UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 10

UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 10 for IAS Exam Preparation.

 Parliamentary Delegation from Seychelles calls on the President 

Seychelles is a maritime neighbour and trusted friend of India.

The two countries have strong security and defence cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

Seychelles ranks high in the UN Human Development Index.

The Government of Seychelles is providing universal free health care for all citizens.

India and Seychelles can cooperate in the healthcare sector apart from other areas of co-operation.

 

Venus Mission of ISRO 

The study team has submitted its inputs addressing various options and opportunities for Venus mission.

The study team’s inputs will be reviewed by Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS) for further considerations.

Meanwhile, the call for scientific proposals, through an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to conduct space based experiments has been made to Indian scientists.

After completion of selection process of proposals, definition of mission including budget will be worked out. Ten lakh rupees has been sanctioned for the project.

 

'Vande Mataram' is symbol of India's nationalist ethos: Dr Jitendra Singh

‘Vande Mataram’ is a symbol of India’s nationalist ethos and it should not be associated it with any particular religion or sect.

Vande Mataram first came to be known in the form of a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870’s.

It was later included in the author’s 1881 novel “Anandamath”.

The most significant is that several verses of the song were adopted as the National Song in early 20th century and the same later became a popular marching song for political activists and crusaders of India’s freedom movement.

Vande Mataram can be appropriately described as a symbol, which united people of India from different regions, different religions and different faiths, and inspired them to come together for the common cause of Mother India.

 

Improving connectivity in Manipur 

The Working Group on Improvement and Development of Transport Infrastructure in the North East had submitted its report to National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in June, 2012.

The recommendations of the Committee inter alia include, intensifying transport linkage with Myanmar in particular; development of hubs and spoke model for improving air connectivity; development of skills for construction and maintenance; inclusion of provision for periodic maintenance in road contracts; optimal use of waterways and development of multi-model hubs.

Under the scheme of Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), projects are taken up on the basis of priority list submitted by State Government.

 

1000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras to
 be opened in Uttar Pradesh 

Government’s priority under the PMBJP scheme is to provide quality medicines at affordable rates to the poor and marginalized sections of society.

The drugs available under this scheme meet the highest quality benchmarks and are made available by the Government at costs much less than their expensive branded counterparts.

Cardiac stent costs have been reduced by almost 85%, which would benefit poor patients who could not afford them earlier.

 

Single Higher Education Regulator 

The University Grants Commission (UGC) was established in 1956 under the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was established in 1987 under the All India Council for Technical Education Act, 1987. These two institutions have been created to achieve two distinct objectives in the sphere of higher education. While the objective of the UGC is to promote and co-ordinate University education and to determine and maintain standards of teaching, examination and research in Universities, the AICTE aims at ensuring coordinated and integrated development of technical and management education and maintenance of standards.

The idea of establishing a single regulator for higher education is not new. Various committees on higher education have earlier recommended a single regulatory body.

National Knowledge Commission (2006) recommended an independent regulatory authority for higher education, the Committee on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (Professor Yashpal Committee: 2009) advocated an apex regulatory body by converging multiple regulatory agencies in the field of higher education. Additionally, the University Grants Commission Review Committee (Prof. Hari Gautam Committee) in 2014 had recommended that the UGC should be replaced by an apex institution titled National Higher Education Authority.

However, no such proposal is under consideration at present, to merge the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) into a single higher education regulator.

 

Appointment of Lokpal 

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 came into force in 2014.

Status of Lokpal and difficulties in operationalization of the act:

After this, the Government initiated the process for appointment by convening the Selection Committee meeting.

The Selection Committee also constituted an eight Member Search Committee.

Two members of the Search Committee declined the offer of appointment.

Looking into such difficulties experienced and to remove certain difficulties in the operationalisation of the Act including issues relating to appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal, etc. in the absence of a Leader of Opposition recognized as such in the Lok Sabha, the Government introduced the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 in Lok Sabha.

The Bill was referred to the Department –related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice for examination and report.

 

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is celebrating World BioFuel Day 2017

The objective of “World Biofuel Day” is to sensitize youths (school and college going students), farmers and other stakeholders about the benefits of biofuel and seek their involvement in Biofuel programme run by the Government.

Highlights of the various efforts made by the Government in the BioFuel sector

The World BioFuel Day will be celebrated across 100 districts of the country in various states to create awareness about the bio fuel programme.

Awareness campaigns are scheduled to be held between 11th to 14th August 2017 in partnership with stakeholders of the Bioenergy sector.

The energy needs for Transportation and Domestic use in the country requires for 80 percent import of crude.

Prime Minister has given a task to cut down the crude import by 10% by 2022.

A roadmap on the use of biofuels will help in achieving this target. Promoting biofuels creates jobs, fosters economic growth, supports farmers and helps improve energy security for country.

Recently Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been made responsible for BioFuel Policy. The policy will taken into consideration various facets like Role of Government, Return on investment, Minimum Assurance etc.

Both the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will be working towards more utilisation of biofuels.

Approx $2 Billion is being invested by the Government Companies by way of R&D on Second Generation (2G) Biofuel Refineries across the country.  Ways are being explored on conversion of urban, rural waste to fuel; use of waste/barren lands for cultivation of feedstock for 2G biofuels.

Apart from bringing down pollution, biofuels produced indigenously from agricultural waste, plants like bamboo, non-edible oilseeds, or municipal waste will help  reduce  the country’s huge import burden.

Moreover, it will also  generate employment and boost the economy of rural areas, including the North East and the barren wastelands of the country.

A Biofuel Policy will be a major milestone in the socio-economic development of the country.

 

Legislative Reforms for Generating Jobs 

The Government of India have been implementing many programmes / schemes for generating jobs:

They are as follow:

Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) and

National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM)

Startup India, Standup India etc.

Programmes such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana

These are enhancing the employability of the labour force to access job opportunities.

Besides these initiatives, flagship programmes of the Government such as Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart City Projects, Housing for All, MGNREGA, Sagar Mala and major reforms like Goods &Services Tax have the potential to generate productive employment opportunities.

Direct intervention schemes such as the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) wherein Government reimburses 25 percent of the stipend payable to apprentices enhances employability of the youth to access employment. The Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) incentivizes industry to promote employment generation wherein Government reimburses employer’s contribution of 8.33% EPS made to new employees.

Agriculture:

The Model Land Leasing Act has been prepared to facilitate States for enactment of own land leasing laws to enhance agricultural productivity.

The new legal framework is likely to encourage the land owners to lease out land without any fear of losing land rights and enable the tenant farmers to access bank credit, insurance, disaster relief and other support services.

The land owners may also lease out land for agricultural purpose and thus help occupational mobility of the rural poor and help in rural poverty reduction. This shall provide opportunity for occupational diversification to land owners to opt for non-farm employment.

Textile Industry:

The textile package announced by the Government includes several tax and production incentives. Under the package, the entire employer’s contribution of 12% towards the Employers Provident Fund Scheme, for new employees of garment industry earning less than Rs. 15,000 per month, is met by the Government of India for the first three years. In addition, considering the seasonal nature of the industry, fixed term employment has been introduced for the garment sector. The Government has also suggested bringing in flexibility in labour laws to increase productivity.

 

UPSC Mains Practice Questions:

GS Paper 2

  1. Discuss the pros and cons of Single Higher Education Regulator along with recommendations of various committees on this issue.
  2. ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs’. Discuss. (UPSC 2015).

GS Paper 3

  1. While we found India’s demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability. What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain. (UPSC 2014)
  2. The nature of economic growth in India in described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer. (UPSC 2015).
  3. The proposed Biofuel Policy by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will be a major milestone in the socio-economic development of the country. Critically discuss.

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