• To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the Prime Minister of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014. The Mission Coordinator for SBM is Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) with two Sub-Missions, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). Together, they aim to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019, as a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birth Anniversary.

  • In Rural India, this would mean improving the levels of cleanliness through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.

  • Vision The aim of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) is to achieve a clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2nd October, 2019

  • Objectives To bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas, by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation. To accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve the vision of Swachh Bharat by 2nd October 2019.

  • To motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices and facilities through awareness creation and health education.

  • To encourage cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation.

  • To develop, wherever required, community managed sanitation systems focusing on scientific Solid & Liquid Waste Management systems for overall cleanliness in the rural areas.

  • To create significant positive impact on gender and promote social inclusion by improving sanitation especially in marginalized communities

  • Namami Gange Programme is an initiative of Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR), comprising of making villages on the bank of River Ganga ODF and interventions dealing with solid and liquid waste management are being implemented by MDWS.

  • A convention of Gram Panchayats was organized in Allahabad on 20th August 2016 to provide impetus to the initiative. Over 2000 GP representatives from across five states participated in this event which was attended by Union Minister, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, and Union Minister of Water Resources, Sushri Uma Bharti.

  • All villages located across 52 districts of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal has since been made ODF by MDWS with active help of state governments.

  • Verification of the quality of ODF status in these villages has been taken up and complete verification is expected to be completed by August 07, 2017.

  • Swachhta Pakhwada started in April 2016 with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhta by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.

  • An annual calendar is pre-circulated among the Ministries to help them plan for the Pakhwada activities.

  • The Ministries observing Swachhta Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhta Samiksha where action plans, images, videos related to Swachhta activities are uploaded and shared.

  • After observing Swachhta Pakhwada, Ministries/ Departments announce their achievements through a press conference and other communication tools.

  • For the Pakhwada fortnight, observing ministries are considered as Swachhta Ministries and are expected to bring qualitative Swachhta improvements in their jurisdictions.

  • Joint initiative between the MDWS and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Objective : To build on and leverage the achievements of two complementary programmes – SBM and Kayakalp (MoHFW)

  • The initiative involves focusing on WASH parameters in selected hospitals, priority ODF action in areas around identified health centres, and advanced sanitation training for doctors and health workers.

  • MoHFW has identified and shared 532 Kayakalp Award winning PHCs list with MDWS MDWS has mapped those GPs where these PHCs are situated to complete ODF on priorities basis.

  • MDWS has finalized a training module to train 700+ Health Workers of Kayakalp Award winning CHCs/PHCs on WASH parameters, training will be conducted by UNICEF.

  • Under the inspiration of Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Ministry has taken up a multi-stakeholder initiative focusing on cleaning up 100 places across India that are “iconic” due to their heritage, religious and/or cultural significance.

  • The goal of the Initiative is to improve the cleanliness conditions at these places to a distinctly higher level This initiative is in partnership with Ministries of Urban Development, Tourism and Culture with MDWS being the nodal ministry.

  • All Iconic Sites have designated PSUs for financial and technical support.

  • Swachh Iconic Places The 10 iconic sites which were taken up in the first phase are

  • Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Ajmer, Rajasthan
    CST, Mumbai, Maharashtra
    Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab
    Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam
    Maikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
    Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
    Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra, J&K
    Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha
    The Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
    Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh 

    PSU Sponsors for SIP Sites – Phase 2
    Sr. No.	Iconic Places	
    1	Gangotri, Uttarakhand	
    2	Yamunotri, Uttarakhand	
    3	Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain	
    4	Char Minar, Hyderabad	
    5	Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, Goa	
    6	Adi Shankaracharya’s abode Kaladi, Ernakulam, Kerala	-
    7	Gomateshwar, Shravanbelgola, Karnataka	
    8	Baijnath Dham, Deoghar, Jharkhand	
    9	Gaya Tirth, Bihar	
    10	Somnath temple, Gujarat

  • MDWS has been pro-actively mobilizing funds for Swachh Bharat Kosh. It was started in Oct,2014 and includes both individuals contributions as well as corporates.

  • The Ministry had organized two detailed meetings with the corporate sector and has taken part in many other interactions with both public and private sector corporates, following which the contributions to the Kosh have gone up.

  • The total donations to SBK yearwise are Rs 159.6 cr (2014-15), Rs 253.24 cr (2015-16), Rs 245.04 cr (2016-17) and Rs 3.78 cr (till July 13 in 2017-18). Funds of around Rs 332.64 cr has been released from SBK till now to various states.

  • New chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian replaces Arvind Subramanian. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has cleared the appointment of Krishnamurthy Subramanian as the Chief Economic Adviser for three years.

  • The CEA in the finance ministry is a key contributor to the government’s overall strategy in managing the economy and offers a critique of the hits and misses through the economic survey.

  • About CEA The Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) is the economic advisor to the Government of India. The CEA is the ex-officio cadre controlling authority of the Indian Economic Service.

  • The CEA is under the direct charge of the Minister of Finance. CEA enjoys rank and pay equivalent to that of a Secretary to Government of India. The CEA heads the Economic Division under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

  • A breakaway faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), led by Khango Konyak asks Centre to revive ceasefire. Recently NSCN(IM) cadre was killed – A hardcore cadre of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) was killed in an encounter with security forces in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • About National Socialist Council of Nagaland NSCN is a Greater Naga Revolutionist, Christian Naga nationalist insurgent group operating mainly in Northeast India, with minor activities in northwest Myanmar until 2012.

  • The main goal of the organisation is to establish a sovereign Naga state, “Nagalim”, which would consist of all the areas inhabited by the Naga people in Northeast India and Northwest Myanmar. According to the NSCN manifesto, their slogan is “Nagaland for Christ”. The group is accused of kidnapping, assassination, forced conversion and committing terrorist activities.

  • Do you know? Two major factions of NSCN include NSCN (K), led by Khaplang; and NSCN (I-M), led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muviah.

  • On November 6, 2015 in response to an attack on an army convoy in Manipur India designated The NSCN (K) a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

  • GM crops such as Bt cotton, the stalled Bt brinjal as well as DMH-11, a transgenic mustard hybrid – has failed as a sustainable agriculture technology and has, therefore, also failed to provide livelihood security for cotton farmers who are mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers. It raised questions on the genetic engineering technology itself on the grounds that it raises the cost of sowing.

  • Prof. Swaminathan, credited with leading India’s Green Revolution, has in recent years advocated ‘sustainable agriculture’ and said the government should only use genetic engineering as a last resort.

  • Swaminathan emphasised that genetic engineering technology is supplementary and must be needbased. Only in very rare circumstance (less than 1%) may there arise a need for the use of this technology.

  • However, the research paper – ‘Modern Technologies for Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security’ – was criticised by India’s Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), K. VijayRaghavan as ‘deeply flawed’.

  • HC stays Art of Living event at Sri Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The iconic Great temple was over 1,000 years old and by allowing private parties to put up temporary structures within its premises, the authorities were showing no regard for heritage.

  • About Sri Brihadeeswarar temple It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Periya Kovil (Great Temple), RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram.

  • It is one of the largest temples in India and is an example of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010.

  • The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.

  • Ideal Purpose of Social Media To promote 3Ds: discussion, debate and dissent among members of societies. It helps in making an informed society. It should help in reducing inherent bias among people on various issues. It should make people more receptive to others’ viewpoints, beliefs and opinions. Thus, effectively it should promote harmony, brotherhood and tolerance in the society.

  • What has social media done? Rather than achieving the above mentioned goals, social media has hardened people’s belief’s views and opinion and has made people more conservative in their outlook. This process of moulding people’s opinion has been achieved by social media through a concept known as “Echo chamber Phenomena”.

  • Social Media uses algorithms where; it suggests whom to follow, posts and comments consistent with our views and Filter news based on views and opinions.

  • These algorithms when used repeatedly by social media companies creates a cyclical rhythm of views which when bombarded regularly, helps in creating an effect similar to echo of a sound.

  • This “Echo chamber Phenomena” has been used by various agencies to fulfill their interest which has further helped in hardening of people’s beliefs, views and opinions. Apart from this, the social media also impacts the individual behaviour which could be understood by Asch conformity experiment.

  • Dou you know? Asch Conformity Experiment As per the Asch Conformity Experiment people gave wrong answers (knowingly) to confirm their alignment with the majority because according to them the majority viewpoint is correct.

  • This phenomenon of confirming with majority has helped in increasing acceptance of fake news to be as true.

  • Inclusive and participative tool of governance Social media is inclusive, participative and Disruptive in a positive way. Inclusive: as it provides equal opportunity to all without discrimination or bias. It provides for a inclusive framework for all the people to to express their viewpoints and opinions.

  • Participative: It promotes good governance in India, because it enables the government to engage with its citizens. At the same time it enables the citizens to put forward their concerns before the government. Thus it leads to strengthening of Democracy in India.

  • Disruptive: The social media has also been used for mass mobilisation campaigns, for example, during the Arab Spring, #MeToo campaign and disaster management.

  • Social media if used effectively, can further good governance initiatives of the government through people’s participation.

  • Tool of persuasion Aristotle gave three modes of persuasion: Ethos(Credibility), Pathos(emotional appeal) and Logos(logic). People believe credible person or medium or they would believe if theres an emotional appeal or they will believe if there is logic and rationality in an argument.

  • Thus, ability to persuade people depends on these three factors, and social media can play utmost a persuasive tool. It is wrong to blame the mushrooming growth of social media as it is the people who feed information as per their beliefs and opinion.

  • Conclusion Improper use of social media has dented our secular fabric. It is now our duty to use social media in responsible manner. In order to make social media more effective, it’s the people who must understand their responsibility towards society rather than believing and spreading fake news which can cause hatred and promote divisiveness in the society.

  • And on part of government; it should enact laws for data privacy and protection so that no other Cambridge Analytica will ever happen.

  • Introduction The Supreme Court of India has ordered all states and union territories to implement the Draft Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

  • The scheme intends to protect witnesses in criminal trials from threat, intimidation and undue influence. Witnesses turning hostile are a major reason for most acquittals in criminal cases.

  • In the present system, there is little incentive for witnesses to turn up in court and testify against criminals. Threats to their lives, hostility and harassment while attending courts makes extremely difficult for the witness to give evidence in Court of law.

  • Moreover, the need to protect witnesses has been emphasised by Law Commission reports and court judgments for years.

  • About Scheme It broadly classifies witnesses in need of protection into three types based on the threat assessment. A witness protection order will be passed by a competent authority. The scheme is to be funded by budgetary support from State governments and donations. This is at variance with the Law Commission’s recommendation in 2006 that the Centre and the States share the cost equally.

  • Basic Features & Challenges The Basic features such as in camera trial, proximate physical protection and removing identity details of testimony and references to witnesses in the records can be easily implemented.

  • However, advanced forms of identity protection: giving witnesses a new identity, address and even ‘parentage’, with matching documents will be the real challenge in terms of witness protection. The implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme will face logistical and financial challenge which both the Centre and states need to fix together.

  • The ability of a witness to give testimony in a judicial setting or to cooperate with law enforcement and investigations without fear of intimidation or reprisal is essential in maintaining the rule of law.

  • The objective of this Scheme is to ensure that the investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences is not prejudiced because witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.

  • It aims to promote law enforcement by facilitating the protection of persons who are involved directly or indirectly in providing assistance to criminal law enforcement agencies and overall administration of Justice.

  • Witnesses need to be given the confidence to come forward to assist law enforcement and Judicial Authorities with full assurance of safety. It is aimed to identify series of measures that may be adopted to safeguard witnesses and their family members from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation and property.

  • As such witnesses should be entitled to the following rights: Right to give evidence anonymously Right to protection from intimidation and harm Right to be treated with dignity and compassion and respect of privacy Right to information of the status of the investigation and prosecution of the crime. Right to secure waiting place while at Court proceedings Right to transportation and lodging arrangements. Steps taken to protect witnesses and way forward

  • There have been ad hoc steps such as those outlined for concealing the identity of witnesses in anti-terrorism and child-centric laws. A few dedicated courtrooms for vulnerable witnesses, mostly child victims, are also functional. However, expanding such facilities and implementing a comprehensive and credible witness protection programme will pose logistical and financial challenges. It will be well worth the effort, as the scheme could help strengthen India’s tottering criminal justice system.