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Press Information Bureau- 2015

 

3rd and 4th Week

General Studies-1

 

475th birth anniversary year celebrations of MaharanaPratap 

  • MaharanaPratap was a true national hero who valiantly fought to defend his motherland.
  • He not only inspired the Indians but his name also became a source of inspiration for people living in other countries.
  • MaharanaPratap became an icon for freedom fighters because his name evoked a strong feeling of love and sacrifice for motherland.
  • Even the Vietnamese people were inspired by him and it helped them in defeating a powerful country like the United States during U.S.-Vietnam war.”

 

‘’USTTAD’’ Scheme Launched in Varanasi

  • The Central Government is committed to development of traditional artisans of the city and to restore the glory of Varanasi.
  • ’USTTAD’’ (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme will be helpful in this effort as the ensuring growth of lakhs of traditional artisans of the city.
  • Varanasi has been famous for its ‘ghats’, temples, Banarasi saree, and traditional arts/crafts and silk weavers in the entire world but unfortunately the city’s glory has been affected during last few years as the city and its artisans and craftsmen have been ignored.
  • The scheme will also establish linkages of traditional arts/crafts with the national and international market and ensure dignity of labour.

General Studies-2

India to assume Presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly 

  • Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda will preside over the 68th Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) at Geneva as India assumes the Presidency of the WHA, the high decision making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), after a gap of 19 years.
  • The Union Minister is leading a high level Indian delegation to the WHA, to beheldinGeneva during18-27May, 2015
  • The 68th World Health Assembly is expected to deliberate on key issues of global interest including anti-microbial resistance, air pollution and health, global health emergency, preparedness and surveillance, global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, and research and development in neglected tropical diseases.

India – Republic of Korea Joint Statement for Special Strategic Partnership

  • India sees the ROK as an indispensable partner in its “Act East” strategy, and the ROK and India recognize the value of the bilateral partnership and its contribution to bringing peace, stability and security in the Asia Pacific Region.
  • The two sides agreed to further intensify bilateral high-level exchanges.
  • They shared the view that bilateral defence and security cooperation has large potential to grow.
  • President Park welcomed India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative as it provides new avenues to enrich and add substance to the bilateral relations.

 

“Kayakalp”- an initiative for Award to Public Health Facilities Launched

  • The “Kayakalp” initiative will encourage every public health facility in the country to work towards standards of excellence to help the facilities stay clean and hygienic.
  • This does not apply only to physical cleanliness, but to develop and put in place systems and procedures for activities such as bio-waste disposal or protocols etc.
  • The initiative towards total “Swacchta” in public health facilities is aimed towards building confidence of the users in public health facilities, provide quality service and encourage team work.
  • This initiative will provide an opportunity and incentive to strengthen inter-sectoral coordination in improving health systems at the state level

 

General Studies-3

 

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle continuation Programme Operational Flights PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50 

  • The PSLV continuation Programme will enable the launch of satellites required for Earth Observation, Navigation and Space Sciences along with the possibility of clinching commercial launch service contracts.
  • The PSLV Continuation Programme will meet the demand for the launch of satellites at a frequency of four to five launches per year, with a greater focus on enhancing the level of participation by the Indian industry.
  • The operationalisation of PSLV has made the country self-reliant in the launching capability of satellites for earth observation, disaster management, navigation and space sciences.
  • The PSLV Continuation programme will sustain this capability and self-reliance in the launching of similar satellites for national requirements.

 

Government betters its own Financial Targets during 2014-15

  • Fiscal Deficit for the Financial Year 2014-15 stands at 4.0 % as against the Target of 4.1 % while Revenue Deficit for FY 2014-15 stands at 2.8% as Against Target of 2.9%.
  • Gross Tax Collections During 2014-15 Stand at Rs. 12,45,037 Crore and thus Registering a Growth of 9% during the period as Compared to FY 2013-14 .

 

‘Kavaratti’ – Fourth Ship of Project – 28 (Anti Submarine Warfare Corvette) Launched

  • The Fourth Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette of Project-28, christened ‘Kavaratti’, was launched at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata.
  • The four ships of Project-28 built by GRSE, Kolkata have been designed indigenously.
  • Kavaratti will also be packed with an array of state of art weapons and sensors, including a Medium Range Gun (from M/s Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd), Torpedo Tube Launchers as well as Rocket Launchers (from M/s Larsen &Tubro), Close-In Weapon System (from M/s Gun and Shell Factory) and Chaff System (from M/s Machine Tool Prototype Factory).
  • With significant indigenous content, the Ship is a true hall mark of self-reliance attained by our country in warship design and ship building.

 

Climate Change: India will Work with International Community

  • India has reiterated its commitment to work with the international community to find practical, pragmatic and equitable solutions to climate change.
  • Making an Intervention at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin today, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,said that every Climate Action has a cost and the world must think as to who would pay the cost and reiterated the Polluter Pays principle.

 

6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy: “Nuclear Energy: a ‘Clean’ Energy option” 

 

  • The 6th National Conference on Nuclear Energy was organized by ASSOCHAM in New Delhi.
  • The theme of the conference was “Nuclear Energy: a ‘Clean’ Energy option”.
  • The nuclear energy is more environment friendly and climate friendly as compared to other sources of energy, so it can be used for generation of power to meet the growing demand of energy.
  • The nuclear energy is the clean and green source of energy and it is a good option for energy if per capita consumption of power in India has to be increased.
  • This way we can leave a clean planet for the generation to come and fight the challenge of global warming. The nuclear energy production will be cost competitive and will help generating more employment in the country.

Achieving the objective of “Swachh and Swastha Bharat”

Radiation Hygienisation of Municipal Dry Sewage Sludge

  • The Bahbha Atomic research Centre (BARC) has signed aMoU with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to set up a 100 tonnes per day Gamma Irradiation sludge hygienisation facility under its scientific and technical support.
  • Such radiation hygienisation facilities would greatly contribute to achieve the objectives of the mission of “Swachh and Swastha Bharat”.
  • Sewage is the wastewater discharged from domestic premises consisting mainly of human waste. Sewage typically contains more than 99.9% water and about 0.05% solid.
  • The solid part results in the formation of sludge. Largely, sludge is disposed in unorganized manner resulting in environmental pollution and spread of diseases.
  • The sludge produced carries a heavy microbiological load and therefore its disposal has been a challenge to the urban development authorities.
  • Considering the objectives of Clean India Mission and Smart Cities, many of   upcoming Sewage Treatment Plants would further add to the sludge volume.
  • Disposal of municipal sewage sludge, especially in large metropolitan cities is a serious problem due to presence of potentially infectious microorganisms that can be a serious threat to public health.
  • On the other hand sludge is an important source of macro and micro nutrients such as N, P, K and Zn, Fe, Cu etc. respectively.
  • Interest in the use of sludge for application in agriculture has increased among the farming community as well as among the sewage treatment plant (STP) operators.
  • The farming community has realized that the excessive use of chemical fertilizers is not sustainable for long term agriculture. Dry sewage sludge (Dry Sludge) can be beneficially utilized for supplying nutrients to the crop, improving soil physical properties and above all increasing the soil organic matter.

Results of field trials carried out by  KrishiVigyan Kendra (ICAR)  and local farmers in Gujarat using radiation hygienised sludge established:

  • Increased crop yield – direct benefit to the farmers. Improved soil conditions – soil conservation & restoration.
  • Reduced health risks associated with sludge which reduces potential pressure on the country’s health care system.
  • Reduced demand of water due to higher water holding capacity of the sludge.
  • The nutrient rich sludge which otherwise is wastefully discarded can be gainfully recycled for economic gain.
  • Improved overall quality of life.

Thus, such radiation hygienisation facilities can be utilised in other parts of the country also can really contribute in making India Cleaner, healthier and providing better quality of life to the people of India.

General Studies-1

Himalayan Region Sports Festival 

  • The Department of Sports has formulated Himalayan Region Sports Festival (HRSF) for promoting unique sports traditions in the Himalayan Region.
  • To promote these, India will start an annual event to promote these games and would invite countries such as Nepal and Bhutan also to participate in addition to the Indian states such as J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the North Eastern States.
  • These competitions will promote various indigenous games as also team spirit between the hilly states of the country and regional cooperation in the area of sports with neighbouring countries.

General Studies-2

Education 2030

 

  • Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for allis the 4th Sustainable Development Goal as part of the new SDGs to be finalized by the UN in September 2015.
  • The WEF expressed its vision to transform lives through education recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development and re-affirmed education as a public good, a fundamental human right and essential for peace, tolerance, human fulfilment and sustainable development.
  • The significance of the WEF 2015 is in that it seeks to focus the efforts of the nations on access, equity and inclusion, quality and learning outcomes within a lifelong learning approach, which recognizes education as key to achieve development and poverty reduction.

India and Vietnam Sign a Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation 

  • India and Vietnam signed a Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation for the period 2015-2020.
  • AMoU on cooperation between the Coast Guards of the two countries was also signed in the presence of the two Defence Ministers.
  • At the delegation level talks, the two sides discussed wide ranging issues concerning defence cooperation, including cooperation in the area of maritime security.
  • Both sides reiterated their commitment to further enhancing the ongoing defence engagements between the two sides for mutual benefit.

 

Pradhan MantriKaushalVikasYojana

  • Pradhan MantriKaushalVikasYojana (PMKVY) is the flagship outcome-based skill training scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
  • The program aims at skill certification and reward to enable and mobilize a large number of youth for outcome based skill training and become employable and earns their livelihood.
  • Under the scheme, monetary reward would be provided to trainees who are successfully trained, assessed and certified in skill courses run by affiliated training providers.

National Skill Universities 

  • The Universities are envisioned to provide nationally recognised University degrees and certification for vocational skills, design and conduct assessment procedures, design vocational curriculum (with SSCs) customised to providing horizontal academic mobility, offer faculty training courses and conduct research in the skills landscape.

 

 General Studies-3

New security initiatives mooted for Northeast

  • These included the suggestion for modernisation of police as well as “Police modernisation grant” for Northeastern States and redeployment in the region of the existing forces like Assam Rifles and ITBP.
  • Although the issues, per se, pertain to Ministry of Home Affairs but since these had a strong bearing on development activities, economy and ‘Act East Plan’, the DoNER Ministry had undertaken upon itself the exercise to study and gather relevant security inputs and place them before the concerned authorities and the Ministry of Home Affairs for their perusal.
  • A number of suggestions were also made from the point of view of identifying trade corridors intra-regionally among the Northeastern States as well as with the countries across the eastern borders and a suggestion for “integrated” check posts was also put forward for consideration.
  • Alienation of people leading to agitations and road-blockades affected both the economy as well as development activity and therefore a blueprint was sought to be developed to deal with these related problems.

 

Biodiversity for Sustainable Development-International Day for Biological Diversity 

  • On this day in 1992, the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted.
  • To mark this, 22nd May has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day for Biological Diversity, to increase awareness about the importance of and threats to biodiversity.
  • The theme this year, ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’ is very topical, as the international community accelerates its efforts to define the post-2015 agenda, including adopting a set of goals for sustainable development.
  • This year’s theme reflects the bigger and very crucial paradigm shift that the world has undergone from seeing ‘development’ and ‘environment’ as two ends of a spectrum, where one must be compromised in order to enhance the other, to having development while protecting environment.

NS Saryu Participating in Asean Regional Forum (ARF) Disaster Relief Exercise (Direx-15)

  • INS Saryu, an indigenously built NOPV based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, shall be participating in a week long ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Disaster Relief Exercise (DiREx) 2015.
  • The aim of ARF DiREx-15 is to exercise information sharing and networking among national agencies of this region towards providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) during natural calamities like Earthquakes, Tsunami, etc as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) for ships and aircraft lost at sea.
  • Disaster management continues to be a vital area for cooperation in the region.
  • A consensus has thus emerged on the need to better mitigate, manage and respond to natural and man-made disasters due to the constant dialogue within ARF.

Government committed to boost food processing through development of Cold Chain 

  • The Union Government is committed to address the challenges of insufficient infrastructure leading to huge wastage, undue advantage to middlemen at the cost of farmer’s remuneration and to develop an efficient cold chain infrastructure to link the farmer to the consumer seamlessly.
  • That India is one of the largest producer of milk, fruits and vegetables, marine products, meat and poultry and that there is an urgent need to create adequate cold chain capacity in the country for preventing wastage.
  • The scheme for Cold chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure provides financial assistance up to Rs. 10 crore for entrepreneurs.

DD Kisan – India’s first television channel dedicated to farmers 

  • DD Kisan, Doordarshan’s channel dedicated exclusively to farmers.
  • The Prime Minister called for making the “Tehsil” the unit of agricultural planning and development.
  • The 24×7 Kisan Channel will telecast updated information on agriculture and related subject for the benefit of its target audience including cattle rearers, bee keepers, poultry owners, mechanics and craftsmen.
  • This would include information broadcast on the changing weather condition well in advance, and the low cost measures to protect crops / enhance produce during such conditions.

Digital Locker – 1,00,000 Mark in 100 Days 

  • After Digital Locker trial version was launched in Feb, 2015 over 1,00,000 Digital Lockers have been opened by the Citizens, within 100 days of its launch representing the trust, benefit and convenience offered by the Digital Locker to a common man.
  • Digital Locker is one of the key initiatives under the Digital India vision, which is aimed at eliminating the usage of physical documents.
  • Digital Locker will allow various agencies to push the documents into the Digital Locker of citizens mapped to their Aadhaar Number.
  • It also allows citizens to upload their own electronic documents with or without digitally signing them using the e-sign facility allowing them to store all such documents for posterity.

 

 

Government Initiative on Ease of Doing Business 

  • India, which is among the bottom in World Bank’s index of ease of doing business, has dropped down two places to stand at 142nd out of 189 in World Bank’s latest ranking
  • In the ten metrics used to measure ease of doing business in the World Bank’s 2015 report, which covers the period from June 2013 to May 2014, India came close to the bottom in two categories.
  • It stood a wretched 184th in the category Dealing with Construction Permits, and 186th in Enforcing Contracts. On the bright side, India stood 7th, an improvement of 14 places, when it came to Protecting Minority Investors.
  • It is the only category in which India has shown an improvement from 2013, when it was ranked 21 in this category and 140 in the overall ease of doing business.
  • India has a lot of potential of attracting international business but the ‘ease of doing’ business has to be improved, according to Bernhard Steinruecke, Director General of Indo-German Chamber of Commerce.
  • Aware of the perception about India, present government has promised to improve India’s position 50th position by 2017 from present 142.
  • The department of industrial policy and promotion has already taken number of initiatives to improve the environment for doing businesses.They included simplifying the application form for industrial licenses and making the process online through the eBiz website, exempting a large number of defence equipment from compulsory licensing, and extending the initial validity period of industrial licenses from two years to three so that there is enough time to obtain necessary clearances from authorities.
  • The government has also raised FDI cap for defence to 49 per cent and in hi-tech areas, it could consider up to 100 per cent on a case-by-case basis.
  • Apart from Insurance bill, the government has amended the companies act relax or drop some of the difficult provisions for business.
  • It has raised FDI cap on pension funds to 49 per cent in line with insurance.
  • The ordinance to allow e-auction of coal mines have been passed by Parliament and first set of e-auction of coal mines have already happened.
  • The long awaited mines act too has been amended. The bill to amend land acquisition act, which was first brought in the form of an ordinance was recently passed by Lok Sabha.
  • The central government has decided to rank states on the basis of ‘ease of doing business.’
  • The system is expected to generate competition among the states and also help investors to choose the place to invest.
  • The ranking, to be done with the help of a consultative agency, is expected to be in place by June 2015.
  • These are some of the positive steps taken government to improve ease of doing business and this would only improve further in coming months and years to get the Indian economy back on high growth path of 8-9 per cent annually to be fastest growing economy in the world in the next decade or two.

 

Using Science and Technology for People’s welfare

 

  • The people of the port city of Vishakhapatnam and its neighbourhood in Andhra Pradesh will never be able to forget October 12, 2014, the day they had a tryst with the very severe cyclone Hudhud.
  • The major credit for the minimal loss of live goes to the manner in which the authorities were able to evacuate people from the path of the storm well before it struck. In an unprecedented move, over 7 lakh people were evacuated and moved to relief camps in safer places.
  • The authorities were able to undertake this task thanks to timely and accurate predictions of all aspects of cyclone genesis, intensity, track, land fall as well as associated rainfall, gale wind and storm surge by scientists at the India Meteorological Department under the Central Government’sMinistry of Earth Sciences.
  • Scientists at IMD and other segments of the science and technology sector in the country have over the years been working hard to understand nature and develop new tools and techniques to improve upon the country’s social and economic life.
  • Scientists and technologist have helped reduce poverty and advance prosperity; fight hunger and improve nutrition; conquer diseases, improve health and give children a better chance to survive; connect the individual to their loved ones and the world at large: and spread education and awareness.
  • During the past one year, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, for instance, has provided agro-meteorological advisories through mobile phones to 7.1 million farmers in 505 districts, launched customized weather forecast service for the holy yatra to Amarnath Cave and commissioned a weather forecasting system at the heliport serving pilgrim going to Vaishnodevi.
  • In addition, a SMS-based disaster alert system for cyclones, storms and heavy rains was dedicated to the nation and two moble applications for android phones and tablets called India weather` and SAFAR-Air’ has been launched. India Weather is designed to give current day and four-days advance forecast of weather in 310 cities across the country, while Safar-Air provides air quality information for the metro cities in the country.
  • For the alert system, individuals or organisations will just have to register their telephone numbers on the IMD website [www.imd.gov.in].
  • The Government has also sanctioned over Rs 1,050 crore for acquisition of a polar research vessel for ocean and polar research and India’s first moored observatory was deployed in the Arctic in July last year.
  • Further, measures have been taken to make better use of the latest developments in space technology for providing good governance.
  • On technology front, design, prototyping, testing, validation and manufacture of various items required for the first of its kind telescope in the world would bring in know-how for new and cutting edge technologies. These are expected to have long term spin-off advantages for the country.
  • This will enable Indian astronomers to study front ranking scientific problems such as formation and evolution of stars, planets and galaxies.
  • The Government is working towards setting up of five technical research centers in the autonomous institutions under the Department of Science and Technology to speed up transfer and commmercialisation of technologies developed by them.
  • The journey has begun well. Indian science and technology is poised to reach new heights in the years to come

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