In a significant step to increase capacity building and technical awareness among NIC employees, NIC also launched “VidyaKosh”, a Learning Management System (LMS) for NIC officials.
To make use of the latest digital technology in their day to day activities by upgrading their skills to provide better services to the citizens.
VidyaKosh is a National Digital Repository to store, index, preserve, distribute and share the digital learning resources with NIC employees.
The objective is to make learning easier and in a new way at their ease and convenient.
Bad bank is one set up to buy the bad loans of another bank with significant non performing asset at market price.
Bad debt is a debt that is non collectable & therefore worthless to the creditor. Once debt is considered bad the business maybe able to write off as an expense on its IT returns.
Union Ministry of Women and Child Development is going to establish National Women Entrepreneurship Council (NWEC). NWEC will promote entrepreneurship as it would be the umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women in India.
Union Ministry of Power has launched a Web based monitoring System and Fly Ash mobile application titled ASH TRACK. ASH TRACK Mobile App will manage 200 million tonnes of fly ash by tracking coal based power plants.
Abhilasha Kumari was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court . With this, she became 1st women and third full-time Chief Justice of Manipur High Court .
Reliance Industries (RIL) has been awarded the Golden Peacock Award 2017 for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The award was a recognition, in particular, of the work done by its CSR arm Reliance Foundation under Founder and Chairman Nita Ambani
Australia Group It aims to prevent proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. The Australia Group decided to admit India as its 43rd participant. The Australia Group is an informal group of countries (now joined by the European Commission) established in 1985 (after the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984) to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons.
The Union Government on February 2, 2018 announced to launch 1.4 lakh crore Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) Scheme to encourage farmers for solar farming. The Union Government will spend Rs 48000 crore on the scheme in ten year time span. KUSUM Scheme aims for decentralized solar power production of up to 28250 megawatt (MW) over a period of five years. It will provide additional income to farmers by giving them option to sell additional power to the power grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
World Economic Forum (WEF) announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity to safeguard the world from hackers and growing data. Key Points: Headquartered - Geneva. It will function as an autonomous organization under the auspices of the World Economic Forum.
The aim of the centre is to establish the first global platform for governments, businesses, experts and law enforcement agencies to collaborate on cybersecurity challenges.
As a borderless problem, urgent action is needed to create a safe operating environment for new your technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, drones, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT).
India has been ranked 177 among 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) – 2018.
It has been developed by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
The declaration was finalised at the Second Global High Level conference on Road Safety held in Brazil
It lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening post-crash response.
It promotes sustainable commuting ways and prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Participants reasserted their commitment to reduce the deaths caused due to traffic accidents to half by the year 2020. This target was set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It urges states to adapt road safety policies for the benefit of the vulnerable road users, children, youth, older persons and persons with disabilities.
As a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, India has committed to reducing, by 2020, the number of road crash fatalities and serious injuries by 50%.
The flagship programme of the Union Health ministry – AMRIT aims to provide affordable life-saving cancer, cardiac drugs and medical disposables
The AMRIT pharmacies offer an average discount of 63% on medicines.
The AMRIT programme was launched in November 2015 and is being implemented through mini-ratna PSU HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) which has been setting up pharmacies at major hospitals across the country to dispense the medicines.
The primary goal of AMRIT is to make available and accessible, at very affordable rates, all drugs, implants, surgical disposables that are not dispensed free of cost by the hospitals.
The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) 2018, a report published by the World Economic Forum, ranked India 62 out of the total 74 emerging countries
The index namely has three pillars of growth for global economies: growth and development; inclusion, intergenerational equity and sustainability.
The report says that the IDI is ‘designed as an alternative to GDP that reflects more closely the criteria through which people evaluate their respective countries’ economies’.
India has secured access to the key port of Duqm in Oman as a counter to growing influence of China in the region.
Assumption islands in Seychelles and Agalega in mauritius, India has become more proactive in its maritime strategy.
India ranks among the top ten countries of the world in terms of forest area, despite the fact that none of the other 9 countries has a population density of more than 150 persons per sq km, compared to India, which has a population density of 382 persons per sq km
India is ranked 10th in the world, with 24.4% of land area under forest and tree cover, even though it accounts for 2.4 % of the world surface area and sustains the needs of 17 % of human and 18 % livestock population
The increase in the forest cover has been observed as 6,778 sq km and that of tree cover as 1, 243 sq km. The total forest and tree cover is 24.39 per cent of the geographical area of the country
Much of the increase in the forest cover has been observed in Very Dense Forest (VDF), as VDF absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The increase in forest cover in VDF is followed by increase in open forest”
Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), followed by Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km) have shown the maximum increase in forest cover.
Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 66,964 sq km and Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km). In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33 per cent) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27 per cent) and Andaman & Nicobar Island (81.73 per cent)
15 states/UT’s have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover. Out of these States and Union Territories, seven States/UTs namely Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur have more than 75 per cent forest cover, while 8 states - Tripura, Goa, Sikkim, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chhattisgarh and Assam have forest cover between 33 per cent to 75 per cent. About 40% per cent of the country’s forest cover is present in 9 large contiguous patches of the size of 10, 000 sq.km, or more
The total mangrove cover stands at 4,921 sq km and has shown an increase of 181 sq km. All the 12 mangrove states have shown a positive change in the mangrove cover, as compared to the last assessment. Mangrove ecosystem is rich in biodiversity and provides a number of ecological services.
The spatial information given in the report is based on interpretation of LISS-III data from Indian Remote Sensing satellite data (Resourcesat-II).
Forest Survey of India (FSI) has been assessing the forest and tree resources of our country on a biennial basis since 1987. The results of the assessment are published in its biennial report titled “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”.
Constitutional body is the body that has its name mentioned in Indian constitution. It derives power directly from the constitution. Any type of change in mechanism of this body needs constitutional amendment. Example: UPSC, Finance commission, National commission for SC/ST etc.
Non Constitutional Body : It is a body which does not find its name in the constitution of India. Hence, it can not derive power from constitution of India. Statutory body can also be called as a non-constitutional body.
Statutory Body : It is a non-constitutional body. This body is created by statute i.e. act of parliament. A cabinet resolution can be passed to establish this body. It has to rely upon its statute to derive power. Ex: Planning commission, National commission for OBCs, SEBI etc.
The Union Cabinet has approved implementation of Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme for doctoral students pursuing research in areas related to technology. It aims to realize importance of innovation and technology for progress and development of the nation.
Under it, best students who have completed or are in final year of B. Tech/Integrated M.Tech / M.Sc courses in Science and Technology streams from IISc/IITs/IISERs/ NITs/IIITs will be offered direct admission in PhD programme in IITs/IISc. Maximum of 3000 Fellows would be selected in three year period, beginning 2018-19.
Monthly fellowship: Selected students through selection process laid down in PMRF Guidelines will be offered monthly fellowship of Rs.70,000 for first two years, Rs.75,000 for 3rd year and Rs.80,000 in 4th and 5th years.
Research grant: Each selected fellow students will be also provided research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh for period of 5 years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars.
The scheme will help tapping talent pool of country for carrying out research indigenously in cutting edge science and technology domains. The research undertaken by fellows under this scheme will address national priorities at one hand and shortage of quality faculty in premier educational institutions of country on the other.
The LPG Panchayat was organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas with an aim to provide a platform for LPG consumers to interact with each other, promote mutual learning and share experiences.
Each LPG Panchayat has about 100 LPG customers coming together, near their living areas,to discuss safe and sustainable usage of LPG, its benefits and the link between clean fuel for cooking and women’s empowerment.
LPG Panchayats as part of the Ujjwala Yojana process, will prove very useful.
Raman effect was discovered in 1920 by CV Raman who was awarded the Nobel prize for it in 1930 - A change in the energy of the light is affected due to vibrations of molecules under observation which causes change in the wavelength.
World Radio Day - 13 Feb
UAE continues to be an important supplier of crude, LNG and LPG to Indian market. UAE is the 5th largest import source and accounts for about 6% of our total crude imports. UAE is also the 3rd largest source of LPG and POL. India is already the 3rd largest consumer of energy in the world. It is the 3rd largest importer of oil and 4th largest importer of gas.
With an aim to improve India’s capacity in weather forecasting including Air quality forecasting at the block level, the High-Performance Computer (HPC) System named ‘Mihir’ (meaning ‘Sun’) was dedicated to the nation at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in Noida. It was launched by Union Minister for Earth Science, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Sarojini Naidu is better known as the Nightingale of India or Bharatiya Kokila. Her poems were known to be imagery and gestures for ideal love.
She had an inclination towards writing since the age of 12. Her collection of poems ‘The Broken Wings’ was published in 1905. She joined the Indian National Movement during the Bengal Partition in 1905. Her works for the country’s independence are notable
She was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the governor of a state in India.
She played a leading role in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sent to jail along with Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders. In 1942, Sarojini Naidu was arrested during the Quit India movement and was jailed for 21 months with Mahatma Gandhi. Sarojini Naidu was later appointed the Governor of the United Provinces, now Uttar Pradesh. She passed away on March 2, 1949, at the Government House in Lucknow.
Famous poems by Sarojini Naidu • Palanquin Bearers • Coromandel Fishers • Autumn Song • Indian Weavers • In Salutation to the Eternal Peace Famous books by Sarojini Naidu • The Golden Threshold (1905) • The Broken Wing: Songs of Love • Death and Destiny (1912)
Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body attached to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
As per the Prasar Bharati Act, its Board consists of Chairman, CEO, two whole time members for finance and personnel, six part time members , heads of Doordarshan and All India Radio and one representative of Min of I&B.
Prasar Bharati Act states that the President of India will appoint the board members based on recommendations by a selection committee headed by the Vice President, Chairman of the Press Council of India and a nominee of the President.
The port opened a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan that bypassed Pakistan. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to India, which began on Thursday, could see the two sides seal details of the final take over of operations of the strategically important port by India. :
Chabahar is turning out to be a success story in the India-Iran relationship. With the operationalisation of the port, it is witnessing high activity, and there are unconfirmed reports of traffic being diverted from Karachi to Chabahar. In an attempt to circumvent the banking problems caused by western sanctions on Iran , India will, for the first time, allow investment in rupees in Iran. This is a special arrangement, sources said, which is only allowed for Nepal and Bhutan.This was a request from the Iranian side, acceded to by the Indian government, sources said.
India is one of a handful of countries that continued trade links with Iran despite it being isolated by Western countries against its disputed nuclear programme. New Delhi is Tehran's second-biggest oil client after Beijing.
The project moved slowly because of western sanctions against Iran. The sanctions were lifted in January last year, and since then, India has been pushing for conclusion of an agreement.
The Chabahar port will cut transport costs/time for Indian goods by a third. The port is likely to ramp up trade among India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.
Iran plans to turn the Chabahar port into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and in Central Asia.
About a fifth of the oil consumed worldwide each day passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping choke point that separates the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.
The Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran's southern coast, will also set up India's road access to four cities in Afghanistan
From Chabahar, the existing Iranian road network can link up to Zaranj in Afghanistan, about 883 kms from the port. The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan's Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan -- Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.
The port project will be the first overseas venture for an Indian state-owned port. India and Iran had in 2003 agreed to develop Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman outside the Strait of Hormuz, near Iran's border with Pakistan.
Indian investment in phase-1 will be more than $200 million, including $150 million line of credit from Exim Bank. Iran is believed to have asked the Indian government to "manage" or operate the first phase of the port, until work for the second phase is finalised.
NPC is national level organization to promote productivity culture in India. Established by the Ministry of Industry, Government of India in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization with equal representation from employers’ & workers’ organizations and Government, apart from technical & professional institutions and other interests. NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Inter Governmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.
The Union Minister for Industry is the President of the NPC, and the Secretary (Industrial Policy and Promotion) is its Chairman. The Director General is the CEO. NPC has 12 Regional Offices, located in major State Capitals/industrial centre with Corporate Headquarters in New Delhi and has strength of around 120 full time professional/consultants. In addition, services of outside specialists and faculty are also enlisted on projects based requirements.
Land leasing laws relating to rural agricultural land in Indian states were overwhelmingly enacted during decades immediately following the independence. At the time, the abolition of Zamindari and redistribution of land to the tiller were the highest policy priorities. Top leadership of the day saw tenancy and sub-tenancy as integral to the feudal land arrangements that India had inherited from the British. Therefore, tenancy reform laws that various states adopted sought to not only transfer ownership rights to the tenant but also either prohibited or heavily discouraged leasing and sub-leasing of land.
Politically influential landowners were successful in subverting the reform, however. In trying to force the transfer of ownership to the cultivator, many states abolished tenancy altogether. But while resulting in minimal land transfer, the policy had the unintended consequence of ending any protection tenants might have had and forced future tenants underground.
Some states allowed tenancy but imposed a ceiling on land rent at one-fourth to one-fifth of the produce. But since this rent fell well below the market rate, contracts became oral in these states as well, with the tenant paying closer to 50% of the produce in rent.
Many large states ban land leasing with exceptions granted to landowners among widows, minors, disabled and defence personnel. Some states do not ban leasing but the tenant acquires a right to purchase the leased land from the owner after a specified period of tenancy. This provision too has the effect of making tenancy agreements oral, leaving the tenant vulnerable.
A large number of states among them Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, which otherwise have liberal tenancy laws, do not recognize sharecroppers as tenants.
Currently, the tenant lacks the security of tenure that she would have if laws permitted her and the landowner to freely write transparent contracts. In turn, this discourages her from making long-term investments in land and also leaves her feeling perpetually insecure about continuing to maintain cultivation rights. Furthermore, it deprives her of potential access to credit by virtue of being a cultivator.
Landowner also feels a sense of insecurity when leasing land with many choosing to leave land fallow. The latter practice is becoming increasingly prevalent with landowners and their children seeking non-farm employment.
Tenants cant get access to subsidies on agriculture, DBT on fertilizer and crop insurance as they do not have formal rights as tenants. Landowners prefer to have oral agreements with them.
Currently, conversion of agricultural land for nonagricultural use requires permission from the appropriate authority, which can take a long time. State governments can address this barrier by either an amendment of the law to permit non-agricultural use or by the introduction of time-bound clearances of applications for the conversion of agricultural land use in the implementing regulations. The reform open up another avenue to the provision of land for industrialization: long-term land leases that allow the owner to retain the ownership while earning rent on her land.
Therefore, the introduction of transparent land leasing laws that allow the potential tenant or sharecropper to engage in written contracts with the landowner is a win-win reform. The tenant will have an incentive to make investment in improvement of land, landowner will be able to lease land without fear of losing it to the tenant and the government will be able to implement its policies efficiently. Simultaneous liberalization of land use laws will also open up an alternative avenue to the provision of land for industrialization that is fully within the state’s jurisdiction and allows the landowner to retain ownership of her land.
A potential hurdle to the land leasing reform laws is that landowners may fear that a future populist government may use the written tenancy contracts as the basis of transfer of land to the tenant and therefore would oppose the reform. This is a genuine fear but may be addressed in two alternative ways. The ideal way would be yet another major reform: giving landowners indefeasible titles.
Linking financial outlays to outcomes :
The government prepares the Outcome Budget, summarising the most important results or outcomes that a ministry or department aims to achieve at the end of a financial year, given the amount of financial resources. These Outcome Budgets are submitted in Parliament allowing it to hold the government accountable for intended outcomes achieved, once money has been allocated for various activities.
This Budget typically highlights the physical targets or outputs achieved against the allocated funds, and do not always measure the outcomes. Without linking financial outlays (and physical outputs) against outcomes, it would not be possible to determine whether the money approved for various ministries has been successful in achieving intended objectives.
For example under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a scheme to universalise elementary education, there are various inputs for which funds are allocated such as, building of toilets, drinking water and other infrastructural requirements for schools. However, the availability of these does not directly measure a child’s learning levels, which is the core purpose of providing school education.
This can only be done in certain ways such as through the National Achievement Survey of the government, measuring children’s learning levels through examinations, etc. Currently, no direct link exists between the amount allocated for the department and the final outcome in terms of learning levels of school children. There is a need for Parliament to ensure direct linkage of the Budget to actual outcomes and evaluate the Budget in accordance with these criteria.
Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO)
Many countries are characterised by a specialised body dedicated to conducting essential budget-related and financial research for Parliament, such as the US (Congressional Budget Office), UK (Office for Budget Responsibility), Australia (Parliamentary Budget Office), etc, set up through Acts of the legislature. The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a non-partisan organisation set up by US Congress, producing independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Budget process. It does not make policy recommendations. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate appoint the CBO Director.
A report by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) had also recommended establishing a Nodal Standing Committee on Economy to oversee major issues of fiscal, monetary, financial, and industrial and trade policies in an integrated manner. Internal groups of the Committee would evaluate performance against physical targets and draft reports, which would together be presented as an annual report to Parliament, by the Committee.
Strengthening the committee system
Supplementary Demands for Grants are not scrutinised by any Committee. On the other hand, any money that has been spent by a ministry after the Budget has been passed, in excess of the amount granted by Parliament, is examined by the PAC. This is done to determine the facts leading to such an excess and make recommendations. In order to expedite the regularisation of excesses over grants, the PAC recommended that the CAG should report these excesses to Parliament, in advance of submitting the Audit Report on the Appropriation Accounts
The NCRWC report recommended dismantling the financial committees (Estimates and Public Undertakings) and handing over their functions to the DRSCs. The report stated that this would help in a better streamlining of functions, prevent duplication and overlapping of roles and lead to a greater economy of expenditure.
However, this recommendation misses another important aspect of financial oversight that could be conducted by the Estimates Committee. DRSCs examine the expenditure for individual departments. They do not delve into broader resource allocation. The Estimates Committee could fill in this gap and carry out the function of overseeing the overall expenditure and borrowings of the government.
Scrutiny of Supplementary Demands for Grants
After Parliament passes the Budget during the Budget Session, the government may require additional expenditure authorised over the rest of the year. Supplementary Demands for Grants can be passed when such a need arises.
These too, are consolidated into an Appropriation Bill. Supplementary Demands are not scrutinised by DRSCs and there is no prescribed limit to how much of such expenditure can be approved by Parliament. Evolving a system by which Supplementary Demands for Grants are discussed by DRSCs would strengthen Parliamentary oversight.
The Estimates Committee should also examine why there was a need for Supplementary Demands, and why these could not be anticipated in the initial Demands.
The finance minister announced Operation Greens, on the lines of Operation Flood, with a seed capital of Rs 500 crore in his speech on February 1. Three days later, the Prime Minister said farmers are his TOP priority — T is for tomatoes, O for onions, and P for potatoes. Operation Flood changed the face of milk production in India, making the country the largest producer of milk in the world — in 2016-2017. Operation Flood was driven largely by smallholders. The AMUL model ensured that 75-80 per cent of the price paid by milk consumers goes to the farmers. Operation Greens wants to replicate that success story in fruit and vegetables, starting with tomatoes, onions and potatoes.
The main objective of this project is to reduce price volatility in these commodities, thereby helping farmers augment incomes on a sustainable basis. It also aims to provide these vegetables to consumers at affordable prices. Overall the scheme aims to check the booms and busts in prices.
India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world with about 180 MMT. But China produces four times more vegetables than India.
The problem with vegetables is that their prices collapse when their production rises sharply. Reason behind: The country lacks modern storage facilities and the links between processing and organised retailing are very weak. As a result, farmers often end up receiving less than a fourth of what consumers pay in major cities.
Operation Greens needs to ensure that farmers receive at least 60 per cent of what consumers pay. In the case of milk, the producers get more than 75 per cent of what consumers pay. The basic principles of Operation Flood would be useful to operationalise Operation Greens as well.
Linking major consumption centres to major production centres with a minimal number of intermediaries. One needs to map mega consuming centres and link their retail networks with the producing centres of each commodity. Farmers can be organised in farmer producer organisations (FPOs).
The Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act will have to be changed to allow direct buying from FPOs, and giving incentives to these organisations, private companies and NGOs to build back end infrastructure as was done in the case of milk.
The announcement of tax concessions to FPOs for five years is a welcome step in that direction, if it encourages building such critical infrastructure. Investment in logistics, starting with modern warehouses, that can minimise wastage should be done. An example is of cold storage for onions, where wastage is reduced to less than 10 per cent, compared to the 25-30 per cent wastage in traditional storage facilities on farmers’ fields.
Linking the processing industry with organised retailing. On an average, about one-fourth of the produce must be processed. India is way behind on this curve compared to most Southeast Asian countries. Dehydrated onions, tomato puree and potato chips should become cheap, so that an average household can use them.
Processing industry adds value and absorbs surpluses. In this light, the government’s announcement of increasing the allocation for the food processing industry by 100 per cent is a welcome step.
By developing forward and backward linkages under Operation Greens, the government can ease large price fluctuations, raise farmers’ share in the price paid by the consumer and at the same time, ensure lower prices for the consumers — a win-win situation for all
India will be hosting the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2018. The theme for World Environment, 2018 will be “Beat Plastic Pollution”.
It will urge governments, industry, communities and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic that is polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.
India has demonstrated tremendous global leadership on climate change and the need to shift to a low carbon economy, and India will now help to galvanize greater action on plastics pollution. India will lead the initiative from pan India plastic clean-up drives in public areas, national reserves and forests to simultaneous beach clean-up activities.
World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, the single largest celebration of our environment each year. It takes place on June 5 and is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide. Since it began in 1972, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe.
“Watan Ko Jano” is sponsored jointly by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India (Kashmir Cell) and State Rehabilitation Council Social Welfare Department. The programme aims to give exposure to the youth and children of Jammu and Kashmir about the cultural and socio-economic development taking place in other parts of the country.
Youth and children hit by militancy and from weaker sections of the society have been identified for the purpose.
In a bid to make Northeast a favourite destination for young Startups, the government has invited young start-ups to avail the benefits of Northeast Venture Fund.
The Ministry of DoNER had rolled out “Venture Fund” for anybody who wishes to Startup in the Northeast region, which would provide a huge financial relief particularly to young entrepreneurs. Northeast Venture Fund is the first dedicated venture capital fund for North-Eastern region and the initiative to set it up began in April this year.
It has been set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi), which already has the mandate to encourage entrepreneurship in the region, primarily by offering support to the first-generation entrepreneurs. In addition, the NEDFi also performs the role of hand-holding and capacity building.
While all the avenues of livelihood and new ventures are gradually getting exhausted in other parts of the country and States, the immense unexplored avenues and potentials of North Eastern region are still available. With its vast unexplored avenues, those looking for livelihood will soon find a potential enterprise in the Northeast, particularly in fruit, food, handicraft and tourism industry.
World’s First Hyperloop Between Mumbai and Pune
The Virgin Group has signed an “intent agreement” with Maharashtra to build a hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune, which aims to reduce the travel time between the two mega cities to 20 minutes from the three hours at present. The first hyperloop route will link central Pune with the megapolis as well as the Navi Mumbai international airport.
What is hyperloop transportation system? It is a transportation system where a pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft.
The hyperloop concept is a brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk. US-based Hyperloop Transport Technology (HTT) claimed it costs $40 million per kilometre to build a hyperloop system while building a high-speed train line would cost almost twice. The hyperloop system is being designed to transport passengers and freight.
In hyperloop transporation, custom-designed capsules or pods are expected to zip smoothly through continuous steel tubes which are held at partial vacuum. The pod which sandwiches the passenger compartment between an air compressor upfront and a battery compartment in the rear is supported by air caster skis at the bottom. The skis float on a thin layer of air provided under high pressure, eliminating rolling resistance and allowing for movement of the pods at high speeds. These capsules are expected to be driverless with estimated speeds of 1,000 km/h. Linear induction motors that are placed along the tube control the speed of the pod. Electronically-assisted acceleration and braking determines the speed of the capsule.
Constructing a tube hundreds of kilometers long would be an engineering marvel in of itself. However, introducing a tube hundreds of kilometers long that operates at a near perfect vacuum which can support the force of capsule weighing thousands of kilograms as it travels hundreds of kilometers an hour is nothing short of sci-fi fantasy. Small scale experiments reveal the fundamentals of the idea are sound. Although, in the real world, there are too many factors that cannot be accounted for with a small scale design. In the real world, there are tens of thousands of kilograms of atmospheric pressure which threatens to crush any vacuum chamber.
There is also the problem with thermal expansion which threatens to buckle any large structure without proper thermal expansion capabilities. The Hyperloop would also be stupendously expensive. There are many unavoidable problems facing the Hyperloop that threaten the structural integrity, and every human life on board. The problems can be addressed, but at a great cost.
National Banana Festival 2018:
What and where? National Banana Festival (NBF) 2018 is being held at Kalliyoor, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The festival plays host to a buyer-seller meet, training programmes, documentary screenings, photography contest etc. The festival also includes a national seminar, exhibition, training programmes, farmers’ meet and a host of other activities.
Who? The festival is organised by Centre for Innovation in Science and Social action (CISSA) in partnership with Kalliyoor Grama Panchayat and a host of National and State organisations.
What? The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, as the first international theatre festival. With the tagline ‘Crossing Millennia’, this is an initiative to connect the cultural past with the present and future, bringing the richness and diversity of theatre heritage to the experiments and research of contemporary theatre. The first country to host the Theatre Olympics was Greece in 1995.
Who? The Theatre Olympics, being held in India for the first time, is being organised by National School of Drama, under the aegis of Ministry of Culture.
Sci-tech Oscar Award:
Context: Vikas Sathaye, a Pune-born person has been honoured with the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award at the recently held Oscars Scientific and Technical Awards 2018 at Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California. Sathaye and his team received the award for his contribution towards conceptualisation, designing, engineering, and the implementation of the ‘Shotover K1 Camera System’.
About Shotover K1 Camera System: The Shotover K1 Camera System is a camera mount that is used in aerial filming. The camera mount gets attached to the base of a helicopter, which carries the camera and lens. The primary function of the camera mount is to eliminate any vibration from reaching the camera, thus ensuring a steady footage.
About the Awards: The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards honor the men, women and companies whose discoveries and innovations have contributed in significant and lasting ways to motion pictures
Feb 21 as international mother language day declared by unesco in 1999 to recognise the language day movement in bangladesh.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores. This fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
The Ministry has so far sanctioned 39.4 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). There is a very good response from the States / UTs and nearly 2 - 3 lakh houses are being sanctioned every month. More than 17 lakh houses have been grounded and about 5 lakh houses have been completed.
Under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), wherein housing for EWS / LIG / MIG beneficiaries is being sanctioned by the Banks / HFCs to the eligible beneficiaries under the PMAY(Urban), the responses have grown significantly. Nearly 87,000 Housing Loans have been sanctioned in last 8 months under the Scheme and over 40,000 applications are under consideration for approval. The target is to cater to the demand of housing shortage of nearly 1.2 crore and make available housing to all by 2022, when the Country celebrates its 75th Anniversary of Independence.
NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals i.e. Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership(AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) is sustained and construction of houses to address the gap in Urban Sector progresses smoothly.
SATH : NITI Aayog has launched SATH, a program providing ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments.
The vision of the program is to initiate transformation in the education and health sectors. SATH aims to identify and build three future ‘role model’ states each for health and education systems (NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes. In Education, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand have been selected for support to better learning outcomes.)
Samavesh is a programme launched by the NITI Aayog to link together various lead Knowledge and Research Institutions. Champions of Change is an initiative organised by NITI Aayog to “transform India through G2B (Government-to-Business) partnership”.