Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 26th Aug to 7th September – 2019
Published on Sept. 10, 2019, 6:56 p.m.

Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 26th August to 7th September, 2019

ARCHIVES

GS-2

Wi-fi in Villages

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

The Government has reiterated its commitment in providing Wi-Fi in all the villages through GramNet with connectivity between 10mbps to 100 mbps speed. BharatNet also plans to provide 1 GBPS connectivity, which can be expanded up to 10 GBPS and C-DOT’s XGS-PON will help in a great way to achieve this

  1. C-Sat-Fi (C-DOT Satellite WiFi) is based on the optimal utilization of wireless and satellite communication to extend connectivity to the unserved areas including the remote islands and difficult terrains. Besides offering the ease of deployment, the solution is ideally suited to addressing disasters and emergencies when no other means of communication are available, he added. This cost-effective solution does not require the expensive Satellite Phones and can work on any WiFi enabled phone.
  2. Similarly, C-DOT’s XGSPON (10 G Symmetrical Passive Optical Network) is an effective solution to fulfil the rapidly increasing demands of high network speeds emanating from the new dimensions of user applications like IPTV, HD Video Streaming, Online Gaming and host of other cloud based services that necessitate the seamless availability of high bandwidth.
  3. The third innovation, C-DOT’s Interoperable Set Top Box (CiSTB) will prove to be a boon to the dissatisfied customers who cannot change their Cable TV operator in view of the recurring costs of setting and installing the physical infrastructure afresh. Based on a portable smart card like a mobile SIM, this solution will revolutionize the experience of the Cable TV operators by offering them a high degree of choice, ease and convenience without having to replace the once installed STB.

Cabinet approves 

Signing of Agreement between India and Peru on Cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants: India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity and more than 7000 species of plants are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of traditional medicines like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy (AYUSH System of Medicine). The Republic of Peru is one of the Latin American Countries which are the biodiversity hotspots in the world and like India, Peru is also having rich biodiversity of medicinal plants and the medicinal plants based traditional medicine practices are prominently practiced by indigenous people.

Considering the richness of medicinal plants biodiversity and uses of these resources in Indigenous Traditional Systems of medicines in both countries and to strengthen the bilateral cooperation, the proposed Agreement on cooperation, in the field of medicinal plants is envisaged.

Establishment of an International Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure: The CDRI will serve as a platform where knowledge is generated and exchanged on different aspects of disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure. It will bring together technical expertise from a multitude of stakeholders. In doing so, it will create a mechanism to assist countries to upgrade their capacities and practices, with regard to infrastructure development in accordance with their risk context and economic needs. Few concrete initiatives work at the intersection of Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change Adaptation with a focus on infrastructure. Focus on disaster resilient infrastructure would simultaneously address the loss reduction targets under the Sendai Framework, address a number of SDGs and also contribute to climate change adaptation. Hence, there is a clear niche for a Global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

MoU between India and Guinea on Cooperation in the Field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy: The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine. This will be of immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural heritage.

MoU between India and Gambia on Cooperation in the Field of Traditional Systems of Medicine: The MoU will provide a framework for cooperation between India and Gambia for the promotion of traditional systems of medicine and will mutually benefit the two countries in this field. Activities mentioned in the MoU will boost the importance of AYUSH Systems of Medicine in Gambia. As a consequence of the MoU, exchange of experts for training of the practitioners, and Scientists undertaking collaborative research in Traditional Systems of Medicine are expected to lead to new innovations in drug development and practice of Traditional Medicine.

Infusion of capital by Government in IDBI Bank: It will help in completing the process of IDBI Bank’s turnaround and enable it to return to profitability and normal lending, and giving Government the option of recovering its investment at an opportune time.


GS-3

India pledges to restore 50 lakh hectares of degraded land by 2030

(Topic: Environment Conservation, Climate Change)

Desertification is a worldwide problem directly affecting 250 million people and a third of the earth’s land surface. 

  • To fight this menace, India will convert degraded land of nearly 50 lakh hectares to fertile land in next 10 years; it will implement provisions of New Delhi Declaration which is to be adopted at the end of conference and a Centre for Excellence will be established at Dehradun.
  • Main interventions focuses on restoring land productivity and ecosystem services of 50 Lakh hectares by adopting a landscape restoration approach.
  • Aim for no net loss in terms of land degradation for the whole territory of India.  

Key National Focus Areas

  • Restoring Productivity of different land cover and land-use classes
  • Ensuring Livelihood security and Improving Farm incomes 
  • Conserve Biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Sustainable Management of water sources
  • Resilience to Climate change 
  • To Improve soil organic carbon stocks

Geographical Focus Areas

  • Drylands, Rain-fed areas, Desert 
  • Rehabilitation of vulnerable ecosystem of Himalayas, Aravalli’s, Western Ghats and Deccan plateau
  • Degraded forests, Scrub and open forest areas
  • Eroded-Coastal areas, Salinity affected areas and Mangroves; wetlands and water bodies
  • Recharge of sub-surface aquifers

It is the common resolve of the World to combat desertification and India will lead from the front and move the world in a positive direction, taking into cognizance the support of other countries.

Desertification: Degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas (Not the natural expansion of existing deserts)

Land Degradation: Deterioration in the quality of land (its topsoil caused usually by excessive or inappropriate exploitation)

  • Causes: Overexploitation, overgrazing, deforestation, and poor irrigation practices
  • Solutions: Prevention of Soil Erosion, Water Resource Management, Sustainable Practices

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – Bonn (Germany)

Legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. It is one of the three Rio Conventions along with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 

India became a signatory to UNCCD on 14th October 1994 and ratified it on 17th December 1996. 

The main objective of the convention is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, involving long-term integrated strategies that focus simultaneously, in affected areas, on improved productivity of land, and the rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources, leading to improved living conditions, in particular at the community level. 

The Convention’s 197 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.

Logo by India: 

  • Sapling rising from bottom to top shows progress while the leaves on the top represent life itself, while Sun’s rays depict hope. 
  • Land and water in the logo shows importance as being the source of life. 
  • The hand represents the importance of human involvement for the betterment of life.

Note:

India hosted the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 

COP-13: Held in Ordos, China

Prelims oriented News

Poshan Maah of India: September

Best Ministry for Implementation of Swachhata Action Plan for 2018-19: Indian Railways

Best Swachh Iconic Place Award: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST), Mumbai

India’s longest electrified railway tunnel: Between Cherlopalli and Rapuru railway stations in Andhra Pradesh

Ujjwala Yojana achieves target of 8 crore LPG connections 7 months ahead of target date

Project 'Bal Basera' for the welfare of children of Construction Workers deployed at AIIMS Rishikesh. Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has signed a MoU with CPWD Officers’ Wives Association for organising heath camps and managing crèches at construction sites in a formal and organised manner on large scale and on pan India basis so that workers and their children could lead a healthy productive life.

Launch of Campaign Angikaar & E-Course on Vulnerability Atlas: 

  • Angikaar has been launched for social behaviour change, focusing on issues such as water & energy conservation, waste management, health, tree plantation, sanitation and hygiene for beneficiaries of completed houses under PMAY (U), through community mobilisation and IEC activities.For this purpose, the campaign will converge with schemes and Missions of other Ministries dealing with these subjects. The convergence would especially focus on Ujjwala for gas connection and Ayushman Bharat for health insurance to the beneficiaries of PMAY (U).
  • The e-course on Vulnerability Atlas is offered by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs in collaboration of  School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), New Delhi and Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC). It is a unique course that offers awareness and understanding about natural hazards, helps identify regions with high vulnerability with respect to various hazards (earthquakes, cyclones, landslides, floods, etc.) and specifies district-wise level of damage risks to the existing housing stock. The e-course will be a tool for effective & efficient disaster mitigation & management in the field of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Urban & Regional Planning, Housing & Infrastructure Planning, Construction Engineering & Management and Building & Materials Research.

TB Division of the Health Ministry signs MoU with Wadhwani Institute to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions in combating TB: 

As part of the collaboration, Wadhwani AI would be supporting National TB programme become AI-ready which would include, developing, piloting, and deploying AI-based solutions. It would support the programme in vulnerability and hot-spot mapping, modelling novel methods of screening and diagnostics and enabling decision support for care-givers apart from supporting the RNTCP in adoption of other AI technologies.

The Revised National TB Control Programme has been at the forefront of adoption of newer technologies in healthcare. Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides a unique opportunity for the health sector, bringing efficiency, saving resources and bringing accuracy in interpretation and enhancing quality of service delivery. Its use in this sector has an ample scope to improve outcomes, especially in situations where resources are limited. India is committed to ending TB by 2025, five years ahead of the Global Sustainable Development targets.

100% FDI under automatic route for coal mining activities: The decision of 100% FDI under automatic route for coal mining activities including associated processing, infrastructure in the coal sector will help in many ways -

  • The influx of international players will create an efficient and competitive coal market in India. 
  • It is expected to bring state of the art coal mining technology to the country which will help in environmentally sustainable mining.  
  • This decision will also create direct and indirect employment in coal bearing areas and will have a positive impact in the economic development of these regions
  • Lead to energy security of the country as 70% of India’s electricity is generated from thermal power plants.

India Launches World’s First Ever Facial Bio-Metric Data Based Seafarer Identity Document:

  • India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial bio-metric data of seafarers.
  • The new facial biometric technology is a marked improvement over the two finger or iris based bio-metric data, with modern security features.  It will make the identification of the SID holder more reliable and efficient, while protecting their dignity and privacy.  
  • India had made a presentation on this technology at ILO. The new card is in confirmation of the Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation on BSID. India ratified the Convention in October 2015.

The shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways and other maritime activities. This is leading to generation of employment in the sector, which is evident in the growing number of Indian seafarers in the international shipping industry. The total number of Indian seafarers who were employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased from 154349 in 2017 to 208799 this year, showing an unprecedented increase of 35%.  

North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP)

  • Empowered rural poor and improved livelihoods of about 300,000 rural households in 1,645 villages under 58 development blocks across the eleven districts of four states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
  • Under this project, the Skills development and placement has trained 10462 boys and girls in various job skills and a total of 5494 of them are employed today.
  • NERLP is World Bank aided, multi-state livelihood Rs.683 crore (USD 144.4 million) project under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), launched in 2012.
  • The project aims “to improve rural livelihoods especially that of women, unemployed youth and the most disadvantaged, in four North Eastern States”.
  • The project has focussed on five development strategies, namely, social empowerment, economic empowerment, partnership development, project management and livelihood & value chain developments.

Department of Fertilizers to promote Cloth/Jute bags, locally tailored, to reduce the Consumption of Single Use Plastics: An effective ban on single use plastic can happen if an alternative is available in the market.  Cloth/Jute bags, locally tailored and produced can be viable alternative. Women’s self-help groups can easily be trained for tailoring and marketing of such cloth bags (contribute as additional source of income to them).

Declaration of certain individuals as terrorists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967: Invoking the recent amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Central Government has decided to declare the following individuals as terrorists and add their names to Schedule 4 of the Act:

  1. Maulana Masood Azhar : chief, founder and key leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad
  2. Hafiz Muhammad: chief, founder and key leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamat-ud-Dawa
  3. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi: chief operation commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba and one of its founder members
  4. Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar: runs an international underworld crime syndicate and is involved in perpetrating acts of terror

All of the above are involved in terrorist attacks in India, and have been designated as global terrorists under United Nations. Earlier when terrorist organizations were banned, the individuals associated with it simply changed names and continued to carry out terrorist activities.

Quotes

On Left Wing Extremism

LWE is one of the major internal security challenges faced by the Nation for the last several decades and it has no place in ‘New India’. LWE organizations are against democratic institutions and use violence to subvert the democratic process at ground level. They actively seek to prevent development in the least developed regions of the country. Their strategy is to misguide people and keep them ignorant.

  • From the high 2258 events of LWE violence in 2009, the events have come down to 833 in 2018. The number of deaths dropped from 1005 in 2009 to 240 in 2018. From 96 districts affected by naxal violence in 2010, the number of districts affected was reduced to 60 in 2018.
  • States play a key role in maintaining law and order, therefore, a synergy between the centre and states can effectively address the issue of LWE. Though incidents of LWE violence have come down, focus needs to be kept to eliminate it completely and all efforts need to be maintained by Centre and states in full pace.
  • Strategies being deployed by the Government:
    • Use of advanced technology, sharing intelligence
    • Raising of 66 Indian Reserve Battalions (IRBs) by the centre
    • Capacity building of local forces, since it is strong local forces that can effectively neutralize LWE organizations from their areas. Vigilance and efficiency of the local police in the militancy affected states should be enhanced.
    • Apart from the flagship schemes of various ministries, specific initiatives have been taken by the Central Government for areas affected by LWE, which mainly include improving road and telecom connectivity, financial inclusion, skill development and education. There is a need for accelerating the pace of opening up of schools under Eklavya model as well as ensuring the presence of banking facilities within 5 kms to all citizens. Protection of the rights of local citizens is the priority.
  • States should rationalize their surrender policy to mainstream innocent individuals caught in the trap of LWE violence.
  • Innovative measures need to be employed to prevent IED (Improvised Explosive Device) incidents that have caused significant number of casualties in recent years

On Skilled Labour

The skilled labour force is vital for the country to make rapid economic progress. The youth need to be trained and imparted skills in tune with the fast-changing technological scenario.

  • With India inching towards becoming the third-largest economy in the coming years, the government and various industry bodies such as CII FICCI, ASOCHAM have to create infrastructure for skilling existing and new entrants to the labor force.
  • There has to be measures to reduce the urban-rural divide in terms of ensuring equitable growth and creating opportunities for youth and students to acquire skills.
  • It is important to nurture the talent of the youth to disrupt the status quo and lead to radical innovations. There is a need to create an enabling environment for innovation to thrive. 
  • Need treat skill development as a National Mission and train the youth, women, and students to support innovation.
  • Higher educational institutions to promote skilling and entrepreneurship among the youth and the academia and the industry to join hands to make students familiar with the skills required for the 21st-century jobs.

Personality in News

Shri Ram Jethmalani

Served as the Union law minister and the minister of urban development in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. In 2010, he was elected as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. 

Jethmalani had played a leading role during the emergency period from 1975 to 1977. He was critical of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and his sharp commentary against the government earned him an arrest warrant during the time.

  • Known for his contributions in the field of law, Jethmalani came in the spotlight after he got involved with the Nanavati murder case, which was one of the last cases to be heard by a jury in India. It was subsequently abolished in 1959. The case became prominent as it involved a decorated Navy officer KM Nanavati, who killed his wife's lover Prem Ahuja. However, the media trial in the case ensured that Nanavati got massive support from the Parsi community. However, the jury verdict in the case in favour of Nanavati was overruled and legislation was passed subsequently to abolish jury trials in the country.
  • Among the high-profile cases under his belt, he defended Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh in the Securities Scam case 1992. Jethmalani also defended senior BJP leader LK Advani in the Hawala scam.
  • Jethmalani served as senior counsel for Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, who were convicted for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. While he managed to secure a stay order on their execution orders, the duo was hanged to death a year later.
  • The veteran lawyer had argued on behalf of V Sriharan in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and told the Supreme Court on July 2015 that the suicide bomb attack that killed the former prime minister was "not a crime against India".
  • Jethmalani also garnered attention for defending Manu Sharma, who was the prime accused in the Jessica Lall murder case. Sharma, the son of senior Congress leader Vinod Sharma, was convicted for murdering the model in 1999.
  • He later represented DMK leader Kanimozhi in the infamous 2G scam case, which finally led to the downfall of the UPA government.