Type: PIB Releases

Inflation at wholesale level slows to 2.6% in September


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Growth

From the UPSC perspective following things are important:

Prelims Level: Not much

Mains Level: Article gives an overview of the current inflation rates.


Decrease in inflation

  1. According to official data released, Inflation at the wholesale level has slowed down to 2.6% in September
  2. It shows a slowdown in the increase in food prices
  3. Growth in the Wholesale Price Index slowed in September from 3.24% in August
  4. According to the President of the FICCI, overall, inflation remains within RBI’s target area(4% to 6%) and this is an encouraging sign

Primary articles

  1.  Inflation in the primary articles category slowed to 0.15% in September from 2.66% in August
  2. The decrease in vegetable prices was the chief driver of the decline in primary food inflation to 2.0% from 5.8%

ICRA on crude prices

  1. According to the ICRA, initial data has placed the index for crude petroleum at 55.6 for September 2017, only 1% higher than in June 2017,
  2. Despite the 17% increase in the average price of the Indian crude oil basket in rupee terms in the period
PIB: Updates

[pib] Cabinet approves SANKALP & STRIVE Schemes to boost Skill India Mission


  1. Approval of two new World Bank supported schemes – Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE)


  1. for a national architecture for promoting convergence, ensuring effective governance and regulation of skill training and catalyzing industry efforts in vocational training space.
  2. To converge the efforts of various central, state and private sector institutions thereby avoiding duplication of activities and bringing about uniformity in vocational training thus, creating better impact


  1. The two schemes shall address this need by setting up national bodies for accreditation & certification which shall regulate accreditation and certification in both long and short-term Vocational Education and Training (VET)


  1. Institutional reforms and improving quality & market relevance of skill development training programs in long and short-term VET

Aligned with other schemes/programmes

  1. The schemes shall provide the required impetus to the National Skill Development Mission, 2015 and its various sub-missions
  2. The schemes are aligned to flagship Government of India programs such as Make in India and Swachhta Abhiyan and aim at developing globally competitive workforce for domestic and overseas requirements
PIB: Updates

[pib] Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan on establishing a Liquid, Flexible and Global LNG Market

  1. The MoC will promote bilateral relationship between India and Japan in the energy sector
  2. It will contribute to the diversification of gas supplies for India
  3. This will strengthen our energy security and lead to more competitive prices for consumers
  4. The MoC provides a framework to cooperate in facilitating flexibility in LNG contracts, abolition of Destination Restriction Clause


  1. India and Japan are major consumers of energy in the world.
  2. In the LNG sector, Japan is the world’s largest importer and India is the 4th largest importer.
  3. Under the Japan-India Energy Partnership Initiative signed in January 2016, the two sides had agreed to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets and affirmed to promote a transparent and diversified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market through the relaxation of Destination Restriction Clause
PIB: Updates

[pib] India’s trade and investment relationship with Ethiopia is very strong, says President; symbolic of India’s commitment to African Continent

From the past

Trade relations between Ethiopia and India flourished during the ancient Axumite Empire from the 1st century AD


The President said,

  1. Today the economic relationship covers trade, private investment, concessional loans for infrastructure projects and development assistance, largely for capacity building.
  2. India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia.
  3. India’s relationship with Ethiopia is symbolic of its engagement with the African continent, of which Addis Ababa is such a vital hub.
  4. The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is another initiative brimming with potential.

Development & Agreements

  1. Support for power transmission projects in Ethiopia, as well as specific assistance in the areas of healthcare, education and agriculture.
  2. The signing of two bilateral agreements –
  • The first on Trade Facilitation and,
  • The second related to the Information Communication and Media sector


Asia-Africa Growth Corridor

  1. The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor or AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India and Japan
  2. It aims for Indo-Japanese collaboration to develop quality infrastructure in Africa, complemented by digital connectivity, which would undertake the realization of the idea of creating free and open Indo-Pacific Region
  3. The AAGC will give priority to development projects in health and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro-processing, disaster management and skill enhancement
  4. Unlike OBOR, now BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), which entails development of both land corridor (new economic belt) and ocean (marine silk road), AAGC will essentially be a sea corridor
  5. It will be linking Africa with India and other countries of South-East Asia and Oceania by rediscovering ancient sea-routes and creating new sea corridors
PIB: Updates

[pib] Embryo Transfer Technology, a promising revolution in Bovine breeding

Revolution in bovine breeding

  1. Embryo transfer technology (ETT) has revolutionized the breeding strategies in Bovines as a tool to optimize the genetic improvement in cattle.
  2. Department of Animal husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in co-operation with 12 States has undertaken a Mass Embryo Transfer programme in Indigenous Breeds under the scheme, National Mission on Bovine Productivity


For conservation and development of indigenous breeds under Rashtriya Gokul Mission


  1. a farmer can get a 5-6 fold increase in the number of offsprings
  2. the calves so born will be of high genetic merit and
  3. the offsprings born will be free from diseases


The technology now being taken up to the doorstep of the farmers will result in rapid propagation of high genetic merit indigenous cattle


Know all about Rashtriya Gokul Mission here- click2read

PIB: Updates

[pib] Cabinet approves the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania


  1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the signing and ratification of the Extradition Treaty between India and Lithuania
  2. The Treaty would provide a legal framework for seeking extradition of terrorists, economic offenders and other criminals from and to Lithuania
  3. The Treaty would help in extradition of fugitive criminals including terrorists for criminal prosecutions from Lithuania who may have committed crimes against India


Extradition Treaty

  1. Through the extradition process, one sovereign jurisdiction typically makes a formal request to another sovereign jurisdiction (“the requested state”) to deliver a person who has been accused of committing a crime in their jurisdiction.
  2. If the fugitive is found within the territory of the requested state, then the requested state may arrest the fugitive and subject him or her to its extradition process.
  3. The consensus in international law is that a state does not have any obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign state because one principle of sovereignty is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders.
PIB: Updates

[pib] One million children saved, says a new study published in the Lancet

  1. India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under age five since 2005, owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles, and tetanus, according to study published in the latest issue of The Lancet
  2. The ‘India’s Million Death Study’, implemented by the Registrar General of India, is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India, nationally and sub-nationally, from 2000-15 among randomly selected homes
  3. The study states that mortality rate (per 1000 live births) fell in neonates from 45 in 2000 to 27 in 2015 (3.3% annual decline) and 1-59 month mortality rate fell from 45.2 in 2000 to 19.6 in 2015 (5.4% annual decline)
PIB: Updates

[pib] All cities and towns in five more States declared Open Defecation Free

  1. Five more States viz., Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana have reached the milestone of making all cities and towns ‘Open Defecation Free’.
  2. This was announced on the culmination of “Swachhata Hi Seva” campaign that the MDWS had organized in response to the clarion call given by the Prime Minister to citizens of India to contribute to the improvement of sanitation status in the country in the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti.
PIB: Updates

[pib] President Appoints Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes under Article 340 of the Constitution


  1. The President in the exercise of the powers conferred by article 340 of the Constitution appointed a Commission to examine the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes.
  2. The terms of reference of the Commission are as under:
  • to examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of Other Backward Classes with reference to such classes included in the Central List;
  • to work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such Other Backward Classes; and
  • to take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of Other Backward Classes and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

3. On receipt of the Report of the Commission, the Central Government will consider ways and means for equitable distribution of the benefits of the reservation in Central Government jobs and admission in Central Government Institutions amongst all strata of the Other Backward Classes.


Article 340

Appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes

(1) The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties and to improve their condition and as to the grants that should be made for the purpose

Indra Sawhney vs Union Of India judgment on 16 November 1992

  1. To assuage the anti-reservation protesters, the P V Narasimha Rao government in 1991 introduced a 10% quota for the “economically backward sections” among the forward castes.
  2. The Supreme Court struck this down in the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India case, where it held that the Constitution recognised only social and educational — and not economic — backwardness.
  3. The apex court, however, held reservation for OBCs as valid and directed that the creamy layer of OBC (those earning over a specified income) should not avail reservation facilities.
  4. The overall reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs was capped at 50%. Based on the order, the central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services, to be filled through direct recruitment, for OBCs. The quotas were subsequently enforced in central government educational institutions.
Environmental Conservation and Mitigation strategy Conservation & Mitigation

Ganga Mission plans turtle sanctuary in Allahabad

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Remember the endangered species mentioned in the article

Mains level: Important step taken by the government to protect endangered species. One of its kind project in the recent times.


Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad

  1. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will establish a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad
  2. The step can be seen as part of efforts to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from “escalating anthropogenic pressures”
  3. The government had also planned such a sanctuary in Varanasi in 1989 under the Ganga Action Plan-I
  4. However, its future hangs in the balance as the Uttar Pradesh government and the Union Environment Ministry are considering de-notifying it over construction activities along the bank

Particulars of the project

  1. The project at an estimated cost Rs. 1.34 crore would contribute to the sustenance of more than 2,000 aquatic species, including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in the Ganga

Why is Allahabad important for aquatic biodiversity conservation?

  1. The Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles
  2. And the National Aquatic Animal — Gangetic dolphin, the Gharial and numerous migratory and resident birds

[pib] Know about First BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise


The newscard is about BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise. Few takeaways:

Prelims Level: Make note of the full form, and main objective

Mains Level: Note the main focus of the program for your answer.

  1. Context: The First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
  2. Advantage: This Exercise will be a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  3. It will strengthen regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries
  4. At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region
  5. Main focus: Testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response
  6. It will help create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries
  7. Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in the South Asian Region (SAR), prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, avalanches and drought

[pib] Advances in Biotechnology


Prelims Level: Make note of the names of these missions, they might be asked in Prelims exam

Mains Level: Read the content carefully and note down the points for writing your answer on advancement in Biotechnology

Phyto-Pharma Plant Mission:

  1. Rs 50 crore Mission
  2. Aim: Conservation and cultivation of endangered and threatened endemic medicinal plants
  3. Discovery of new botanical drugs for unmet medical needs using the rich traditional ethno-botanical knowledge and biodiversity of these states
  4. Improve availability of authentic and quality botanical raw material on sustainable basis for a boom in the phyto-pharmaceutical industry
  5. Through this Mission, it is expected to enable farmers from NE states and phyto-pharmaceutical industry to become global leaders in production and export of some quality botanical drugs for unmet medical needs
  6. DBT will be the nodal coordinating and implementing department
  7. Objectives: Captive cultivation of selected medicinal plants of NER, which have great demand to ensure supply of authentic and quality botanical raw material to the user industries in the country
  8. Development of technology packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts for export markets
  9. Production of safe and efficacious phytopharmaceuticals from medicinal plants of NER for unmet medical needs using modern scientific tools and following global standards.

Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4):

  1. On the Brahmaputra River, a major ecology hotspot, in NER, in collaboration with DONER
  2. B4 will establish a large barge on the river with a well-equipped laboratory for analysis of all components of the entire ecosystem of the river and surroundings
  3. The B4 will link to all the local research institutions along the river, as well as national and international laboratories
  4. B4 will have capability to analyse soil, water, environment, plant and animal life, human health and agriculture and an equal component that involves local citizens in the experimental process of science in data generation and management
  5. B4 will also have a teaching laboratory for school/college children
  6. It is also proposed to have mobile satellite boat labs which will run along the tributaries of Brahmaputra to feed in data to the main B4

Frugal microscopy through the Foldscope

  1. A frugal microscope assembled from simple components, including a sheet of paper and a lens
  2. It is acting as a tool connecting students and science from the region, with the rest of the country

[pib] Know about VASTRA

Note4students: few takeaways from this newscard are:

Prelims Level: Make note of the points mentioned here

Mains Level: Not of much importance

  1. What: VASTRA 2017 is an all-encompassing trade fair and conference on Textiles and Apparel presenting a fusion of the finest and the latest in textiles products
  2. The event is jointly organized by Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investments Corporation Limited (RIICO) and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  3. It is supported by the Government of Rajasthan

[pib] What is BIRAC?


Sometimes UPSC questions on such organizations. Few takeaways are:

Prelims Level: Note down the full form and aim of BIRAC

Mains Level: Not of much importance

  1. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise
  2. It is set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology Government of India
  3. Aim: to empower the emerging biotech industry to undertake strategic research and innovation
  4. BIRAC is a new industry-academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives, be it providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to Indian biotech firms and make them globally competitive
  5. BIRAC has initiated several schemes, networks and platforms that help to bridge the existing gap between industry-academia research and facilitate novel, high quality and cost-effective affordable technologies

[pib] Know about SATH


Few takeaways from this newscard are:

Prelims Level: Note down the full form, UPSC often asks them. Also make note of the aim.

Mains Level: Not important

  1. SATH– Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital
  2. It is a joint initiative of Government of Assam and NITI Aayog
  3. It aims to provide structured support to Assam in identifying key health priorities and implement the solutions towards transforming the health and improving the well-being of people of Assam
  4. The SATH program embodies the philosophy of co-operative federalism
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