The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, has launched an online campaign, ‘#www : Web- WonderWomen’. The Campaign aims to discover and celebrate the exceptional achievements of women, who have been driving positive agenda of social change via social media. Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development; Mr. Colin Crowell, Global Head, Public Policy, Twitter; and Ms. Sohini Bhattacharya, President & CEO, Breakthrough, were present during the launch.
Through the campaign, the Ministry and the Campaign’s Partners aim to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive & niche campaigns to steer a change in society. This Campaign will recognize and acknowledge the efforts of these meritorious Women.
At the launch, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, said, “Indian women have always been enterprising and have created a positive impact on society with their hard-work, experience and knowledge. Women online, though niche, are a very powerful voice. #www: WebWonderWomen is a campaign to specially honour and encourage such voices that have in their own capacity driven a positive impact on social media platforms. The Ministry is glad to partner with Breakthrough and Twitter India on this.”
The Campaign invites Entries via Nominations from across the world, as per the laid out criteria. Nominations are now open till 31st January, 2019. Indian-origin women, working or settled anywhere in the world, are eligible for nomination. The shortlisted entries will be open for public voting on Twitter and the finalists will be selected by a specialized panel of judges. Nominations have been invited in a large number of categories including Health, Media, Literature, Art, Sports, Environmental protection, fashion among others.
Announcement of Manned mission: While addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 72nd Independence Day, the Prime Minster, Shri Narendra Modi announced that India has resolved to send manned spacecraft to the space by 2022 and India will be the fourth country to do this. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions. While addressing a press conference in New Delhi on 28th August, ISRO Chairman, Dr. K. Sivan said that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has the capabilities to accomplish this task by the given timeframe.
ISRO has developed some critical technologies like re-entry mission capability, crew escape system, crew module configuration, thermal protection system, deceleration and floatation system, sub-systems of life support system etc. required for this programme. Some of these technologies have been demonstrated successfully through the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-2007), Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE-2014) and Pad Abort Test (2018). These technologies will enable ISRO in accomplishing the programme objectives in a short span of 4 years.
Launches by ISRO i). ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its forty second flight, PSLV-C40 successfully launched the 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series Remote Sensing Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites on 12th January, 2018, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The 11 kg INS-1C and the 100 kg class Microsat were the two Indian co-passenger satellites of Cartosat-2. The 28 international customer satellites belonged to Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and the USA.
ii). India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) successfully launched GSAT-6A Satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on 29th March, 2018. This was the fifth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage. GSAT-6A is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide mobile communication services through multi beam coverage. For this, it is equipped with S and C band transponders.
iii). In its forty third flight, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 successfully launched the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite on 12th April, 2018, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. IRNSS-1I is the latest member of the ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system. NavIC, also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1,500 km around the Indian mainland.
iv). The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) of ISRO successfully launched two satellites -- NovaSAR and S1-4-- from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota on 16th September, 2018. The satellites belong to UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), which has a contract with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO. NovaSAR carries S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and an Automatic Identification Receiver payloads. The satellite applications include forestry mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring and maritime missions. It will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford, UK. S1-4 is a high resolution earth observation satellite meant for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.
v). ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) successfully launched 31 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) on 29th November, 2018, in Sriharikota. HysIS is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380kg. The mission life of the satellite is five years. The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. HysIS had the company of one micro and 29 nano-satellites from eight countries, including Australia (1), Canada (1), Columbia (1), Finland (1), Malaysia (1), Netherlands (1), Spain (1) and USA (23).
vi). India’s GSAT-29 communication satellite was successfully launched by the second developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII-D2) today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, on 14th November, 2018. GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies. Its Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
vii). ISRO’s heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours on 5th December, 2018. GSAT-11 will act as a forerunner to all future high throughput communication satellites. The 5,854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
viii). ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11) successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-7A from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota on 19th December, 2018. GSAT-7A is the heaviest satellite launched by GSLV with an indigenously developed cryogenic stage. GSAT-7A is an advanced communication satellite with a Gregorian Antenna and many other new technologies.
On 6th June, 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the PSLV Continuation Programme (Phase 6) and funding of thirty PSLV operational flights under the Programme. The Programme will also meet the launch requirement of satellites for Earth observation, Navigation and Space Sciences. This will also ensure the continuity of production in Indian industry. The total fund requirement is Rs. 6131.00 Crores and includes the cost of thirty PSLV vehicles, essential facility augmentation, Programme Management and Launch Campaign. The Cabinet also approved funding for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III) continuation programme (Phase-I) consisting of ten (10) GSLV (Mk-III) flights, at a total estimated cost of Rs. 4338.20 crores.
A Team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, discovered a sub-Saturn or super-neputune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star. The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can do such precise measurements.
Pad Abort Test successful to qualify Crew Escape System required for Human Spaceflight The ISRO carried out Pad Abort Test successfully to qualify Crew Escape System required for Human Spaceflight, on 5th July 2018 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
As part of the activities for development of critical technologies for future Human Spaceflight, Pad Abort Test was carried out to demonstrate the Crew Escape System during any exigency at launch pad. The Crew Escape System is configured using specially designed quick acting solid motors that deliver a relatively large thrust to take the crew module to a safe distance. Experimental data from this mission will serve as a useful input to undertake human spaceflight programme. An amount of Rs.173.00 crores is approved for development of critical technologies including Crew Escape System.
Transfer of the in-house developed Li-ion cell technology to competent Indian Industries. One of the major Centres of ISRO, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), offered to transfer the in-house developed Li-ion cell technology to competent Indian Industries on non-exclusive basis to establish Li-ion cell production facilities in the country. This initiative is expected to enable Zero Emission Policy of India and accelerate the development of indigenous electric vehicle industry.
ISRO signed an MoU with the Central University of Jammu (CUJ) in Jammu for setting up of the Satish Dhawan Center for Space Science in the University, on 11th October, 2018. Another MoU was signed between CUJ and the Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIR-CSIO) to create awareness about space research and to motivate young minds to take up research related to space, astronomy, geology, atmospheric sciences and related fields, a two day workshop was also inaugurated at the CUJ campus.
MoU between MHA and ISRO The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and ISRO, Department of Space signed a MoU in New Delhi on 20th September, 2018, for setting up of an state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) in Ministry of Home Affairs. ISRO will render its technical expertise for setting up of proposed ICR-ER whereas the project will be executed under overall supervision of MHA. The proposed Control Room is expected to be established in next one-and-a-half year.
MoUs with foreign countries. During the year 2018, India signed various MoUs with foreign countries. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of these MoUs. These agreements are:
MoU between India and Tajkistan on Cooperation on Peaceful uses of Space Technology for Development. The MoU was signed on 8th October 2018 at Dushanbe, Tajkistan. The MoU would lead to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from DOS/ISRO and the State Committee of Land Management and Geodesy of Republic of Tajikistan, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.
Agreement between India and Uzbekistan on Cooperation in the exploration and uses of Outer Space for peaceful purposes. The Agreement was signed on 1st October 2018 at New Delhi during the State visit of the President of Uzbekistan to India. The signing of the Agreement will strengthen the cooperation between India and Uzbekistan and would provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing; satellite communication; satellite navigation; space science and exploration of outer space.
MoU between India and Morocco for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The MoU was signed at New Delhi on 25th September 2018. The MoU would lead to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from DOS/ISRO and Royal Centre for Remote Sensing (CRTS) and the Royal Centre for Space Research and Studies (CRERS), which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing the MoU.
Agreement between India and Algeria on Cooperation in the field of Space Sciences, Technologies and Applications. The Agreement was signed at Bengaluru on 19th September 2018. Signing of the Agreement will strengthen the cooperation between India and Algeria, and provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing of the earth, satellite navigation, space science and exploration of outer space.
MoU between India and Brunei Darussalam on Cooperation in the operation of Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand station for satellite and launch vehicles, and for cooperation in the field of Space Research, Science and Applications. The MoU was signed in New Delhi on 19th July 2018.
MoU between India and South Africa on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes. The MoU was signed in Johannesburg on 26th July 2018. Signing of this MoU shall enable pursuing the potential areas of cooperation such as space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth, satellite communication and satellite-based navigation; space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground systems; and application of space technology.
MoU signed between India represented by the ISRO and Oman represented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, in February, 2018 at Muscat. This MoU shall enable the following areas of cooperation such as, space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth; satellite based navigation; Space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology.
Background: The renaming is based on the recommendation made by the NCST which highlights the close ties between tribals, the forest and forest ecosystem. Merging forest and tribal welfare administrations will further the participation of ‘tribals’ in forest management. Renaming will also engender greater sensitivity on the forest department’s part towards the needs of ‘tribal’ communities.
About the Indian Forest Service: During the year 1864 the then British India Government started the Imperial Forest Department and appointed Dr. Dietrich Brandis, a German Forest officer Inspector General of Forests in 1866.
Having recognized the need to have a premier forest service to manage the varied natural resources of the vast country and to organize the affairs of the Imperial Forest Department, Imperial Forest Service was constituted in 1867.
The subject of “Forestry” was transferred to the “Provincial List” by the Government of India Act, 1935 and subsequently recruitment to the Imperial Forest Service was discontinued.
The Indian Forest Service, one of the three All India Services, was constituted in the year 1966 under the All India Services Act, 1951 by the Government of India.
The main mandate of the service is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages scientific management of forests and to exploit them on a sustained basis for primary timber products, among other things.
Background: Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), the flagship programme launched with much fanfare in 2016, has run into rough weather. With both the area covered and the number of enrolled farmers declining, the country’s premium crop insurance scheme is certainly in need of an overhaul.
Challenges at present: Insufficient reach and the issue of penetration. Data constraints: With just around 45% of the claims made by farmers over the last three crop seasons data for the last rabi season is not available paid by the insurance companies.
Low payout of claims: The reason for the very low payout of claims is that only few state governments are paying their share of the premiums on time and till they do, the central government doesn’t pay its share either. Till they get the premium, insurance companies simply sit on the claims.
Gaps in assessment of crop loss: There is hardly any use of modern technology in assessing crop damages. There is lack of trained outsourced agencies, scope of corruption during implementation and the non-utilisation of technologies like smart phones and drones to improve reliability of such sampling
Less number of notified crops than can avail insurance, Inadequate and delayed claim payment. High actuarial premium rates: Insurance companies charged high actuarial premium rates.
If states delay notifications, or payment of premiums, or crop cutting data, companies cannot pay compensation to the farmers in time. Poor capacity to deliver: There has been no concerted effort by the state government and insurance companies to build awareness of farmers on PMFBY. Insurance companies have failed to set-up infrastructure for proper Implementation of PMFBY.
PMBY is not beneficial for farmers in vulnerable regions as factors like low indemnity levels, low threshold yields, low sum insured and default on loans make it a poor scheme to safeguard against extreme weather events.
About PMFBY: In April, 2016, the government of India had launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) after rolling back the earlier insurance schemes viz. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), Weather-based Crop Insurance scheme and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
Premium: It envisages a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5% for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5%. The scheme is mandatory for farmers who have taken institutional loans from banks. It’s optional for farmers who have not taken institutional credit.
Objectives: Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events. Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming. Encouraging farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices. Ensuring flow of credit to the agriculture sector which contributes to food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness o agriculture sector besides protecting farmers from production risks.
Need for the legislation and its significance: The utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world. Therefore, the new bill aims to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
Highlights of the Bill: As per the Bill, national and regional DNA data banks will be set up for maintaining a national database for identification of victims, suspects in cases, undertrials, missing persons and unidentified human remains.
Punishment: According to it, those leaking the DNA profile information to people or entities who are not entitled to have it, will be punished with a jail term of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh. Similar, punishment has also been provided for those who seek the information on DNA profiles illegally.
Usage: As per the bill, all DNA data, including DNA profiles, DNA samples and records, will only be used for identification of the person and not for “any other purpose”.
The bill’s provisions will enable the cross-matching between persons who have been reported missing on the one hand and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country on the other, and also for establishing the identity of victims in mass disasters.
The Bill establishes a DNA Regulatory Board to accredit the DNA laboratories that analyse DNA samples to establish the identity of an individual.
Benefits of the Bill: By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in the country. There is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable and the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.
DNA technology- significance and concerns: DNA analysis is an extremely useful and accurate technology in ascertaining the identity of a person from his/her DNA sample, or establishing biological relationships between individuals.
A hair sample, or even bloodstains from clothes, from a scene of crime, for example, can be matched with that of a suspect, and it can, in most cases, be conclusively established whether the DNA in the sample belongs to the suspected individual. As a result, DNA technology is being increasingly relied upon in investigations of crime, identification of unidentified bodies, or in determining parentage.
But information from DNA samples can reveal not just how a person looks, or what their eye colour or skin colour is, but also more intrusive information like their allergies, or susceptibility to diseases. As a result, there is a greater risk of information from DNA analysis getting misused.
It is expected that the expanded use of DNA technology would result not only in speedier justice delivery but also in increased conviction rates, which at present is only around 30% (NCRB Statistics for 2016).
THE NEW PLANET: The new planet is named HD 21749b. The newly discovered planet orbits a bright and nearby star which is about 53 light years away in the constellation Reticulum. HD 21749b appears to have the longest orbital period of the three planets so far identified by Tess. The surface of the new planet is hotter than 100 degrees Celsius.
About TESS mission: The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA mission that will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky. It was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with seed funding from Google.
Mission: The mission will monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets. TESS, however, will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined. This will help astronomers better understand the structure of solar systems outside of our Earth, and provide insights into how our own solar system formed.
Orbit: TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days. Its closest point to Earth (67,000 miles or 108,000 kilometers) is about triple the distance of geosynchronous orbit, where most communications satellites operate.
How it works? It will use transit method to detect exoplanets. It watches distant stars for small dips in brightness, which can indicate that planet has passed in front of them. Repeated dips will indicate planet passing in front of its star. This data has to be validated by repeated observations and verified by scientists.
Significance of the mission: TESS is designed to build on the work of its predecessor, the Kepler space telescope, which discovered the bulk of some 3,700 exoplanets documented during the past 20 years and is running out of fuel. Nasa expects to pinpoint thousands more previously unknown worlds, perhaps hundreds of them Earth-sized or “super-Earth” sized – no larger than twice as big as our home planet.
Those are believed the most likely to feature rocky surfaces or oceans and are thus considered the best candidates for life to evolve. Scientists have said they hope TESS will ultimately help catalog at least 100 more rocky exoplanets for further study in what has become one of astronomy’s newest fields of exploration.
North Eastern Region (including Sikkim) under North Eastern Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) – 2017 Jammu & Kashmir under Industrial Development Scheme – 2017 Lakshadweep and A&N Islands under Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Island Development Scheme – 2018
Industrial Units can avail Incentives: Under the above mentioned schemes, all eligible industrial units can avail incentive on transportation of only finished goods through Railways or the Railway Public Sector Undertakings, Inland Waterways or scheduled airline (shipping for Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands also) for five years from the date of commencement of commercial production/operation.
Freight Subsidy Scheme (FSS): The FSS (2013) replaced the Transport Subsidy Scheme, 1971. It was in operation in all 8 North Eastern States, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Darjeeling District of West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands. The FSS has been discontinued since 22.11.2016. But, the industrial units under these schemes during their currency are eligible for the benefits of the scheme. While the inland transport incentive is available for certain landlocked states, there is no proposal to provide the same to the state of Chhattisgarh.
Background: About Transport Subsidy Scheme – Government of India had introduced Transport Subsidy Scheme (TSS) on 23.7.1971 to develop industrialization in the remote, hilly and inaccessible areas.
Scheme Objectives: The objective is to develop industrialization in the remote, hilly and inaccessible areas in 8 North Eastern Region.
Implementing Agency: DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) is the implementing agency of TSS/FSS.
Monitoring and Review Mechanism: In order to check any misuse, Directorates of Industries in each beneficiary State/UT are required to: Carry out periodical checks to ensure that the raw materials/finished goods for which transport subsidy is given in actually used for the intended purpose, To draw up procedures and arrangements for scrutinizing the claims and for promote payment of the claims, To lay down a system of pre-registration and to fix and indicate the capacity of the units during registration,
To lay down procedure to ensure regular inflow of information regarding the movement of raw material and finished goods, To lay down that statistics of production and utilization or raw material should be maintained and kept open for inspection.
States’ Contribution: The State Governments are required to propose minimum 15% of total length of annual proposals under new technologies like Cement stabilization, Lime stabilization, Cold mix, Waste plastics, Cell filled concrete, Paneled cement concrete pavement, Fly ash etc.
Further Relaxation: The Ministry of Rural Development specifications have also been relaxed in respect of grading of materials for Granular Sub Base layer in order to encourage the usage of locally available/naturally occurring material/marginal materials.
Current Scenario: Andhra Pradesh Government had submitted proposal for converting 37 roads of 163.49 KM sanctioned under Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas with conventional method of construction to New Technology. There is no other proposal of the State on New Technology pending with the Government at present. The Ministry has so far sanctioned 35,922 KM length of roads using New Technologies and 22,983.96 KM have been completed.
Background: Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) encourages the use of ‘Green Technologies’ and non-conventional materials like waste plastic, cold mix, geo-textiles, fly-ash, iron and copper slag etc in rural roads.
Objective of PMGSY: The primary objective of PMGSY is to provide connectivity by way of all-weather roads. The programme also has an Upgradation component with a target to upgrade existing rural roads in order to ensure full farm to market connectivity.
With a view to bringing transparency and responsiveness in governance, plug leakages and to quickly address the citizen grievances; PMGSY has been encouraging use of information technology, mobile technology and space technology.
Meri Sadak – A mobile application “Meri Sadak” was launched to enable citizens to register complaints regarding the quality and pace of construction of PMGSY roads.
Context: The Ministry of Labour & Employment is implementing the National Career Service (NCS) Project to provide a variety of employment related services like job matching, career counseling, vocational guidance, information on skill development courses, etc.
Highlights of NCS Project: It includes establishment of Model Career Centers by the State Government/Institutions of repute to provide variety of employment related services using technology. The NCS project has also been enhanced to interlink the Employment Exchanges with NCS portal and organizing job fairs.
Employment Exchanges/Model Career Centers – functions under the administrative control of the State Governments/Institutions and they are organizing job fairs locally for the benefit of the job seekers from time to time.
Background: A National ICT based portal is developed primarily to connect the opportunities with the aspirations of youth. The portal facilitates registration of job seekers, job providers, skill providers, career counselors, etc.
Context: The restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) was approved in April, 2018 for implementation till the end of 14th Finance Commission i.e. 2019-2020.
Aim of the Mission: It aims to inter-alia supplement farm income of farmers with focus on the development of complete value chain of bamboo sector linking growers with industry.
Implementation: The scheme is being implemented in non-forest Government land, farmers field in States where it has social, commercial and economical advantage, including the bamboo rich States of North Eastern region and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Till Now: 88 Bamboo Treatment Units, 464 Product Development/Processing Units, 135 Infrastructure Projects for Promotion and Development of Bamboo Markets, and an area of 15740 ha for plantation has been approved.
Financial Assistance: Financial Assistance to North Eastern States is provided in the ratio of 90:10 between Central & State Government. A number of consultations have been held with State Governments and Industry to invigorate the bamboo sector in the region.
Background: About National Bamboo Mission – The Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
Key Outputs: Coverage of 1,05,000 ha area under bamboo in two years by ensuring adequate stocks of selected genetically superior quality planting material. Promotion and diversification of bamboo products through establishment of micro, small, medium & large processing units and development of value chain in bamboo.
Setting up and strengthening of bamboo mandi/bazaars/rural haats, including promoting online trade. Enhanced cooperation within the country related to research, technology, product development, machinery, trade information and knowledge sharing platform particularly for NE States to give a boost to the low key bamboo based industry in the country.
Mission Structure: The NBM will be a sub-scheme of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) under the umbrella scheme Krishonnati Yojana.
Funding Pattern: 60:40 between Centre and State Govt. for all States (excepting NE & Hilly states), 90:10 for the NE & Hilly States, and 100% for Union Territories/R&D Institutes/Bamboo Technology Support Groups (BTSGs) and National Level Agencies.
Context: The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) has been constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
It is to ensure the reduction in rate of tax or the benefit of input tax credit is passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
NAA has taken the following steps for customers get the full benefit of tax cuts: Holding regular meetings with the Zonal Screening Committees and the Chief Commissioners of Central Tax to stress upon consumer awareness programs. Launching a helpline to resolve the queries of citizens regarding registration of complaints against profiteering.
Receiving complaints through email and NAA portal. Working with consumer welfare organizations to facilitate outreach activities. A number of complaints regarding companies not passing on the full benefits of tax cuts to consumers have been received by the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA).
Background: Vision and Mission of NAA – The National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) is the institutional mechanism under GST law to check the unfair profit-making activities by the trading community.
The Authority’s core function is to ensure that the benefits of the reduction is GST rates on goods and services made by GST Council and proportional change in the Input tax credit passed on to the ultimate consumers and recipient respectively by way of reduction in the prices by the suppliers.
Institutional Mechanism: This institutional framework comprises the NAA, a Standing Committee, Screening Committees in every State and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).
Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a high-level committee under Nandan Nilekani to suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments in the country.
RBI has provided the following terms of reference for the committee: To encourage digitisation of payments and enhance financial inclusion through digitization. Reviewing the existing status of digitisation of payments in the country, identifying the current gaps in the ecosystem and suggesting ways to bridge them.
Assessing the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion. Suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments. Suggest a road map for increasing customer confidence and trust while accessing financial services through digital modes.
Undertake cross-country analysis to identify best practices to accelerate digitisation of the economy and financial inclusion through greater use of digital payments. Suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.
First female chief economist of IMF: Context: Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund as its chief economist. She is the first woman to occupy the post of chief economist of IMF. She is the 11th chief economist of the IMF.
Role of Chief Economist: The Chief Economist is also the Director of the Fund’s Research Department and is responsible for providing independent advice to the Fund on its policy issues, integrating ideas of the research in the design of policies, conveying these ideas to the policymakers inside and outside the fund and managing all research done at IMF.
The Chief Economist is part of the senior leadership team of the IMF and directly advises the Managing Director. The Chief Economist also leads about a hundred PhD economists in the Research Department.