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UPSC 2017-18 PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 02

UPSC 2017-18 PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 02 for IAS Exam Preparation.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and BRICs countries to set up BRICS 
Agriculture Research Platform


  • During the 7th BRICS Summit held on 9thJuly 2015 at Ufa in Russia, Prime Minister Shri Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world.
  • The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries.
  • In order to further intensify cooperation among BRICS countries in agricultural research policy, science and technology, innovation and capacity building, including technologies for small¬holder farming in the BRICS countries, an MoU on was signed in the 8th BRICS Summit held on 16th October, 2016 at Goa.

Ares of cooperation

  • BRICS-ARP will be the natural global platform for science-led agriculture-based sustainable development for addressing the issues of world hunger, under-nutrition, poverty and inequality, particularly between farmers’ and non-farmers’ income, and enhancing agricultural trade, bio-security and climate resilient agriculture.

Prelims Fact

Trade Related Entrepreneurship Development Assistance Scheme (TREAD) women entrepreneurship programme

  • Trade Related Entrepreneurship Development Assistance Scheme (TREAD) envisages economic empowerment of women.
  • There is a provision of Govt of India Grant upto 30% of Loan/credit sanctioned subject to maximum ceiling of 30 Lakhs to NGOs as appraised by Lending Institutes/Banks for undertaking capacity building activities such as Training, counselling, Participation in exhibitions, establishment of new SHGs etc and other components as approved by Bank/Steering Committee.
  • The non-farming activities taken up by women are Tailoring, Handicrafts, Embroidery, Toy making, Readymade garments, Candle making, Agarbatti making, paper cup and plate making, Masala powder making, Saree weaving, Coir mat making, Pickles making, Readymade garments, basketry and brooms making, Jute bag making etc.
  • The focus of the scheme is to promote self-employment and income generation activities for women mostly from SHG groups in non-farm sector.


Involvement of Foreign Companies in Indian Nuclear Sector
  • Several foreign companies from various countries including Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) and GE-Hitachi, United States of America (USA), Electricite de France (EDF), France and Rosatom, Russia have shown interest in participating in the country’s nuclear power projects in various capacities as technology partners, suppliers, contractors, service providers, etc.
  • As per the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy of the Government, FDI is not permitted in nuclear power sector.
  • Thus, foreign companies cannot invest in nuclear power. Nuclear power projects to be set up with foreign technical cooperation are planned to be funded by a mix of equity and debt, with equity to be mobilised from internal resources of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Joint Venture companies between NPCIL and other Central Public Sector Undertakings and Government budgetary support.
  • Foreign companies can however, invest in the supply chain for nuclear power projects.

Prelims Fact

National Biopharma Mission

The National Biopharma Mission has been launched by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology on 30th June 2017 in New Delhi.

This is an Industry-Academia mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical development in India that has been approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs.


“Innovate in India (i3)” Empowering biotech entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive innovation


Operational Satellites
  • The currently operational 42 satellites are being utilised to meet the requirements of resources monitoring, infrastructure planning, enabling weather forecasting, disaster management support, location based services, host of societal applications, including the demands of satellite communication.
  • To ensure continuity of services and to meet further requirements in these areas, a plan is in place to suitably augment the space infrastructure.
Use of satellites in socio-economic development of the country

Satellite based data and services are being used by various Ministries/Departments in planning, monitoring and evaluation of developmental activities in various sectors, which include agriculture, forestry & environment, water resources, urban & rural planning, asset mapping, mineral prospecting, ocean resources, meteorology, satellite communication, location based services, tele-education, tele-medicine and disaster management support.

Present scenario

  • At present, there are 42 operational satellites in orbit comprising of 18 Earth observation (including meteorological), 15 communication, 7 navigational and 2 Space Science satellites. 26 satellites are currently under various stages of realisation.


Socio-Economic Challenges in NER

The Government has assessed the challenges being faced by the North Eastern Region (NER) through various studies and reports submitted by different Committees, Commissions, Task Forces etc. appointed from time to time.

Some of these include

  • Shukla Commission Report;
  • Usha Thorat Committee Report on Financial Sector Plan for North Eastern Region;
  • Report of the Task Force on Connectivity and Promotion of Trade and Investment in NE States;
  • Report on Poverty Eradication in NER; District Infrastructure Index for NER prepared by Ministry of DoNER;
  • Human Development Report of NE States;
  • Report of the Working Group on Improvement & Development of Transport Infrastructure in North East for the National Transport Development Policy Committee etc.

The assessment broadly identified various measures to bridge the infrastructural gaps and remove the backlog in basic minimum services in North Eastern States that include connecting North-East with rest of India and world through rail, road, water and air connectivity, opening new trade and business opportunities by improving the banking sector and giving incentive to Industry sector etc.


Boosting Trade ties with Africa
  • Various steps have been taken by Government to enhance trade and commercial relations with African countries.
  • The 4th India-Africa Trade Ministers’ Meeting was organized in New Delhi on 23rd October, 2015.
  • Negotiations to enter into Free Trade Agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a Regional Economic Community in Africa, Preferential Trade Agreement with the South African Customs Union (SACU) and a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius are in progress.
  • The objective of sessions was to promote south-south cooperation and boosting trade and investments between India and Africa across key sectors such as Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Education & Skill Development, Healthcare, Information Technology, IT enabled Services and so on.


Setting up of Border Haats
  • Setting up of Border Haats is one of the methods for facilitating and increasing border trade across neighbouring countries.
  • Currently four Border Haats are operational along India-Bangladesh border.
  • Two Border Haats are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat and two are located in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
  • In addition to the four functional Border Haats, Government of India and Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh have agreed to set up six more border haats-two in Tripura and four in Meghalaya.
  • Government of India has also executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Government of the Republic of Union of Myanmar under which Border Haats are to be set up at nine mutually agreed locations.


7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers- Shanghai
  • ​The 7th Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers was held in Shanghai from 1-2 August.
  • The Ministers adopted the following documents at the conclusion of the meeting:
  • 7th BRICS Trade Ministers’ Joint Statement
  • BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap
  • BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative
  • BRICS IPR Cooperation Guidelines
  • Framework on strengthening the Economic and Technical Cooperation of BRICS Countries 
  • Terms of Reference (ToR) of BRICS Model E-Port Network
  • Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation

Prelims Fact
Cloud Observatory

A high altitude cloud physics observatory has been established at Munnar (Kerala), in Western Ghats, the region which is gateway for the monsoon of India.


  • High altitude cloud physics observatory at Munnar is used to observe cloud and rain processes over that region with state of the art observations. Such facility will enable understanding of rainfall distribution and will allow better characterization of rainfall processes in the numerical models used for prediction of monsoon rainfall.


  • It is expected that long term monitoring of cloud and rainfall processes will enable accurate representation of cloud micro-physical process in forecast models to improve over all skill of rainfall prediction for severe weather phenomena viz, heavy rainfall, thunderstorm etc., not only over Kerala but for the whole country.

Functional centers

  • High altitude cloud physics laboratories are functional at Mahabaleshwar (Konkan) and Munnar (Kerala) to study the monsoon cloud microphysics process modulated by the Western Ghats only and hence no such additional facility are contemplated.
  • Studies were undertaken in four climate sensitive regions of the country, viz. Himalayan Region, Western Ghats, North Eastern Region and Coastal Areas to assess the possible impacts on the four sectors viz. agriculture, water, forests and health and associated ecosystem.


Country’s Diaspora
  • The Government has brought about a transformational change in its engagement with the Indian diaspora.
  • The 30 million strong Overseas Indian community is an invaluable partner in the progress of the nation. A successful, prosperous, and influential diaspora is an asset for India.
  • The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention, PBD Conferences, Regional PBDs, Youth PBD, Know India Programme, Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children, Bharat Ko Jaaniye Quiz are some of the important programmes undertaken by the Government to strengthen diaspora’s connect and engagement with India. The Government’s efforts are also aimed at harnessing the diaspora potential to its fullest including through investments, philanthropy and transfer of knowledge and expertise.
  • Ongoing economic reforms and flagship programmes viz Swachh Bharat Mission, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Stand up India provide an enabling environment to our youth. The Government is also trying to convert ‘brain drain ‘into ‘brain gain’ by engaging the Indian diaspora in making India strong and self-reliant.
  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) can also avail the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme. As per the provisions of the scheme, OCI card holders under Section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 get multiple life-long entry visa for visiting India and they are exempted from registration in FRRO irrespective of duration of their stay in India.

Prelims Fact
  • Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)
  • Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is a credit-linked subsidy programme aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth.
  • Any individual above 18 years of age is eligible.


UPSC Mains Practice Questions
  1. Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (UPSC Mains 2016, GS Paper 3)
  2. What are the Socio-Economic Challenges in North Eastern Region (NER) and evaluate the measures taken by the government to address the same.
  3. Discuss the contribution of Indian diaspora to the development of the country.
  4. 4. Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pros and cons. Critically examine. (UPSC Mains Question 2015, GS Paper 2)

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