Oil and Gas Sector – HELP, Open Acreage Policy, etc.

[pib] Additional 6.5MMT Strategic Petroleum Reserves at Chandikhol in Odisha and at Padur, Karnataka

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Locations of SPR

Mains level: Initiatives for ensuring energy security


 News

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved establishment of additional 6.5 Million Metric Tonne (MMT) Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) facilities at two locations, i.e. Chandikhol in Odisha and Padur in Karnataka, including construction of dedicated SPMs (Single Point Mooring) for the two SPRs.
  2. The SPR facilities at Chandikhol and Padur will be underground rock caverns and will have capacities of 4 MMT and 2.5 MMT respectively.

Generating more employment through PPP

  1. The in-principle approval is to take up the project under PPP model to reduce budgetary support of Government of India.
  2. The terms and conditions of such participation would be determined by M/oP&NG in consultation with Ministry of Finance after conducting road shows to elicit requirements of the market, including prospective investors.
  3. The construction phase of the SPRs is likely to generate significant direct & indirect employment opportunities in the states of Odisha and Karnataka.

Back2Basics

Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme

  1. The Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPR) is an emergency fuel store.
  2. Strategic crude oil storages are at 3 underground locations in Mangalore, Visakhapatnam and Padur (near Udupi).
  3. All these are located on the east and west coasts of India which are readily accessible to the refineries.
  4. These strategic storages are in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and serve in response to external supply disruptions.
  5. FM Arun Jaitley in his 2017-18 budget speech has announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] 500th death anniversary of the great saint and poet, Kabir

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Philosophy of Kabir and Kabir Panth

Mains level: Role of Kabir and various other saints during Bhakti Movement.


News

Sant Kabir

  1. Kabir was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement and his verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib.
  2. His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda.
  3. Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former was misguided by the Vedas, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively.
  4. Kabir suggested that True God is with the person who is on the path of righteousness, considered all creatures on earth as his own self, and who is passively detached from the affairs of the world.
  5. Kabir’s legacy survives and continues through the Kabir Panth (“Path of Kabir”), a religious community that recognizes him as its founder and its members are known as Kabir panthis.
  6. Kabir’s poetry is very famous in popular culture as ‘Dohas’.

Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

[pib] NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurs Platform

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Indian Society | Role of women and women’s organization.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: WEP

Mains level: Promotion of Women Entrepreneurship in India


News

Why in news?

  1. NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurs Platform (WEP) signed five separate Statement of Intent (SoIs) with Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank Limited, Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited, SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited, Sreemanta Sankar Mission and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).
  2. The SoIs signed with financial institutions will provide financial assistance to women entrepreneurs and address the finance-related challenges faced by them through WEP.

About WEP

  1. The WEP is an initiative under the NITI Aayog which was launched on March 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
  2. The WEP intends to undertake this task through its partner organizations, private as well as public organizations;
  • by bringing their existing as well as new women-specific initiatives on a single platform, which in turn will also address knowledge gaps,
  • promote partner connects and will increase the outreach of partner programmes.
  1. Through its partner organizations, WEP aims to create opportunities and support women in order to help them realize their entrepreneurial aspirations, scale up innovative initiatives, and chalk out sustainable and long-term strategies for their businesses.
  2. NITI CEO announced the setting-up of a Women Entrepreneurship Platform in NITI Aayog at the conclusion of the 8th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Hyderabad in 2017 with an overarching theme of ‘Women first, Prosperity for All’.

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

[pib] President inaugurates Udyam Sangam-2018

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Udyam Sangam, Sampark Portal

Mains level: Various initiatives for MSME developmemt


News

Udyam Sangam-2018

  1. The President of India inaugurated the Udyam Sangam-2018, being organised by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) to celebrate the 2nd United Nations Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day (27th June)
  2. On this occasion, he also launched the Solar Charkha and MSME Sampark Portal.
  3. The Udyam Sangam-2018 is an important effort in developing effective eco-systems for MSME sector.
  4. The Sangam will provide representatives of finance, training and educational institutions, industry, media, state governments and NGOs an opportunity to engage in extensive discussions to strengthen the eco-systems in this sector.

Sampark Portal

  1. ‘Sampark Portal’ is a digital platform to connect five lakh job seekers with recruiters
  2. It will be very useful in developing skill-pool and in enabling trained youth to know about different employment opportunities.

India’s MSME Sector

  1. MSME sector is called the backbone of our economy.
  2. This sector is the second largest employment provider after the agricultural sector.
  3. Our demographic dividend shall be most gainfully utilized in this very sector.
  4. This sector generates more employment opportunities at a lower cost of capital.
  5. And the most important thing about this sector is that it creates jobs in rural and backward areas.
  6. This sector could help in achieving the goal of inclusive growth through empowerment of weaker sections and decentralization of development.

Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

[pib] Conservation of PVTGs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of A&N Islands

Mains level: Issue of extinction of PVTGs in A&N Islands


 News

  1. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has organized a Two days National Seminar on “Conservation of Particularly Vulnerable Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Way Forward”.
  2. This Seminar has been organized in collaboration with Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) to deliberate on critical issues of tribal groups who are at the verge of extinction.
  3. Andaman & Nicobar Islands are home to the most primitive tribal groups: Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shompens. 

Tribal Structure of A&N Islands 

  1. The total number of tribes on these islands are 28077, out of which 97% are the more developed Nicobarese.
  2. The five particularly venerable tribes are the Sentinelese only 50, in North Sentinel Island; Andamanese: 70 in Strait Islands; Ongese: 120 in the little Andaman Islands;  Shompens: 238 in Great Nicobar Island and Jarawas: 500 in middle and South Andaman Islands.
  3. Historically, these islands lay along the grand trade routes between Europe and East Asia, but they remained isolated and unexplored.
  4. The A&N tribes represent oldest living indigenous communities of the world, with anthropological connections with both the original inhabitants of Africa and of East Asia which reveals in their features.
  5. Many attempts have been made across history by the colonial British rulers to subjugate them and to keep Andamans as a penal colony, but the indomitable spirit of the tribes was not easy to defeat.

Threats to these PVTS

  1. These fragile communities are facing expropriation of their ecosystem by outsiders.
  2. There is an aggressive brush off with non-tribals- traders and tourists and this is impacting their physical, environment and routine life.
  3. The outside influences are impacting their land use patterns, use of the sea, overall biodiversity leading to material and non-material changes in them and to some deleterious consequences.
  4. These clearly need to learn from what happened to the Onges and the Great Andamanese who have been adversely impact by outside influences brought in by tourism and modern development.

Legislations for PVTs Protection 

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation 1956 as amended in 2005 and 2012.
  2. Policy on Jarawa Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar, 2004.
  3. Policy on Shompen of Great Nicobar Islands, 2015

Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] Inauguration of NIMHANS Digital Academy, proposed Health and Wellness Centres

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NIMHANS Digital Academy, Ayushman Bharat, HWCs

Mains level: Ensuring Mental Healthcare access in the country through capacity building by such institutions.


News

Promoting Mental Healthcare in India

  1. Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the NIMHANS Digital Academy and addressed the first batch of professionals enrolled for undergoing courses in the fields of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Social Work.
  2. The passing of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 brings forth a stronger and more robust legal scaffold and humane and patient-centric rights-based approach for mental health care in our country.
  3. Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 envisions adequate quality care for the citizens through skilled healthcare professionals so that we can reduce stigma against mental health disorders.

NIMHANS Digital Academy

  1. NIMHANS has established infrastructure for starting a Digital Academy to provide large-scale training to healthcare service providers like Medical Officer, Psychologists, Social Workers and Nurses to deliver quality mental healthcare services throughout the country.
  2. The main objective is to exponentially increase skilled capacity in mental health in the country.
  3. Up to 50 people can be trained in the virtual classroom with only a cell phone/mobile phone with 3G connection required at the receiver’s end.
  4. After successful completion of the course and evaluation, the participants will be awarded “Diploma in Community Mental Health” by NIMHANS, Bengaluru.
  5. The courses for different categories of healthcare providers would be of about 30 hours duration each and spread across a period of three months and would be digitally delivered to remotely located healthcare providers across the country.
  6. It will augment the existing skills in mental health in the country.

Health and Wellness Centres

  1. Under Ayushman Bharat, 150,000 sub-centres will be converted into Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) that will deliver comprehensive primary health care.
  2. The HWCs would provide preventive, promotive, and curative care for non-communicable diseases, dental, mental, geriatric care, palliative care, etc.
  3. Government has initiated universal screening of common NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and common cancers along with Tuberculosis and Leprosy, which will eventually help in reducing the disease burden of the country.
  4. In the coming times, it could be possible to detect mental health disorders at these centres and if it can be included in the universal screening along with these diseases.

Back2Basics

National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) Bangalore

  1. Established in 1925, NIMHANS, the apex center for mental health and neuroscience education in the country
  2. It operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  3. The institute was inaugurated on 27 December 1974, establishing it as an autonomous body under the Societies Registration Act.
  4. NIMHANS is a multidisciplinary institute for patient care and academic pursuit in the frontier area of mental health and neurosciences.

Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

[pib] Outcomes of 13th Executive Committee meeting of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Clean Ganga Mission, Ganga Mitra

Mains level: Enhancing Clean Ganga Mission


News

2019 Kumbh Mela, Allahabad

  1. In the run-up to the upcoming Kumbh Mela 2019 in Allahabad, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 13th Executive Committee meeting approved two projects for community toilets and procurement of dustbins.
  2. More than 12 crore people are expected to attend the Mela and NMCG is committed to ensuring that pollutants are not dumped into river Ganga.

Cultivation of Medicinal Plants

  1. A project for the promotion of cultivation of medicinal plants indigenous to the Ganga Basin, along the River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh has been approved.
  2. So far, 8 species of medicinal plants have been identified which will be planted during the project. These are Vach, Kalmegh, Shatavari, Tulsi, Arjuna, Khas-Khas grass, Bel and Sarpgandha.
  3. The expected outcomes of the project are improved soil health, reduction in water pollution, livelihood and increase in farmers income through diversification for high-value medicinal plants.

Training of the Ganga Mitras

  1. In an attempt to develop a self-sufficient cadre for the Clean Ganga Mission at the grassroots level, one pilot project for training of the Ganga Mitras has been approved.
  2. Once trained, the main task of Ganga Mitras will be to promote eco-tourism, spread public awareness among school children in particular and local people in general, develop green belts in their localities etc.
  3. The Ganga Mitras will be trained in specialized water testing, sources of pollution and the adverse impact of pollution on health etc.
  4. The nomenclature of the Ganga Mitras is also used by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) who has trained some local people. The development of Ganga Mitras by NMCG will be an addition to the WWF efforts.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Constitution of Committee for Standardization and Indigenization in Metro Rail Systems

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Metro Rail Projects are sought to be most feasible options for urban transport. Many systems of Metro rails are now indigenously manufactured in India. The newscard talks about reducing Installation and Operation Cost of metro through standardization and indigenization processes.


Context

  1. With rapid Industrialization, Urbanization, Globalization and concentration of large population in urban centers, the cities and towns of the country are growing at a faster pace.
  2. To keep this faster pace, for moving people, goods and services, metro rail projects are playing a crucial role not only as a transportation solution but as a means to transform cities.

Metro Lines in India

  1. Today, 490 km of metro lines are operational in 10 different cities in the country.
  2. More than 600 km of metro rail projects are under construction in various cities.
  3. In the coming years, there will be robust growth in the metro rail sector.
  4. More than 350 km of new construction will be started in the next few years as more and more cities are planning for expansion or new constructions of metro rail.

Increased Govt Expenditure over Metro Projects

  1. The Government of India is providing financial support in the implementation of metro rail projects by way of Equity and Subordinate Debt as well as sovereign guarantee for multilateral and bilateral loans.
  2. The increasing trend of central government budget outlay provided for metro rail projects in last four years is evidence of the ever growing need for metro rail to decongest and enhance mobility in our cities.
  3. The average budget outlay of Govt. of India is likely to increase to about Rs 25,000 cr annually, apart from the investments envisaged by the state governments, private partners and ULBs.

Decent background for Standardization and Indigenization

  1. Various other steps have been taken for the systematic and sustainable growth of metro rail projects in the country.
  2. The standards for rolling stock and signaling systems for the metro rail in India have been notified in 2017 after concurrence from Railway Board.
  3. The standards for electrical systems have been concurred by the Railway Board recently and the same will be notified soon.
  4. The detailed specifications for the Automatic Fare Collection System and the complete eco-system based on the Rupay standard has been prepared by NPCI and C-DAC in collaboration with DMRC.
  5. Substantial expenditure has already been incurred and the first indigenous gate based on the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is likely to be launched and BEL has been tasked for this.
  6. The specifications of the most advanced signaling system in the world viz. Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, which was introduced by Kochi Metro Rail first in the country, is also being formulated jointly by BEL, C-DAC, DMRC, STQC through MoHUA.

Way Forward

  1. However, there are numerous other areas for which indigenous standards need to be formulated.
  2. These are layout of metro station, platforms, signage & displays, size of tunnels, fire protection systems, disaster management systems, environment friendly and waste management systems, standards for solar panels at stations etc.
  3. These indigenous standards will ensure that metro rail sub systems for all new metro projects conform to the prescribed standards thus incentivizing manufacturers to plan for long term investments in the country and set up manufacturing units.
  4. This will also bring down the cost of the metro rail constructions and operation. For this purpose, a committee has been constituted.

Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

[pib] First Livestock export from Nagpur airport

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Utilizing Livestock export for benefiting distressed farmers of Vidarbha Region


News

First livestock Export by Air

  1. On June 30, 2018, livestock of sheep and goat will be exported for the first time to Sharjah from Nagpur
  2. Around 1 lakh sheep and goat will be exported over a period of three months from the Nagpur airport.
  3. This project is taking off due to the joint efforts of Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN), Air India, Agriculture Ministry and Commerce Ministry.

Far-reaching benefits for Vidarbha Farmers

  1. The export of livestock will benefit farmers of the Vidarbha region which is witnessing farmer’s suicides.
  2. Shepherd’s and farmers of the region will greatly benefit from this and may consider Sheep and Goat rearing as a side business along with farming.
  3. When there is drought or when the farmer is in need of money he will be able to sell the sheep and goat. Women too can take this up as a business and make it a source of earning.

AIIB & The Changing World Order

[pib] Third AIIB Annual Meeting 2018, Mumbai

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: AIIB, Asian Infrastructure Forum

Mains level: Not Much


News

3rd Annual Meeting of AIIB

  1. The Department of Economic Affairs and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will jointly host the third Annual Meeting of the AIIB in Mumbai.
  2. The theme for this year’s meeting is “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration” that will see leaders from varied organizations and levels of government to share ideas and experiences for creating a sustainable future through sound infrastructure investment.

Asian Infrastructure Forum

  1. This year will also see the launch of the inaugural Asian Infrastructure Forum, which will gather infrastructure practitioners in a practical and project-driven discourse
  2. It is focused on matching innovative finance to critical infrastructure needs.

India Infrastructure Expo 2018

  1. The Department of Economic Affairs, in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), is also organising an exhibition India Infrastructure Expo 2018.
  2. The objective of the exhibition is to offer companies from the public and private sector to showcase their latest solutions, technologies and offerings in the realm of infrastructure project development and delivery.

Back2Basics

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

  1. The AIIB is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
  2. It was proposed as an initiative by the government of China in 2013 and came into existence in 2014.
  3. The capital of the bank is $100 billion, equivalent to 2⁄3 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank.
  4. Recently AIIB extended USD 1.2 bn loan for infra projects in India.
  5. The fund will invest in six projects, including $500 million in the Mumbai Metro and $455 million in rural roads in Andhra Pradesh.
  6. This also includes $200 million to the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

[pib] Ministry of Women & Child Development receives the ‘Best Performing Social Sector Ministry’ SKOCH Award

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Various initiatives by MoWCD at a glance

Mains level: Read the attached story 


News

Lauding the achievements of the Ministry of Women and Child Development in delivering the promises made and for its significant achievements and initiatives from the last 4 years, SKOCH has conferred the ‘Best performing Social Sector Ministry’.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao- a huge success

  1. Flagship schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao have achieved huge success within a very short period of time.
  2. Under this scheme, efforts were made at National, regional and local level which led to behaviour change which is reflecting in the improved sex ration at birth.

Other lauded Initiatives of MoWCD

  1. 6 months maternity leave,
  2. Sexual Harassment at Work Place Act,
  3. SHe-box,
  4. One stop centers,
  5. Universal Women helpline (181),
  6. 33 percent reservation in police etc.

Forensic Analysis for Sexual assault cases

  1. Stressing that forensic analysis plays a critical role in nabbing the culprits in sexual assault cases, the foundation of  Sakhi Suraksha Advanced DNA Forensic Laboratory was laid in Chandigarh.
  2. 5 more advanced forensic labs would come up in Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune and Bhopal.
  3. Special forensic kits for rape cases will be provided to all police stations and hospitals.
  4. The funds for these kits will be provided from Nirbhaya Fund.

Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

[pib] India to host European Union Film Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: EUFF

Mains level: Not Much


News

  1. Putting a spotlight on the latest European cinema, the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) will premiere in New Delhi on 18th June, 2018 at the Siri Fort Auditorium.
  2. 24 latest European movies from 23 European countries are to be screened.
  3. Slovakian Movie Little Harbour to be the opening film for the festival
  4. The festival will traverse through 11 cities in India including New Delhi, Chennai, Port Blair, Pune, Puducherry, Kolkata, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Thrissur, Hyderabad and Goa from 18th June till 31st
  5. Celebrating diversity, the EUFF will screen movies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
  6. The European Union Film Festival, organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, and European Union will be hosted at the Sirifort Auditorium Complex.

Back2Basics

European Union

  1. The EU consists of 28 countries, has the world’s largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India.
  2. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship.
  3. They have set up common institutions so that decisions on matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level.
  4. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment.
  5. UK was the last member to leave EU after Greece , popularly known as Brexit.

Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

[pib] Cabinet approves proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Particulars of the draft Bill

Mains level : The newscard talks about addressing the issue of Dam safety and unresolved points of issues between the states which share dam territory.

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the draft Bill

Mains level:  The newscard talks about addressing the issue of Dam safety and unresolved points of issues between the states which share dam territory.


Context

  1. There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams.
  2. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern
  3. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.
  4. The draft bill seeks to address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals.

Benefits

  1. It will help all the States and UTs to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams.
  2. This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.
  3. A case in point is the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala, which is a perennial flashpoint between the State and neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
  4. The Chennai floods of 2015 due to unusually heavy rain were thought to have been compounded by an unprecedented release of water from the Chembarambakkam dam into the Adyar.

Key Propositions

  1. The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
  2. This provides for the establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
  3. The Bill also provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

 National Dam Safety Authority

  • It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSO) and the owners of dams for standardization of dam safety-related data and practices;
  • It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and SDSO
  • It shall maintain a national level database of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures;
  • It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure;
  • It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organizations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams;
  • It will also look into unresolved points of issue between two states

State Committee on Dam Safety

  1. It will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning.
  2. It further provides that every State shall establish a “State Dam Safety Organisation“, which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geotechnical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[pib] Cabinet approves Repositioning of North Eastern Council

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NEC

Mains level : Development of North Eastern Region

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NEC

Mains level: Development of North Eastern Region


News

  1. The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has approved the proposal of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
  2. It held the nomination of Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC) – a statutory body with Governors and Chief Ministers of all the eight North Eastern States as its Member.
  3. The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council.

Impact of  this Restructuring

  1. NEC implements various projects through the State and Central agencies.
  2. This change would provide a forum for discussing inter-state matters more comprehensively and also consider common approaches to be taken in future.
  3. NEC can now also perform the tasks undertaken by the various Zonal Councils to discuss such inter-State issues as drug trafficking, smuggling of arms and ammunition, boundary disputes etc.

Back2Basics

North Eastern Council

  1. North Eastern Council (NEC) was constituted as a statutory advisory body under the NEC Act 1971 and came into being on the 7th November 1972 at Shillong.
  2. NEC was established under the North Eastern Council Act, 1971 as an apex level body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating coordination with the States.
  3. Sikkim was added to the council in the year 2002
  4. Subsequent to the Amendment of 2002, NEC has been mandated to function as a regional planning body for the North Eastern
  5. While formulating a regional plan for this area, shall give priority to the schemes and projects benefiting two or more states.
  6. In case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that

Cashless Society – Digital Payments, Demonetization, etc.

[pib] Cashless Ticketing through ‘UTSonMobile’ App developed by CRIS

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Features of the App

Mains level : Measure towards cashless and paper-less ticketing

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Features of the App

Mains level: Measure towards cashless and paper-less ticketing


News

A wallet for daily commuters

  1. Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) has developed a mobile application for Unreserved Ticketing.
  2. This app will help daily commuters by reducing time spent in queues.

Features of “UTS on Mobile App”

  1. The ‘utsonmobile’ application enables booking and cancellation of unreserved tickets, issue and renewal of season and platform tickets, check and load R-wallet balance and helps maintain user profile management and booking history.
  2. The app is very handy, free and is available for both Android and Windows smart phone. Users can download this app from Google Play Store or Windows store free of cost.
  3. Upon successful registration, Railway Wallet (R-Wallet) will be created automatically with zero balance to the passenger. There will be no extra cost for creating R-Wallet.
  4. The R-Wallet can be recharged either at any of the UTS counter or through recharge option available in the website.
  5. No advance ticket booking is allowed. (i.e.) the journey date will always be current date.

Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

[pib] NITI Aayog to launch Composite Water Management Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Components of Composite Water Management Index

Mains level : Read the attached story

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Components of Composite Water Management Index

Mains level: Need for sustainable use of water


Composite Water Management Index

  1. NITI Aayog has come up with the Composite Water Management Index as a useful tool to assess and improve the performance in efficient management of water resources.
  2. This index is an attempt to inspire States and UTs towards efficient and optimal utilization of water, and recycling thereof with a sense of urgency.
  3. The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.

Sectors Prioritized for Water Management Index

  • Restoration of Water Bodies– Source Augmentation
  • Groundwater– Source Augmentation
  • Major and Medium Irrigation – Supply Side Management
  • Watershed Development – Supply Side Management
  • Participatory Irrigation Practices – Demand Side Management
  • Sustainable on-farm Water Use Practices – Demand Side Management
  • Rural Drinking Water
  • Urban Water Supply and Sanitation
  • Policy and Governance

Managing Water Resources

  1. In view of limitations on availability of water resources and rising demand for water, sustainable management of water resources has acquired critical importance.
  2. The index can be utilized to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

[pib] Government introduces new scheme ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level:  Not Much


News

Aim: Scheme seeks to reimburse Central Share of CGST and IGST on Food/Prasad/Langar/Bhandara offered by Religious and Charitable Institutions free of cost without any discrimination to Public/Devotees.

Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Total Outlay: Rs. 325.00 Crores for Financial Years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Criteria for Charitable Religious Institutions

  1. These includes  Temples, Gurudwara, Mosque, Church, Dharmik Ashram, Dargah, Matth, Monasteries etc. which have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
  2. These should serve free food to at least 5000 people  in a month and 
  3. Such institutions are covered under:
  • Section 10( 23BBA)  of the Income Tax Act  or
  • Institutions registered as Society  under Societies Registration Act ( XXI of 1860) or as a
  • Public Trust under any law for the time being in force of statuary religious bodies constituted under any Act  or
  • Institutions registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act shall be eligible for a grant under the scheme.

Execution of the Scheme

  1. Ministry of Culture will register the eligible charitable religious institutions for a time period ending with finance commission period and subsequently the registration may be renewed by the Ministry, subject to the performance evaluation of the institutions.
  2. The details of registered institutions will be available on an online portal for the viewership of public, GST authorities and entity / institution itself.
  3. The entity / institution will be permitted to submit the reimbursement claim of the GST and Central Government share of IGST to designated authority of GST Department at State level in the prescribed format during the validity of registration.
  4. All the eligible institutions should be registered with Darpan portal

Indian Navy Updates

[pib] Operation NISTAR Successfully Culminates with Safe Disembarkations of 38 Indian Nationals at Porbandar

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Spot all places mentioned on World Map, Operation NISTAR

Mains level : Not Much

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Spot all places mentioned on World Map, Operation NISTAR

Mains level:  Not Much


News

Operation NISTAR

  • INS Sunayana successfully evacuated 38 Indian Nationals at/ off Socotra Islands during a swift Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operation (HADR), code named Operation NISTAR.
  • The Indian Nationals were stranded after severe Cyclonic Storm – Mekunu devastated the area around Socotra Island.
  • INS Sunayana was diverted from Gulf of Aden deployment to Socotra Island for search and rescue operations.

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in India’s National Strategy

  • HADR operations have attracted the attention of the global community in recent years.
  • The Indian armed forces have a wide experience of disaster relief operations both at home and abroad, where they have been the core of relief operations.
  • Due to its sub-continental size, geographical location and its vulnerability to disasters, India has kept its forces ready to render assistance at short notice.
  • In the six decades since independence, India has experienced a number of natural and man-made disasters such as floods, earthquakes, famines, industrial accidents etc.
  • At the same time, India has partnered the global community in providing relief in affected regions

Swachh Bharat Mission

[pib] Ministry of Railways PSU IRCTC introduces bagasse based food packaging to commemorate World Environment Day 2018

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : World Environment Day 2018, Trains currently using Bagasse Packaging

Mains level : Initiatives to promote use of non- biodegradable materials for packaging

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  World Environment Day 2018, Bagasse Packaging

Mains level:  Initiatives to promote the use of non- biodegradable materials for packaging


News

  • IRCTC with this new initiative reaffirms its commitment to a cleaner and greener India and has taken a small step in this direction to achieve the same.
  • Provision will be made to collect the used packaging which will then be processed for disposal through composting to ensure environmental sustainability.

What is Bagasse?

  • Bagasse is the fibrous remains left behind after extracting sugarcane juice
  • It is being used to make disposable cutlery and containers in which meals will be served

Aims of the Initiative

  • The aim is to progressively introduce bagasse based packaging as a viable alternative of non-bio-degradable material being currently used on all Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto trains managed by IRCTC

Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

[pib] World Bank approves Rs. 6,000 crore Atal Bhujal Yojana

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Atal Bhujal Yojana

Mains level : Schemes for marginalized sections of society

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Atal Bhujal Yojana

Mains level:  Schemes for water resources management


News

The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore Fund.

Type: Central Sector Scheme

Related Ministry/Department: Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

Period: The scheme is to be implemented over a period of 5 years from 2018-19 to 2022-23, with World Bank assistance.

Aim of the Scheme

  1. The scheme aims to improve groundwater management in priority areas in the country through community participation.
  2. The priority areas identified under the scheme fall in the states of  Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  3. These States represent about 25% of the total number of over-exploited, critical and semi-critical blocks in terms of groundwater in India.  
  4. They also cover two major types of groundwater systems found in India – alluvial and hard rock aquifers- and have varying degrees of institutional readiness and experience in groundwater management.

Regulation

  1. Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) is regulating groundwater development in 23 States/UTs.
  2. For enforcement of the regulatory measures in these areas, concerned Deputy Commissioners/ District Magistrates have been directed under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to take necessary action in case of violations of directives of CGWA.

Funds Mobilization

  1. Funds under the scheme will be provided to the states for strengthening the institutions responsible for ground water governance, as well as for encouraging community involvement for improving ground water management to foster behavioural changes that promote conservation and efficient use of water.
  2. The scheme will also facilitate convergence of ongoing Government schemes in the states by incentivizing their focussed implementation in identified priority areas.
  3. Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8350 Gram Panchayats in 78 districts in these states. Funds under the scheme will be made available to the participating states as Grants.

Community Participation

  1. The scheme envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as formation of Water User Associations, monitoring and disseminating ground water data, water budgeting etc.
  2. Preparation and implementation of Gram-Panchayat wise water security plans and IEC activities related to sustainable ground water management is also to be carried out.
  3. Community participation is also expected to facilitate bottom-up groundwater planning process to improve the effectiveness of public financing and align implementation of various government programs on groundwater in the participating states