04 February 2019: UPSC Exam PIB Summary & Analysis

Read the daily PIB update and stay up-to-date on current affairs for the UPSC exam

Digitalisation of Schools across the Country

Context:

The Central Government has launched an Integrated Scheme for school education- Samagra Shiksha, which subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education, from the year 2018-19. Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) component envisages covering all Government and Government Aided schools from classes VI to XII, subject to the availability of budgetary provision, progress of approved interventions and receipt of proposals from the States/UTs.

Various initiatives for providing education through digital means:

  • ICT in Education Curriculum for School System – ICT curriculum for teachers and students has been developed by NCERT.
  • e-pathshala – e-pathshala has been developed by NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training) for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials.
  • National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) – The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) is an initiative to bring together all digital and digitisable resources across all stages of school education and teacher education.
  • SWAYAM:- The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) is an integrated platform for online courses, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level.  It offers online courses for students, teachers and teacher educators. It may be accessed on swayam.gov.in. 
  • SWAYAM PRABHA:- A programme for utilization of satellite communication technologies for transmission of educational e-contents through 32 National Channels i.e. SWAYAM  PRABHA DTH-TV has been launched.
  • CBSE initiatives:-  SARANSH is a tool for comprehensive self-review and analysis for CBSE affiliated schools and parents. It enables them to analyse students’ performance in order to take remedial measures. SARANSH brings schools, teachers and parents closer, so that they can monitor the progress of students and help them improve their performance. It helps schools to compare their performance vis-à-vis all CBSE schools at various levels and also helps parents to compare their ward’s performance within school State, Region and National level. It is currently available for Standards IX – XII.
  • KVS initiatives:- ICT Skills are imparted in all the Kendriya Vidyalayas to the students of classes III to XII. Through e-Classrooms, Digital Language Labs and Computer labs further, a pilot project e-Prajna has been started for providing tablets pre-loaded with e-content in Maths and Science.
  • Operation Digital Board:- An initiative has been taken by Government of India to provide interactive digital boards to nearly 15 lakh classrooms across the country for 9th standard to post graduate level, where they can receive lectures from best teachers/professors and access quality e-content, in order to enhance overall learning process and experience of the students.

Status of Namami Gange Programme

Context:

Under Namami Gange Programme, a total of 136 sewerage infrastructure projects have been sanctioned and 36 projects have been completed so far; remaining projects are under various stages of implementation.

Details of the programme:

  • The Government has launched Namami Gange Programme (2015) covering short term, medium term and long term activities.
  • Under short term activities, certain entry level activities which cover development of ghats crematoria & river surface cleaning activities etc. have been taken up.
  • Under medium term activities, existing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) are being upgraded and new STPs & ETPs are being established. Beside, rural sanitation has been taken up in the villages on the banks of river Ganga.
  • The long term action plan involves restoration of wholesomeness of river Ganga and maintaining the ecological & geological integrity of river. as a five year program till 2020. However, efforts are being made to achieve substantial progress much before the target date.

Status of sewage treatment plants:

  • Against the estimated sewage generation of 2953 Million Litres per Day (MLD) from the towns along main stem of river Ganga, the sewage treatment capacity in the towns along Ganga has increased from 1305 MLD (2014) to 1822 MLD capacity.  In addition to this, STP capacity of 3577 MLD is being created in Ganga basin.

Banks to waive off processing and all other service charges for Kisan credit card/crop loans

Context:

To provide direct benefit to farmers and ease the pressure on them, the Indian Banking Association today issued advisory guidelines requesting banks to waive off the processing, documentation, inspection, ledger folio charges and all other service charges for Kisan Credit Card /crop loans up to 3 Lakhs.

Few facts about Indian agriculture:

  • In India, Land Holding pattern is dominated by Small and Marginal farmers (SMF) category Roughly 85 per cent of the total operational holding I the country (about 43 percent of the gross cropped area) are in the SMF category.
  • There are around 21.6 crore small and marginal farmers (or 4.3 crore families). Providing timely and affordable credit to this resource constrained group is the key to attaining inclusive growth.
  • The small and Marginal farmers are the most affected during times of floods, droughts, and other natural calamities.
  • As per parliamentary standing committee on Agriculture the losses due to climate change account for overall GDP loss of 1.5% of agriculture economy.
  • The instability in income of the farmers due to various types of risks involved in production, low bargaining power, etc., add more distress to the already affected farmers.

About the Kisan credit card:

  • Scheme aims at providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system under a single window with flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers to meet the short term credit requirements for cultivation of crops, investment credit requirements for agriculture and allied activities and other needs.

12th Regional Standards Conclave Held in Odisha

Context:

12th Regional Standards Conclave was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, Government of India, the MSME Department of the Government of Odisha, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), National Accreditation Board of Certification Bodies (NABCB), the Export Inspection Council (EIC), and Centre for Research in International Trade (CRIT).

About BIS:

BIS has its Headquarters at New Delhi and its 05 Regional Offices (ROs) are at Kolkata (Eastern), Chennai (Southern), Mumbai (Western), Chandigarh (Northern) and Delhi (Central).

  • BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 2016 for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • BIS has been providing traceability and tangibility benefits to the national economy in a number of ways – providing safe reliable quality goods; minimizing health hazards to consumers; promoting exports and imports substitute; control over proliferation of varieties etc. through standardization, certification and testing.

About National Accreditation Board For Certification Bodies (NABCB):

NABCB a constituent Board of the Quality Council of India (QCI), is the national accreditation body, which provides accreditation to Certification as well as Inspection Bodies in accordance with ISO Standards, international requirements/ guidelines and NABCB Accreditation Criteria.

  • The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies provides accreditation to Certification and Inspection Bodies based on assessment of their competence as per the Board’s criteria and in accordance with International Standards and Guidelines.
  • It is the third accreditation body in the Asia-Pacific region (other two being the accreditation bodies of Hong Kong and Mexico)

Benefits of accreditation:

  • Attestation of competence by an authoritative body
  • Recognition of technical competence
  • Customer confidence and satisfaction
  • Minimizes risks
  • Avoids re-testing/inspection and reduces costs
  • Increased efficiency
  • Marketing advantage and increased business
  • International recognition

The Export Inspection Council (EIC)

EIC was set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 (22 of 1963), in order to ensure sound development of export trade of India through Quality Control and Inspection and for matters connected thereof.

EIC is an advisory body to the Central Government, which is empowered under the Act to:

  • Notify commodities which will be subject to quality control and/ or inspection prior to export,
  • Establish standards of quality for such notified commodities, and
  • Specify the type of quality control and/or inspection to be applied to such commodities.

Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council

Context:

An Ad-hoc National Committee of Domestic Council for Gems and Jewellery consisting 14 Members representing various associations of Gems and Jewellery Sector has been constituted to draft Memorandum and Article of Association and other Rules/Bye-laws of the domestic council.

Benefits of the council:

It is envisaged that the domestic industry would be benefited from such a representative body which would be the forum for highlighting the issues and concerns of the industry that require redressal through policy measures. 


National Testing Agency Launched Mobile App

Context:

National Testing Agency (NTA) has launched a ‘mobile app’ through which students can practice or take mock tests on their own computers or smart phones. 

Benefits:

  • In order to ensure that no student is disadvantaged due to lack of resources, NTA has established a network of more than 4000 Test Practice Centres (TPCs) to acquaint the aspirants, especially those from rural areas with Computer Based Tests (CBTs).
  • Students across the country can register themselves online at NTA Website or ‘NTA Students App’ for visiting the TPCs. 
  • All these services are provided to the students free of cost.  So far, more than one lakh students have registered at these TPCs and more than one crore students have benefited from these ‘App & Web’ services.  

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Meet on Disaster Risk Management

Context:

The Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is organising a meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Cluster Group on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in New Delhi.

Details:

  • Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation and has many disaster-prone countries among its 22 members and nine dialogue partners. DRM is one of its priority areas and its Action Plan (2017-2021) has specific goals to improve resilience in IORA countries.
  • The two-day meeting will feature interactive sessions and will focus on development of a draft Work Plan for DRM in IORA.
  • It will also deliberate on the need for establishing a DRM Core Group to take forward the agreed objectives under the Work Plan.

About IORA action plan (2017-2021):

Under the IORA Action Plan 2017-2021, the development of DRM in IORA has been given focused direction. The Cluster Group on DRM, chaired by India for a period of two years, is tasked with leading the formulation of a Work Plan for this Priority Area, with the aim to enhance cooperation and develop resiliency in the IOR.

  • The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is sometimes called the “World’s Hazard Belt” as it is prone to disasters, both natural and man-made. Natural disasters under the group of Climatological (cyclones and droughts), Geological and Tectonic (earthquakes and tsunamis) and Hydrological (floods and tidal surges) origins are very common and reoccurring phenomena in the region.
  • According to the UN ESCAP, around 50% of natural disasters occurring in this region are climatogenic and seismogenic in nature.

To ace UPSC current affairs section, read more PIB articles here.

Also see: