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Type: PIB Releases

[pib] India concludes MoU on MSME Cooperation with IORA Member Countries

  1. News: Ministry of MSME, Government of India finalised MoU on MSME Cooperation with Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) member countries
  2. Features: To finalise linkages and alliances amongst MSMEs organizations, associations and various institutions engaged in MSME development in their countries
  3. Exchange best practices, policies and programs for MSME development
  4. Exchange greater involvement of MSMEs in the global supply chain, increase their market access
  5. Promote youth and women’s economic empowerment
  6. Encourage synergies with the IORA forum
  7. IORA Secretariat at Mauritius will be the coordinating agency for the implementation of the MoU
  8. IORA Special Fund has been created to carry out activities under this MoU


This is a very important prelims info. Also learn about the IORA grouping. Keeping track of such grouping is important as it is a favourite area of UPSC. We can see at leat one question every year on country groupings.


About IORA:

  1. It is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean
  2. It is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia
  3. It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region
  4. The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
  5. It was formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC)
  6. 21 Member States: Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalai, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE and Yemen
  7. Dialogue Partners: China, Egypt, France, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Germany
  8. The objectives of IORA:
  • To promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region and member states
  • To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits
  • To promote liberalisation, remove impediments and lower barriers towards a freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean rim.

Significance of Indian Ocean:

  1. The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean
  2. It carries half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments
  3. It is a lifeline of international trade and transport. The region is woven together by trade routes and commands control of major sea-lanes.
Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises: Schemes, Policies & Missions Industrial Economics

[pib] Interaction with Beneficiaries of Up-scaled: Revised 2013 Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme (LMCS)

  1. News: The LMCS has been up-scaled for 500 more clusters


What is important here is knowing about LMCS, from prelims PoV.


About Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme (LMCS):

  1. It is a part of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP) under Ministry of MSME
  2. Aim: Improving the overall productivity of MSMEs by reduction of wastes with the help of lean manufacturing concepts
  3. This scheme was started in 2009 as a pilot project in 100 clusters
  4. National Productivity Council has been associated with this scheme since inception as National Monitoring and Implementation Unit (NMIU)
  5. Outcomes: Till-date 200 MSME Clusters have been formed encompassing sectors such as Automobile, Engineering, White Goods, Handicrafts, Diamond Processing, Food Processing, Readymade Garments & Textile Cluster etc
  6. The beneficiary MSMEs have witnessed an average increase in productivity level, monetary savings, increase in inventory turnout etc.
  7. The other intangible benefits that accrued were safer workplace management, improved quality environment-friendly production capacities, business opportunities and high morale of workforce
  8. The scheme has also been able to build the capacity of the beneficiary units to contribute to Make in India initiative of Govt
Ministry of AYUSH: Important Updates Schemes, Policies & Missions

[pib] Ministry of AYUSH and ASCI sign MoU on misleading advertisements

  1. What? The Ministry of AYUSH has signed a MoU with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
  2. Why? To curtail malpractices in the advertisement of AYUSH drugs
  3. ASCI will: Address the cases of misleading advertisements with respect to Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy drugs, treatments and related services
  4. Comprehensively monitor these advertisements across print and electronic media
  5. ASCI has been given a self-monitoring mandate by the Ministry of AYUSH to identify potentially misleading advertisement in the AYUSH sector and process complaints through its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC)
  6. The Ministry of AYUSH will also redirect complaints against misleading advertisements they receive, to the ASCI, which will be reviewed using ASCI’s code and guidelines
  7. The MoU also requires ASCI to report to the Ministry of AYUSH, all advertisements in potential violation of:
  • the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder
  • non-compliance of ASCI’s CCC recommendations for the Ministry of AYUSH to take further action

Note4students: This is a prelims worthy info.

Parched Earth : The Water Crisis in India Conservation & Mitigation

[pib] Negotiation Committee Constituted on Mahanadi and its Tributaries

  1. What? Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a negotiations committee
  2. Why? To assess availability and utilisation of waters of Mahanadi and its tributaries
  3. The committee will also examine existing water sharing agreements on river Mahanadi and will consider claims of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand regarding availability and utilisation of waters of these rivers
  4. The committee has been set up with reference to complaint of State of Odisha under section 3 of the ISRWD Act, 1956 regarding utilisation of waters of Mahandi Basin

[pib] CCI imposes penalty on bidders for cartelisation in tenders of Indian Railways

  1. What? The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed penalties on three firms
  2. Why? For bid rigging of tenders floated by Indian Railways for procurement of Brushless DC fans in the year 2013.
  3. A final order has been passed by CCI in a case taken up suo moto under Section 19 of the Competition Act, 2002


Earlier there was an instance of CCI penalising some cement firms for cartelisation. What is important here is to know about CCI and cartelisation.


Competition Commission of India:

  1. Statutory body established under The Competition Act of 2002.
  2. It was established in 2003 and became fully functional in 2009.
  3. To eliminate practices that adversely affect competition in different industries and protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade.
  4. Its predecessor was the MRTPC (Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission) was functional prior to 1991 economic reforms.


  1. Cartel: An agreement between competing firms to control prices or exclude entry of a new competitor in a market
  2. Why? To increase individual members’ profits by reducing competition
  3. Where? Usually arise in an oligopolistic industry, where the number of sellers is small or sales are highly concentrated and the products being traded are usually commodities
  4. Proving the existence of a cartel is rarely easy, as firms are usually not so careless as to put collusion agreements on paper
ISRO Missions and Discoveries Explorations in S&T

[pib] MoU between the ISRO and the JAXA for cooperation in the field of outer space

  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed at Tokyo, Japan between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation in the field of outer space
  2. Purpose: to pursue future cooperative activities in the exploration
  3. Use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in each country and their international obligations
  4. The MoU provides scope for pursuing cooperation in various areas of space science technology and applications including: earth observation, satellite communication and navigation; exploration and space sciences; Research and development (space systems and space technology); and Space industry promotion


Note down the purpose of this MOU and also check points in b2b for your Prelims exam.


  1. India and Japan pursue space cooperation for more than 5 decades and carried out studies in the field of atmospheric study, observation of universe and scientific investigation in remote sensing
  2. With the formation of JAXA in 2003, an “arrangement concerning the considerations of potential future cooperation in the field of outer space” was signed in October 2005 between ISRO/ Department of Space (DOS) and JAXA
  3. Subsequently both agencies have signed cooperative documents addressing lunar exploration, satellite navigation, X-ray astronomy and Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF)
  4. During the ISRO-JAXA bilateral meeting held at New Delhi on April 05, 2016, both sides stressed the need for updating the contents of ‘2005 Arrangement’ with enhanced scope of cooperation
  5. Accordingly, both sides have arrived at the draft of new ‘MoU between ISRO and JAXA concerning cooperation in the field of outer space’
Primary Education Issues and Policies

[pib] Know about ‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

  1. The Union HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Aim of ShaGun:

  1. To capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
  2. The Union HRD Minister also unveiled the ‘Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs’, which has been prepared by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development
  3. ShaGun will help monitor progress of implementation of SSA by assessing performance of States and UTs on key parameters
  4. ShaGun, which has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality, has been developed with a twin track approach
  5. First, is the Repository with an engaging interface that focuses on positive stories and developments in the field of School Education
  6. Secondly, it has an online monitoring module to measure state-level performance and progress against key educational indicators


Make note of the information for your Prelims. some points can also be used in Mains answer and in Essay.

Policy Wise: India’s Health Sector Health, Education & Human Resources

[pib] Know about India’s Membership in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea

  1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council
  2. The move involves payment of annual contribution of US $ 5,00,000 to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea


The information here is important for Prelims exam. Note down the points in b2b.


International Vaccine Institute:

  1. International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea was established in 1997 on the initiatives of the UNDP
  2. It is an international organization devoted to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the people, especially children, against deadly infectious diseases
  3. In the year 2007, with the approval of Cabinet, India joined IVI
  4. In December, 2012 the Board of Trustees (BOT) of IVI approved the formation of its new governance structure
  5. As per the new governance structure of IVI, a member State has to contribute to the IVI by paying a portion of its core budget
  6. Since India is classified in Group-I, it has to pay an annual contribution of US $ 50,000

[pib] Know about Mission 41k


  1. Ministry of Railways has come up with Mission 41k to save Rs. 41000 crore in the next decade in Railways’ energy costs
  2. To implement this comprehensive strategy with the participation of various stakeholders, Ministry shall look at new technologies

Reduction of energy costs:

  1. Indian Railways has set a target of 1000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind energy
  2. Indian Railways generates massive amounts of data and has a huge captive audience. Ability to optimally utilise these will generate additional revenue for the Indian Railways
  3. At present 70% traffic runs on electric traction. In next 6 -7 years target has been set to run 90% of the traffic on electric traction
  4. By procuring electricity through open access, the cost of electricity procurement comes down drastically which contributes 25% of the working expenses
  5. The Ministry of Railways has launched Mission Raftaar to increase the average speed of movement by 5 kmph every year
  6. Railways have about 50 % tracks electrified as of now which greatly contributes in keeping the energy bill low & reducing the carbon footprint
  7. Ministry wants to take electrification to 90% in next few years through Mission Electrification with an aim to reduce dependence on imported fuel, change energy mix, and rationalize the cost of energy for Railways
  8. Construction of Dedicated Freight Corridors would enable the Indian Railways to meet the growing demand for freight transport and induce a modal shift of freight traffic from road to rail
  9. Corridors will have more energy efficient locos powered by electric traction
  10. The completion of Dedicated Freight Corridor project would lead to higher operational efficiency, resulting in substantial energy saving and significant reduction of GHG emissions
  11. Railway has plans to change its energy mix and shall be using Green Energy
  12. Railway is going to install solar and wind plants for using green energy on its system


Indian Railways has to meet its goal to serve people in a more effective and efficient manner. Make use of the points in this PIB for your Prelims and Mains both. You are less likely to get a direct question on this op-ed but some points (in bold) can be utilised for your advantage when you answer a question on infrastructure & modernisation etc.


[pib] Know about “Nagaland Health Project”

  1. ‘Nagaland Health Project’ financed by the World Bank
  2. Objectives: To improve health services and increase their utilization by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland
  3. Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels
  4. The population of the state as a whole will benefit from improvements in higher-level facilities as well as system-wide investments
  5. The project will directly benefit about 600,000 people


Nagaland Health Project will support and complement existing systems and mechanisms involving communities under the National Health Mission. Make a note of its financer and objectives for Prelims exam.


[pib] Know more on National Alliance against online Child sexual abuse and exploitation


  1. National Alliance against Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by The Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India
  2. Aim: Developing a comprehensive outreach system to engage parents, schools, communities, NGO partners and local governments (PRIs and ULBs) as well as police and lawyers
  3. To ensure better implementation of the legal framework, policies, national strategies and standards in relation to child protection and child rights

Objectives of National Alliance:

  1. Bring a common definition of child pornography including amendment of acts (Information technology Act, POCSO Act)
  2. Set up a multi-member secretariat based in MWCD with a portal inclusive of a hotline for reporting and strengthening existing service delivery systems
  3. Provide a platform for Government/ NGOs and other child rights activists for  networking and information sharing
  4. Document and showcases success stories and best practices in terms of prevention of online abuse and exploitation of children
  5. Inform and educate member organisations, parents, teachers, front line service providers and children on the rights of the children and various issues related to online child abuse and exploitation
  6. Provide a forum for advocacy for child rights and policy inputs based on  research and studies


To ensure protection of children from online sexual abuse, all stakeholders must work together. The PIB has details for a Mains answer as well as for Prelims.


  1. Child sexual abuse is a multi-layered problem which negatively impacts children’s safety, health and well being
  2. Research from world-wide indicates that children’s exposure to violence and abuse is associated with long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm
  3. Child abuse is finding new forms and channels through mobile and digital technologies
  4. Online child abuse and exploitation amplifies existing forms of offline bullying, stalking and harassment
  5. It also facilitates the sexual exploitation of children through the production and dissemination of child sexual abuse materials and by facilitating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children
  6. Online abuse knows no national boundaries

Legal framework for child protection:

  1. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015
  2. POCSO Act, 2012 along with RTE Act 2009
  3. Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2106

[pib] What is Higher Resolution Weather Prediction Model?


  1. A very high resolution (12 km) global deterministic weather prediction model for generating operational weather forecasts
  2. By: Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)
  3. Advantage: It has shown significant improvements in skill of daily weather forecasts


  1. The present model replaces the earlier version which had a horizontal resolution of 25 km
  2. It was very helpful, especially in predicting the track and the intensity of the recent Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Vardah and the cold wave over the northern parts of India

Ensemble Prediction System (EPS):

  1. It will also be upgraded to 12 km
  2. The operational EPS currently has a horizontal resolution of about 25 km
  3. The EPS is adopted to overcome the problem of uncertainties in the forecasts
  4. It involves the generation of multiple forecasts using slightly varying initial condition
  5. The EPS also help generate probabilistic forecasts and quantify the uncertainties


The communication of forecasts to the stake holders on time and in proper language is very important in the effective use of weather and climate forecasts and minimizing the loss and damages due to severe weather. IMD has established an effective mechanism for dissemination of weather and climate forecasts to different stake holders using different communication channels. Note down the new technologies for your Prelims exam.


  1. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) provides Weather, Climate and Hydrological Services to various users round the year and 24/7
  2. Both operational and research aspects for these services are implemented through its constituent units India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS)
Environmental Conservation and Mitigation strategy Conservation & Mitigation

[pib] What is Saksham Programme?


  1. A month long awareness programme
  2. The programme is being organized by PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) and other Oil & Gas PSUs under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas

Aim of Saksham 2017:

  1. Saksham – 2017 is aimed to create awareness amongst masses towards judicious utilization and conservation of petroleum products
  2. It will spread awareness about use of energy efficient appliances and switching to cleaner fuels

Initiatives taken:

  1. During one-month long drive, workshops will be held for drivers of commercial vehicles and housewives, cooks on adopting simple fuel saving measures
  2. It aims to educate on various steps for fuel conservation through activities like Quiz Show, Saksham Asian Cycling Championship, Walkathons, concerts and other activities across the country


UPSC can ask about this programme in your Prelims exam. You may also use it, wherever relevant, as a part of Mains answer.


[pib] Submarine Khanderi Launched

  1. What is Khanderi? It is the second of Indian Navy’s Scorpene’ class stealth submarine
  2. Name: She has been christened after her predecessor, an erstwhile ‘Foxtrot’ class submarine decommissioned in 1989, which is as per the traditions of Indian Navy
  3. Importance: Kalvari is a key milestone in self reliance and indigenisation for the country


As Indian Navy celebrates Golden Jubilee of the submarine arm in 2017, the induction of Project 75 submarines would mark the beginning of a new chapter in our submarine capabilities. Make note of Submarine Khanderi for your Prelims. A detailed news-card on Khaneri and the Submarine programme was covered a few days back. Do revisit it here.

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