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Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for Science and Technology
The Prime Minister conferred the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prizes for 2016, 2017 and 2018, at an event in Vigyan Bhawan.
About the prize
- Prizes awarded annually for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in the following disciplines: (i) Biological Sciences, (ii) Chemical Sciences, (iii) Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, (iv) Engineering Sciences, (v) Mathematical Sciences, (vi) Medical Sciences and (vii) Physical Sciences.
- Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years and Overseas citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in India are eligible.
About Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar
- Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar was the Founder Director (and later first Director General) of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) who is credited with establishing twelve national laboratories in as many years.
- Dr Bhatnagar played a significant role in building of post-independent S & T infrastructure and in the formulation of India’s S & T policies.
- Dr Bhatnagar concurrently held number of important position in the Government. He was the first Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
- He was Secretary, Ministry of Education and Educational Adviser of Government. He was the first Secretary to Ministry of Natural Resource & Scientific Research and also Secretary of Atomic Energy Commission. He played an instrument role in the establishment of the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) of India.
International Energy Agency’s Technology Collaboration Programme on Bioenergy (IEA Bioenergy TCP)
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister was apprised about Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India joining IEA Bioenergy TCP as its 25th member.
The other members are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Commission.
About IEA Bioenergy TCP
- International Energy Agency’s Technology Collaboration Programme on Bioenergy (IEA Bioenergy TCP) is an international platform for co-operation among countries with the aim of improving cooperation and information exchange between countries that have national programmes in bioenergy research, development and deployment.
- IEA Bioenergy TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 30th March, 2017.
- The primary goal of joining IEA Bioenergy TCP by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) is to facilitate the market introduction of advanced biofuels with an aim to bring down emissions and reduce crude imports.
How does IEA Bioenergy TCP work?
- The R&D work in IEA Bioenergy TCP is carried out carried out within well-defined 3-years programmes called “Tasks”.
- Each year the progress of the Tasks is evaluated and scrutinized and each 3 years the content of the Tasks is reformulated and new Tasks can be initiated.
- Technical persons from Public sector Oil Marketing companies will also be contributor in the Tasks participated by MoP&NG.
National Mineral Policy, 2019
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved National Mineral Policy 2019.
The New National Mineral Policy will ensure more effective regulation. It will lead to sustainable mining sector development in future while addressing the issues of project affected persons especially those residing in tribal areas
The aim of National Mineral Policy 2019 is to have a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.
Importance of new policy
- National Mineral Policy, 2019 include the focus on make in India initiative and Gender sensitivity in terms of the vision.
- In so far as the regulation in Minerals is concerned, E-Governance, IT enabled systems, awareness and Information campaigns have been incorporated.
- Regarding the role of state in mineral development online public portal with provision for generating triggers at higher level in the event of delay of clearances has been put in place.
- NMP 2019 aims to attract private investment through incentives while the efforts would be made to maintain a database of mineral resources and tenements undermining tenement systems.
- The new policy focusses on use coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals.
- The utilization of the district mineral fund for equitable development of project affected persons and areas.
- NMP 2019 proposes a long term export-import policy for the mineral sector to provide stability and as an incentive for investing in large scale commercial mining activity.
- The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.
- National Mineral Policy 2019 replaces the extant National Mineral Policy 2008 (“NMP 2008”) which was announced in year 2008.
Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Amendment Order, 2019
The Union Cabinet, has approved the proposal of Jammu &Kashmir Government regarding amendment to the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) 0rder, 1954 by way of the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Amendment Order, 2019.
It will serve the purpose of application of relevant provisions of the Constitution of India, as amended through the Constitution (Seventy Seventh Amendment) Act, 1995 and Constitution (One Hundred arid third Amendment) Act, 2019 for Jammu and Kashmir, by issuing the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Amendment Order, 2019 by the President under clause (1) of Article370.
- Once notified, this will pave the way for giving benefit of promotion in service to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and also extend the reservation of up to 10% for “economically weaker sections” in educational institutions and public employment in addition to the existing reservation in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Benefit of promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which include Gujjars and Bakarwals amongst others, has also been made applicable to the State of J&K. After a long wait of 24 years, the 77th Constitution Amendment of 1995 has now been applied to the State of J&K.
Promulgation of Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019
The Union Cabinet chaired has approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to make amendments to the Aadhaar Act 2016, Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2005 & Indian Telegraph Act 1885. The amendments proposed are the same as those contained in the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha.
- The amendments would enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
- Subsequent to this amendment, no individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number of undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament.
The salient features of the amendments are as follows—
- Provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar number holder;
- Provides for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number of an individual;
- Gives an option to children who are Aadhaar number holders to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years;
- Permits the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority; and the authentication is permitted under any law made by Parliament or is prescribed to be in the interest of State by the Central Government;
- Allows the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
- Proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to use of Aadhaar by private entities;
- Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication;
- Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund;
- Provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem.
- The Supreme Court in its judgement in September. 2018 held Aadhaar to be constitutionally valid.
- However, it read down/struck down few sections of the Aadhaar Act and Regulations and gave several other directions in the interest of protecting the fundamental rights to privacy.
- Consequently it was proposed to amend the Aadhaar Act, Indian Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in line with the Supreme Court directives and the report of Justice B.N.Srikrishna (Retd.) committee on data protection, in order to ensure that personal data of Aadhaar holder remains protected against any misuse and Aadhaar scheme remains in conformity with the Constitution.
- Towards this, the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha. However, before the same could be considered and passed in the Rajya Sabha, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die.
New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC)
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved promulgation of an Ordinance for establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) for the purpose of creating an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalised arbitration.
The benefits of institutionalized arbitration will accrue to Government and its agency and to the parties to a dispute. This shall be to the advantage of the public and the public institutions in terms of quality of expertise and costs incurred and will facilitate India becoming a hub for Institutional Arbitration.
The NDAIC shall be established with an aim to:-
- to bring targeted reforms to develop itself as a flagship institution for conducting international and domestic arbitration
- provide facilities and administrative assistance for conciliation mediation and arbitral proceedings;
- maintain panels of accredited arbitrators, conciliators and mediators both at national and international level or specialists such as surveyors and investigators;
- facilitate conducting of international and domestic arbitrations and conciliation in the most professional manner;
- provide cost-effective and timely services for the conduct of arbitrations and conciliations at Domestic and International level;
- promote studies in the field of alternative dispute resolution and related matters, and to promote reforms in the system of settlement of disputes; and
- co-operate with other societies, institutions and organisations, national or international for promoting alternative dispute resolution.
- New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) will be headed by a chairperson who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration law or management, to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
- There will be two Full time or Part time Members from amongst eminent persons having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration, both domestic and international.
- Also, one representative of a recognised body of commerce and industry shall be chosen on rotational basis as Part time Member.
- Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Financial Adviser nominated by the Department of Expenditure and Chief Executive Officer, NDIAC shall be ex-officio Members.
FAME India Phase II
The Union cabinet chaired has approved the proposal for implementation of scheme titled ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME India Phase II)’ for promotion of Electric Mobility in the country.
This scheme is the expanded version of the present scheme titled ‘FAME India1 which was launched on 1st April 2015
The main objective of the scheme is to encourage Faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront Incentive on purchase of Electric vehicles and also by way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructure for electric vehicles. The scheme will help in addressing the issue of environmental pollution and fuel security.
- Emphasis is on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
- Demand Incentives on operational expenditure mode! for electric buses will be delivered through State/city transport corporation (STUs).
- In 3W and 4W segment incentives will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes.
- In the e-2Ws segment, the focus will be on the private vehicles.
- Through the scheme, it is planned to support 10 Lakhs e-2W, 5 Lakhs e-3W, 55000 4Ws and 7000 Buses.
- To encourage advance technologies, the benefits of incentives, will be extended to only those vehicles which are fitted with advance battery like a Lithium Ion battery and other new technology batteries.
- The scheme proposes for establishment of charging infrastructure, whereby about 2700 charging stations will be established in metros, other million plus cities, smart cities and cities of Hilly states across the country so that there will be availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km.
- Establishment of Charging stations are also proposed on major highways connecting major city clusters.
- On such highways, charging stations will be established on both sides of the road at an interval of about 25 km each.
National Policy on Software Products – 2019
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the National Policy on Software Products – 2019 to develop India as a Software Product Nation.
- The Software product ecosystem is characterized by innovations, Intellectual Property (IP) creation and large value addition increase in productivity, which has the potential to significantly boost revenues and exports in the sector, create substantive employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in emerging technologies and leverage opportunities available under the Digital India Programme, thus, leading to a boost in inclusive and sustainable growth.
Implementation strategy and targets
The Policy will lead to the formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of Software products sector in the country as per the roadmap envisaged therein.
To achieve the vision of NPSP-2019, the Policy has the following five Missions:
- To promote the creation of a sustainable Indian software product industry, driven by intellectual property (IP), leading to a ten-fold increase in India share of the Global Software product market by 2025.
- To nurture 10,000 technology startups in software product industry, including 1000 such technology startups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns & cities and generating direct and in-direct employment for 3.5 million people by 2025.
- To create a talent pool for software product industry through (i) up-skilling of 1,000,000 IT professionals, (ii) motivating 100,000 school and college students and (iii) generating 10,000 specialized professionals that can provide leadership.
- To build a cluster-based innovation driven ecosystem by developing 20 sectoral and strategically located software product development clusters having integrated ICT infrastructure, marketing, incubation, R&D/testbeds and mentoring support.
- In order to evolve and monitor scheme & programmes for the implementation of this policy, National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and Industry.
Financial support for Tertiary Care Programmes for non-communicable diseases and e-Health
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for continuation of implementation of the following Tertiary healthcare programmes for non-communicable diseases and E-Health upto 2020.
- Strengthening of Tertiary Care Cancer facilities Scheme
- National Program for Health Care of the Elderly
- National Program for Prevention & Management of Trauma and Burn Injuries
- National Program for Tobacco Control and Drug Addiction Treatment
- National Mental Health Program
- National Program for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment
- Program for Strengthening of e-Health and Telemedicine Services
The focus under these Programs is:-
- to create required infrastructure at tertiary level for these Programs,
- creation of Centre of Excellences which shall serve as Institutes to set standards and undertake research in these fields besides
- To help in creation of trained manpower in these Programs for the country.
Under these programmes, Tertiary care treatment will be further strengthened to meet the ever-increasing patient load.
The Programs are aimed at strengthening of tertiary level healthcare facilities for treatment through capacity building in terms of both infrastructure and human resources. There would be considerable direct and indirect employment generation both for technical and non-technical professionals in the country.
Objective of the umbrella program of tertiary healthcare is to provide support for creation of tertiary care health facilities in the areas of cancer diagnosis & treatment, care for the elderly, trauma and burn injuries, drug dependence, mental health and blindness & visual impairment. It also aims at digitisation of health sector.
Pradhan Mantri Jl-VAN Yojana
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran AnukoolFasal Awashesh Nivaran) Yojana” for providing financial support to Integrated Bioethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.
- Under this Yojana, 12 Commercial Scale and 10 demonstration scale Second Generation (2G) ethanol Projects will be provided a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support in two phases:
- Phase-I (2018-19 to 2022-23): wherein six commercial projects and five demonstration projects will be supported.
- Phase-II (2020-21to2023-24): wherein remaining six commercial projects and five demonstration projects will be supported.
- The scheme focuses to incentivise 2G Ethanol sector and support this nascent industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development in this area.
- Apart from supplementing the targets envisaged by the Government under EBP programme, the scheme will also have the following benefits:
- Meeting Government of India vision of reducing import dependence by way of substituting fossil fuels with Biofuels.
- Achieving the GHG emissions reduction targets through progressive blending/ substitution of fossil fuels.
- Addressing environment concerns caused due to burning of biomass/ crop residues & improve health of citizens.
- Improving farmer income by providing them remunerative income for their otherwise waste agriculture residues.
- Creating rural & urban employment opportunities in 2G Ethanol projects and Biomass supply chain.
- Contributing to Swacch Bharat Mission by supporting the aggregation of nonfood biofuel feedstocks such as waste biomass and urban waste.
- Indigenizing of Second Generation Biomass to Ethanol technologies.
- The ethanol produced by the scheme beneficiaries will be mandatorily supplied to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to further enhance the blending percentage under EBP Programme.
- Centre for High Technology (CHT), a technical body under the aegis of MoP&NG, will be the implementation Agency for the scheme.
- Government of India launched Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme in 2003 for undertaking blending of ethanol in Petrol to address environmental concerns due to fossil fuel burning, provide remuneration to farmers, subsidize crude imports and achieve forex savings.
- Presently, EBP is being run in 21 States and 4 UTs of the country. Under EBP programme, OMCs are to blend upto 10% of ethanol in Petrol.
- The present policy allows procurement of ethanol produced from molasses and non-food feedstock like celluloses and lignocelluloses material including petrochemical route.
TECH-SOP 2019 for MSMEs
- With a view to enhance awareness among MSMEs about latest technological innovations available, and sensitize them on the role of technology in creating competitiveness and opportunities, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)organized a programme on Technology Support and Outreach (TECH-SOP 2019) in New Delhi.
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