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Type: PIB Releases

Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc. Agriculture

[pib] Water circuits to be developed on the lines of power circuits


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation & irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Water circuits

Mains level: Water management


  • There is a need for river connectivity, construction of Barrages, Dams, Rubber dams and Bandhas, drip and piped irrigation in the country
  • There is also a need for water circuits in the country on the lines of power circuits for better water conservation
  • Availability of water is not the problem but we have to learn to manage and conserve it

Achieving water efficiency:

  • To double the income of farmers by the year 2022 cannot be achieved without proper water management
  • Enhancing drip and pipe irrigation will reduce wastage of water and will be cost effective for farmers
  • River connectivity programme can reduce water crisis in critical areas like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, and Maharashtra.

Why is this cause taking place?

  • Declining level of groundwater in many parts of the country
  • Per capita availability of water is also reducing


  • A definite strategy has been prepared for conservation of water resources and cleaning Ganga
Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc. Energy

[pib] ISA to become a Treaty-based International Intergovernmental organization


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Solar Alliance

Mains level: Various initiatives taken to increase usage of renewable energy


  • In terms of its Framework Agreement, with ratification by Guinea as the 15th country on 6th November 2017, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization
  • The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana
  • The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference
  • Initially, 46 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of ISA.


  • Addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn

At the Beginning:

  • Three programmes – Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use, Affordable Finance at Scale, and Scaling Solar Mini-grids – have been launched
  • These programmes will help in achieving the overall goal of increasing solar energy deployment in the ISA member countries for achieving universal energy access and speeding up economic development
  • In addition to the existing 3 programmes, ISA has initiated plans to launch two more programmes: Scaling Solar Rooftops and Scaling Solar E-mobility and Storage


  • ISA has also been developing a Common Risk Mitigating Mechanism (CRMM) for de-risking and reducing the financial cost of solar projects in the ISA member countries
  • The instrument will help diversify and pool risks on mutual public resources and unlock significant investments.

Another major initiative:

  • Establishment of Digital Infopedia which will serve as a platform to enable policy makers, Ministers and corporate leaders from ISA countries to interact, connect, communicate and collaborate with one another

[pib] Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signs two Indian Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in November


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Advance Pricing Agreement

Mains level: Measures being taken to simplify tax regime


  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 2 Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) during the month of November, 2017.
  • These Agreements are the first ever Bilateral APAs with The Netherlands. With the signing of these Agreements, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has gone up to 186

Two Sectors are:

  • Electronics and Technology sectors of the economy.
  • Distribution, Provision of Marketing Support Services, Provision of Business Support Services, etc are the international transactions covered in these agreements.


  • To provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance. Since its inception, the APA Scheme has been well-accepted by taxpayers

Why APA scheme:

  • The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.
  • The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner


Advance Pricing Agreement

  1. An advance pricing agreement (APA) is an ahead-of-time agreement between a taxpayer and a tax authority on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology (TPM) for a set of transactions at issue over a fixed period of time (called “Covered Transactions”)
  2. APAs are generally bi- or multilateral—i.e. they also include agreements between the taxpayer and one or more foreign tax administrations under the authority of the mutual agreement procedure (MAP) specified in income tax treaties
  3. The taxpayer benefits from such agreements since they are assured that income associated with covered transactions is not subject to double taxation by the home state and the relevant foreign tax authorities
Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc Infrastructure

[pib] Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities Introduced


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization , their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Star rating protocol for garbage free cities

Mains level: Urbanisation challenges


  • A guide Book for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) on Bulk Solid Waste Generator’s Compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, and the online database for states and cities, both pertaining to SBM Urban was launched
  • The guidebook lays out the roles and responsibilities of bulk waste generators and will handhold ULBs in implementing the SWM Rules,
  • While the online database will henceforth capture data directly from states and cities online, regarding their progress on SBM components, thereby enhancing the robustness and transparency of Mission monitoring.
  • The star rating protocol is different from the Swachh Survekshan ranking survey in that it will allow multiple cities to be awarded the same star rating, and is expected to be formally introduced by the Ministry in the next few weeks.

Major takeaways:

  • In order to enthuse cities with a spirit of healthy competition, the concept of a star rating protocol for garbage free cities was introduced during the workshop.
  • Given its potential as a developmental cum aspirational tool for cities to incrementally improve their overall cleanliness, while working towards a garbage-free status, this is expected to greatly enthuse the city administrators.
  • The focus on the issue of cleanliness of community and public toilets, there is a concerted drive to seek user feedback for CT/PTs through the Google toilet locator and Swachhata app.
  • Uploading all community / public toilets in cities on Google maps under the Business listing category, integrating with Swachhata app

[pib] SAUBHAGYA Scheme launched in Manipur


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAUBHAGYA scheme

Mains level: Electricity for all target of government


  • The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) was launched in Manipur
  • The Government would come to people’s doorstep to provide power connection to every household.
  • This is such a scheme where the poorest of the poor can afford electricity in their homes. The Minister promised that people would get 24×7 power supply by March, 2019.
  • For achieving this target, the Government has already given obligation to private companies to provide 24×7 power supply to every household
  • The Saubhagya Scheme would transform the lives, especially poorest of the poor by providing power supply to every household of the country.


  • Saubhagya is a scheme launched to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the Country at a cost of Rs. 16,320 crore including Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of Rs. 12,320 crores from Government of India.
  • Keeping in view the role of electricity in human and socio-economic development, Government of India has formulated the scheme to ensure last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining un-electrified urban and rural households in the country.
  • All States and Union Territories of the country are required to complete household electrification in their respective jurisdiction by 31st March, 2019.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc. Health

[pib] Health Ministry and ICMR launch India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI)  


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: India Hypertension Management Initiative

Mains level: Rising incidents of diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc.


  • The India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) is a collaborative project of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), State Governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives initiative of Vital Strategies.
  • The primary goal of this project is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to CVDs, the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for CVDs among adults in India.
  • IHMI will be progressively rolled out in 25 districts in the first two years across districts selected by the Health Ministry for expansion of active screening and intensification of treatment activities for hypertension.


  • To reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD),
  • The leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, leading risk factors for CVD.
  • To raise awareness about NCDs amongst families regarding packaged food and processed foods with excessive salt and trans-fat.
  • Need for incorporating yoga in one’s life for prevention and management of hypertension.

Essential Components

  • It will support the adoption of standardized simplified treatment plans for managing high blood pressure.
  • ensure the regular and uninterrupted supply of quality-assured medications, task sharing so health workers who are accessible to patients can distribute medications already prescribed by the medical officer, and patient-centered services that reduce the barriers to treatment adherence.
  • Data on hypertension will be improved through streamlined monitoring systems, and the lessons learned and practice-based evidence will inform further interventions to improve cardiovascular care.

[pib] CZT Imager of AstroSat measures first phase resolved X-ray polarisation of Crab pulsar


  1. AstroSat, India’s multi-wavelength space telescope, has successfully accomplished the extremely difficult task of measuring X-ray polarisation
  2. In a paper published in ‘Nature Astronomy’, the team has documented the results of their eighteen-month study of the Crab pulsar in the Taurus Constellation and measured the variations of polarisation as this highly magnetized object spins around 30 times every second.
  3. This landmark measurement puts up a strong challenge to prevailing theories of high energy X-ray emission from pulsars



  1. A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star or white dwarf, that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation
  2. Scientists are using pulsars to study extreme states of matter, search for planets beyond Earth’s solar system and measure cosmic distances
  3. Pulsars also could help scientists find gravitational waves, which could point the way to energetic cosmic events like collisions between supermassive black holes

[pib] Cauvery Tribunal Gets Six Months Extension


  1. Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation has extended the term of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal by six months upto May 02, 2018


  1. Cauvery is an inter‐State basin having its origin in Karnataka and flowing through Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before outfalling in the Bay of Bengal
  2. The sharing of waters of the Cauvery has been the source of a serious conflict between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  3. The genesis of this conflict rests in two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore.
  4. Government of India on June 02, 1990 constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to adjudicate the water dispute regarding inter‐state river Cauvery and the river valley thereof among the States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Puducherry

[pib] Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana launched to promote philately


  1. It will be a Pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately
  2. Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles
  3. To avail this scholarship, a child must be a student of a recognized school within India and the concerned school should have a Philately Club and the candidate should be a member of the Club
  4. In case the school Philately Club hasn’t been established a student having his own Philately Deposit Account will also be considered


  1. Philately is the hobby of collecting and study of Postage stamps
  2. It also entails the collection, appreciation and research activities on stamps and other related philatelic products
  3. The hobby of collecting Stamps includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining the stamps or related products in thematic areas
  4. Philately is called the king of hobbies because Stamp collection as a hobby has a lot of educational benefits – it teaches a lot about the socio-economic-political reality of the period in which the stamp is issued or the theme on which it is issued

[pib] Indian Air force contingent leaves for Israel to Participate in ‘Ex Blue Flag-’17


  1. A 45 member contingent of the Indian Air Force left for Israel to participate in exercise ‘Blue Flag-17’.
  2. Indian Air Force is participating with the C-130J special operations aircraft along with Garud commandos.
  3. The exercise would provide a platform for sharing of knowledge, combat experience and in improving operational capability of the participating nations


  1. Blue Flag is a bi-annual multilateral exercise which aims to strengthen military cooperation amongst participating nations
  2. Blue Flag is a military aviation exercise held by the Israeli Air Force
  3. The goal of the Blue Flag training exercise is to simulate extreme combat scenarios and coalition flights as realistically as possible
  4. In 2017 the exercise will host air forces from the United States of America, Poland, Italy and Greece – and for the first time India, France and Germany will participate as well

[pib] Exercise Indra-2017 Concluded in Vladivostok


  1. The Indo-Russian military Exercise ‘Indra-2017’ culminated today at Vladivostok after eleven days of joint training in counter-terrorism operations
  2. In the series of bilateral exercises under this banner, the exercise this year focused on conduct of counterinsurgency/counter-terrorism operations under United Nations mandate in a joint service environment


Exercise INDRA 2017

  1. Exercise INDRA-2017 was the first ever Tri-Services Joint Exercise between Indian and Russian Armed Forces
  2. Exercise INDRA in its previous nine avatars has been conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries.
  3. The scope of the Exercise includes professional interactions, the establishment of joint command and control structures between the Indian & Russian forces and elimination of terrorist threat in a multinational environment under the UN mandate
  4. Exercise INDRA-2017 will strengthen mutual confidence, inter-operability and enable sharing of best practices between both the armed forces

[pib] North Eastern Council to be reoriented


  1. The North Eastern Council (NEC) will be reoriented and developed as a state-of-the-art resource center for the North Eastern States with necessary resources, knowledge, and skill to execute the innovative and strategic vision for the region.
  2. The NEC requires being reshaped after the identification of thrust areas and critical gaps in order to take up as many development initiatives as possible within the annual budgetary allocations

In future

The NEC will have the role of a visionary as well as a strategic leader for all the eight states of the region
Wherein it could lay down the roadmap for each of the separate States and areas based on specific requirements, specific attributes and specific needs.
Also take up the leading role of promoting the bamboo industry as well as food processing entrepreneurship.


North Eastern Council

  1. The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura
  2. The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament with the intention to give special focus to the development of North Eastern Region

[pib] Project CHAMAN, likely to be completed by March 2018


  1. In order to provide strategic development to the horticulture sector, so as to increase farmers income, a pioneer project called CHAMAN, has been launched three years back by the Government.
  2. This project is being implemented by Mahalanobis is National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC) using remote sensing technology and is likely to be completed in March 2018

About the project

  1. CHAMAN is a pioneer project in which remote sensing technique is being used for strategic development of horticulture sector as also to increase the farmers’ income
  2. It gives methodology for preparing reliable estimates of horticulture crops
  3. Income of farmers will increase by growing selected crops in the high suitable areas identified under CHAMAN in the current Jhum /wastelands
  4. The Post-Harvest damages of farmers would be significantly reduced by creation of desired Post Harvest Infrastructures like cold storages etc. thereby increasing their income
  5. The Geo-Spatial Studies like crop intensification, orchard rejuvenation and aqua-horticulture would further help the farmers’ to grow their horticultural crops in a profitable manner which will help increasing their income


  1. India is the Second largest producer of Vegetables and Fruits in the world and is First in the production of Banana, Mango, Lime and Lemon, Papaya and Okra.

[pib] Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 brought into force


  1. A new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified on 22nd March, 2016, has been brought into force with effect from 12th October, 2017

Salient features of the act

  1. The Act has enabling provisions for the Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security.
  2. Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory.
  3. The new Act also allows multiple type of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get certificate of conformity.
  4. The Act enables the Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.
  5. Further, there is provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark but not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard.

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
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