018 – a framework to promote holistic and sustainable solid waste management and helping cities to progressively move towards higher levels of cleanliness.
  • SBM-U has launched the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge (on 19 November 2020) with the objective of preventing ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers and septic tanks and promotes their mechanized cleaning
  • Integration And Mainstreaming Of Sanitation Workers And Informal Waste Pickers- The Mission has integrated over 84,000 informal waste pickers into the mainstream while over 5.5 lakh sanitation workers have been linked to various welfare schemes under the Government.

SMART CITIES MISSION

  • Ease of Living Index and Municipal Performance Index: Outcome and performance assessment frameworks to measure quality of life and city performance rolled out in 114 Cities.  Over 31 lakh citizens engaged with as part of Citizen Perception Survey.
  • The Urban Learning and Internship Program (TULIP) aims to match opportunities in ULBs/smart cities with learning needs of fresh graduates. 284 Smart Cities/ ULBs have posted over 13,000 internships out of which 828 candidates are undergoing internships and 81 have completed their internships.
  • DataSmart Cities and Data Maturity Assessment Framework (DMAF) rolled out in 100 Smart Cities to help cities create a data ecosystem for data-driven governance. Second round of annual assessment currently underway.  Centre for Digital Governance (CDG) has been established in NIUA.
  • ClimateSmart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) rolled out in 100 Smart Cities to help cities look at urban planning and governance from the perspective of climate change.
  • India Cycles4Change Challenge, Streets for People Challenge, Nurturing Neighbourhoods challenge are being implemented by the Mission towards scaling-up transformative projects benefitting citizens and contributing to enhanced quality of life.
  • New transformative initiatives are being planned such as EatSmart Challenge in association with FSSAI. A Challenge called ‘Tech4Mobility’ is being planned to promote technology in enhancing public transportation.
  • The mission has targeted to setup ICCCs in all 100 Smart Cities by 2022.
  • DataSmart Cities Strategy will be scaled up in 500 Cities by the end of the Mission.
  • Open Data Platform / India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) shall be enabled in 500 cities under the program.

13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue

(Topic: India and Vietnam)

Both the sides 

  • Reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further elevate engagements between the Armed Forces under the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. 
  • Agreed that in the recent past our respective countries have made notable strides in Defence Industry and Technology cooperation and look forward to even greater cooperation in this field

India-Bangladesh Police Chiefs’ Dialogue

(Topic: India and Bangladesh)

While discussing ongoing bilateral cooperation, issues of mutual concern and the way forward, it was decided to further strengthen the relationship of the Police forces of the two countries.  As a step toward that, designated ‘nodal points’ would be established for timely and effective handling and response to existing as well as emerging security and counter-terrorism challenges. 

Both sides

  • Agreed to enhance their work jointly against terrorist entities including the Global Terrorist Groups, as well as other fugitives, wherever they are present and active.  
  • Reiterated the need for sharing of real time intelligence and feedback through the designated ‘nodal points’, while appreciating each other’s ongoing action against insurgent groups operating in the region.
  • Discussed the scope of enhanced coordination to combat trans-border criminal activities, including smuggling of drugs, Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), arms and ammunition and human trafficking.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and UAE for Scientific and Technical Cooperation

The MoU provides for sharing of knowledge, data and operational products for meteorological, seismological and oceanic services, such as Radar, Satellite, Tide gauges, seismic and Meteorological stations. 

  1. Exchange of experience/visits in term of scientists, research scholars and specialists, etc. for the purpose of research, training, consultation, focused on climatic information services, satellite data utilization for now casting and tropical cyclones forecasting.
  2. Exchange of scientific and technical information related to common interest activities.
  3. Organization of bilateral scientific and technical seminars/ workshops/ conferences and training courses on problems related to the fields of cooperation mentioned in the MoU and of interest to both countries.
  4. Other fields of cooperation as may be mutually agreed upon by the parties.
  5. Deployment of Meteorological observation networks on mutual agreement over Ocean waters.   
  6. Cooperation in the development of special capacities of Tsunami models researches for faster and more reliable forecasts of Tsunamis propagating through the Oman Sea and Arabian Sea which affect the coastal areas of India and North East of UAE.
  7. Cooperation to support the Tsunami Early Warning Centre (TEWC) in the form of forecast modelling software, specifically designed to support the Tsunami forecasting operations.
  8. Sharing the real-time seismic data of some of Seismic stations situated in south and west of India and North of the UAE for monitoring the seismic activities which may generate Tsunami in Arabian Sea and Sea of Oman.
  9. Cooperate at the field of Seismology which includes the study of Seismic activities having the potential to generate Tsunami waves in Arabian Sea and Oman Sea.
  10. Cooperation in Early warnings of Sand and Dust storms through the exchange of knowledge.

Weather services make critical contributions in enhancing efficiency of weather dependent sectors of economy; and in managing risk in weather-dependent economic sectors such as agriculture, transport, water etc. which underpin the economic growth in the region. Resilience can be strengthened through regional and global cooperation as countries invest in early warning systems and modernize weather and forecasting services. Due to evolutionary nature of weather, regional collaboration can help improve understanding of changing weather patterns, devise effective response strategies, lower investment costs, and foster regionally relevant technological innovation and address challenges related to modernization and sustainability of weather services.

Collaborative participation within MoES (India) and NCM-UAE in terms of activities related to multi-hazard early warning system and climate resilience can significantly contribute to economic growth in the region.

India and Japan Sign MoU to Enhance Cooperation in the Field of ICT

  • Department of Telecom, Government of India and Ministry of Communications, Government of Japan will enhance mutual cooperation in the field of 5G technologies, telecom security, submarine optical fiber cable system to islands of India, spectrum management, smart cities, high altitude platform for broadband in unconnected areas, disaster management and public safety etc. 
  • It has been agreed that apart from Ministry level cooperation, Government of India organization such as C-DOT and ITI Limited along with industry partners from Japan will also part of this cooperation.

GS-3

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change

(Topic: Environment)

A. Released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)

  • To assess the efficacy of Protected Areas of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries
  • At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country.
  • 70% of the global tiger population, 70% of Asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopards population in India is a certificate of India’s thriving biodiversity ,as these big cats sit at the top of food chain and their growing numbers shows the wellbeing of the whole ecosystem

Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Protected Areas (PAs) has emerged as a key tool for PA managers and is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.

  • The results of present assessment are encouraging with overall mean MEE score of 62.01% which is higher than the global mean of 56%. With this round of evaluation, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) successfully completed one full cycle of evaluating all terrestrial National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of the country from 2006 to 2019.
  • MEE is a very important document that provides valuable guidance on various aspects of wildlife and protected area expand MEE of Marine Protected Areas. A new framework for MEE of Marine Protected Areas has been also jointly prepared by WII and MoEF&CC and it will be very useful document to implement.

B. Launched the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Indian Zoos (MEE-ZOO) framework which proposes guidelines, criteria and indicators for evaluation of zoos of the country through Management Effectiveness Evaluation Process (MEE-ZOO) in a manner which is discrete, holistic and independent.

  • The assessment criteria and indicators look beyond the traditional concepts, include issues of animal welfare, husbandry and sustainability of resources and finance.
  • The MEE-ZOO exercise is moving towards developing highest standards in Zoos across India and adhering to core values of accountability, transparency, innovation, use of technology, collaboration and integrity to achieve the mandate of conservation of endangered species.

C. Announcement: From 2021, 10 best National Parks, 5 coastal and Marine parks and top five Zoos in the country will be ranked and awarded every year.


Technology Transfer Agreements to bring country’s first indigenous device for correcting ballooning of brain arteries & device for healing of heart hole

(Topic: Science and Technology)

Indians will soon have access to the country’s first indigenous flow diverter stent for diverting blood flow away from localized ballooning of arteries in the brain and a device that promotes better healing of the hole in the heart.

  • Nitinol-based occluder devices, which are presently used to heal Atrial Septal Defect(ASD) or hole in the heart that affects 8 out of every 1000 living babies born, are currently imported to meet demands.
  • Besides, currently, India does not manufacture flow diverters stents, which are needed for diverting blood flow away from an intracranial aneurysm or localized ballooning of arteries in the brain, helping reduce chances of its rupture and related stroke.

The novel ASD occlude developed by SCTIMST promotes better healing of the hole in the heart and also has softer edge for minimizing the damage to adjacent tissue. 

  • First one to be manufactured in India
  • It possesses kink resistance and improved radial strength through a novel braiding pattern making the device flexible and adaptable to the distortion of the vessel boundaries. 
  • The device is also provided with radio-opaque markers for radiographic visibility. 
  • The associated delivery system allows accurate positioning of the device across the aneurysm. The delivery system has a novel release mechanism to enable smooth release of the device. 

The device is protected through two Indian patent applications, one international patent application, and design registration.


DST Scientists find clue to anomalous behaviour of self-propelled fluctuations like fish schools, flocking birds, bacterial colonies

(Topic: Science and Technology)

Scientists have found a clue to dynamical origin of fluctuations in systems like fish schools, swarm of insects, flocking birds and bacterial colonies, which are called active matter systems. 

This understanding can be useful in nanotechnology applications like building small-scale energy-efficient bio-devices as well as biomedical applications like characterizing infection spread in organs, antibiotic resistance and so on.

Such systems are made up of self-driven components which extract energy from their surroundings to generate mechanical work. 

  • Due to continuous energy input, such systems are driven far from equilibrium and exhibit, unlike in equilibrium, fascinating collective behaviours, like clustering, “giant” mass fluctuations and anomalous transport. 
  • Particularly, their transport properties (molecular properties, analogous to viscosity, thermal conductivity and mobility that indicate the rate at which momentum, heat, and mass are transferred from one part of a system to another) can be perplexing at times.

Prelims oriented News

73rd Army Day: Every year Indian Army celebrates 15th January as ‘Army Day’ to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) K M Carriappa took over the command of Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post Independence.

8th State to complete ease of doing business reform: Kerala

Launch of Khadi Prakritik paint:

  • India’s first cow dung paint
  • Developed by KVIC

India’s First Indigenously Designed & Developed Driverless Metro Car: Driver-less metro car for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA); Has 63 per cent indigenous content which will enhance to 75 per cent in next two to three years

Aero India 2021 in Bengaluru: World’s first Hybrid exhibition wherein the Business element of the event will be both physical as well as virtual.

India’s First Indigenously Developed 9mm Machine Pistol –  Asmi

  • Jointly developed by DRDO and Indian Army
  • The Machine Pistol fires the in-service 9mm ammunition and sports an upper receiver made from aircraft grade Aluminium and lower receiver from carbon fibre.
  • The weapon has huge potential in Armed forces as personal weapon for heavy weapon detachments, commanders, tank and aircraft crews, drivers/dispatch riders, radio/radar operators, Closed Quarter Battle, counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations etc. This is also likely to find huge employability with the central and state police organizations as well as VIP protection duties and Policing. 
  • The Machine Pistol is likely to have production cost under rupees 50000 each and has potential for exports. 

Third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) to be launched

  • Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), this phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills.
  • Skill India Mission PMKVY 3.0 envisages training of  eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021 with an outlay of Rs. 948.90 crore. 
  • The 729 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), empaneled non-PMKK training centres and more than 200 ITIs under Skill India will be rolling out PMKVY 3.0 training to build a robust pool of skilled professionals. 
  • On the basis of the learning gained from PMKVY 1.0 and PMKVY 2.0, the Ministry has improved the newer version of the scheme to match the current policy doctrine and energize the skilling ecosystem affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab

  • An Indian classical musician in the Hindustani classical music tradition, belonging to the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana
  • He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, followed by Padma Bhushan in 2006 and Padma Vibhushan in 2018. 
  • In 2003 he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.
  • His mother was the daughter of the great Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan and music was the legacy of his family. Inayat Hussain Khan was also the court musician during the reign of king Wajid Ali Shah and also the son-in-law of the pioneer of Gwalior Gharana Haddu Khan.

Kevadiya in Gujarat

  • Eight trains were flagged off connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya  in Gujarat
  • Kevadiya as a good example of planned development of economy and ecology while protecting environment
  • Famous for: home to Statue of Unity and Sardar Sarovar

The North East Venture Fund (NEVF)

  • What: The first and the only dedicated Venture Fund for the North Eastern Region with an initial corpus of Rs. 100 crores
  • The Venture Fund Scheme launched by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) intended to promote growth of business ventures and skill development in the region.
  • The fund targets to invest in Start-Ups and unique business opportunities to provide resources for new entrepreneurships. 
  • The main focus of North East Venture Fund (NEVF) is for mostly the enterprises involved in Food Processing, Healthcare, Tourism, segregation of services, IT, etc.

CBDT launches e-portal for filing complaints regarding tax evasion/Benami Properties/Foreign Undisclosed Assets

  • Taking another step towards e-governance and encouraging participation of citizen as stakeholders in curbing tax evasion, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has launched an automated dedicated e-portal on the e-filing website of the Department to receive and process complaints of tax evasion, foreign undisclosed assets as well as complaints regarding benami properties.
  • The public can now file a Tax Evasion Petition through a link on the e-filing website of the Department https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/ under the head “File complaint of tax evasion/undisclosed foreign asset/ benami property”. 

Manipur becomes the 4th State to complete urban local bodies reforms

  • Manipur has become the 4th State in the country to successfully undertake “Urban Local Bodies (ULB)” reforms stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.
  • Manipur has now joined the three other States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, who have completed this reform. 
  • On completion of Urban Local Bodies reform, these four States have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs.7,481 crore. 

Reforms in the Urban Local Bodies and the urban utilities reforms are aimed at financial strenghtening of ULBs in the States and to enable them to provide better public health and sanitation services. Economically rejuvenated ULBs will also be able to create good civic infrastructure.

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yajana (PMFBY)

Crop Insurance Scheme- The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yajana (PMFBY) successfully completes 5 Years of operations on 13th January 2021.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) was launched in 2016. 
  • It is an insurance service scheme for farmers for their yields. 
  • It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.
  • It was formulated in line with One Nation–One Scheme theme by replacing earlier two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
  • The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).
  • Implemented by: Empanelled general insurance companies. 
  • Administered by: Ministry of Agriculture
  • The scheme is compulsory for loanee farmers availing Crop Loan /KCC account for notified crops and voluntary for others. 

SKOCH Challenger Award: Ministry of Panchayati Raj for Transparency in Governance

For IT-led initiatives and transformational reforms leading to outcome-based performance improvement, better transparency and strengthening of the e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) across the country

  • Launch of SVAMITVA Scheme: The launch and implementation of SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) Scheme has been one of the milestone and major steps ahead towards ensuring socio-economic empowerment of the rural masses with overriding objective of making the rural inhabitant self-reliant. SVAMITVA Scheme aims to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India, engaging the latest drone surveying technology, for demarcating the inhabitant land in rural areas. Under the SVAMITVA Scheme, the first ever exercise undertaken to carry out property survey of all villages to provide Record of Rights to millions of rural property owners of inhabited area by issuing property card to them for their immovable residential property. This is expected to pave the way to use their property as a financial asset for availing loans and other financial benefits from banks as in the case in towns and cities. Besides, this will ensure modernised and digitised land records for an easier and efficient method of maintaining and updating the land records and bring transparency in the land records management system.
  • e-GramSwaraj: In order to strengthen e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), e-GramSwaraj application has been developed with amalgamating the functionalities of currently available applications in the Panchayat Enterprise Suit (PES) under e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP).
  • On-line Monitoring Systems of Central Finance Commission (CFC) Funds Flow & Proper Utilisation: The key focus areas of Ministry of Panchayati Raj over the last few years has been to track the fund flow of the Central Finance Commission grants and also to ensure timely payments on real-time basis to the service providers in the Panchayats. The Online Payment Module (erstwhile PRIASoft-PFMS Interface (PPI)) is one of its kind whereby Gram Panchayats are carrying out online payments to the vendors and service providers. The main objective of introducing such a module is to have a sound financial management system in the Panchayats leading to their greater credibility and image.
  • Gram Manchitra – Geo-Spatial Planning Application: Gram Manchitra is a Spatial Planning Application for facilitating and supporting Gram Panchayat users to perform planning at Gram Panchayat level with the use of geo spatial technology. ‘Real time’ monitoring of development work implementation status and progress of execution of various schemes can be easily tracked.

SKOCH Challenger Award for Best Performance In E-Governance: Ministry of Tribal Affairs 

The Ministry also received 3 Gold Awards for its initiatives namely ‘Eco-Rehabilitation of tribal villages through Innovative design in water management using Ice-stupa’, ‘Swasthya: Tribal Health and Nutritional Portal’ and the Performance Dashboard ‘Empowering Tribals Transforming India.’

  • Ice- Stupa is a unique project to solve the water problem in the Ladakh region which faces shortage due to climate change and has caused displacement of villagers in search of job opportunities. The structure is built comprising of locally found material with large water retention capacity, which looks like Stupa.  MoTA in partnership with the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) are making these Ice Stupas through community participation. This yr 26 Ice Stupas were formed saving 60 million litres of water.
  • Tribal health issues are very different from general population and there was lack of authentic and scientific data on tribal health and nutrition.  Swasthya, Health and Nutrition developed  in association with Piramal provides information health and nutrition status of the tribal population in 177 tribal dominated districts. 
  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs is not only implementing its own schemes but also monitoring Central and State Schedule Tribe Component (earlier known as Tribal Sub plan) which has budget of more than 2 lakh crore per annum.  Despite such a huge budget, tribals still lag behind in most of indicators. In last 2 years, to fulfil Digital India goals, Ministry has end to end digitalised all its schemes to ensure that amount spent on tribal welfare is effectively monitored.   Ministry has partnered with reputed organizations to develop innovative models with various Non-Governmental and private sector as partners. The objective is to dismantle inefficient and burdensome practices and encouraging best practices. 

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