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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 7th October to 13th October – 2019
Published on Oct. 14, 2019, 7 p.m.

Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 7th October to 13th October, 2019

ARCHIVES

GS-2

Defence Relationship: India & France

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

Addressing the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of French Defence Industries in Paris, Shri Rajnath Singh called upon the French companies for collaboration to modernise India’s shipyards and defence platforms by infusion of technology and asked them to make India its base for production of defence equipment not only for India’s large market but also for export to other countries.

  • He applauded the French companies for regularly participating in DefExpos organised in India with great energy and enthusiasm. He extended a special invitation to French firms to participate in DefExpo, which will be held in Lucknow from February 05 to 08, 2020.
  • He highlighted India’s substantial requirement of Aero engines both in civil and military domains. He requested French OEMs to consider exploring development of an Aero engine complex on government -to- government basis saying French companies could leverage from advantages in India such as low wages and availability of technical manpower.

Cabinet approves 

MoUs signed between India and Foreign Broadcasters in the field of Radio and Television: 

The MoUs with the Foreign Broadcasters will help:

  • Public broadcaster in exploring new visions;
  • New Strategies to address the demands of new technologies and stiff competition;
  • Media liberalization; and
  • Globalization

 Major Impact: Broadcasting of programmes to be obtained through mutual exchange, co-production will lead to equity and inclusiveness among viewer/listeners of DD and AIR. Exchanges of technical Know-how, expertise and training of manpower would help the public broadcaster to meet the emerging challenges in the field of broadcasting.

Relaxation of Aadhaar seeding of data of the beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri KisanSamman Nidhi (PM-Kisan): The scheme provides income support of Rs 6,000 per year to landholding families, subject to certain exclusions. The amount is released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs 2,000 each directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries through DBT mode.

It has not been possible to get 100% Aadhaar seeding for release of funds as per the prescribed time schedule before release of instalments after 1st August, 2019. 

  • Since the farmers are still gearing up for Rabi season, they are in dire need of money to take care of various farming activities like procurement of seeds, preparation of soil and other associated activities like irrigation, maintenance and mobilization of machinery and tools.
  • Over and above these pressing needs, the just started festive season will put further stress on the financial condition of the poor farmers' households in the country. 
  • Non-seeding of beneficiaries' details with Aadhaar number will delay the release of further instalments and will cause discontentment among the farmers. Therefore, the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding for release of benefits after 1st August, 2019 has been relaxed till 30th November, 2019. 
  • This will enable immediate release of benefits to a large number of farmers who are not able to avail the same due this requirement.

Cabinet apprised of the Progress under National Health Mission (NHM) and Decisions of the EPC and MSG of NHM

  • There has been acceleration in decline of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) and the IMR since the launch of the NRHM/NHM. At the current rate of decline, India should able to reach its SDG target (MMR-70, U5MR-25) much before the due year i.e. 2030.
  • India was the biggest success story amongst Malaria endemic countries in the World, in bringing down the Malaria cases and deaths which have declined by 49.09% and 50.52% in 2013 respectively compared to 2017.
  • Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has been significantly strengthened and intensified. A total of 1,180 CBNAAT machines across all districts have been installed which provides rapid and accurate diagnosis for TB including drug resistant TB. This has resulted in three-fold increased use of CBNAAT over the past year. Due to the intensified efforts, there is 16% jump in identification of new cases in one year. Universal drug sensitive cases also increased by 54%. Newer drug regimen of Bedaquiline and Delaminide and nutrition support to all the TB patients for the duration of the treatment has been rolled throughout the country.
  • In 2018-19, 52744 AB-HWCs were approved against which 17149 HWCs were operationalized against the target of 15000.A total of 1, 81,267 Health workers which included ASHAs, MPHWs, Staff Nurses and PHC-MOs were trained on NCDs during 2018-19. The states have initiated activities to operationalize the HWCs.
  • Amongst the new vaccines, Tetanus and adult Diphtheria (Td) vaccine replaced Tetanus Toxoid (TT) vaccine under universal immunization programme in 2018 to ensure Diphtheria immunity among adults.
  • In 2018, Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination drive was conducted in 17 additional States, thereby covering 30.50 Crores children till March 2019.
  • During 2018-19, Rotavirus vaccine (RVV) was introduced in additional two States. Till today, all the States/UTs are covered with RVV.
  • During 2018-19, Pneumococcal Conjugated Vaccine (PCV) was expanded to MP, Haryana and the remaining districts of Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.  
  • The routine and recurring incentives of ASHAs got increased from 1000 per month to 2000 per month. ASHAs and ASHA Facilitators were provided the cover of Pradhan Mantri Jevan Jyoti BeemaYojna (Premium of Rs. 330 contributed by Gol) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BeemaYojna (Premium of Rs.12 contributed by Gol). 
  • Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Abhiyaan was launched under POSHAN Abhiyaan in April 2018.  
  • The untied funds amount was increased from Rs, 20,000 to Rs 50,000 for sub health Centres transformed to HWCs.
  • Home Based Care for Young Child (HBYC) programme was introduced under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • The scheme for awarding States/UTs/Districts for achieving disease free status in TB/Leprosy/Malaria/Kala-Azar/Lymphatic-Filariasis/Cataract was approved. This will allow certification of the districts/ states as Disease Free ahead of the national certification and promote healthy competition among states and districts, similar to ODF districts and states. 
  • National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme was approved for prevention, management and treatment of Hepatitis to A, B, C and E and rollout was initiated. This would benefit an estimated 5 crore patients of Hepatitis.
  1990-2013 2013-2016
MMR Decline rate per 1 Lakh live births 5.3% 8%
IMR Decline Rate per 1 Lakh births 2.8% 4.7%
Under 5 Mortality Decline Rate 3.9% 6.6%

 

Malaria Annual Parasite incidence (API) per 1,000 population 0.64 in 2017 0.30 in 2018

Inclusion of 5,300 DP families of Jammu & Kashmir-1947 who initially opted to move outside the State of Jammu & Kashmir but later on returned and settled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, in the Rehabilitation Package approved by the Cabinet on 30.11.2016 for Displaced Families PoJK and Chhamb under the PM’s Development Package 2015 for Jammu & Kashmir

The approval will enable such DP Families to become eligible to get one-time financial assistance of Rs 5.5 Lakhs under the existing scheme, and in turn, be able to get some sustained income which the existing scheme is aimed at. It will enable them to earn a reasonable monthly income and be part of mainstream economic activities. This will also upgrade the Government’s capacity to respond effectively to such DP families need of financial assistance. Requirement of funds will be met out of the already sanctioned funds for the existing scheme.


Launch of WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) provides a strategic roadmap for WHO to work with the Government of India towards achieving its health sector goals, in improving the health of its population and bringing in transformative changes in the health sector.

Four areas identified for strategic cooperation of WHO with the country encompass: 

  • To accelerate progress on UHC
  • To promote health and wellness by addressing determinants of health
  • To protect the population better against health emergencies
  • To enhance India’s global leadership in health

Besides the health priorities detailed in the strategy, focus needs to be given on other equally pertinent health areas of environmental and occupational health, accidents and road injuries, and good nutrition and food safety.

The implementation of this CCS will build on the remarkable successes in public health that India has demonstrated to the world. It’s a great opportunity to showcase India as a model to the world in initiatives such as digital health, access to quality medicines and medical products, comprehensive hepatitis control program and Ayushman Bharat.

The India CCS is one of the first that fully aligns itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work and its 'triple billion' targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO South-East Asia Region’s eight Flagship Priorities. It captures the work of the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for 2018–2022. The CCS outlines how WHO can support the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and other allied Ministries to drive impact at the country level. The strategy document builds on other key strategic policy documents including India’s National Health Policy 2017, the many pathbreaking initiatives India has introduced — from Ayushman Bharat to its National Viral Hepatitis programme and promotion of digital health amongst others.


ADB, India sign $190 million loan for improving road connectivity in Rajasthan

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India yesterday signed a $190 million loan to upgrade 754 kilometres of state highways and major district roads (MDRs) to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards that will benefit about 26 million people in 14 districts of Rajasthan.

The Tranche 1 loan of $220 million under the Programme, signed in July 2017, upgraded about 1,000 km of state roads.

  • Tranche 2 roads pass through mostly rural areas of Rajasthan that lack reliable connectivity and will help improve access to health, education facilities and markets leading to increased job opportunities.
  • To promote operational efficiencies and innovations, the project will encourage participation of private sector through Hybrid Annuity Mode and engineering procurement construction (EPC) contracts.
  • The ADB value-addition will consist in financing part of the construction costs for the annuity-based public private partnership (PPP) concessions and EPC contracts and ensure good governance during project implementation, particularly on procurement and safeguards. 
  • The annuity-based PPP model attracts private sector financing to address capital investment requirements, where a proportion of initial capital expenditure is paid during construction while the balance is serviced by annuity payments during the operation and maintenance phase. 
  • The toll collection rights will remain with the state public works department to bring sustainability in operation and maintenance of the project.
  • For the benefit of commuters and pedestrians, particularly women and children, the project provides for constructing more than 200 bus stops, 70 km of hard shoulder, and 2 km of raised sidewalk on project roads.

2nd India-China Informal Summit

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

The two Leaders had an in-depth exchange of views in a friendly atmosphere on overarching, long-term and strategic issues of global and regional importance. They also shared their respective approaches towards national development.

They evaluated the direction of bilateral relations in a positive light and discussed how India-China bilateral interaction can be deepened to reflect the growing role of both countries on the global stage. International:  Both Leaders shared the view that the international situation is witnessing significant readjustment. They were of the view that India and China share the common objective of working for a peaceful, secure and prosperous world in which all countries can pursue their development within a rules-based international order. 

  • They reiterated the consensus reached during the first Informal Summit in Wuhan, China in April 2018, that India and China are factors for stability in the current international landscape and that both side will prudently manage their differences and not allow differences on any issue to become disputes.
  • The Leaders recognized that India and China have a common interest in preserving and advancing a rules-based and inclusive international order, including through reforms that reflect the new realities of the 21st Century. 
  • Both agreed that it is important to support and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system at a time when globally agreed trade practices and norms are being selectively questioned. India and China will continue to work together for open and inclusive trade arrangements that will benefit all countries.
  • Both Leaders also underscored the important efforts being made in their respective countries to address global developmental challenges, including climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. They emphasized that their individual efforts in this regard would help the international community achieve the targets.

Terrorism: Both Leaders are concerned that terrorism continues to pose a common threat. As countries that are large and diverse, they recognized the importance of continuing to make joint efforts to ensure that the international community strengthens the framework against training, financing and supporting terrorist groups throughout the world and on a non-discriminatory basis.

  • They shared the view that an open, inclusive, prosperous and stable environment in the region is important to ensure the prosperity and stability of the region. They also agreed on the importance of concluding negotiations for a mutually-beneficial and balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Culture:  As important contemporary civilizations with great traditions, both Leaders deemed it important to enhance dialogue in order to foster cultural understanding between the two peoples. Both Leaders also agreed that, as major civilizations in history, they can work together to enhance greater dialogue and understanding between cultures and civilizations in other parts of the world.

  • The two Leaders exchanged views on the age-old commercial linkages and people-to-people contacts between India and China in the past two millennia, including significant maritime contacts. In this regard the two leaders agreed on establishment of sister-state relations between Tamil Nadu and Fujian Province, exploring the possibility of establishing an academy to study links between Mahabalipuram and Fujian province on the lines of the experience between Ajanta and Dunhuang and conducting research on maritime links between China and India in view of our extensive contacts over the centuries.

Development: The two Leaders shared their mutual vision on goals for development of their respective economies. They agreed that the simultaneous development of India and China presents mutually-beneficial opportunities. 

  • The two sides will continue to adopt a positive, pragmatic and open attitude and to enhance appreciation of each other’s policies and actions in line with the general direction of their friendship and cooperation. 
  • In this regard, they also agreed to continue to enhance strategic communication on all matters of mutual interest, and to continue the momentum of high-level exchanges by making full use of dialogue mechanisms.

Bilateral Relations: The leaders were of the view that the positive direction of ties had opened up possibilities for taking bilateral relations to greater heights. They agreed that this endeavor also required strong public support in both countries. 

  • In this context the two Leaders have decided to designate 2020 as Year of India-China Cultural and People to People Exchanges and agreed that the 70th anniversary of the establishment of India-China relations in 2020 will be fully utilized to deepen exchanges at all levels including between their respective legislatures, political parties, cultural and youth organizations and militaries. 
  • To celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations the two countries will organize 70 activities including a conference on a ship voyage that will trace the historical connect between the two civilizations.
  • In pursuit of their efforts to further deepen economic cooperation and to enhance their closer development partnership, the two Leaders have decided to establish a High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue mechanism with the objective of achieving enhanced trade and commercial relations, as well as to better balance the trade between the two countries.
  • They have also agreed to encourage mutual investments in identified sectors through the development of a Manufacturing Partnership and tasked their officials to develop this idea at the first meeting of the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue.

Boundaries: The two Leaders have exchanged views on outstanding issues, including on the boundary question. 

  • They have welcomed the work of the Special Representatives and urged them to continue their efforts to arrive at a mutually-agreed framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement based on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles that were agreed by the two sides in 2005. 
  • They reiterated their understanding that efforts will continue to be made to ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas, and that both sides will continue to work on additional Confidence Building Measures in pursuit of this objective.

GS-3

Launch of Low cost device for ocean states forecast and mapping potential fishing zones

(Topic: Disaster Management)

For seamless and effective dissemination of emergency information and communication on disaster warnings, Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen, the Government launched the Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device. 

Ocean State Forecasts include the forecasts on winds, waves, ocean currents, water temperature, etc. at every 6 hrs on daily basis for next 5 days helping fishermen in maximizing their earnings, ensuring safety and in planning of fishing activities.

Though the advisories and forecasts are disseminated through multiple communication modes, none of them could provide such information, including the disaster warnings when the fishermen move away from the coast beyond 10-12 km (typical ranges of mobile phones and VHF). That remained as a major limitation in disseminating the information to fishermen who go in the sea beyond 50 nautical miles; sometimes up to 300 nautical miles and beyond to conduct multiday fishing.

This lacuna was severely felt during the Ockhi cyclone in 2017, when fishermen went out, for deep sea fishing before the onset of the cyclone and could not be informed about the developing cyclone. This communication gap resulted in loss of life, serious injuries to those rescued and severe damages to fishing boats and fishing gear.

To overcome this difficulty, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) joined hands with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to utilize the GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite system to transmit the PFZ, OSF and disaster warnings to fishermen with GAGAN system consisting of three geosynchronous satellites (GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15).  GAGAN foot-print covers the entire Indian Ocean round the clock.

To receive the messages transmitted through the GAGAN satellites, INCOIS together with AAI developed a low-cost GAGAN system-enabled GEMINI (GAGAN Enabled Mariner's Instrument for Navigation and Information) device and electronically designed and manufactured by a private industry M/S Acord, Bangalore under Make in India Program. The GEMINI device receives and transfers the data received from GAGAN satellite/s to a mobile through Bluetooth communication. A mobile application developed by INCOIS decodes and displays the information in nine regional languages.  


MNRE refutes reports expressing doubt on India’s renewable energy target

(Topic: Energy)

The Target: 1,75,000 MW by the year 2022

In some of the recent media reports apprehensions have been raised whether India would be able to achieve 1,75,000 MW renewable power installed capacity target by the year 2022. All these have cited the CRISIL report of September 2019. However, the doubts are ill-founded and not reflective of the status on the ground and plans ahead.

  • By the end of September 2019, India has installed more than 82,580 MW of renewable energy capacity with around 31,150 MW of capacity under various stages of installation. Thus, by the first quarter of 2021, India would have installed more than 1,13,000 MWof renewable power capacity. This would constitute nearly 65 per cent of the targeted capacity.
  • Besides this, around 39,000 MWof renewable power capacity is at various stages of bidding which would be installed by September 2021, taking the percentage of installed capacity to over 87 percentage of the targeted capacity.
  • With only 23,000 MW of renewable power capacity left to bid, India is confident that the target of installing 1,75,000 MW of renewable power capacity will not only be met but exceeded.

India’s renewable power capacity has increased from 34000 MW to 82,580 MW recording 138 percent growth. Globally, India stands 5th in solar power, 4th in wind power, and 4th in total renewable power installed capacity. If large hydro included, India stands 3rd in renewable power capacity globally. India’s renewable energy programme is much beyond production of electricity and covers a basket of applications including use of solar thermal energy for cooling, heating, drying and other industrial applications. Renewable energy has emerged as a true multi-benefit system, combining ecological necessities with domestic priorities, economic and job creation opportunities.

Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Scheme Phase-ll

  • For setting up 12,000 MW grid-connected SPV Power Projects, by the Government Producers with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support of Rs. 8,580 crore for self-use or use by Government or Government entities, both Central and State Governments 
  • The Scheme mandates use of both SPV cells and modules manufactured domestically as per specifications and testing requirements. 

PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Surakshaevem Utthan Mahabhiyan) scheme 

  • To be implemented over next four years for de-dieselization of the farm sector and increasing farmers’ energy independence and income. 
  • Under the scheme, India has plans to provide 1.75 million stand-alone solar agriculture pumps and carry out solarisation of 1 million grid connected agriculture pumps by the year 2022. 
  • Under the same scheme, Government is also encouraging farmers to set up small solar plants of the size of 500 KW to 2 MW on barren lands for their additional income. 
  • Three components combined, the scheme aims to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022. 
  • The total central financial support provided under the scheme would be Rs. 34,422 crore.

Roof Top Solar Phase-II programme SRISTI (Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India) scheme

  • For accelerated deployment of solar roof top systems in the country
  • Under this scheme Central Financial Assistance for 4000 MW of small roof top capacity and incentives to Distribution Companies for 18,000 MW capacity by 2022 have been provided.
  • These schemes will also act as catalyst for adding solar cell and module manufacturing capacity in India. 
  • Further, the Tariff Policy is being revised to ensure timely adoption of tariffs.

Please Note

Joint Military Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN-219etw: Between India and Japan

First ever ‘India International Cooperatives Trade Fair’ in Delhi: Aimed at achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income

Kayakalp awards: Given to Public and Private Health Facilities for high standards of sanitation and hygiene

Launch of Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme (PMILP)- ‘DHRUV’

  • The objective of the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme program would be to allow talented students to realize their full potential and contribute to society.
  • In centres of excellence across the country, gifted children will be mentored and nurtured by renowned experts in different areas, so that they can reach their full potential. It is expected that many of the students selected will reach the highest levels in their chosen fields and bring laurels to their community, State and Nation
  • The programme will be called DHRUV (after the Pole Star) and every student to be called ‘DHRUV TARA’. The students will thus both shine through their achievements and light a path for others to follow.
  • It will cover two areas i.e. Science and Performing Arts.There will be 60 students in all, 30 from each area.The 60 students come from across the country
  • The students will be broadly from classes 9 to 12, from all schools including government and private.
  • This is only the first phase of the programme which will be expanded gradually to other fields like creative writing etc.

Launch of Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship Programme with IIM Bangalore

To boost skill development at the district level, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) signed a contract with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore for introducing a two-year fellowship programme Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme.

Designed under Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) the fellowship aims to address the challenge of non-availability of personnel for implementation of various programmes at national, state and district levels.

  • Fellows in the two-year blended programme with academic module at IIM-B & district emersion program will train with district administration officials
  • Programme aims to provide academic inputs and field experience to understand and contribute to the creation of a district level skill development ecosystem
  • Programme launched in 75 districts across Gujarat, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Launched by the Government in January 2018, SANKALP is a World Bank loan assisted project that aims to strengthen institutional mechanisms for skill development and increase access to quality and market-relevant training for youth across the country. Four key result areas have been identified under SANKALP viz: 

(i) Institutional Strengthening; 

(ii) Quality Assurance; 

(iii) Inclusion; and 

(iv) Expanding Skills through PPPs

India and Comoros: 

Seeking to expand bilateral relations in various fields, India and Comoros today signed 6 MoUs including one on defence cooperation. Other MoUs sought to cement cooperation in the fields of health and medicine, arts and culture and tele-education (e-Vidya Bharati) and tele-medicine (e-Arogya Bharati). MoUs on exemption of Visa for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders for short visits and protocol on foreign office consultation were also signed.

Comoros is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique, the French region of Mayotte, and northwestern Madagascar. The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population is Sunni Islam.

Launch of Ganga Aamantran

  • A unique initiative to connect with Ganga’s Stakeholders
  • The ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’ is a pioneering and historic exploratory open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River to be held between 10th October 2019 to 11 November 2019. 
  • Starting at Devprayag and culminating at Ganga Sagar, the expedition will cover the entire streatch of over 2500 kms of the Ganga River.
  • This is the first ever effort by National Mission for Clean Ganga to raft across the entire stretch of the river and also the longest ever social campaign undertaken through an adventure sporting activity to spread the message of River Rejuvenation and Water Conservation on a massive scale. The expedition will draw attention to the ecological challenges being faced by Ganga.
  • The expedition will encompass the five Ganga basin states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal with stops at Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata.
  • The team, during the expedition will take up public awareness campaign on the locations at which they will stop. They will organise mass cleaning drives, interact with students of the village/city and will further the message of river conservation.

Launch of eDantseva website and mobile application

  • The first ever national digital platform on oral health information and knowledge dissemination
  • e-DantSeva will reach out to more than one billion people with one click in the form of a dedicated website and mobile application
  • Poor oral health affects growth negatively in all aspects of human development
  • Braille booklet and Voice over on Oral Health Education for the visually impaired individuals, along with the oral health posters for pregnant women and children was also released
  • Dental caries/cavities and periodontal disease remain the two most prevalent dental diseases of the Indian population and dental infections have a potential for serious diseases/infections. This initiative of the Ministry with AIIMS and other stakeholders aims to sensitize the public about the significance of maintaining optimum oral health and equips them with the tools and knowledge to do so, including awareness on the nearest oral health service facility.

India announces TAP for 5 African Countries on World Cotton Day

In the five year long second phase, the programme will be scaled up in size and coverage and will be introduced in five additional countries, namely Mali, Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania. The Cotton TAP programme will now cover 11 African countries including the C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali). India implemented a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for cotton in 6 African countries, namely – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda from 2012 to 2018.

India is also engaging meaningfully in providing assistance to strengthen both the agriculture and textile part of the cotton value chain in Africa through training and capacity-building of farmers, scientists, government officials and industry representatives and through the creation of cotton-related infrastructure.

As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of cotton, India supports the World Cotton Day as an opportunity to recognise the significance of cotton as a global commodity, and, more importantly, as a source of livelihood for millions of small and marginal farmers in developing countries.

As a country of 8 million small and marginal cotton farmers, India is sensitive to the challenges faced by the cotton sector in developing countries and India has been a proponent for the elimination of asymmetries and imbalances in the WTO agreements that lead to a distortion of global cotton markets.

On Environment

To control stubble burning, the government has given more than 20 thousand machines to farmers in Punjab and Haryana at a cost of about Rs.1150 crore

Launch of green fire crackers with green logo and QR coding system, and is aimed at reducing pollution and health risks

Emulating the best dust management practices from Delhi Metro has led to pollution reduction and presently there is nearly 5 lakh MT waste which is being processed as Recycled Aggregate/Brick base.

India to shift to BS VI vehicular emission norms by April next year

  • Bharat Stage Six (BS VI), is a revolutionary step in the transformation of fuels. 
  • There has been 80% reduction in Particulate Matter emissions and 30% reduction in Nitrogen Oxides emissions in BS IV heavy duty diesel vehicles compared with BS III norms.
  • Nearly ₹60,000 Cr were spent on switching over to BS VI fuels. 
  • The country will shift to BS VI vehicular emission norms from BS IV by April 2020. BS VI petrol/diesel is already available in Delhi/NCR
 

Personality in News

Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar of Mysore

He is the 25th Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore, was an exceptional ruler and able administrator. He was also a noted philosopher, music exponent, political thinker and philanthropist. 

When India won independence, he was the first among the rulers of India’s princely states to accept the Instrument of Accession. The Maharaja signed it on 9th August, 1947 and the Union Government accepted it on 16th August. He should be thus regarded as the icon of India’s transition to democracy. His pioneering contribution to the unity and integrity of the newly independent nation will never be forgotten.

Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar was not only an exceptional scholar of Indian philosophy himself but also promoted scholarship through the ‘Jayachamaraja Grantha Ratna Mala’. His support for entrepreneurship is also an inspiring story. As the ruler of the Mysore state, he actively encouraged the establishment of an industrial facility in Bengaluru by a company called Hindustan Aircraft in 1940 which become Hindustan Aeronautics.

Maharaja gifted the magnificent Cheluvamba Mansion in Mysore to the Government to start the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI). He said that Maharaja’s similar donations helped the government set up the National Tuberculosis Institute in Bangalore and the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing at Mysore.

Jayaprakash Narayan

Part of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)

Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), whose 117th birth anniversary falls on October 11, was among the twelve apostles of the Mahatma and had been a front-soldier during the Indian freedom struggle. In this fight, JP imbibed a combination of ahimsa and aggression.

His call for ‘sampoorna kranti’ or total revolution to fight against rampant corruption, unemployment and systematic weakening of democratic institutions back in 1974, and the subsequent events, led to the imposition of the infamous Emergency. It eventually paved the way for a realignment of political forces in the country and gave a new direction to the politics of the country, with far-reaching ramifications.

He firmly believed that youngsters should be in the forefront of changing the system. Those entrenched in power, the status quoists, would naturally resist any change, but only the energy and force of youth can bring about revolutionary transformation – this was his firm belief.

And that’s precisely what happened in the seventies. After blessing the Nav Nirman Andolan in Gujarat, where people had risen against the corrupt state government, JP mobilised students in Bihar to fight against authoritarianism and corruption. He had such a mesmerising influence on the political scene that under his mentorship a host of splinter parties of the Congress, like Congress (O), Jana Sangh and Swatantra Party, and other socialists came together to form the Janata Party. He could have easily occupied the top post during the Janata regime. Although people clamoured for his leadership, he said that power was not his aim. 

He participated in the freedom struggle and led the Quit India movement in 1942 in the absence of senior leaders. He remained detached from electoral politics after Independence, but as such was not indifferent to politics. He also took active part in Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement.

The legacy of JP is akin to that of the Mahatma and echoes him on issues that have cropped up in the post-Gandhi era. All of them are topical and in JP’s own words:

Freedom

“Freedom became one of the beacon lights of my life and it has remained so ever since… Above all it meant freedom of the human personality, freedom of the mind, freedom of the spirit. This freedom has become a passion of my life and I shall not see it compromised for food, for security, for prosperity, for the glory of the state or for anything else.”

Democracy

“India’s democracy is to rise storey by storey from the foundation, consisting of self-governing, self-sufficient, agro-industrial, urbo-rural local communities — gram sabha, panchayat samiti and zilla parishad—that would form the base of Vidhan Sabhas and the Lok Sabha. These politico-economic institutions will regulate the use of natural resources for the good of the community and the nation.

Development

“Idea of development envisages independent India as sui generis, a society unlike any other, in a class of its own that would not follow the western pattern of mega industrialisation, urbanisation and individuation. India’s would be agro-based people’s economy that would chart out a distinct course in economic growth, which would be need-based, human-scale and balanced while conserving nature and livelihoods.

Such a ‘development’ process would be democratic and decentralised.  The best development model for India is diversified, democratic decentralised and value-added agriculture as the root, manufacturing small/medium industries as trunk and branches and widespread service sector as a canopy. The almost universal tendency for a centralised political, economic model, and social system that is associated with both of them should be abandoned.”

Communalism

“Although almost every religious community had its own brand of communalism, Hindu communalism was more pernicious than the others because Hindu communalism can easily masquerade as Indian nationalism and denounce all opposition to it as being anti-national.”

Hindutva

“Those who attempt to equate India with Hindus and Indian history with Hindu history are only detracting from the greatness of India and the glory of Indian history and civilisation. Such person, paradoxical though this may seem, are in reality the enemies of Hinduism itself and the Hindus. Not only do they degrade the noble religion and destroy its catholicity and spirit of tolerance and harmony, but they also weaken and sunder the fabric of the nation, of which Hindus form such a vast majority.”

Hindu Rashtra

“In ‘the long struggle for national freedom there emerged a clear enough concept of a single, composite, non-sectarian Indian nationhood’. All those who spoke about divisive and sectarian nationalism were therefore outside the pale of this nationalism, evolved during the freedom struggle. The hostile and alienating nationalism we hear about today is antithetical to the ethos of freedom struggle and against the belief of all those who helped it evolve.”