UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Nov 01

Global Clubfoot Conference 


  • First Global Clubfoot Conference to be held in India, and being organised by CURE International India Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, and other partner institutions.

What is Clubfoot?

  • It is a congenital deformity that severely twists the foot both downward and inward, making walking difficult or impossible. It can cause permanent disability if not treated early. This affects the child’s mobility and confidence. Inevitably, education and schooling suffer – and the child cannot fulfil his or her potential.


  • 2 out of every 1000 children are born with clubfoot in every country of the world regardless of race or geographic region.
  • Over 2,20,000 children, in the developing world are born each year with clubfoot.
  • In India more than 50,000 children are born with Clubfoot every year if not treated all these children will become differently abled.
  • There are approximately 8,000,000 adults worldwide who are physically disabled with clubfoot who could have been cured if treated at an early stage.

What causes clubfoot?

  • In some cases, clubfoot is just the result of the position of the baby while it is developing in the mother’s womb (postural clubfoot).
  • But more often clubfoot is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that is not well understood

Is it curable?

  • Clubfoot is curable.


Nivesh Bandhu

  • As global and Indian food companies prepare to explore business opportunities in India at World Food India 2017, MoFPI and FSSAI, the apex Regulatory body for Food Safety in India announced a powerful new tool called ‘the Food Regulatory Portal.’
  • Planned as a single interface for food businesses to cater to both domestic operations and food imports, this portal would be a game changer for effective and transparent implementation of the food safety laws in the country.
  • Aiming to create an enabling environment for businesses to operate, the portal is strategically aligned with Government’s mission of One Nation, One Food Law.
  • Nivesh Bandhu” will be launched to assist investors to make informed investment decisions.
  • The portal would provide information on Central and State Governments’ investor friendly policies, agro-producing clusters, infrastructure, and potential areas of investment in the food processing sector.


Cabinet approves trade Agreement between India and Ethiopia for strengthening and promoting trade and economic cooperation 

  • The trade Agreement will replace the existing trade Agreement signed in 1982. The trade Agreement will provide for all necessary measures to encourage trade, economic cooperation, investment and technical co-operation.


Cabinet approves signing an Agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters 

  • The Agreement will help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences. It is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the countries.


  • The Agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.


Cabinet approves amendment in the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 

  • The amendment seeks to grant retrospective recognition to the Central/State/Union Territory funded Institutions/Universities conducting Teacher Education Courses without NCTE recognition till the academic year 2017-2018.
  • The retrospective recognition is being given as a onetime measure so as to ensure that the future of the students passed out/enrolled in these institutions are not jeopardized.
  • The amendment will make students studying in these Institutions/Universities, or already passed out from here, eligible for employment as a teacher.
  • With a view to achieve above mentioned benefits, Deptt. of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development has brought about this amendment.


  • The NCTE Act, 1993 came into force on 1st July, 1995 and is applicable throughout the country, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The main objective of the Act Is to provide for the establishment of a NCTE to achieve planned and coordinated development of the teacher education system, regulation and ensure proper maintenance of norms and standards in the said system.
  • In order to achieve the objectives of the Act, separate provisions have been, made in the Act, for recognising Teacher Education courses and to lay down guidelines for compliance by recognized Institutions/Universities.


Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana is now RKVY-RAFTAAR

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for three years, 2017-18 to 2019-20.


  • It has the objective of making farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmers’ effort, risk mitigation and promoting agribusiness entrepreneurship
  • The financial allocation of the scheme will be Rs. 15,722 crore


  • RKVY-RAFTAAR funds would be provided to the States as 60:40 grants between Centre and States while 90:10 for North Eastern and Himalayan States through various means.


  • The scheme will incentivise states in enhancing more allocation to agriculture and allied sectors.
  • This will also strengthen farmers’ efforts through creation of agriculture infrastructure that help in supply of quality inputs, market facilities among other related requirements.
  • This will further promote agri-entrepreneurship and support business models that maximise returns to farmers, a Government of India press statement has said.


  • RKVY is a continuing scheme under implementation from XI Five Year Plan.
  • The scheme provides considerable flexibility and autonomy to States in planning and executing programmes for incentivising investment in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • States initiate the process of decentralised planning for agriculture and allied sectors through preparation of District Agriculture Plans (DAPs) and State Agriculture Plan (SAP) based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of appropriate technology and natural resources to ensure accommodation of local needs, cropping pattern, priorities etc.


CCEA gives nod to Rs10,000 crore SBA for fertiliser subsidy

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has accorded the ex-post facto approval for implementation of Special Banking Arrangement (SBA) for Rs. 10,000 crore for payment of outstanding claims on account of fertilizer subsidy in the year 2016-17.
  • Under the SBA, a total loan of Rs. 9,969 crore for settlement of outstanding subsidy bills with SBI was raised by the Government


Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP)

What is it?

  • Ethanol blending is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol

Where is it derived from?

  • In India, ethanol is mainly derived by sugarcane molasses, which is a by-product in the conversion of sugar cane juice to sugar.


  • Ethanol blending first found mention in the Auto fuel policy of 2003. It suggested developing technologies for producing ethanol/ bio fuels from renewable energy sources and introducing vehicles to utilise these bio fuels.
  • Later, as per National Policy on Bio-fuels, announced in December 2009, oil companies were required to sell petrol blended with at least 5% of ethanol. It proposed that the blending level be increased to 20% by 2017.
  • In order to augment the supply of ethanol, the Government in December, 2014, decided to administer the price of ethanol under EBP Programme.


  • Help to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions
    • The renewable ethanol content, which is a byproduct of the sugar industry, is expected to result in a net reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC).
    • Ethanol itself burns cleaner and burns more completely than petrol it is blended into.
  • Reduce the import burden on account of crude petroleum from which petrol is produced.
    • It is estimated that a 5% blending (105 crore litres) can result in replacement of around 1.8 million Barrels of crude oil


Maximum age of joining National Pension System (NPS) increased from the existing 60 years to 65 years under NPS- Private Sector.

  • Now, any Indian Citizen, resident or non-resident, between the age of 60- 65 years, can also join NPS and continue up to the age of 70 years in NPS. With this increase of joining age, the subscribers who are willing to join NPS at the later stage of life will be able to avail the benefits of NPS.
  • The subscriber joining NPS beyond the age of 60 years will have the same choice of the Pension Fund as well as the investment choice as is available under the NPS for subscribers joining NPS before the age of 60 years
  • Subscriber joining NPS after the age of 60 years will have an option of normal exit from NPS after completion of 3 years in NPS. In this case, the subscriber will be required to utilize at least 40% of the corpus for purchase of annuity and the remaining amount can be withdrawn in lump-sum.


INS Gharial

  • INS Gharial is a Magar-class amphibious warfare vessel of the Indian Navy
  • NS Ghariyal is the second Landing Ship Tank (Large) of Indian Navy, which was built indigenously and was commissioned on 14 February 1997. 
  • The ship can carry troops and vehicles and hence is ideally suited for amphibious operations.  

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