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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB) - July 2015
Published on Aug. 19, 2015, 3:24 p.m.

Press Information Bureau-July 2015

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General Studies-I

Hastkala exhibitions

  • The exhibition aims to promote the majestic and decorative craft traditions of India.
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  • The exhibition showcases Dhokra artefacts, oil lamps from the south, metal jali work on wood, Koftgiri craft such as shield with sword, Surahi (replicas from Mehrangarh fort), tile paintings, stone dust paintings, Venkatgiri wall hangings, Sanjhi art, Gond paintings, wooden patina finish panels, painted tiles, marble gold leaf artefacts and a host of other decoratives.

Important terms for Art & Culture

Brief highlights of some of the products on display

  1. Bell metal craft: The bell metal craft or Dhokra is one of the earliest known methods of metal casting. It is the original creative instinct of traditional tribal people of Bastar, Chhattisgarh and is 100% eco-friendly.
  2. Gond art: The word Gond means ‘Green Mountains’. The work of Gond artists is rooted in their folk tales and culture and thus story telling is a strong element of every Gond painting.
  3. Koftgiri: Ornamentation on armaments and weaponry was integral to Mughal and Rajput cultures. Motifs cover a wide variety of themes from flora and fauna, mythology to scenes from the lives of kings. Koftgiri is one such majestic craft embellished with precious metals.
  4. Sanjhi Art:Sanjhi is the art of hand cutting designs on paper. Sanjhi art products are created in stencil, filled with vibrant colors and are used for festive decorations.

Women Entrepreneurs in FPI

  • For promotion and development of food processing sector in the country, the Ministry is implementing a Central Sector Scheme for Infrastructure Development for Food Processing having components of Mega Food Parks and Integrated Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure.
  • Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided in the form of grant-in-aid to eligible entrepreneurs, including women entrepreneurs, @ 50% in general areas and @ 75% in North-Eastern Region and difficult areas, subject to a maximum of Rs. 50.00 crore for establishment of Mega Food Park and Rs.10.00 crore for establishment of Cold Chain Infrastructure.

Swadhar Scheme

  • The Swadhar scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2002 for rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances.
  • The scheme provides shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women/girls who are in need.
  • The beneficiaries include widows deserted by their families and relatives, women prisoners released from jail and without family support, women survivors of natural disasters, women victims of terrorist/extremist violence etc.
  • The implementing agencies are mainly NGOs.

General Studies-II

Digital ‘Guddi-Gudda Board’

  • The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has adopted the ‘Digital Guddi-Gudda Board’ as a Best Practice under BetiBachaoBetiPadhao scheme on the occasion of Digital India Week being observed from 1st July to 7th July, 2015.
  • The digital Board has been popularized in the district of Jalgaon, Maharashtra and works as a platform for dissemination of IEC Material on BBBP as well as updating monthly birth statistics.

National Skill Development Mission

  • The National Skill Development Mission will provide a strong institutional framework at the Centre and States for implementation of skilling activities in the country.
  • The Mission will have a three-tiered, high powered decision making structure.
  • At its apex, the Mission’s Governing Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, will provide overall guidance and policy direction.
  • The Steering Committee, chaired by Minister in Charge of Skill Development, will review the Mission’s activities in line with the direction set by the Governing Council.
  • The Mission Directorate, with Secretary, Skill Development as Mission Director, will ensure implementation, coordination and convergence of skilling activities across Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments.

Common Norms for Skill Development Schemes

  • Currently, over 70-odd Skill Development Programmes (SDPs) are being implemented by Government of India, each with its own norms for eligibility criteria, duration of training, cost of training, outcomes, monitoring and tracking mechanism etc.
  • Common Norms define the activities constituting ‘Skill Development’ in the country, skill development courses and their alignment with the National Skills Qualification Framework, broad input standards for training programmes and the outcomes expected from these programmes.
  • Cost norms include support for components like mobilisation of candidates, trainers’ training, placement expenses, post-placement tracking/monitoring and infrastructure costs.

Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchayeeYoiana (PMKSY)

  • The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (HarKhetkopani), improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop), enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture and attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.
  • The scheme also aims at bringing concerned Ministries/Departments/Agencies/Research and Financial Institutions engaged in creation/use/recycling/potential recycling of water, brought under a common platform, so that a comprehensive and holistic view of the entire "water cycle" is taken into account and proper water budgeting is done for all sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.

CCI Amends its Combination Regulations

  • As part of its ongoing and regular efforts to make M&A filing requirements simpler and readily acceptable to various stakeholders, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has revised its Combination Regulations, making them more forward looking, in keeping with some of the best practices in other jurisdictions.
  • A key change brought about by the present amendments is in relation to the definition of the term “other document”.
  • Further, the proposed amendments provide flexibility to parties regarding signing of the notice.

RAA Launched by Dr. Kalam

  • RashtriyaAvishkarAbhiyan (RAA) Seeks to Develop Scientific Temper Among School Children.
  • RashtriyaAvishkarAbhiyan is a unique concept developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development that aims to inculcate a spirit of inquiry, creativity and love for Science and Mathematics in school children.
  • Under RashtriyaAvishkarAbhiyan, government schools will be mentored by Institutes like IITs/ IIMs/ IISERs and other Central Universities and reputed organisations through innovative programmes, student exchanges, demonstrations, student visits, etc to develop a natural sense of passion towards learning of Science and Maths.

India & USA Launch of a New Initiative “PEACE”

  • India and the United States of America signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation to Establish the PACESetter Fund.
  • A fund to support the Promoting Energy Access Through Clean Energy (PEACE) track of the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) to accelerate the commercialization of off-grid clean energy through early-stage grant funding grants to develop and test innovative products, systems, and business models.
  • It was agreed to cooperate through technical and commercial innovation and the advancement of clean energy in off-grid space.

Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015

  • The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015, which was introduced in Lok Sabha for repealing 187 Acts.
  • The Cabinet also approved introduction of a new Bill, namely, the Repealing and Amending (Fourth) Bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha for the repeal of 295 Acts, identified for repeal by the concerned Ministries/Departments and the Legislative Department.
  • As an ongoing process, the Repealing and Amending Bill is one of the periodical measures by which enactments which have ceased to be in force or have become obsolete or the retention whereof as separate Acts become unnecessary are repealed, or by which the formal defects detected in enactments are corrected.

Jan Aushadhi Scheme

  • The Government has launched ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all, especially the poor, throughout the country, through outlets known as Jan Aushadhi Stores (JASs).
  • Under the Jan Aushadhi Scheme, the State Governments are required to provide space in Government Hospital premises or any other suitable locations for the running of the Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS).
  • Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is to provide one-time assistance of  Rs.2.50 lakhs as furnishing and establishment costs, start up cost for setting up a Jan Aushadhi Outlet.
  • Any NGO/Charitable Society/Institution/Self Help Group with experience of minimum 3 years of successful operation in welfare activities, can also open the Jan Aushadhi store outside the hospital premises.  A margin of 16% on the sale price is built in the MRP of each drug.

Voting by Overseas Electors

  • The Government is considering to allow the alternative options of voting to overseas electors in the form of
  1. ‘e-Postal Ballot System’ which envisages making available bank postal ballot electronically to the NRI voters and thereafter return of the same by normal post and
  2. ‘proxy voting which would allow such voters to appoint a proxy after following certain formalities and exercise his franchise through the medium of the proxy so appointed.
  • Since the proposal of amendment of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951 require consideration and approval of both the Houses of the Parliament; no time frame can be indicated.

One Rank One Pension Scheme

  • Government is aware that Ex-Servicemen Associations have been agitating for implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) Scheme from 2008 onwards.
  • The policy of “One Rank One Pension” has been adopted by the Government to address the pension disparities, in the budget 2014-15.
  • The modalities for implementation of OROP are under consideration of the Government. It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the Government.

Achievements Under Millennium Development Goals

  • Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the MDG 5 target is to reduce maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by three quarters between 1990 and 2015.
  • This translates to reducing the MMR from 560 in 1990 to 140 in 2015. India is likely to reach an MMR of 140 if the current compound rate of annual decline continues.
  • MDG 4 target is for reduction of child mortality by two-third between 1990 and 2015.
  • In terms of Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), this translates into IMR of 29/1000 live births to be achieved by 2015.
  • As per the latest, Sample Registration System (SRS) Report published by the Registrar General of India(RGI) in 2013, the IMR in India is 40/1000 live births.
  • As per SRS 2013, 15 States/UTs have already achieved MDG 4 (IMR ≤ 29) namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Manipur, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Punjab.
  • No targets have been set under MDG for Total Fertility Rate (TFR).
  • The progress however for TFR as per SRS in 2011 and 2012 was 2.4 and has declined to 2.3 in 2013. 24 States and UTs having already achieved the replacement level of fertility of 2.1.

ATAL Innovation Mission

  • NITI Aayog has constituted an Expert Committee to work out the detailed contours of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Self-Employment & Talent Utilisation (SETU).

The Terms of Reference of the Expert Committee are as under:

  • To review the existing initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in India, especially those efforts that result in widespread job growth and the creation of globally competitive enterprises;
  • To make short and medium term recommendations for actionable policy initiatives aimed at creating an innovation and entrepreneur friendly eco-system including such elements as creation of world class innovation hubs and digital SMEs and innovation driven entrepreneurship in such sectors as education and health.
  • To address any other related issues.

Welfare/Pension Scheme for Artists

  • Ministry of  Culture is implementing “Artistes Pension Scheme and Welfare Fund” to give pension to Persons Distinguished in Letters, Arts and such other walks of Life who may be in indigent Circumstances and their Dependents.
  • Under the Scheme, artists whose personal income (including income of the spouse) does not exceed Rs. 4,000/- per month and who are not less than 58 years of age are considered for financial assistance of Rs. 4,000/- p.m. under Central Quota and  Rs. 3,500/- p.m. under Central-State Quota.
  • The eligible artists should have made significant contribution in the field of arts, letters, etc. for being considered for financial assistance under this Scheme.

Janani Suraksha Yojna

  • The Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is a centrally sponsored Scheme which is being implemented with the objective of reducing maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.
  • Under the JSY, eligible pregnant women are entitled for cash assistance irrespective of the age of mother and number of children for giving birth in a government or accredited private health facility.
  • The scheme focuses on poor pregnant woman with a special dispensation for states that have low institutional delivery rates, namely, the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • While these States have been named Low Performing States (LPS) under the scheme, the remaining States/UTs have been named High Performing States (HPS).  The scheme also provides performance based incentives to women health volunteers known as ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) for promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.

General Studies-III

Digital India Week (01/07)

  • Several initiatives have been taken for introduction of Information Technology to empower people.  Some of the initiatives have resulted in development of products to extend various services in areas relating to health, education, labour and employment, commerce etc.
  • The vision of Digital India programme also aims at inclusive growth in areas of electronic services, products, manufacturing and job opportunities etc.

The vision of Digital India is centred on three key areas -

  1. Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen
  2. Governance & Services on Demand and
  3. Digital Empowerment of Citizens

4 World-Class Broadband Products Developed by C-DOT

  • India launched four world class Broadband products by C-DOT.
  • With this India has become at par with all other developed countries in the world in respect of quality telecommunication services and effective penetration of advanced broadband based services.
  • Two Wi-Fi products launched by C-DOT viz. Long Distance Wi-Fi and Solar powered Wi-Fi address the connectivity problem of rural areas, hilly terrain, highways, dense vegetation, tunnels etc.

55 Cities Approved for Solar Cities

  • So far, 55 existing cities in 27 States/UTs are being developed as solar cities in the country under ‘Development of Solar Cities programme’.

PSLV successfully launches five UK satellites

  • In its thirtieth flight, conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota  (July 10, 2015), ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C28 successfully launched three identical DMC3 commercial Earth Observation Satellites, along with two smaller satellites from United Kingdom, into a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit which was very close to the intended orbit of 647 km height.
  • The five satellites together weighed about 1440 kg at lift-off.
  • These five satellites were launched as part of the agreement entered into between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), UK and Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a government of India Company under the Department of Space (DOS). This was the twenty ninth consecutively successful flight of PSLV.

E-Nose for Environmental Monitoring

  • Nagpur based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) have jointly developed an ‘Electronic Nose’ for environmental monitoring that can help sniff out a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odorants at a pulp and paper mill industry with a prime objective to protect the health of thousands of workers working in this industry.
  • This portable device measures odour concentration and odour intensity.
  • This has been the first attempt in India to develop such a product using odour sensors that make use of intelligent software to identify odorous molecules.

Civil Aviation Minister Launches GAGAN System

  • GAGAN system (GPS AIDED GEO AUGMENTED NAVIGATION) is the first SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation System) in the world certified for Approach with Vertical Guidance operating in the Equatorial Ionospheric region and the third SBAS to have achieved this feat, after WAAS of USA and EGNOS of Europe.
  • GAGAN is a joint effort of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • In the aviation field, GAGAN will support more direct air routes, reduce fuel consumption and improve safety. In addition, GAGAN provides benefits to agriculture, all modes of transportation and public services such a defence services, security agencies and disaster recovery management by aiding in search and rescue to locate the disaster zone accurately.

48% Growth in FDI Equity Inflows after Make in India

  • The growth in FDI has been significant after the launch of Make in India initiatives.
  • The FDI inflow under the approval route saw a growth of 87% during 2014-15 with inflow of US$ 2.22 billion despite more sectors having been liberalized during this period and with more than 90 percent of FDI being on automatic route.
  • These indicators showcases remarkable pace of approval being accorded by the government and confidence of investors in the resurgent India.
  • The increased inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India especially in a climate of contracting worldwide investments indicates the faith that overseas investors have imposed in the country's economy and the reforms initiated by the Government towards ease of doing business.

IPR Policy to fully protect patents, GIs and copyrights

  • The draft policy, focusses on stronger enforcement of IPR by increasing the manpower strength in IP offices and reducing the pendency of IPR filings.
  • Most of the offices have done away with manual interface as all applications, queries and decisions are made online.
  • Minister felicitates Micromax for acquiring 1.25th Million International Trademark.
  • GOI sought to allay apprehensions in the minds of foreign investors about the strength of the Indian IPR regime, stating that final draft of the National IPR Policy has been arrived at through a transparent process with inputs from all stakeholders.

Marketing of Indian Food Brands

  • Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) under the administrative control of the Department of Commerce is implementing various schemes to extend financial assistance to the eligible exporters registered with it to boost the overall agri products exports.
  • APEDA has initiated following special measures to promote agri& processed food in the international markets:-
  1. APEDA has introduced financial assistance to exporters in XIIth Five year plan for their Brand promotion in overseas markets for those brands which are of Indian origin through advertisement in international print/ electronic media etc.
  2. APEDA has also been providing financial assistance for undertaking activities like buyer-seller meet, product promotion, exchange of delegation and participation in international exhibitions/ fairs/ events etc.

Food Processing Units

  • During the 12th Five Year Plan, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) had launched a Centrally Sponsored Scheme - National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP).
  • Under this scheme, State / UT Governments have been empowered to receive applications, and where found eligible sanction the applications with the approval of State Level Empowered Committee (SLEC) and release the grant-in-aid accordingly.
  • Under the said scheme of National Mission on Food Processing, financial assistance for setting up of new food processing units is provided under the scheme of Technology Upgradation / Establishment / Modernization of Food Processing Industries, which aims at creation of new processing capacity and up-gradation of existing processing capabilities in the sector.

Impact of Climate Change in Incidence of Diseases

  • No increase in incidence of contagious diseases due to unprecedented changes in environment and climate has been documented by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi.
  • There is increasing concern, globally as well as in India, over the effects of climate change on human Health.
  • As per World Health Organization (WHO), climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health.
  • Climate change can lead to extreme weather events such as storms, floods, cyclones etc. which could enhance the spread of diseases like vector borne diseases, food and water borne diseases, heat stroke etc.

Objectives of PYKKA Scheme

The objectives of the Panchayat YuvaKridaAur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) scheme, which has since been revised and renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA) Scheme

  • To provide universal access to sports in rural areas and promote a sports culture among both boys and girls;
  • To harness available and potential sporting talent among rural youth through a well designed competition structure from the block level;
  • To put in place an effective mechanism to identify and nurture sporting talent in rural areas;
  • To make focused efforts to give adequate training and exposure under existing schemes of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYAS) and Sports Authority of India (SAI), to promising sportspersons coming out of this process;
  • To promote both indigenous and modern games; and
  • To create seamless integration between the competition structure right from the panchayat level through to the national level in order to facilitate exponential growth in the number of high performing sportspersons.

India ranks at 12th position in terms of power generation

  • There are thirty one countries including India in the world which generate electricity from nuclear source.
  • According to the data published in May 2015, by Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), India ranked at 12th position in terms of power generation.
  • However, it stood at 6th position in terms of number of reactors in operation country- wise, globally.
  • India has signed Nuclear agreements with USA, France, Russia, Namibia, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Argentine Republic, United Kingdom, Republic of Kazakhstan, Canada, Sri Lanka and Australia.
  • India is open to negotiation with other friendly countries who seem to have potential to make contribution to India’s nuclear energy programme.

Model Police Act

  • The Model Act emphasized the need to have a professional police ‘service’ in a democratic society, which is efficient, effective, responsive to the needs of the people and accountable to the Rule of Law.
  • The Act provided for social responsibilities of the police and emphasizes that the police would be governed by the principles of impartiality and human rights norms, with special attention to protection of weaker sections including minorities (preamble to the Act).

Amendment in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act

  • The acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution is regulated under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA) and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rule, 2011 (FCRR) framed thereunder.
  • They provide for procedure to grant registration and prior permission for receipt of foreign contribution and its utilization, maintenance of accounts, inspection of accounts of the association, etc.
  • They also prescribe various offences and penalties that may be imposed, including suspension and cancellation of registration in case of violation of the provisions of FCRA and FCRR.

Space co-operation agreement between India and Russia

  • India and Russia pursue joint programmes in a few areas of space research.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on expansion of cooperation in the field of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
  • There is no transfer of space technology envisaged under this MoU.
  • This new MoU provides scope for developing joint activities in areas of mutual interest, including satellite navigation; launch vehicle development; critical technologies for human spaceflight programme; remote sensing of Earth; space science and planetary exploration; and use of ground space infrastructure.

'Make in India' Programme

  • The ‘Make in India’ programme aims at promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation.
  • The ‘Make in India’ initiative does not target manufacturing sector alone, but also aims at promoting entrepreneurship in the country.
  • The initiative is further aimed at creating a conducive environment for investment, modern and efficient infrastructure, opening up new sectors for foreign investment and forging a partnership between government and industry through positive mindset.
  • 25 sectors have been identified under the ‘Make in India’ initiative

Chinese Incursions

  • There is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China.
  • There are areas along the border where India and China have differing perception of LAC.
  • Due to both sides undertaking patrolling upto their perception of the LAC, transgressions do occur.
  • To resolve the border disputes, the two sides have appointed Special Representative (SR) to explore the framework for a boundary settlement from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relationship.
  • The 18th round of Special Representative talks on the India-China boundary question was held in New Delhi from March, 2015.
  • India and China are committed to resolve bilateral issues through dialogue and peaceful negotiations and in a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable manner.

Amendment in Negotiable Instrument Act

  • The President of India has promulgated the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 (No.6 of 2015).
  • The Ordinance provides for determination of territorial jurisdiction of courts for trying cases relating to offence of dishonour of cheques under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (NI Act).

Akash Missile System

  • Indigenously designed, developed and produced Akash missile system has been inducted in Indian Air Force.
  • Indian Air Force (IAF) has placed production order for 8 Squadrons out of which 4 Squadrons have already been delivered to IAF for deployment.
  • Project for development of Akash Missile was started in 1983 under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
  • The infrastructure created during development and testing of systems/sub-systems, knowledge and expertise gained during development and production of various missile systems will help to bring down expenditure and time of development and production for future missile systems.

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