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Type: PIB Releases


Railway Reforms Infrastructure

[pib] Launching of Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information (SFOORTI) Application

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SFOORTI App

Mains level: Digitization in railways


News: 

  • In a major digital initiative to help plan the traffic flows and optimize freight operations Railways has launched a new app
  • Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information (SFOORTI) App for Freight Managers which provides features for monitoring and managing freight business using Geographic Information System (GIS) Views and Dashboard

Features

  • With this application, movement of freight trains on Geographic Information System (GIS) view can be tracked
  • Both passenger and freight trains can be tracked over Zones/Divisions/ Sections in single GIS View.
  • Freight business can be monitored
  • Comparative Analysis of Zonal/Divisional Traffic
  • Analysis of new traffic captured and traffic lost
  • This app provides a Bird’s eye view of all Freight Assets in a single window
  • Provides end to end Rake movement on Geospatial view
  • Expected Traffic at Interchange points to evaluate daily performance can be viewed
  • Performance of each zone and divisions with respect to loading and utilization of freight assets can be viewed.
  • Sectional performance monitoring for sections, divisions and zones shall help in traffic routing
  • Freight terminal and sidings can be better monitored to ensure better turnaround of rakes
Microfinance Story of India Industries

[pib] Schemes for Farmer’s Welfare

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme

Mains level: Schemes for providing credit to farmers


News: 

  • Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme meets the financial requirements of farmers at various stages of farming.

Aim:

  • Providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system under a single window with the flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs.
  • To meet the short-term credit requirements for cultivation of crops;
  • Post-harvest expenses;
  • Produce marketing loan;
  • Consumption requirements of farmer household;
  • Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture;
  • Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities.

Provisions

  •  The facility of ATM enabled RuPay Card, one-time documentation, built-in cost escalation in the limit and any number of drawals within the limit
  • The farmers eligible under the KCC scheme include small farmers, marginal farmers, sharecroppers, oral lessee and tenant farmers
  • The Self Help Groups (SHGs) or Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) are also eligible for availing benefits under the said scheme

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PMVVY

Mains level: Schemes & provisions for welfare of elderly persons


News 

Aim of the scheme

  • To provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
  • The scheme enables old age income security for senior citizens through the provision of assured pension/return linked to the subscription amount based on the government guarantee to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)
  • The scheme provides an assured return of 8% per annum for 10 years. The differential return, i.e. the difference between return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis
  • The scheme is exempted from Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Back2Basics

Senior Citizens Savings Scheme

  • Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, 2014 is a deposit scheme for individuals who have attained the age of 60 years.
  • However, persons retiring on superannuation or under any Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) who have attained the age of 55 years and retiring defence personnel who have attained the age of 50 years can also open the account subject to certain conditions
Railway Reforms Infrastructure

[pib] Mission Raftar of Indian Railways

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mission Raftaar, Golden Quadrilateral

Mains level: Overhaul of railway infrastructure


News

  • To increase the speed of trains in Indian Railways, ‘Mission Raftaar’ was announced in the Railway Budget 2016-17
  • The mission envisages a target of doubling of average speed of freight trains and increasing the average speed of all non-suburban passenger trains by 25 kmph  in the next 5 years

Routes of Mission Raftaar

  • Six routes on Golden Quadrilateral and diagonals namely, Delhi – Mumbai, Delhi – Howrah, Howrah- Chennai, Chennai – Mumbai, Delhi – Chennai and Howrah – Mumbai
  • Golden Quadrilaterals and its Diagonal routes have been prioritized for replacement of loco hauled short distance passenger trains by MEMUs/DEMUs having better acceleration and deceleration characteristics for fast pickup and braking
Digital India Initiatives Governance

[pib] BharatNet Phase 1: Target Achieved Through Meticulous Planning and Focused Implementation at Ground Level

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: BharatNet

Mains level: Digital India program and its successes


News

  • Government has achieved a significant milestone under the BharatNet by completing Phase-1 of the project by connecting over one lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country with high-speed optical fibre network
  • BharatNet network built under Phase 1 envisages delivery of high-speed broadband services in over 2.5 lakh villages benefitting more than 200 million rural Indians.

Vision & Mission

  • The project will generate massive employment opportunities both direct and indirect in the country in days to come
  • To provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with States and the private sector
  •  BharatNet infrastructure is expected to catalyse digital delivery of services for the rural poor – viz. health, education, livelihood, skills, e-agriculture and e-commerce
  • The tariff for BharatNet was also revised to attract more Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to use the infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband services in the rural areas through Wi-Fi, FTTH, and for developing utilisation models by TSPs and Common Service Centres (CSC)
FDI in Indian economy Finance and Banking

[pib] FDI policy further liberalized in key sectors

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FDI, FII, FPI, DIPP

Mains level: Liberalisation in Indian economy


News: 

  • 100% FDI under automatic route for Single Brand Retail Trading
  • 100% FDI under automatic route in Construction Development
  • Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India
  • FIIs/FPIs allowed to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market

Details

  • Government approval no longer required for FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT)
  • Foreign airlines are allowed to invest under Government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services
  • Real-estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is, therefore, eligible for 100% FDI under the automatic route.
  •  Allowing FIIs/FPIs to invest in Power Exchanges through the primary market as well.

Other Approval Requirements under FDI Policy

  • Issue of shares against non-cash considerations like pre-incorporation expenses, import of machinery etc. shall be permitted under automatic route in case of sectors under the automatic route.
  • To align FDI policy on Indian company/ies/ LLP and in the Core Investing Companies with FDI policy provisions on Other Financial Services

Competent Authority for examining FDI proposals from countries of concern

  • FDI applications for investments in automatic route sectors, requiring approval only on the matter of investment being from country of concern would be processed by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) for Government approval

Pharmaceuticals

  • Now it’s been decided to amend the definition of ‘medical devices’ as contained in the FDI Policy

Restrictive conditions regarding audit firms

  • It has been decided to provide in the FDI policy that wherever the foreign investor wishes to specify a particular auditor/audit firm having the international network for the Indian investee company, then audit of such investee companies should be carried out as joint audit wherein one of the auditors should not be part of the same network
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Myanmar Bilateral Relations

[pib] Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Agreement on Land Border Crossing

Mains level: India and its neighborhood-relations


News 

  • Approval of the Agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing.

What will agreement do?

  • The Agreement will facilitate regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people ordinarily residing in the border areas of both countries
  • It will also facilitate movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas which will enhance economic and social interaction between the two countries

Features

  • The Agreement is an enabling arrangement for movement of people across India-Myanmar border.
  • It is expected to provide connectivity and enhance interaction of the people of North Eastern States of India with the people of Myanmar
  • The Agreement would give a boost to the economy of the North East and allow us to leverage our geographical connections with Myanmar to boost trade and people to people ties
  • The Agreement will safeguard the traditional rights of the largely tribal communities residing along the border which are accustomed to free movement across the land border
Inland Waterways Infrastructure

[pib] Cabinet approves Jal Marg Vikas Project for enhanced navigation on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch of National Waterway-1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)

Mains level: Inland Waterways bill and measures being taken to develop waterways


News: 

  • Approval for implementation of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 (NW-1)

Major Impact

  • An alternative mode of transport that will be environment-friendly and cost-effective. The project will contribute in bringing down the logistics cost in the country
  • Mammoth Infrastructure development like multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on – Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services, navigation aids
  • Socio-economic impetus; huge employment generation.

States/districts covered

  • States: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal
  • Major Districts:   Varanasi, Ghazipur, Ballia, Buxar, Chhapra, Vaishali, Patna, Begusarai, Khagaria, Munger, Bhagalpur, Sahibganj, Murshidabad, Pakur, Hoogly, Kolkata

Back2Basics

National Waterways

  1. Under the National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 inland waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs) in addition to the five existing NWs
  2. The Act came into force from 12 April 2016
  3. Under Entry 24 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the central government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by Parliament by law
  4. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India
  5. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

[pib] Draft National Policy for Women 2017 envisions participation of women as equal partners in all spheres of life

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Policy for Women, 2017

Mains level: Measures for women empowerment


News: 

  • The draft National Policy for Women, 2017 is being prepared in consultation with various stakeholders to deal with significant changes with regard to the status and empowerment of women.

The Draft envisions a society in which:

  1. The draft Policy addresses the diverse needs of women through identified priority areas:
  2. Health including Food Security and Nutrition;
  3. Education;
  4.  Economy (including agriculture, industry, labour, employment, soft power, service sector, science and technology);
  5.  Governance and Decision Making;
  6. Violence Against Women;
  7. Enabling Environment (including housing, shelter and infrastructure, drinking water and sanitation, media and culture, sports and social security); and
  8.  Environment and Climate Change

Way Forward

  • Draft Policy envisages that existing legislations affecting/relating to women will be harmonized in accordance with Constitutional provisions and international commitments, in order to enhance their effectiveness
PIB
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc. Health

[pib] Maternity Benefits Under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

Mains level: Measures for improving health indicators related to women and child


News

  • The maternity benefits under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) are available to all Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) except those in regular employment with the Central Government or State Government or Public Sector Undertaking
  • Or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force, for the first living child of the family
  • This is because normally the first pregnancy of a woman exposes her to new kind of challenges and stress factors

The objectives of the scheme are

  • Providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first living child; and
  • The cash incentives provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM)

Also

  • To address the problem of malnutrition and morbidity among children, the Anganwadi Services Scheme, which is universal, is available to all PW&LM including the second pregnancy
  • Further, in order to address the malnutrition and morbidity during pregnancies a number of interventions are provided to the pregnant women viz. universal screening of pregnant women for Anaemia and Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation, Calcium supplementation in pregnancy, Deworming in pregnancy, Weight gain monitoring and Counselling on nutrition, family planning and prevention of diseases
Railway Reforms Infrastructure

[pib] Hi-Tech System To Detect Railway Track Defects

Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Track Recording Cars (TRC), Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS), Self Propelled Ultrasonic Rail Testing (SPURT)

Mains level: Rail accidents and ways to reduce them


News

  1. Indian Railways is using Track Recording Cars (TRC) and Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS) for detection of track defects in addition to manual inspection.
  2. Ultrasonic Flaw Detection is also done using Single Rail Tester (SRT) and Double Rail Tester (DRT) to check internal defects in rails
  3. Procurement of six nos. Self Propelled Ultrasonic Rail Testing (SPURT) Car for detection of internal defects in rails is also planned

Other measures

  1. It has been decided to undertake a trial of Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detection (UBRD) System, Rail Fracture & Intrusion Detection System using distributed optical fibre sensing and Loco-Vision Analytics and Rail Integrity Monitor system (RIM) on some stretches for detection of the broken rail
  2. Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) based rail fracture detection system is planned on trial basis on some stretches of Northeast Frontier Railway and North Central Railway
  3. The implementation of Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detection (UBRD) System, Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) based System and Loco-Vision Analytics and Rail Integrity Monitor system (RIM) shall be decided after successful completion of trial
Hunger and Nutrition Issues – GHI, GNI, etc. Health

[pib] Global Hunger Index

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to poverty & hunger.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Hunger Index, Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), National Food Security Act, 2013, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, Annapurna Scheme, National Nutrition Mission

Mains level: India’s poor performance in GHI and ways to improve position in coming years


News

  1. As per 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), India ranks 100 out 119 countries.

GHI scores are based on four indicators as follows:

  1. Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
  2. Child wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute under-nutrition);
  3. Child stunting: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic under-nutrition); and
  4. Child mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments)

Government interventions for tackling the problem of hunger in the country and to improve the position in GHI

  1. Provision of foodgrains at highly subsidized prices to the targeted population through State Governments/ UT Administrations under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in terms of National Food Security Act, 2013 and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) such as Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, Annapurna Scheme etc.
  2. National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 provides for coverage of up to 70% of the rural and up to 50% of the urban population thus covering about two-thirds of the population, for receiving foodgrains at highly subsidized prices of Rs.3, 2 and 1 per Kg. for rice, wheat and coarse grain respectively under TPDS
  3. The Act also has a special focus on nutritional support to women and children.
  4. Recently National Nutrition Mission has been approved under MWCD for addressing malnutrition status of the country in a comprehensive manner
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc. Health

[pib] Charges on Health Services

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, Article 252 of the Constitution, National Council for Clinical Establishments

Mains level: Regulation of health sector and associated issues


News:

  1. Health is a State subject and it is the responsibility of the State Governments to regulate hospitals including private hospitals in their States as per provisions of the Act and rules applicable in the States to provide affordable treatment to patients
  2. The Government of India has enacted Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 and notified Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012 for registration and regulation of the Clinical Establishments
  3. Currently, the Act is applicable in 10 States namely Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan Uttarakhand and Assam and all Union Territories except Delhi.
  4. Other States may adopt the Act under clause (1) of Article 252 of the Constitution

Provisions

  • In accordance with the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012 under the said Act, one of the conditions for registration and continuation of clinical establishments is that the clinical establishments (in the States / Union Territories where the said Act is applicable) shall charge the rates for each type of procedure and services within the range of rates determined by the Central Government from time to time in consultation with the State Governments
  • The clinical establishments are also required to display the rates charged for each type of services provided and facilities available, at a conspicuous place both in the local language and English
  • The National Council for Clinical Establishments has approved a standard list of medical procedures and a standard template for costing of medical procedures and shared the same with the States and Union Territories
  • Further action lies within the purview of the State/UT Governments

Nodal Ministry: The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare)

Innovation Ecosystem in India Industries

[pib] India ranked 60th most innovative country on the Global Innovation Index-2017

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Innovation Index (GII), India Innovation Index, Smart India Hackathon, IMPRINT, Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY), Start-Up India initiative

Mains level: Measures being undertaken to improve innovation ecosystem


News

  1. India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016.
  2. In order to make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” that will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.

Further

  1. The Smart India Hackathon and Smart India Hardware Hackathon have been launched to improve the innovative abilities of the students in the Higher Education Institutions
  2. The Smart India Hackathon has received huge response when it was launched in 2017 and this would be continued as annual event

Other measures

  1. The Government is promoting research parks (RPs) and technology business incubators (TBIs) which would nurture and promote the innovative ideas till they become commercial ventures
  2. The projects for promoting research and innovation like the IMPRINT and Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) have brought focused attention of the scientific community on the need for promoting innovation
  3. The Start-Up India initiative of the Government has also put in place a mechanism for identifying and incubating the innovative ideas

[pib] Status of National Consumer Helpline

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Consumer Helpline, INGRAM portal

Mains level: Measures being undertaken for consumer protection and welfare


News:

  • The Government has set up a National Consumer Helpline (NCH) with a toll-free number (1800-11-4000 and a shortcode 14404) for handling consumer grievances
  • Six Zonal Consumer Helplines have also been set up at Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Jaipur, Kolkata and Patna
  • Calls received at NCH relate to sectors such as E-Commerce, Banking, Insurance, Telecom, Consumer Durables/Electronics, and Real Estate etc
  • NCH provides information and guidance to consumers
  • The grievances received either through the call centre or through online registration are entered in the Integrated Grievance Redress Mechanism (INGRAM) portal are referred to companies through a convergence platform which helps in fast-tracking resolution of consumer grievances and to Regulators/ Government Departments etc
  • The National Consumer Helpline and the Zonal Consumer Helplines cover the whole of country
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