UPSC: PIB Summary and Analysis Jan 03

Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme

  • Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme was introduced in 2003-04 with a view to promote development of new talents in the field of music and dance, folk and tribal art forms, under the able guidance of Gurus.
  • To preserve and promote rare and vanishing art forms whether classical or folk/tribal so that the young talents be nurtured to acquire skills in their chosen field of art through some financial assistance by the Zonal Cultural Centre (ZCCs) in the form of scholarship under the guidance of Experts and Masters in these fields.
  • To implement this scheme, Great Masters (Gurus) of different art forms of constituent states of NZCC, who are capable to train the interested shishyas are identified.
  • This scheme has provided security to a large number of old and retired artistes. Most of the artistes covered under this scheme are from rural areas and teaching shishyas from within reasonable catchment area of their residence.


  • Total funds allocated/spent under Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme is Rs. 343.61 lakhs and number of beneficiaries is 1290 during the last three years: Dr. Mahesh Sharma
  • For this purpose, these ZCCs organize various cultural activities, workshops, exhibitions, craft fairs etc under Shilpgram Scheme.



Savitribai Phule

  • Savitribai Phule is hailed as India’s one of the first modern feminists.
  • Married at the tender age of nine, she fought against social evils like child marriage and sati pratha.
  • She laid emphasis on educating women and along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she opened the first school for girls in India. They together went on to open 18 schools for girls.
  • She not only worked for women’s rights but also championed the cause of fighting against the practice of corrupt caste system.
  • She opening up a well for the untouchables in her own house was an act resulting from her vehement defiance to untouchability and her compassion for the outcast.
  • Savitribai Phule was not just a social reformer but also a philosopher and a poet. Her poetry mostly revolved around nature, education and the abolition of caste system.
  • She observed the miserable conditions of pregnant rape victims and therefore, along with her husband, opened a care centre “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha”.
  • In order to reduce the miseries of the widows, she organised and led a strike against the barbers to dissuade them from shaving the heads of the widows which was a norm back in those days.
  • In order to encourage students to study and reduce the drop-out rate, she used to give stipends to children for attending school.
  • At a time when caste system was embedded in Indian society, she promoted inter-caste marriages. She along with her husband founded the Satyashodhak samaj which used organise marriages without a priest and dowry.


  • PM pays tributes to Savitribai Phule on her Jayanti



Cabinet approves MoU between India and Israel on Cooperation in the Oil and Gas Sector

  • The MoU is expected to provide impetus to India – Israel ties in the energy sector.
  • The cooperation envisaged under the agreement will facilitate promotion of investments in each other’s countries, technology transfer, R&D, conducting joint studies, capacity building of human resources and collaboration in the area of Start-ups.



Zojila tunnel

  • Cabinet approves construction, operation and maintenance of 2-lane bi-directional Zojila tunnel with parallel escape tunnel in J&K
  • The project is said to be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel, is estimated to cost Rs 6,809-crore.
  • The 14.1 km two-lane bi-directional single tube tunnel will have a parallel 14.2 km egress tunnel, excluding approaches between Baltal and Minamarg in the Valley. The construction of approaches of this tunnel is being undertaken separately.
  • This project, along with other ongoing projects like the 6.5 km long Z-Morh tunnel at Gagangir, would ensure safe, fast and cheap connectivity between the two regions of Kashmir and Ladakh

What was the need?

  • Situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway, Zoji La remains closed from December to April due to heavy snowfall and avalanches, cutting off the Ladakh region from Kashmir. The site where the tunnel is planned sees minimum temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius, making construction work difficult.
  • This tunnel will not only provide all-weather connectivity for the first time, but will also be of strategic value to the armed forces
  • The project will be implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRT&H) through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).


  • The main objective of the project is to provide all whether connectivity to strategically important Leh region in Jammu & Kashmir which at the moment is limited to at best 6 months because of snow on the passes and threat of avalanches.
  • This project alongwith other ongoing projects like 6.5 km long Z-Morh tunnel at Gagangir would ensure safe, fast and cheap connectivity between the two regions of Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • It will further increase the employment potential for the local labourers for the project activities.
  • The project, on completion, would lead to enormous boost in employment as local businesses get linked to National market and the beautiful region is able to receive round the year tourist traffic.
  • These sectors will generate employment at multiple levels.



Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing

  • The Agreement will facilitate regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people ordinarily residing in the border areas of both countries. It will also facilitate movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas which will enhance economic and social interaction between the two countries.
  • The Agreement is an enabling arrangement for movement of people across India-Myanmar border. It is expected to provide connectivity and enhance interaction of the people of North Eastern States of India with the people of Myanmar.
  • The Agreement would give a boost to the economy of the North East and allow us to leverage our geographical connections with Myanmar to boost trade and people to people ties.
  • The Agreement will safeguard the traditional rights of the largely tribal communities residing along the border which are accustomed to free movement across the land border.



Cabinet approves MoU between India and Belgium on Cooperation in the field of ICT&E

  • The MoU intends cooperation between India and Belgium including sharing of best practices in the area of ICT&E policy; Digital agenda technology and research with special emphasis on developing ICT&E manufacturing and services; e-Governance and e-Public Service Delivery, participation in conferences, study visits and exchange of experts, cyber security and to resolve issues of data adequacy, market access, trade and services.


  • India and Belgium enjoy close and friendly ties. Belgium is India’s second largest trade partner with the European Union (EU).
  • Belgium has expertise in the Communication Technology sector especially in the field of e-Governance and electronic ID card and Tax on web etc.
  • During Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels in March 2016 to attend the EU Summit and bilateral dialogue with Belgium, it was proposed to sign an MOU in IT and Electronics sector between India and Belgium.



Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Italy on cooperation in the field of renewable energy

  • India and Italy aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.
  • The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Committee to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation. It aims for exchange of expertise and networking of information and helps in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.



Cabinet approves extension of norms for mandatory packaging in Jute Materials


  • The CCEA has extended the mandatory packaging norms under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987.
  • The approval mandates that 90% of the food grains and 20% of the sugar products shall be mandatorily packed in jute bags.
  • The decision also mandates, in the first instance, the entire requirement for packing of food grains would be placed in jute bags thus, making a provision for 100% packing of food grains in jute bags subject to the ability of the jute industry to meet the requirement.


  • The decision will benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country particularly in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Measures taken by Government to give a boost to Jute industry:

  • With a view to boosting demand in the jute sector, Government of India has imposed Definitive Anti Dumping Duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal
  • In order to improve the productivity and quality of raw jute through a carefully designed intervention, called the Jute ICARE, the Government has been supporting close to one lakh jute farmers by disseminating improved agronomic practices such as line sowing using seed drills, weed management by using wheel-hoeing and nail-weeders, distribution of quality certified seeds and also providing microbial assisted retting.
  • In order to support jute farmers, Jute Corporation of India (JCI) has been given a grant of Rs. 204 crore for 4 years starting from 2014-15 to enable JCI to conduct MSP operations and ensure price stabilization in the jute sector.
  • With a view to supporting diversification of jute sector, the National Jute Board has collaborated with National Institute of Design and a Jute Design Cell has been opened at Gandhinagar.
  • Promotion of Jute Geo Textiles and Agro-Textiles has been taken up with the state governments particularly those in the North Eastern region and also with departments such as Ministry of Road Transport and Ministry of Water Resources.
  • In order to promote transparency in jute sector, Jute SMART an e-govt initiative was launched in December, 2016, providing an integrated platform for procurement of B-Twill sacking by Government agencies.



Global Entrepreneurship Summit 

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and the USA for co-hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 in India.
  • The MoU delineated the responsibilities, areas of co-operation including logistics and venue related requirements between the parties for smooth conduct of the Summit.


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