[pib] SDG Investor Map for India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SDGs

Mains level : India's measure for SDGs

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

UNDP and Invest India have launched the SDG Investor Map for India, laying out 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) enabling sectors.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), a UN mechanism to assist countries transition towards greener and more inclusive economies, emerged at:

(a) The Earth Summit on Sustainable Development 2002, Johannesburg

(b) The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012, Rio de Janeiro

(c) The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2015, Paris

(d) The World Sustainable Development Summit 2016, New Delhi

SDG Investor Map for India

  • SDG Finance Facility platform at UNDP in partnership with Invest India, the investment promotion arm of the Government of India has developed this Map.
  • The map will help public and private sector stake-holders direct capital towards IOAs, and White Spaces (Areas of Potential) that can contribute to the sustainable development needs of the country.
  • The map has identified 18 IOAs and 8 White Spaces across 6 Priority Sectors including Education, Healthcare, Agriculture and Allied Services, Financial Services, Renewable Energy and Alternatives, and Sustainable Environment.

Utility of this map

  • Investing in the SDGs at this point is crucial to ‘Building Back Better’ and making the economy and our societies more resilient and sustainable.
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic, the financing gap for the SDGs in India has only widened further and decades of development progress is nearly on the verge of reversal.
  • Enhanced productivity, technology adoption and increased inclusion are all critical factors that this map uses to identify the most attractive sectors for investors.

Back2Basics: What are SDGs?

  • The SDGs or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
  • They were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
  • They are included in a UN Resolution called the 2030 Agenda or what is known as Agenda 2030.
  • Countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving these Goals.
  • Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Who was Lachit Borphukan?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lachit Borphukan

Mains level : Not Much

The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Lachit Borphukan on Lachit Diwas.

Try this PYQ:

Q.What was the immediate cause for Ahmad Shah Abdali to invade and fight the Third Battle of Panipat:

(a) He wanted to avenge the expulsion by Marathas of his viceroy Timur Shah from Lahore

(b) The frustrated governor of Jullundhar Adina Beg khan invited him to invade Punjab

(c) He wanted to punish Mughal administration for non-payment of the revenues of the Chahar Mahal (Gujrat Aurangabad, Sialkot and Pasrur)

(d) He wanted to annex all the fertile plains of Punjab upto borders of Delhi to his kingdom

Who was Lachit Borphukan?

  • The year was 1671 and the decisive Battle of Saraighat was fought on the raging waters of the Brahmaputra.
  • On one side was Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s army headed by Ram Singh of Amer (Jaipur) and on the other was the Ahom General Lachit Borphukan.
  • He was a commander in the Ahom kingdom, located in present-day Assam.
  • Ram Singh failed to make any advance against the Assamese army during the first phase of the war.
  • Lachit Borphukan emerged victorious in the war and the Mughals were forced to retreat from Guwahati.

Lachit Diwas

  • On 24 November each year, Lachit Divas is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan.
  • On this day, Borphukan has defeated the Mughal army on the banks of the Brahmaputra in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671.
  • The best passing out cadet of National Defence Academy has conferred the Lachit gold medal every year since 1999 commemorating his valour.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib]  Person in news: Guru Teg Bahadur


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Guru Teg Bahadur

Mains level : NA

The President of India’s has delivered a special message on the eve of ‘Martyrdom Day’ of Guru Teg Bahadur.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over?

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2

Guru Teg Bahadur (1621-1675)

  • Guru Teg Bahadur was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion.
  • One hundred and fifteen of his hymns are in Guru Granth Sahib.
  • He stood up for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits who approached him against the imposition jizya tax.
  • He was publicly killed in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for refusing to convert.
  • In the words of Noel King of the University of California, “Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom was the first-ever martyrdom for human rights in the world.
  • He is fondly remembered as ‘Hind di Chaadar’.

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

[pib] IRNSS now part of World Wide Radio Navigation System


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IRNSS, IMO, NaVIC

Mains level : IRNSS

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been accepted as a component of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for operation in the Indian Ocean Region by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Try this PYQ:

With reference to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), consider the following statements:

  1. IRNSS has three Satellites in geostationary and four satellites the geosynchronous orbits.
  2. IRNSS covers entire India and about 5500 sq. km beyond its borders.
  3. India will have its own satellite navigation system with full global coverage by the middle of 2019.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only            

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) None

What is IRNSS?

  • The IRNSS, with an operational name of NavIC (acronym for Navigation with Indian Constellation) is an Indian regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services.
  • It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km around it, with plans for further extension.
  • The system currently consists of a constellation of seven satellites, with two additional satellites on ground as stand-by.
  • The constellation is in orbit as of 2018, and the system was expected to be operational from early 2018 after a system check.
  • It will provide two levels of service, the “standard positioning service”, which will be open for civilian use, and a “restricted service” (an encrypted one) for authorised users (including the military).

Benefits of the move

  • This move will enable merchant vessels to use IRNSS for obtaining position information similar to GPS and GLONASS.
  • This will assist in the navigation of ships in Indian ocean waters within the area covered by 50°N latitude, 55°E longitude, 5°S latitude and 110°E longitude (approximately up to 1500 km from Indian boundary).

Back2Basics: International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

  • IMO is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
  • Its primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
  • IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly.

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

[pib] PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PM-FME Scheme

Mains level : Food processing industry and the required reforms

Union Minister for Food Processing Industries has inaugurated the capacity building component of the Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro food processing Enterprises scheme (PM-FME Scheme).

The event also sought the launch of the GIS One District One Product (ODOP) Digital Map of India.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What is the PM FME Scheme? Discuss its potential to neutralize various challenges faced by India’s unorganized food industries

PM-FME Scheme

  • Launched under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the PM-FME Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme.
  • It aims to enhance the competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry and promote formalization of the sector.
  • It seeks to provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain.
  • Under the PM-FME scheme, capacity building is an important component.
  • The scheme envisages imparting training to food processing entrepreneurs, various groups, viz., SHGs / FPOs / Co-operatives, workers, and other stakeholders associated with the implementation of the scheme.

Features of the scheme

  • The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODODP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.
  • The States would identify food product for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
  • The ODOP product could be a perishable produce based product or cereal-based products or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors.
  • An illustrative list of such products includes mango, potato, litchi, tomato, tapioca, kinnu, bhujia, petha, papad, pickle, millet-based products, fisheries, poultry, meat as well as animal feed among others.
  • The Scheme also place focus on waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts.

 About ODOP Digital Map

  • The GIS ODOP digital map of India provides details of ODOP products of all the states to facilitate the stakeholders.
  • The digital map also has indicators for tribal, SC, ST, and aspirational districts.
  • It will enable stakeholders to make concerted efforts for its value chain development.

Digital India Initiatives

[pib] India’s AI supercomputer PARAM Siddhi


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Param Siddhi

Mains level : National Supercomputing Mission

India’s newest and fastest supercomputer, PARAM-Siddhi AI, has been ranked 63rd in the Top500 list of most powerful supercomputers in the world.

Try this MCQ:

Q.The terms Mihir, Param Siddhi and Pratyush are sometimes seen in news are actually:

a)Indigenous Submarines




Param Siddhi

  • It is a high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer established under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) at C-DAC.
  • It was commissioned by the C-DAC earlier and has been developed in association with chipmaker Nvidia and French IT consulting firm Atos.
  • It will help deep learning, visual computing, virtual reality, accelerated computing, as well as graphics virtualization.
  • The computer is expected to be used as a platform for academia, scientific research, startups and more.

Other Indian supercomputers

  • PARAM-Siddhi is the second Indian supercomputer to be entered in the top 100 on the Top500 list.
  • Pratyush, a supercomputer used for weather forecasting at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, ranked 78th on the November edition of the list.
  • It was ranked 66th in the June rankings announced by the project.
  • Another Indian supercomputer, Mihir (146th on the list), clubs with Pratyush to generate enough computing power to match PARAM-Siddhi.

Who topped the rankings?

  • The Top500 project tracks the most powerful supercomputers in the world and is published twice a year.
  • Japanese supercomputer Fugaku (442 petaflops) and IBM’s Summit (148.8 petaflops) are the two most powerful supercomputers in the world, according to the list.
  • Chinese Sunway TaihuLight is number four on the list (93 petaflops), developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) in China.


National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)


  • A petaflop is a measure of a computer’s processing speed and can be expressed as A thousand trillion floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) A thousand teraflops.
  • In computing, floating-point operations per second is a measure of computer performance, useful in fields of scientific computations that require floating-point calculations.
  • For such cases, it is a more accurate measure than measuring instructions per second.

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] India’s first Green Energy Convergence Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Energy Convergence Project, EESL

Mains level : Green Energy Convergence Project

The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is set to roll out of India’s first Energy Convergence Project in Goa.

Green Energy Convergence Project

  • Under the project, EESL and the Department of New and Renewable Energy (DNRE) in Goa will carry out feasibility studies and implementation of decentralized solar energy projects.
  • The project aims to connect seemingly independent sectors like Solar Energy, Energy Storage and LED lights to provide solutions, which can enable in decarbonisation and affordable energy access.
  • It will include the installation of 100 Megawatt decentralized ground-mounted solar power projects on government land to be used for agricultural pumping.
  • It seeks to replace 6,300 agricultural pumps and distribute 16 lakh LED bulbs for rural domestic households.

Benefits of the project

  • The projects will accelerate the usage of renewable energy sources, especially for agricultural and rural power consumption in the State.
  • They will also contribute to the reduction of peak energy demand through the deployment of energy-efficient pumping and lighting thus contributing to overall sustainability.

About EESL

  • A joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and POWERGRID, the EESL was set up under Ministry of Power to facilitate the implementation of energy efficiency projects.
  • EESL is a Super Energy Service Company (ESCO) that seeks to unlock energy efficiency market in India, that can potentially result in energy savings of up to 20 per cent of current consumption.
  • It also acts as the resource centre for capacity building of State DISCOMs, ERCs, SDAs, upcoming ESCOs, financial institutions, etc.

Indian Navy Updates

[pib] Project-75


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Arsenal of Indian Navy

Mains level : Modernisation of Indian Navy

The fifth Scorpene submarine of Project-75 named ‘Vagir’ has been launched at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

In a rare case we would see a question based on various classes of Indian Submarines in the CSP. However, we can expect a question based on Project-75 in the CSP and CAPF exam very well.

About Vagir

  • Vagir, ex-Russia, named after the Sand Fish, a deadly deep-sea predator of the Indian Ocean, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 3, 1973, and was decommissioned on June 7, 2001.
  • In true nautical tradition, it is refurbished under the same name – Vagir.
  • It is rebuilt with superior stealth features (such as advanced acoustic absorption techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimized shape etc.) and precision-guided weapons.
  • The attack can be launched with both torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on the surface.

What is Project-75?

  • The Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarine for the Indian Navy.
  • In the late 1990s, around the time of Kargil war, a three-decade plan took shape for indigenous construction of submarines.
  • It was known to have two separate series of submarine building lines – codenamed Project 75 and Project 75I — in collaboration with foreign entities.
  • Under this project, the Indian Navy intends to acquire six diesel-electric submarines, which will also feature advanced air-independent propulsion systems.
  • This is for enabling them to stay submerged for longer duration and substantially increase their operational range.

Submarines commissioned till date

  • The submarines in the current Kalvari-class take their names from erstwhile decommissioned classes of submarines named Kalvari.
  • It included Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj and Vela class — which included Vela, Vagir, Vagsheer.
  • Two submarines of the ongoing project, Kalvari and Khanderi, have been commissioned into the Indian Navy.
  • The third submarine, Karanj, is in the last phase of rigorous sea trials.
  • The fourth Scorpene, Vela, has commenced her sea trials, whilst the sixth and last submarine, Vagsheer, is being readied for boot together.

Strategic importance of these submarines

  • India currently operates one submarine each in nuclear-powered Classes of Chakra and Arihant and in addition to 14 submarines belonging to three classes of Diesel Electric category — Kalvari, Shishumar and Sindhughosh, some of which are ageing.
  • The nuclear powered and diesel-electric submarines have their designated roles in the Carrier Battle Groups, which are formations of ships and submarines with Aircraft Carriers at the lead role.
  • As per the basic principles of submarine deployment and the minimum requirement for India to create a strategic deterrence, there is a specific number of submarines of both types that India needs to have in active service.
  • Currently, India has less number of submarines than what is required with some more of those from both types being at various stages of construction.

Back2Basics: Classes of Submarines in India

  • In maritime terms, a class of ships is a group of vessels which have the same make, purpose and displacement.
  • In the Navy and Coast Guard in India, the ships belonging to a particular class are named in a specific manner.
  • Many times the names have the same first letters, prefixes, similar meanings or the names belong to a particular type of words for example names of cities, persons, mythological concepts, animals, rivers, mountains, weapons, etc.
  • The class is generally named after the first vessel in the category. In some cases, a particular class of vessels takes their names from an earlier class of vessels which are now decommissioned.
  • Like Kalvari – which means Tiger Shark, Vagir has been named after a Sand Fish, a predatory marine species.
  • Khanderi has been named after an Island Fort built by Chhatrapati Shivaji, which played a key role in his Navy. Karanj has also been named after an Island located South of Mumbai.

Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

[pib] PLI Scheme extended to 10 key Sectors


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PLI scheme and various sectors

Mains level : Moves for Atmanirbhar Bharat

The Union Cabinet has unveiled the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme to encourage domestic manufacturing investments in ten key sectors.

PLI Scheme

  • The PLI scheme aims to boost domestic manufacturing and cut down on imports by providing cash incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in the country.
  • Besides inviting foreign companies to set shop in India, the scheme aims to encourage local companies to set up or expand, existing manufacturing units.

UPSC can directly as the sectors included in the PLI scheme. Earlier it was only meant for Electronics manufacturing (particulary mobile phones).

What was the earlier PLI Scheme?

  • As a part of the National Policy on Electronics, the IT ministry had notified the PLI scheme on April 1 this year.
  • The scheme will, on one hand, attract big foreign investment in the sector, while also encouraging domestic mobile phone makers to expand their units and presence in India.
  • It would give incentives of 4-6 per cent to electronics companies which manufacture mobile phones and other electronic components.
  • A/c to the scheme, companies that make mobile phones which sell for Rs 15,000 or more will get an incentive of up to 6 per cent on incremental sales of all such mobile phones made in India.
  • In the same category, companies which are owned by Indian nationals and make such mobile phones, the incentive has been kept at Rs 200 crore for the next four years.

10 new sectors added

The ten sectors have been identified on the basis of their potential to create jobs and make India self-reliant, include:

  1. Food processing
  2. Telecom
  3. Electronics
  4. Textiles
  5. Speciality steel
  6. Automobiles and auto components
  7. Solar photo-voltaic modules and
  8. White goods such as air conditioners and LEDs

Tax Reforms

[pib] Income Tax Appellate Tribunal


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

Mains level : Not Much

PM will inaugurate the office cum residential complex of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) at Cuttack in Odisha.

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, also known as ITAT, is an important statutory body in the field of direct taxes and its orders are accepted as final, on findings of fact.
  • ITAT was the first Tribunal to be created on 25th January, 1941 and is also known as ‘Mother Tribunal’.
  • Starting with three benches, at Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta it has now grown to 63 Benches and two circuit benches spread across thirty cities of India.
  • With a view to ensuring highest degree of independence of the ITAT, it functions under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice and is kept away from any kind of control by the Ministry of Finance.

Did you notice this?

ITAT was the very first tribunal constituted in India! And it functions under the Ministry of Law and Justice and not the obvious looking Ministry of Finance.

It’s Functioning

  • It is the second appellate authority under the direct taxes and first independent forum in its appellate hierarchy.
  • The orders passed by the ITAT can be subjected to appellate challenge, on substantial questions of law, before the respective High Court.
  • Monetary limit for deciding an appeal by a single member Bench of ITAT enhanced from ₹15 lakh to ₹50 lakh in 2016 Union Budget.

Indian Ocean Power Competition

[pib] Mission Sagar – II


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mission SAGAR

Mains level : India's SAGAR policy of Indian Ocean Region

As part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’, Indian Naval Ship Airavat had entered Port Sudan.

Mission SAGAR, unlike other missions, can create confusion with the name and its purpose. Make note of such special cases. UPSC can ask such questions as one liner MCQs.

Mission Sagar – II

  • Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020, wherein India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines.
  • As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • This mission is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her maritime neighbours.


SAGAR Programme (Security and Growth for All in the Region)

  • SAGAR is a term coined by PM Modi in 2015 during his Mauritius visit with a focus on the blue economy.
  • It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to the Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.
  • It is in line with the principles of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association)

  • Established in 1997 in Ebene Cyber City, Mauritius.
  • First established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched in 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the IORA for Regional Cooperation.
  • 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.

Wetland Conservation

[pib] Mansar Lake


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mansar Lakes, Ramsar Sites

Mains level : Wetland conservation in India

Mansar Lake Development Plan is getting fulfilled after a long wait of 70 years.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to a conservation organization called Wetlands International, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is an intergovernmental organization formed by the countries which are signatories to Ramsar Convention.
  2. It works at the field level to develop and mobilize knowledge, and use the practical experience to advocate for better policies.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

About Mansar Lake

  • Situated at about 37 km from Jammu, Mansar is a lake fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length by half-a-mile in width.
  • Surinsar-Mansar Lakes are designated as Ramsar Convention in November 2005.
  • With all religions belief and heritage behind the Mansar Lake is also picking up its fame among the tourists with all its flora & fauna.
  • The lake has cemented path all around with required illumination, with projected view decks to enjoy flickering of seasonal birds, tortoise and fishes of different species.
  • There is a wildlife Sanctuary housing jungle life like Spotted Deer, Nilgai etc. besides other water birds such as Cranes, Ducks etc.

Back2Basics: Ramsar Convention

  • The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (better known as the Ramsar Convention) is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
  • It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.
  • The convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
  • Traditionally viewed as a wasteland or breeding ground of disease, wetlands actually provide freshwater and food and serve as nature’s shock absorber.
  • Wetlands, critical for biodiversity, are disappearing rapidly, with recent estimates showing that 64% or more of the world’s wetlands have vanished since 1900.
  • Major changes in land use for agriculture and grazing, water diversion for dams and canals and infrastructure development are considered to be some of the main causes of loss and degradation of wetlands.

Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

[pib] Sardar Sarovar Dam


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sardar Sarovar Dam

Mains level : Not Much

The PM has inaugurated dynamic lighting for the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Try this PYQ:

What is common to the places known as Aliyar, Isapur and Kangsabati?

(a) Recently discovered uranium deposits

(b) Tropical rain forests

(c) Underground cave systems

(d) Water reservoirs

Sardar Sarovar Dam

  • It is a concrete gravity dam on the Narmada River in Kevadiya near Navagam, Gujarat.
  • Four Indian states, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, receive water and electricity supplied from the dam.
  • The foundation stone of the project was laid out by then PM Jawaharlal Nehru on 5 April 1961.
  • The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme funded by the World Bank to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity, using a loan of US$200 million.

Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

[pib] POWER Initiative


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : POWER Initiative

Mains level : Women in sciences

The Union Minister for Science & Technology has launched a Scheme titled SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research).

Try this MCQ:

Q.The POWER initiative sometimes seen in news is related to

a)Reforms in the DISCOMs

b)Renewable Energy Sector

c)Women Empowerment

d)Health Sector

POWER Initiative

  • It is a scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories.
  • The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the DST has been contemplating to institute a scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering.
  • SERB – POWER Scheme will have two components namely (i) SERB-POWER Fellowship (ii) SERB- POWER Research Grants.

A. Salient features of the SERB-POWER Fellowship

  1. Target: Women researchers in 35-55 years of age. Up-to 25 Fellowships per year and not more than 75 at any point in time.
  2. Components of support: Fellowship of Rs. 15,000/- per month in addition to regular income; Research grant of Rs. 10 lakh per annum; and Overhead of Rs. 90,000/- per annum.
  3. Duration: Three years, without the possibility of extension. Once in a career.

B. Salient features of the SERB – POWER Research Grants

POWER Grants will empower women researchers by funding them under the following two categories:

  1. Level I (Applicants from IITs, IISERs, IISc, NITs, Central Universities, and National Labs of Central Government Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 60 lakhs for three years.
  2. Level II (Applicants from State Universities / Colleges and Private Academic Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 30 lakhs for three years.

Why need such a scheme?

  • Integration of the gender dimension in research design has gained considerable attention in the global scenario.
  • Enhancement of participation and promotion of women in the research workforce has to be one of the prime priorities.

Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc.

[pib] Meri Saheli Initiative


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Meri Saheli Initiative

Mains level : Women safety

Indian Railways has launched “Meri Saheli” initiative for focused action on the security of women across all zones with an objective to provide safety and security to lady passengers.

Such a feedback-based initiative can be replicated in unsafe cities while addressing distress situation.

Meri Saheli Initiative

  • The initiative was started as a pilot project in South Eastern Railway in September 2020 and after getting encouraging response from lady passengers.
  • An initiative of RPF, the strategy entails interaction with lady passengers especially those travelling alone by a team of lady RPF personnel at the originating station.
  • These lady passengers are briefed about all precautions to be taken during the journey and told to dial 182 in case they face or see any problem in the coach.
  • The RPF team collects only the seat numbers of the ladies and conveys them to stoppages en-route.
  • RPF/RPSF escort onboard also covers all the coaches/identified berths during its duty period.

Based on feedbacks

  • RPF teams at the destination collect the feedback from the identified lady passengers.
  • The feedback is then analysed and corrective action, if any, is taken.
  • If some distress call comes from a train covered under “Meri Saheli” initiative, the disposal of the call is monitored at the level of senior officers.

Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

[pib] National Productivity Council (NPC)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Productivity Council (NPC)

Mains level : Not Much

National Productivity Council (NPC) has been granted accreditation conforming to ISO 17020:2012 by National Accreditation Board for Certification Body (NABCB).

National Productivity Council (NPC)

  • NPC is a national level organization to promote productivity culture in India.
  • The NPC comes under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • Established in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization and has been registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
  • NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Inter-Governmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.

Why ISO status?

  • It has been granted accreditation for undertaking inspection and audit work in the area of Food Safety Audit and Scientific Storage of Agricultural Products.
  • NPC has been conducting inspections/audit for different statutory bodies such as Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) and FSSAI and is already having high credentials in the area of inspections and audits.

Policy Wise: India’s Power Sector

[pib] Electricity Access & Utility Benchmarking Report


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Highlights of the report

Mains level : Household electricity supply in India

NITI Aayog, Ministry of Power, Rockefeller Foundation, and Smart Power India have together launched the ‘Electricity Access in India and Benchmarking Distribution Utilities’ report.

About the report

  • It is based on a primary survey conducted across 10 states––representing about 65% of the total rural population of India.
  • Aimed at capturing insights from the demand (electricity customers) as well as supply-side (electricity distribution utilities), the report seeks to:
  1. Evaluate the status of electricity access in India across these states and distribution utilities along all dimensions that constitute meaningful access
  2. Benchmark utilities’ capacity to provide electricity access and identify the drivers of sustainable access
  3. Develop recommendations for enhancing sustainable electricity access

Key findings of the report:

  • As much as 92% of customers reported the overall availability of electricity infrastructure within 50 metres of their premises; however, not all have connections, the primary reason being the distance of households from the nearest pole.
  • Overall, 87% of customers have access to grid-based electricity. The remaining 13% either use non-grid sources or don’t use any electricity at all.
  • The hours of supply have improved significantly across the customer categories to nearly 17 hours per day.
  • Nearly 85% of customers reported to have a metered electricity connection.
  • Access to electricity is observed in 83% of household customers.
  • Considering the overall satisfaction level, a total of 66% of those surveyed were satisfied––74% of customers in urban areas and 60% in rural areas.

Recommendations made

The key recommendations provided in the report are in the areas of policy and regulation, process improvement, infrastructure and capacity-building of utilities. Other recommendations included:

  • prioritizing the release of new connections for non-household customers
  • transfer of subsidies or other benefits directly into a customer’s account
  • enhanced technology-driven customer service; ensuring 100% metering of customers
  • segregation of feeder lines

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Architectural Heritage of Bundi


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bundi architecture

Mains level : Not Much

A recent episode of the Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series has focused on the architectural heritage of Bundi, Rajasthan.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to Dhrupad, one of the major traditions of India that has been kept alive for centuries, which of the following statements are correct?

  1. Dhrupad originated and developed in the Rajput kingdoms during the Mughal period.
  2. Dhrupad is primarily a piece of devotional and spiritual music.
  3. Dhrupad Alap uses Sanskrit syllables from Mantras.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None of the above

About Bundi

  • Bundi erstwhile capital of Hada Rajput province known as Hadauti located in south-eastern Rajasthan is one such place.
  • Bundi is also known as City of step walls, blue city and also as Chotti Kashi.
  • In ancient times, the area around Bundi was apparently inhabited by various local tribes, of which the Parihar Tribes, Meena was prominent.
  • Later the region was governed by Rao Deva, who took over Bundi from Jaita Meena in 1242, renaming the surrounding area as Haravati or Haroti.
  • For the next two centuries, the Hadas of Bundi were the vassals of the Sisodias of Mewar and ruled by the title of Rao until 1569, after Emperor Akbar.

Important architecture

  • The City of Bundi grew outwards Taragarh hill. A small habitat developed at the foothills of the fort itself.
  • The location of the royal palace was on a steep slope overlooking the valley below, providing a view of the vast surrounding hinterland.
  • Garh Mahal became the focus and an imposing landmark on the skyline of Bundi was visible from the valley below. In the next 200 years, the entire cluster was built.
  • The best example of medieval Indian city exhibiting water harvesting methods adopted at settlement level as well as the finest examples of water architecture.
  • Location of Baoris and Kunds outside the walled city was also influenced by social considerations as access to baoris and kunds were located within the walled city was controlled.

Architectural heritage of Bundi can be classified as:

1) Garh (Fort): Taragarh

2) Garh Mahal (Royal Palace)

  • Bhoj Mahal
  • Chattar Mahal
  • Ummed Mahal

3) Baori (Step well)

  • Khoj Darwaja ki Baori
  • Bhawaldi Baori

4) Kund (Stepped tank)

  • Dhabhai ji ka Kund
  • Nagar Kund & Sagar Kund
  • Rani Kund

5) Sagar mahal (Lake Palace)

  • Moti Mahal
  • Sukh Mahal
  • Shikar Burj

Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Produce

[pib] Market Intervention Scheme


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MSP, MIP

Mains level : Fixation of MSP and its legal backing

The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for apple procurement in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for the current season.

UPSC can ask a question on the difference between MSP and MIP. All the agricultural and horticultural commodities for which Minimum Support Price (MSP) are not fixed and are generally perishable in nature are covered under Market Intervention Scheme (MIS).

Market Intervention Scheme

  • MIS is a price support mechanism implemented on the request of State Governments for the procurement of perishable and horticultural commodities in the event of a fall in market prices.
  • It is implemented when there is at least a 10% increase in production or a 10% decrease in the ruling rates over the previous normal year.
  • MIS works in a similar fashion to Minimum Support Price based procurement mechanism for food grains but is an ad-hoc mechanism.
  • Its objective is to protect the growers of these horticultural/agricultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of the bumper crop.
  • Under MIS, support can be provided in some years, for a limited but defined period, in specified critical markets and by purchasing specified quantities. The initiative has to emerge from the concerned state.

Commodities covered

  • The MIS has been implemented in case of commodities like apples, garlic, oranges, grapes, mushrooms, clove, black pepper, pineapple, ginger, red chillies, coriander seed, chicory, onions, potatoes, cabbage, mustard seed, castor seed, copra, palm oil etc.

Remuneration under MIS

  • MIS provides remunerative prices to the farmers in case of the glut in production and fall in prices.
  • Proposal of MIS is approved on the specific request of State/UT Government, if they are ready to bear 50% loss (25% in case of North-Eastern States), if any, incurred on its implementation.
  • Further, the extent of total amount of loss shared is restricted to 25% of the total procurement value which includes the cost of the commodity procured plus permitted overhead expenses.

Implementation of MIS

1) Market Intervention Price (MIP)

  • The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation is implementing the scheme.
  • Under the MIS, a pre-determined quantity at a fixed MIP is procured by NAFED as the Central agency.
  • There are other agencies designated by the state government for a fixed period or till the prices are stabilized above the MIP whichever is earlier.
  • The area of operation is restricted to the concerned state only.

2) Funds transfer

  • Under MIS, funds are not allocated to the States.
  • Instead, central share of losses as per the guidelines of MIS is released to the State Governments/UTs, for which MIS has been approved, based on specific proposals received from them.

Agricultural Sector and Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

[pib] Asafoetida (Heeng) cultivation in Himalayan Region


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Cultivation of heeng

Mains level : Paper 3- Heeng cultivation in India

Farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh are taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng) to utilize vast expanses of waste land in the cold desert conditions of the region.

Try this PYQ:
Q.Which one of the following reflects back more sunlight as compared to other three?
(a) Sand desert
(b) Paddy crop land
(c) Land covered with fresh snow
(d) Prairie land

Asafoetida cultivation in India

  • Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high-value spice crop in India.
  • Raw asafoetida is extracted from the fleshy roots of Ferula assafoetida as an oleo-gum resin.
  • Although, there are about 130 species of Ferula found in the world, but only Ferula asafoetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida.

Why cultivate it?

  • Heeng is not cultivated in India.
  • Government data states that India imports about 1,200 tonnes of raw heeng worth Rs 600 crore from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Regions for its cultivation

  • Asafoetida best grows in dry and cold conditions.
  • The plant can withstand a maximum temperature between 35 and 40 degree, whereas during winters, it can survive in temperatures up to minus 4 degree.
  • During extreme weather, the plant can get dormant.
  • Regions with sandy soil, very little moisture and annual rainfall of not more than 200mm are considered conducive for heeng cultivation in India.