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[pib] International Seed Treaty

Mains Paper 3 : Food Processing & Related Industries In India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Seed Treaty

Mains level : Intellectual property rights of farmers



News

A session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) better known as Seed Treaty is recently held.

About the Seed Treaty

  • ITPGRFA also known as Seed Treaty is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources.
  • It aims for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.
  • The governing body meets biennially and India is a signatory to the treaty.

Objectives

  • Farmers’ Contribution: To recognize the contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops,
  • Access and Benefit Sharing: Establish a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials,
  • Sustainability: To conserve and sustainably use plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Back2Basics

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act

  • The PPV&FR Act, 2001 was enacted to grant intellectual property rights to plant breeders, researchers and farmers who have developed any new or extant plant varieties.
  • The rights granted under this Act are exclusive right to produce, sell, market, distribute, import and export the variety.
  • According to the act, a farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 except the brand name.
  • The Act is compliant to Article-9 of the Seed Treaty.
  • A few months back in April 2019, PepsiCo sued Gujarati farmers by invoking the provisions of the act.
  • The PPV&FR Authority has registered about 3631 plant varieties out of which 1597 (44%) belong to the farmers.
Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

[pib] Steel Scrap Recycling Policy

Mains Paper 3 : Indian Economy |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Steel scrap

Mains level : Steel production and associated factors



News

  • Ministry of Steel has issued the Steel Scrap Recycling Policy.

Steel Scrap Recycling Policy

  1. This will ensure scientific processing & recycling of ferrous scrap generated from various sources and a variety of products.
  2. The policy framework shall provide standard guidelines for collection, dismantling and shredding activities in an organized, safe and environmentally sound manner.
  3. The policy aims to achieve the following objectives –
  • To promote circular economy in the steel sector.
  • To promote a formal and scientific collection, dismantling and processing activities for end of life products that are sources of recyclable (ferrous, non- ferrous and other non-metallic) scraps.
  • It will lead to resource conservation and energy savings and setting up of an environmentally sound management system for handling ferrous scrap.
  • Processing and recycling of products in an organized, safe and environment friendly manner.
  • To evolve a responsive ecosystem by involving all stakeholders.
  • To produce high quality ferrous scrap for quality steel production thus minimizing the dependency on imports.
  • To decongest the Indian cities from ELVs and reuse of ferrous scrap.
  • To promote 6Rs principles of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacture through scientific handling, processing and disposal of all types of recyclable scraps including non-ferrous scraps, through authorized centers / facility.

Background

  • Steel is a material most conducive for circular economy as it can be used, reused and recycled infinitely.
  • While iron ore remains the primary source of steel making, used or re-used steel in the form of Scrap is the secondary raw material for the steel industry.
  • Indian steel industry is characterized by the presence of a large number of small steel producers who utilize scrap with other inputs for steel making.

 Why focus on scrap steel?

  • The availability of scrap is a major issue in India and in 2017 the deficit was to the tune of 7 million Tons.
  • This was imported at the cost of more than Rs. 24,500 crores (approx.) in 2017-18.
  • The gap between demand and supply is can be reduced in the future and the country may be self-sufficient by 2030.
  • The scrap has to be channelized so that the same can be utilized for steel production in an environmentally friendly manner.

Commercial significance of scrap

  • Scrap is an important input for the electric furnaces.
  • If quality scrap is provided as the charge to the electric furnaces, then the furnaces can produce high grade steel.
  • High Grade Steel Scrap shall not have the impurities if processing is done with the scrap processing centres and by shredders etc.
  • The high-grade steel scrap shall be recycled to produce high grade steel again, to be used in the industries such as equipment manufacturing, automobiles and other downstream industries.
  • Scrap with less or no impurities shall result in better long products that are commonly used in the construction industry and is common use steels.
  • If better-processed scrap is produced in the country, it shall result in not only import substitution of scrap but also import substitution of high-end steel that is currently imported in the country.

Climate-friendly

  • Scrap based steel making technologies have been envisaged as one of the important options to reduce GHG emission intensity.
  • This shall also contribute in adopting the principle of 6Rs i.e. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacture to avoid any adverse impact on the environment.
  • There is a worldwide trend to increase steel production using scrap as the main raw material as recycling of scrap helps in conservation of vital natural resources besides other numerous benefits.
Steel Industry – Current challenges, National Steel Policy 2017, etc

[pib] Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Exercise

Mains level : Maritime Security in Bay of Bengal region


News

  • India Navy and Indonesian navy hold Joint Naval Exercise “Samudra Shakti” In Bay Of Bengal.

Ex. Samudra Shakti

  • It is a joint exercise between Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy.
  • The joint exercises include manoeuvres, Surface Warfare exercises, Air Defence exercises, Weapon firing drills, Helicopter Operations and Boarding Operations.
  • The Harbour Phase included professional interactions in the form of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE), cross deck visits, simulator drills, planning conferences, sports fixtures and social interactions.
Indian Navy Updates

[pib] Feni River

Mains Paper 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Feni River

Mains level : Outstanding water sharing issues with Bangladesh


News

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the MoU between India and Bangladesh on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni River by India for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town Tripura.

Feni River

  • Feni River is a river in southeastern Bangladesh.
  • It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights.
  • The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh.
  • Muhuri River, also called Little Feni, from Noakhali District joins it near its mouth.
  • The river is navigable by small boats as far as Ramgarh, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) upstream.

Why such agreement?

  • The question of sharing of the waters of the river between India and Pakistan was first discussed in 1958.
  • As on date, there is no water-sharing agreement on Feni River between India and Bangladesh.
  • The present supply of drinking water to Sabroom town is inadequate. The ground water in this region has high iron content.
  • Implementation of this scheme would benefit over 7000 population of Sabroom town.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Bangladesh

[pib] Wastelands Atlas of India – 2019

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Wastelands in India

Mains level : Land records management



News

  • Realizing the importance of the availability of a reliable database on the wastelands of the country, the Union Minister for Rural Development released the Wastelands Atlas – 2019.

Wastelands Atlas – 2019

  • The Department of Land Resources in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has published Wastelands Atlases of India – 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2011 editions.
  • The new wastelands mapping exercise, carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is brought out as the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
  • This 2019 Atlas provides district and state wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area including mapping of about 12.08 Mha hitherto unmapped area of J&K.

Need for such Atlas

  • Unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the Country.
  • Therefore, robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes / schemes.
  • India with 2.4% of total land area of the World is supporting 18% of the World’s population.
  • The per capita availability of agriculture land in India is 0.12 ha whereas World per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha.

Highlights of the Atlas

  • The changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16 have been presented in the Atlas.
  • The effort has resulted in estimating the spatial extent of wastelands for entire country to the tune of 55.76 Mha (16.96 % of geographical area of the Country i.e. 328.72 Mha).
  • During this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands are converted into non wastelands categories.
  • There is a net conversion of 0.84 Mha (0.26%) of different wasteland categories in the country during 2008-09 to 2015-16.
  • A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and / or ravinous land.
Land Reforms

[pib] ICEDASH & ATITHI Initiatives

Mains Paper 2 : Governance, Transparency & Accountability, Citizens Charters |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ICEDASH & ATITHI Initiatives

Mains level : Various Digital India initiatives



News

  • Union Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs unveiled two new IT initiatives – ICEDASH and ATITHI.

ICEDASH

  • ICEDASH is an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) monitoring dashboard of the Indian Customs helping public see the daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and airports.
  • With ICEDASH, Indian Customs has taken a lead globally to provide an effective tool that helps the businesses compare clearance times across ports and plan their logistics accordingly.
  • This dashboard has been developed by CBIC in collaboration with NIC.
  • ICEDASH can be accessed through the CBIC website.

ATITHI

  • With ATITHI mobile app,  CBIC has introduced an easy to use mobile app for international travelers to file the Customs declaration in advance.
  • Passengers can use this app to file declaration of dutiable items and currency with the Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India.
  • ATITHI would in particular create a tech savvy image of India Customs and would encourage tourism and business travel to India.
Tourism Sector

[pib] SkillsBuild platform

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SkillsBuild platform

Mains level : Various initiatives for skill education



News

  • The Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched the SkillsBuild platform in collaboration with IBM.

SkillsBuild platform

  • As part of the programme, a two-year advanced diploma in IT, networking and cloud computing, co-created and designed by IBM will be offered at the ITIs & National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs).
  • The platform will be extended to train ITI & NSTI faculty on building skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • The platform is deployed with the support of leading NGOs like Unnati and Edunet Foundation.
  • IBM Volunteers along with the NGOS will offer students personalized coaching and experiential learning opportunities.

Benefits

  • The digital platform will provide a personal assessment of the cognitive capabilities and personality via MyInnerGenius to the students.
  • They will then learn foundational knowledge about digital technologies, as well as professional skills such as resume-writing, problem solving and communication.
  • Students will alsos receive recommendations on role-based education for specific jobs that include technical and professional learning.

About “New Collar Curriculum” initiative  

  • IBM joined hands with Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in early 2018 to launch a first-of-its kind ‘New Collar Curriculum’.
  • This initiative is part of IBM’s global commitment to create a job-ready workforce and to build the next generation of skills needed for new collar careers.
Skilling India – Skill India Mission,PMKVY, NSDC, etc.

[pib] Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Order

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Order

Mains level : Ladakh and its spiritual importance



News

  • Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture met the Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa Order.
  • The Kung Fu Nuns recently received the Asia Society’s prestigious Game Changer Award in New York for their path-breaking work to empower women and dismantle gender stereotypes in the Himalayas.

Who are the Kung Fu Nuns?

  • The Kung Fu Nuns are a strong community of 700 nuns and growing, with a thousand-year-old Drukpa legacy.
  • They represent a new generation of Buddhists who use their teachings to take real action and effect meaningful change in the world by promoting gender equality and environmentalism.
  • The Nuns use Jigme as their first name and the meaning of Jigme is ‘fearless’.
  • With this recognition, the Kung Fu Nuns join the likes of iconic Indian leaders Indra Nooyi, Mukesh Ambani, and Dev Patel, who have also been honored by the Asia Society.

Drukpa Order

  • The Kung Fu Nuns are the fearless daughters of India who represent a new generation of Buddhists using spirituality to inspire real-life action & impact.
  • Harnessing the ancient martial art to build strength, promote equality, and improve communities, they are inspiring young girls to break stereotypes and be their own heroes.
  • They belong to the Drukpa Lineage, a thousand-year-old Buddhist tradition that began in the Himalayas.
  • The Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual leader and founder of the Drukpa order, encouraged his nuns to train in Kung Fu to build confidence as leaders.
  • In doing so, he flouted centuries of Buddhist tradition that barred nuns from physical exercise.
  • They are the only Buddhist nuns in the world to practice Kung Fu. The nuns use their martial arts expertise to challenge gender roles in India’s conservative culture.

About Asia Society Game Changer Awards

  • Founded in 1956, the Asia Society is a nonpartisan, non-profit educational institution.
  • It holds offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, NYC, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, Washington DC and Zurich.
  • The society is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.
  • Each year, the Asia Society honor individuals, organizations, or movements that have inspired, enlightened, and shown true leadership in areas that reflect Asia Society’s core pillars of policy and business, arts and culture, and education.
History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] First ever movement of container cargo on Brahmaputra (NW -2)

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NW-2

Mains level : Infrastructure facilities in NE India



News

  • The first cargo consignment will sail on National Waterway-2 from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to Pandu in Guwahati.

NW-2

  • National Waterway 2 (NW-2) is a section of the Brahmaputra River having a length of 891 km between the Bangladesh border near Dhubri and Sadiya in Assam.
  • It was declared as NW No. 2 on 1 September 1988.
  • It has only one fixed terminals namely the Pandu Port while rest are floating which include Dhubri Port, Jogighopa, Tezpur, Silghat, Dibrugarh, Jamuguri, Bogibil, Saikhowa and Sadiya

Some facts

  • NW-1 has witnessed healthy growth with the augmentation of navigation capacity of Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project.
  • The traffic on NW-1 has grown from 5.48 million tonnes in 2017-18 to 6.79 million tonnes in 2018-19.
  • Out of the total traffic of 6.79 million tonnes on NW-1, approximately 3.15 million tonnes is the EXIM trade between India and Bangladesh using the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes.

What is the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route?

  • The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods vessels of both countries.
  • The IBP route extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak).
  • In addition to the above, India and Bangladesh have taken major steps to enhance utilization of waterways in the recent past.
  • An SOP to facilitate the movement of goods to and from India through Chittagong and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh has been signed by the two countries on 5th October 2019.
  • The proximity of these two ports will reduce logistics cost and improve trade competitiveness of North East states.
North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] Exercise Dustlik 2019

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Dustlik 2019

Mains level : NA



News

Exercise Dustlik 2019

  • Defence Minister is in Uzbekistan on a three-day visit since Saturday.
  • This is the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Uzbekistan in about 15 years.
  • The joint military exercise focused on counter-terrorism has commenced in Tashkent.
  • The exercise will enable sharing of best practices and experiences between the Armed Forces of the two countries and would lead to greater operational effectiveness.
Indian Army Updates

[pib] UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CCN, Gastronomy

Mains level : Not Much



News

  • UNESCO has designated Mumbai as a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of FILM and Hyderabad in the field of GASTRONOMY.

About UCCN

  • UCCN created in 2004, is a network of cities which are thriving, active centres of cultural activities in their respective countries.
  • UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was established in the year 2004.
  • It creates a network of those cities that are active centres of various cultural practices in their respective countries.
  • At present UCCN has 246 member cities including Mumbai and Hyderabad.
  • These cities can be from all continents with different income levels or with different level of populations.
  • UCCN believes that these cities are working towards a common mission and that is to placing creativity at the core of their urban development plans to make region resilient, safe, inclusive and sustainable.
  • Ministry of Culture is the nodal Ministry of Government of India for all matters in UNESCO relating to culture.

Objective of UCCN

  • They work together towards a common mission: placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 7 categories for recognition under UCCN are as follows-

  • Crafts and Folk Arts
  • Design
  • Film
  • Gastronomy
  • Music
  • Media Arts
  • Literature

 Previously, 3 Indian cities were recognized as members of UCCN namely-

  • Jaipur-Crafts and Folk Arts (2015)
  • Varanasi-Creative city of Music (2015)
  • Chennai-Creative city of Music(2017)

Note: Gastronomy is the study of the relationship between food and culture, the art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food, the cooking styles of particular regions, and the science of good eating.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Chavang Kut Festival

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chavang Kut

Mains level : Various tribes in India



News

Chavang Kut

  • Chavang Kut the post-harvest festival of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities is being celebrated across North-Eastern states with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.
  • The festival marks the Anglo-Kuki war centenary year.
  • In Manipur, Mizoram and Assam and other parts of the country, the festival is organized every year as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.
  • It is one of the most important festivals of Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities. It is a state holiday in Manipur.

Note: Not to be confused with Chapchar Kut

Chapchar Kut

  • The Chapchar Kut is a festival of Mizoram, India. It is a spring festival celebrated with great favour and gaiety.
  • It is celebrated during March after completion of their most arduous task of jhum operation i.e., jungle-clearing.
Tribes in News

[pib] Excavation by ASI in Gottiprolu, Andhra Pradesh

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Minutes of the excavations

Mains level : Pre-historic trade activities in India


News

  • The 1st phase of excavation by a team of ASI at Gottiprolu near Naidupeta in Nellore (now renamed as Sri Potti Sri Ramulu) district, AP has discovered the remains of a huge settlement surrounded by a massive brick enclosure.

About the Site

  • The site of Gottiprolu lies on the right bank of a distributary of river Swarnamukhi about seventeen kilometers east of Naidupet and eighty kilometers from Tirupati and Nellore.
  • Detailed topographical study and drone images have helped in identifying an early historic settlement surrounded by a fortification and the possibility of a moat encircling it.
  • The fortification is very much clear on the eastern and southern sides of the mound while its other arm seems to have been leveled as a result of modern settlements.
  • The excavation revealed the presence of brick-built structures in different sizes and forms.
  • Other major retrieved antiquities unearthed are copper and lead coins, iron spearhead, stone celts, terracotta beads, ear stud in semi precious stone and hopscotches.

How old is the site?

  • The available brick sizes (43 – 48 cms) are comparable with the Satavahana / Ikshvaku period structures in Krishna valley i.e. Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda.
  • On the basis of the brick size and associated findings they can be placed anywhere between 2nd – 1st century BCE or little later (nearly 2000 years old).

Various discoveries

Brick enclosure wall

  • The most outstanding discovery is of massive sized brick enclosure wall at the southern part of the mound.

  • This structure is of baked bricks and exposed to a length of more than 75 meters with an average width of about 3.40 meters, which rise to a height of nearly 2 meters and runs in a curvilinear pattern towards the northern end of the mound.
  • Another interesting find is the small rectangular brick tank exposed near the inner lining of the curved brick structure.

Stone Vishnu Idol

  • Subsequent excavations conducted around the image revealed it to be a life size image of Vishnu measuring about 2 meters in height.
  • It displays a four-armed Vishnu standing over a pedestal carrying chakra and conch in his upper right and left hands respectively.
  • The lower right is in bestowing boon and the left hand in katihastha (resting on the hip) posture.
  • The iconographical feature like the elaborate headgear, thick holy thread and decorative drapery dates it to Pallava period (circa 8th CE).

Female terracotta figurine

  • Other interesting antiquity retrieved is the molded female terracotta figurine with two hands lifted upwards.

Conical Jars

  • Interesting pottery finds are the base of conical jars placed at the eastern side of the structure.
  • Such conical jars are widely distributed in Tamil Nadu and considered to be imitated variety of Roman Amphorae jars.
  • A series of broken terracotta pipes fitted into one another revealed about the civic amenities maintained by the occupants of this site.

Drainage system

  • The drainage system pattern is understood by the exposed remains of the drainage at the site.
  • The findings of assorted stone tools of Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods from secondary contexts suggest that prehistoric people also occupied this area.

Significance of the site

  • These settlements could have been an important trade centre as indicated by the presence of imitated amphorae wares that were mostly used to transport liquid commodities.
  • The proximity of the site to the seacoast suggests that the site could have served as a strategic settlement involved in maritime trade. Further research will reveal interesting facts about the site as trade centre.
  • Explorations conducted in and around Gottiprolu within a radius of 15 kilometers revealed important vestiges viz., fortified early historic settlement at Puduru, Sunbrahmanya temple at Mallam, unique rock-cut laterite stepped well at Yakasiri, Vishnu temple at Tirumuru.
  • Further the entire seacoast on the east is dotted with various forms of antiquarian remains extending from Tamil Nadu and culturally linked with each other.
  • The two fortified townships within the gap of 15kms during early historic times indicates the significant strategic location was preferred by the early historic people for trade in the region keeping in view of proximity of the sea, River and Lake Pulicat.
Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

[pib] National Pension Scheme

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Pension Scheme (NPS)

Mains level : Benefits and coverage of Pension Schemes in India



News

  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has now permitted Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) to enroll in National Pension Scheme (NPS) at par with Non-Resident Indians.

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

  • NPS is a government-sponsored pension scheme. It was launched in January 2004 for government employees.
  • It was extended to all citizens of Indian on voluntary basis from May 2009 and to corporates in December 2011 and to Non-Resident Indians in October 2015.
  • PFRDA is the statutory Authority established by an enactment of the Parliament, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the NPS and pension schemes to which this Act applies.
  • The scheme allows subscribers to contribute regularly in a pension account during their working life.
  • On retirement, subscribers can withdraw a part of the corpus in a lumpsum and use the remaining corpus to buy an annuity to secure a regular income after retirement.

Who can join NPS?

  • Any Indian citizen between 18 and 60 years can join NPS.
  • The only condition is that the person must comply with know your customer (KYC) norms.
  • An NRI can join NPS. However, the account will be closed if there is a change in the citizenship status of the NRI.
  • Now, any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident and OCIs are eligible to join NPS till the age of 65 years.

Back2Basics

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)

  • After multiple efforts by leaders across the Indian political spectrum, a pseudo-citizenship scheme was established, the “Overseas Citizenship of India”, commonly referred to as the OCI card.
  • The Constitution of India does not permit full dual citizenship.
  • The OCI card is effectively a long-term visa, with restrictions on voting rights and government jobs.
  • An OCI is however entitled to some benefits such as a multiple-entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India.
  • They are exempted from police reporting for any length of stay in the country.
  • They are also granted all rights in parity with NRIs except, the right to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

[pib] Open General Export Licenses (OGEL)

Mains Paper 3 : Effects Of Liberalization On The Economy, Changes In Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Open General Export Licences

Mains level : Defence procurement in India



News

  • Raksha Mantri has approved issuance of two Open General Export Licences (OGELs) to boost defence exports and enhance ease of doing business.

Open General Export Licences

  • The OGEL is a one-time export licence to be granted to a company for a specific period (two years initially).
  • The application for grant of OGEL will be considered by Department of Defence Production (DPP) on a case-to-case basis.
  • The countries allowed under the OGELs are: Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, Canada, Italy, Poland and Mexico.
  • Export of items to a ‘Special Economic Zone’ is not permitted.
  • For acquiring the licences, the applicant is mandatory to have Import-Export certificate.
  • The quarterly & end of the year reports on all the transactions done under OGELs should be submitted to DPP for examination and post-export verification.

Why such licensing?

  • India has made significant strides in improving its defence exports.
  • These have grown seven-fold over the last two years and reached to Rs 10,500 crore in 2018-19.

Items to be exported

  • The items permitted under OGEL includes components of ammunition & fuse setting device without energetic and explosive material; firing control & related alerting and warning equipment & related system; and body protective items.
  • Complete aircraft or complete unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and any components specially designed or modified for UAVs are excluded under this licence.
Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[pib] Paramahansa Yogananda

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Paramahansa Yogananda

Mains level : Significance of Yoga


News

  • The Union Minister for Finance released a special commemorative coin on Paramahansa Yogananda to mark his 125th birth anniversary.

Paramahansa Yogananda

  • Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) is considered one of the preeminent spiritual figures of modern times.
  • Author of the best-selling spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, this world teacher came to America in 1920 from his native India and was the first great master of yoga to live and teach in the West.
  • He is now widely recognized as the Father of Yoga in the West.
  • He founded Self-Realization Fellowship (1920) and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (1917), which continue to carry on his spiritual legacy worldwide.
History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Exercise Shakti-2019

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise SHAKTI

Mains level : India-France strategic relations



News

  • As part of Exercise SHAKTI – 2019,  French Army troops have arrived in India.

Exercise SHAKTI

  • Series of  ‘Exercise SHAKTI’ between India and France commenced in year 2011.
  • Its a biennial exercise and is conducted alternately in India and France.
  • The exercise will focus on Counter Terrorism operations in backdrop of semi-desert terrain under United Nations Mandate.
  • The training will focus primarily on high degree of physical fitness, sharing of the drill at tactical level and learning of best practices from each other.
  • The exercise aims at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the two Armies.
  • The exercise will culminate in a 36 hrs long validation exercise which will involve neutralization of terrorists in a village hideout.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

[pib] Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti

Mains level : Various Digital India initiatives


News

Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti

  • Union Ministry of State for Culture & Tourism has launched the E-Portal of CCRT ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti’ and CCRT YouTube Channel.
  • This will enable dissemination of cultural education through digital interactive medium into the classrooms all over the country.
  • For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the CCRT Regional Centres i.e., Guwahati, Udaipur and Hyderabad.
Digital India Initiatives

[pib] Defence of A&N Islands Exercise 2019 (Danx-19)

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : DANX-19

Mains level : NA


News

  • Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) conducted the second edition of Defence of A&N Islands 2019 (DANX-19).

DANX -19

  • It is a large scale joint services exercise held by Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC).
  • Components of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard carried out mobilization and field manoeuvres to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC.
  • It is aimed for pursuance of the Command’s responsibility, namely ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands.
Indian Army Updates

[pib] Ex Eastern Bridge-V

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex Eastern Bridge-V

Mains level : Not Much


News

  • Indian Air Force is participating in a Bilateral Joint exercise with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO), named Ex Eastern Bridge-V.

Ex Eastern Bridge-V

  • It is a bilateral Joint exercise of Indian Air Force (IAF) with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO).
  • For the first time, MiG-29 fighter aircraft will be participating in an International Exercise outside India.
  • IAF contingent comprises of MiG-29 and C-17 aircraft. MiG-29 will be exercising with Royal Air Force Oman’s Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 and Hawk.

Significance

  • The exercise will enhance inter-operability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and will provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices.
  • The participation of IAF in the exercise will also promote professional interaction, exchange of experience and operational knowledge.
  • Besides strengthening bilateral relations, it will also provide a good opportunity to the air-warriors to operate in an international environment.
Indian Air Force Updates