Best of PIB: 06 Feb 2017 for UPSC Exam

Steps taken to Prevent Coal Mine Accidents

For the safety in coal mines the provisions have been formulated under The Mines Act, 1952 (and Subordinate Rules and Regulations made there under). The Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) is the administering authority. The coalmine owners are responsible for implementing these provisions. To check the recurrences of such incidents the following steps are being taken by the government.

  • Safety audit of all the coalmines has been taken up
  • Strengthening of Internal Safety Organizations (ISO) in coalmines/coal companies
  • To promote and propagate safety awareness in mines, DGMS organizes National Safety Awards (Mines); National Conference on Safety in Mines. Also DGMS from time to time, will issues guidelines for safer operations in identified thrust areas
  • DGMS facilitates introduction of Risk Assessment Techniques aimed at elimination of risks and to ensure safety of workmen; and standard operating procedures to avoid unsafe practices in mines
  • Workers participation and sensitization in matters of safety are ensured through training in safety and by initiatives like celebration of safety week and safety campaigns etc
  • CIL in association with the Government of Queensland has taken up a training programme with “Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (SIMTARS) for training of trainers
  • A special safety awareness campaign has been launched to increase awareness of mine workers with the motto – ‘Safety is My Responsibility’
  • Risk based inspection system through Shram Suvidha Portal has been implemented for coal mines
  • Adoption of online safety monitoring systems,  establishment of geo-technical cells, installation of gas chromatographs for monitoring and analyzing underground mine gases, installation of proximity warning devices to avoid collision of heavy earth moving machinery, environmental tele-monitoring systems in all degree-III gassy mines, slope monitoring systems for overburden benches and OB dumps etc. are some of the other important steps taken by coal companies for improving safety of miners and mining operations in the coal mines


Education Reforms-Improvement at all levels

The minister has stated that the funding has increased by 25% and now the expenditure in education accounts to 6% of GDP. The initiatives mentioned in the budget of FY18 are:

1. Learning Outcomes

  • Are assessment standards indicating the expected levels of learning that children should achieve for that class. These can be used as check points to assess learning in different standards. The learning outcomes for elementary level have been finalized and will be included in the Central Rules of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009
  • Annual Survey of Learning Outcomes (ASLO) will be conducted through a third party in all states and UTs (in sample and government aided schools) and this assessment will be bench-marked against the finalized outcomes. It will help in identifying the students who need additional support to achieve required learning levels and in identifying the gaps in the teaching-learning process.
    The financial assistance for this will be provided to the states under SSA (Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan)

2. The Innovation fund for Secondary Education

  • Will be from RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) scheme. It is to encourage local innovation, gender parity and quality improvement. It will be introduced in 3479 educationally backward blocks and Rs. 100 Crorehave been earmarked for this in the BudgetFY18
  • On submission of proposals (involving innovation element, sustainability etc) by the states the government will provide a onetime allocation. The proposals may include projects like
    • ICT enabled learning tablets/ smart classrooms/ virtual classrooms/ IT based teaching aids for CWSN
    • Enrolment and retention drive for SC/ST/girls/minority students in EBB (Educationally Backward Blocks)
    • Transport facilities for students in difficult areas in EBBs etc
  • A national level committee would be constituted headed by the Additional Secretary (Department of School Education & Literacy, MHRD) which would consider and approve the proposals under the Innovation Fund. 

 3. Reforms in UGC (University Grants Commission) – the budget has referred to the reforms to be undertaken in UGC

  • The details of these reforms will be worked out in the next few months
  • A system is to replace the regular curriculum reform to ensure that the institutions upgrade their curriculum
  • Credit Based Qualification Framework to be framed
  • Need to focus on teacher education

4. National Testing Agency

  • The proposal (outlining the structure and the tasks) will shortly be prepared for processing. It is envisioned that the Agency will move from being merely an examination body to one that is able to support education system (by providing for outcome learning and outcome assessments for students and in evolving good examination processes)

5. Swayam Platform

  • SWAYAM is a programme initiated by Government of India and designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality. The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. The platform is ready and is under review


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