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UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Nov 29

India and Italy sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in the health sector 

  • The objective of this MoU is to establish comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-institutional cooperation between the two countries in the field of health by pooling technical, scientific, financial and human resources with the ultimate goal of upgrading the quality and reach of human, material and infrastructural resources involved in health care, medical education & training, and research in both countries.



Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA)

  • Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) is a proposed not-for-profit agency with initial capital base of Rs. 1000 Crore.
  • It was announced in Union Budget 2016-17.


  • The HEFA will be set up with joint participation by the government and philanthropic donors.
  • It would be set up under Companies Act and will be registered with RBI has Non-banking Finance Company (NBFC).
  • It will be headed by a banker and will have a board with five donors and five institutions selected on rotation basis.
  • All centrally funded higher educational institutions will automatically be added as members.

Objective and Proposed Functions

  • The major objective of the HEFA is to leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations and CSR funds.
  • These funds will be used to finance improvement in infrastructure in top educational institutions. The monies of the fund will be used to finance capital expenditure for building quality infrastructure in IITs, NITs, IIITs and IISERs and central universities. It will also be used to fund state-of-the-art research labs and other infrastructure

Funding and Finances

  • Total corpse of the body is Rs. 2,000 crore. Out of this, the initial government contribution will be Rs. 1,000 crore. Remaining Rs. 1000 Crore would be collected from 5 other corporate donors {Rs. 200 Crore Each} of which the sponsoring bank would be one. Further, the body will be allowed to raise debt funding of up to Rs. 10,000 crore from the financial markets, including pension and insurance funds.


  • Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) approves projects for Rs. 2,066.73 Cr to six higher education institutions.



India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI)


  • The IHMI aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, leading risk factors for CVD. 
  • The primary goal of this project is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to CVDs, the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for CVDs among adults in India. 

Who will organize it?

  • The India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) is a collaborative project of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), State Governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives initiative of Vital Strategies.


  • The IHMI is focused on five essential components of scalable treatment of hypertension.
  • It will support the adoption of standardized simplified treatment plans for managing high blood pressure, ensure the regular and uninterrupted supply of quality-assured medications, task sharing so health workers who are accessible to patients can distribute medications already prescribed by the medical officer, and patient-centered services that reduce the barriers to treatment adherence.
  • It will focus on strengthening hypertension management and monitoring at the primary health care level, within the existing healthcare system, and is aligned with WHO’s Global HEARTS Initiative and National Guidelines. 


  • Around 200 million adults in India have high blood pressure, yet control rates for the condition remain low.
  • Studies suggest that in rural areas in India, only one quarter of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 10 percent have their blood pressure controlled.
  • In urban areas, around 40 percent of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 20 percent have their blood pressure controlled.



Shri Rajnath Singh met Secretary, Security Council of Russian Federation 

  • They had Discussions on cooperation in Disaster Management.
  • They reviewed the progress made on the Agreement on Disaster Management signed in 2010. Both the sides agreed that EMERCOM (The Ministry of Emergency Situations) of Russia would cooperate with India in the establishment of the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in India.
  • They also agreed on a programme of training of specialists and sharing of each other’s experiences as well as best practices in the field of Disaster Management.



International Film Festival of India (IFFI),

  • It was founded in 1952, is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia.


  • the festival aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of the film art; contributing to the understanding and appreciation of film cultures of different nations in the context of their social and cultural ethos; and promoting friendship and cooperation among people of the world.
  • The festival is conducted jointly by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Directorate of Film Festivals and the Government of Goa.
  • The 48th edition (latest) of IFFI was held at Panjim Goa from 20 November 2017



Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G)


  • Rural housing programme,as an independent programme , started with Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) in January 1996. Although IAY addressed the housing needs in the rural areas, certain gaps were identified during the concurrent evaluations and the performance Audit by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in 2014.
  • These gaps, i.e. nonassessment of housing The shortage, lack of transparency in selection of beneficiaries, low the quality of the house and lack of technical supervision, lack convergence, loans not availed by beneficiaries and weak the mechanism for monitoring was limiting the impact and outcomes of the programme.
  • To address these gaps in the rural housing program and in view of Government’s commitment to providing “Housing for All’’ by the scheme 2022, the of has IAY has been re-structured into Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana –Gramin (PMAY-G) w.e.f. 1st April 2016.
  • It is a social welfare flagship programme, created by the Indian Government, to provide housing for the rural poor in India.


  • PMAY-G aims at providing a pucca house, with basic amenities, to all houseless householder and those households living in kutcha and dilapidated house, by 2022.
  • The immediate objective is to cover 1.00 crore household living in kutcha house/dilapidated house in three years from 2016-17 to 2018- 19.
  • The minimum size of the house has been increased to 25 ( with a hygienic cooking space.
  • The unit assistance has been increased from Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 1.20 lakh in plain and from Rs75,000 to Rs 1.30 lakh in hilly states, difficult areas and IAP district.
  • The beneficiary is entitled to 90.95 person day of unskilled labour from MGNREGS.
  • The assistance for construction of toilet shall be leveraged though convergence with SBM-G, MGNREGS or any other dedicated the source of funding. Convergence for piped drinking water, electricity connection, LPG gas connection etc. different Government programmers are also to be attempted
  • The cost of unit assistance is to be shared between Central and State Government in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and the Himalayan States

How is the beneficiary selected?

  • Once of the most important features of PMAY-G is the selection of beneficiary. To ensure that assistance is targeted at those who are genuinely deprived and that the selection is objective and verifiable, PMAY-G instead of selecting a the beneficiary from among the BPL households selects beneficiary using housing deprivation parameters in the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011 date which is to be verified by the Gram Sabhas.

Use of technology

  • In PMAY-G, programme implementation and monitoring is to be carried out through an end to end e-Governance model- Using AwaasSoft and Awaas App.
  • While AwaasSoft is a work –flow enabled, web-based electronic service delivery platform through which all critical function of PMAY-G, right from identification of beneficiary to providing construction linked assistance (throghPFMS),will be carried out;
  • AwaasApp-a the mobile application is to be used to monitor real time, evidence based progress of house construction through date and time stamped and georeferenced photographs of the house.
  • Space technology and IT platforms are being used to monitor complete cycle of house construction, right from identification of beneficiary to construction stages of houses to completion and each stage is being geo-tagged.


  • One of the major constraints in quality house construction is the lack of the sufficient number of skilled masons.
  • To address this, a pan-India training and certification programme of Masons has been launched in the States/UTs.
  • This will, in addition, and career progression for rural masons. For timely construction/completion to ensure good quality of house construction, it has also been envisaged to tag a PMAY-G the beneficiary with a field level Government functionary and a Rural Mason.



Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot leads Indian Delegation to Beijing for The Cause of Divyangjan 

  • He will be leading the Indian delegation to attend the High Level Inter-Governmental Mid-Point review meeting of Asia and Pacific Decade for Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022 in Beijing from 29th November to 3rd December, 2017.


  • The main objective of the meeting is to review the progress made by the member States during the Decade at the mid-point in 2017 with regard to Incheon Strategy ‘to make the right real’ for persons with disabilities in Asia and Pacific. 
  • Another objective of the meeting is to discuss the future policy action for building disabilities-inclusive societies in the region, bearing in mind the synergies between the Incheon Strategy and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.



  • Governments of the ESCAP region gathered in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 29 October to 2 November 2012 to chart the course of the new Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities for the period 2013 to 2022.

Incheon Strategy

  • Incheon Strategy has been adopted to achieve the goals mentioned in UN Convention for Rights or Persons with Disabilities.
  • The Incheon strategy builds on the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the Biwako millennium framework for action and Biwako plus five towards an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.
  • The Incheon Strategy will enable the Asian and Pacific region to track progress towards improving the quality of life, and the fulfilment of the rights, of the region’s 650 million persons with disabilities, most of whom live in poverty.
  • The ESCAP secretariat is mandated to report every three years until the end of the Decade in 2022, on progress in the implementation of the Ministerial Declaration and the Incheon Strategy.

Key principles and policy direction

  • Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s choices, and independence of persons
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Accessibility
  • Equality between men and women
  • Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities



Competition Commission of India

  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws.
  • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.


  • To promote and sustain an enabling competition culture through engagement and enforcement that would inspire businesses to be fair, competitive and innovative; enhance consumer welfare; and support economic growth.


  • The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003.
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.


  • Competition Commission of India (CCI) issues order against Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for abuse of dominant position for imposing restriction that deny access to the market for organization of Professional Domestic Cricket League/ Events; Imposes penalty of Rs. 52.24 crore on BCCI for the Anti-Competitive conduct.


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