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Anthropological Survey of India

Paper: General Studies 1

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Why in the news?

Research projects  conducted by Anthropological Survey of India during the last five years on the impact of Government developmental and welfare programmes on contemporary Indian tribal communities are 

  • Bio-Cultural Diversity, Environment and Sustainable Development, (2012-2016; area/village covered:24)
  • Man and Environment, (2012-2016; Biosphere Reserve covered: 18) 
  • Development and Sustainability, (2017-18; area/village covered: 17)
  • Community Health, Disease and Genetic Structure of Indian Population, (2015 onwards; Community covered: 52)
  • Anthropological Study of De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Communities (2018-19; Community covered:50).

 

What is the Anthropological Survey of India?

Anthropological Survey of India is the only research organisation to pursue anthropological research in a Governmental setup. The Anthropological Survey of India’s genesis was from the Zoological and Anthropological section of the Indian Museum, which became the Zoological Survey of India in 1916. In 1945, Anthropology section of the Zoological Survey was carved out to become the Anthropological Survey of India (An.S.I) in 1946.

 

Jharkhand Municipal Development Project

Paper: General Studies 1

Topic: developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies

 

Why in the news?

The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank, signed here today a $147 Million Loan Agreement to provide basic urban services to the people of Jharkhand and help improve the management capacity of the urban local bodies (ULBs) in the State.

What is the Jharkhand Municipal Development Project?

  • The Jharkhand Municipal Development Project will focus on improving the municipal sector’s capacity to provide basic urban services. 
  • It will invest in urban services such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, and urban roads; and strengthen the capacity of the Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (JUIDCO) as well as that of the ULBs to carry out reforms in the areas of urban finance and governance. 
  • This is in keeping with the needs of a rapidly urbanizing state where about 31 million people reside in urban areas and urban population growth in nine of 24 districts in Jharkhand is above India’s overall urbanization pace of 2.7 percent. 

 

Samagra Shiksha

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

About the scheme:

  • Samagra Shiksha – an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12 has been prepared with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes. 
  • It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • The scheme envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to Senior Secondary levels. The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education (SDG 4)
  • Realizing the need for holistic development of children, under the Samagra Shiksha, Sports and Physical Education component has been introduced for the first time for encouragement of Sports, Physical activities, Yoga, Co-curricular activities etc.

 

What are the major interventions under the scheme?

The major interventions, across all levels of school education, proposed under the scheme are: 

  • Universal Access including Infrastructure Development and Retention; 
  • Gender and Equity;
  • Inclusive Education; 
  • Quality; 
  • Financial support for Teacher Salary; 
  • Digital initiatives; 
  • RTE Entitlements including uniforms, textbooks etc.;
  • Pre-school Education;
  • Vocational Education; 
  • Sports and Physical Education;
  • Strengthening of Teacher Education and Training;
  • Monitoring; 
  •  Programme Management; and
  • National Component. 

It is proposed that preference in the interventions would be given to Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs), LWEs affected districts, Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Border areas and the 115 Aspirational districts.

National Child Labour Project

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States 

 

Why in the news?

66,169 Child Labourers Rescued, Rehabilitated and Mainstreamed Under National Child Labour Project Scheme During 2018-19

What is the National Child Labour Project?

  • The Government is implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme for rehabilitation of child labour. 
  • Under the NCLP Scheme, children in the age group of 9-14 years are rescued/withdrawn from work and enrolled in the NCLP Special Training Centres, where they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid day meal, stipend, health care, etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system. 
  • Children in the age group of 5-8 years are directly linked to the formal education system through a close coordination with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

 

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

Why in the news?

Government of India has said that negotiations are on for the RCEP and India is not pulling out of the negotiations for a free trade agreement.

What is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership?

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six Asia-Pacific states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  • In 2017, prospective RCEP member states accounted for a population of 3.4 billion people with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP, PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP,with the combined GDPs of China and India making up more than half that amount.

 

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Why in the news?

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has reported that it extends refinance to banks and provides loan assistance to the State Governments for promotion and development of agriculture and other rural activities.
  • State-wise financial assistance provided by NABARD to State Governments during the last three years are under various Funds i.e. Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF), Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF), Warehouse Infrastructure Fund (WIF) and NABARD Infrastructure Development Assistance (NIDA)

 

What is NABARD?

  • NABARD came into existence on 12 July 1982 by transferring the agricultural credit functions of RBI and refinance functions of the then Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC). 
  • It was setup under the provisions of the NABARD Act, 1981.
  • Set up with an initial capital of Rs.100 crore, its’ paid up capital stood at Rs.10,580 crore as on 31 March 2018. Consequent to the revision in the composition of share capital between Government of India and RBI, NABARD today is fully owned by Government of India with a paid up capital of 30,000 crores

 

Project Monitoring-Invest India Cell (PMIC)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Why in the news?

  • The Government of India has set- up a Project Monitoring-Invest India Cell (PMIC), earlier known as Project Monitoring Group in 2013, for resolving issues and fast tracking the setting-up and expeditious commissioning of large Public, Private and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Projects. 
  • However, there is no prescribed criterion for classifying a project as a Stalled Project. The primary focus of PMIC is on expediting the approvals for clearances from Central and State Authorities for setting-up of projects. 
  • PMIC does not distinguish between a ‘stalled’ or an ‘under implementation’ Project in accepting a project for resolution of its issues.
  • PMIC has been monitoring the resolution of a variety of issues brought before it by the Central Ministries/State Governments and project proponents. 
  • So far, out of 1,038 projects considered by PMIC, issues in 615 projects (anticipated investments Rs.~22,34,805 Cr) have been resolved and issue of 125 projects (anticipated investment Rs.~8,19,780 Cr) required no further action/intervention from PMIC. 

 

What is the need for setting up a separate PMIC?

  • It helps investor confidence as stalled projects are taken up for resolution by a separate dedicated body. This will help increase investments into India.
  • It also expedites approvals for clearances and its functioning will improve India’s Ease of Doing Business performance by reducing the delays in clearances from the government.

 

Disinvestment

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Why in the news?

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has informed that the Government has given ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of 28 CPSEs including Subsidiaries, Units and Joint Ventures with sale of majority stake of Government of India and transfer of management control. The proceeds from strategic sale will depend on various factors, including market conditions, at the time of actual sale.

What is disinvestment?

Disinvestment means selling of assets. Here, in the case of PUSs, disinvestment means Government selling/ diluting its stake (share) in Public Sector Undertakings in which it has a majority holding. Disinvestment is carried out as a budgetary exercise, under which the government announces yearly targets for disinvestment for selected PSUs.

It is of two types:

  • Sale of minority stake in which the Government retains control over the CPSE by keeping its ownership over 50%.
  • Strategic disinvestment – Strategic disinvestment would imply the sale of a substantial portion of the Government shareholding of a central public sector enterprise (CPSE) of up to 50%, or such higher percentage as the competent authority may determine, along with transfer of management control.

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is the nodal agency that oversees disinvestment.

Proceeds of the disinvestment are deposited in the National Investment Fund which is a ‘Public Account’ under the Government Accounts and the funds remain there until withdrawn/invested for the approved purposes.

 

National Policy on Biofuels, 2018

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • The National Policy on Biofuels-2018 notified on 8.6.2018, inter-alia, allows production of ethanol from damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice etc. which are unfit for human consumption. The policy also allows conversion of surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee. 
  • Use of damaged foodgrains and surplus foodgrains for production of ethanol will increase its availability for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.  During the ethanol supply year 2017-18, 150.5 crore litres of ethanol was blended in Petrol which resulted in foreign exchange impact of about Rs. 5070 crore and carbon emission reduced to the extent of 29.94 lakh tonnes

 

What are the basic features of the National Policy on Biofuels?

  • The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  • The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
  • The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
  • Roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels has been captured in the Policy document to synergise efforts.

What are the expected benefits from the new policy?

  • Reduce Import Dependency: One crore lit of E10 saves Rs.28 crore of forex at current rates. The ethanol supply year 2017-18 is likely to see a supply of around 150 crore litres of ethanol which will result in savings of over Rs.4000 crore of forex.
  • Cleaner Environment: One crore lit of E-10 saves around 20,000 ton of CO2 emissions. For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh ton. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
  • Health benefits: Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
  • MSW Management: It is estimated that, annually 62 MMT of Municipal Solid Waste gets generated in India. There are technologies available which can convert waste/plastic, MSW to drop in fuels. One ton of such waste has the potential to provide around 20% of drop in fuels.
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas: It is estimated that, one 100klpd bio refinery will require around Rs.800 crore capital investment. At present Oil Marketing Companies are in the process of setting up twelve 2G bio refineries with an investment of around Rs.10,000 crore. Further addition of 2G bio refineries across the Country will spur infrastructural investment in the rural areas.
  • Employment Generation: One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers: By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same. Also, farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Thus conversion of surplus grains and agricultural biomass can help in price stabilization.

 

Make In India initiative in the Defence Sector

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Why in the news?

  • ‘Make in India’ programme is being used by the Government for defence procurements by categorising the capital acquisition proposals under ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’, ‘Make’ and ‘Strategic Partnership Model’ categories of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016. 
  • DPP -2016 focuses on institutionalising, streamlining and simplifying defence procurement procedure to give a boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India. 

 

What measures have been taken to achieve substantive self-reliance in defence production?

  • Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has been revised in 2016 wherein specific provisions have been introduced for stimulating growth of the domestic defence industry.
  • A new category of procurement ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ has been introduced in DPP-2016 to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment. It has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment. Besides this, preference has been accorded to ‘Buy (Indian)’,‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ & ‘Make’ categories of capital acquisition over ‘Buy (Global)’ & ‘Buy &Make (Global)’ categories.
  • Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model which envisages establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.
  • The ‘Make’ Procedure has been simplified with provisions for funding of 90% of development cost by the Government to Indian industry and reserving projects not exceeding development cost of Rs.10 Crore (Government funded) and Rs.3 Crore (Industry funded) for MSMEs.
  • Separate procedure for ‘Make-II’ sub-category has been notified wherein a number of industry friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry/individual etc., have been introduced. Till date, 36 proposals for development by industry have been given ‘In-principle’ approval under Make-II.
  • Government has decided to establish two defence industrial corridors to serve as an engine of economic development and growth of defence industrial base in the country. These are spanning across Chennai, Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu and spanning across Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been launched in April 2018. iDEX is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
  • The Ministry has instituted a new framework titled ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ which aims to provide boost to the IPR culture in indigenous defence industry.
  • Government has notified a Policy for indigenisation of components and spares used in Defence Platforms in March 2019 with the objective to create an industry ecosystem which is able to indigenize the imported components (including alloys & special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platform manufactured in India.
  • Defence Investor Cell has been created in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector.
  • FDI Policy has been revised and under the revised policy, FDI is allowed under automatic route upto 49% and beyond 49% through Government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.
  • The Defence Products List for the purpose of issuing Industrial Licenses (ILs) under IDR Act has been revised and most of the components, parts, sub-systems, testing equipment and production equipment have been removed from the list, so as to reduce the entry barriers for the industry, particularly small & medium segment.  The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-to-case basis.
  • The process for export clearance has been streamlined and made transparent & online.
  • Offset guidelines have been made flexible by allowing change of Indian Offset Partners (IOPs) and offset components, even in signed contracts.  Foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are now not required to indicate the details of IOPs and products at the time of signing of contracts.  ‘Services’ as an avenue of offset have been reinstated.
  • Government has set up the Technology Development Fund (TDF) to encourage the participation of public/private industries especially MSMEs, through provision of grants, so as to create an eco–system for enhancing cutting edge technology capability for defence applications.

 

Prelims Specific

  • The Nehru Trophy Boat Race named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is is a popular Vallam Kali held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India. Vallam Kali or Vallamkaliy literally means boat play/game, but can be translated to boat race in English.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to modify the format of driving licenses to laminated card without chip or smart card type driving licences. The Ministry has prescribed a common standard format and design of the Driving Licence for whole of the country which includes the placement of information, standardization of fonts etc. creating a Universal Smart Driving License.