UPSC: PIB Summary and Analysis Jan 18

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

  • NCDC (previously known as National Institute of Communicable Diseases) is an institute under the Indian Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It was established in July 1963 for research in epidemiology and control of communicable diseases
  • The institute was established to function as a national centre of excellence for control of communicable diseases. The function of the institute also included various areas of training and research using multi-disciplinary integrated approach.
  • The institute was, in addition, expected to provide expertise to the States and Union Territories (UTs) on rapid health assessment and laboratory based diagnostic services. Surveillance of communicable diseases and outbreak investigation also formed an indispensable part of its activities.
  • Doctors from NCDC had been previously summoned to investigate potential outbreaks of diseases including suspected cases of Pneumonic plague in Punjab in 2002, SARS outbreaks in 2004, meningitis outbreak in Delhi in 2005, and avian influenza in 2006


  • Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare reviewed the activities of National Centre for Disease Control and issued necessary directions for disease surveillance, monitoring of health status, educating the public, providing evidence for public health action and enforcing public health regulations.

Open Acreage License Policy (OALP)

  • Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government. Under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a bidder intending to explore hydrocarbons like oil and gas, coal bed methane, gas hydrate etc., may apply to the Government seeking exploration of any new block (not already covered by exploration). The Government will examine the Expression of Interest and justification. If it is suitable for award, Govt. will call for competitive bids after obtaining necessary environmental and other clearances.
  • National Data Repository, which is envisaged as a centralized database of geological and hydrocarbon information that will be available to all.
  • What distinguishes OALP from New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) of 1997 is that under OALP, oil and gas acreages will be available round the year instead of cyclic bidding rounds as in NELP. Potential investors need not have to wait for the bidding rounds to claim acreages.
  • By placing greater discretion in the hands of explorers and operators, the Licensing Policy attempts to address a major drawback in the New Exploration Licensing Policy, which forced energy explorers to bid for blocks chosen by the government.


  • The company then submits an application to the government, which puts that block up for bid. The new policy will open up 2.8 million square kilometres of sedimentary basins for exploration and eventual production.
  • Companies can now apply for particular areas they deem to be attractive to invest in, and the Centre will put those areas up for bids. This is more attractive for prospective operators because in the past, the blocks chosen by the government often were large swathes of land or sea in which only a small fraction had hydrocarbon reserves.
  • There are a number of companies around the world that make it their business to simply explore hydrocarbon basins and sell the information they gather. The new initiative seeks to incentivise such prospectors.


  • Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched Bid Round I under the innovative Open Acreage Licensing Programme in New Delhi
  • During the event, e bidding portaland the Notice Inviting Offer (NIO) was launched. 
    • The ebidding portal is a fully safe, secured and transparent ebidding platform wherein the bidders can submit their bids from anywhere in the world.
    • In parallel, ‘DGH OneTouch’ mobile application was also launched which would act as a one stop solution for accessing information about DGH, policy initiatives and other relevant information on the move.

International Solar Alliance Forum at World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi 

  • Shri R.K. Singh announces $ 350 million Solar Development Fund by the Government of India for Solar Projects Financing
  • On receipt of 15 ratifications, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement entered into force on the 6th December, 2017 thereby making ISA a de jure treaty based international intergovernmental organisation. So far 19 countries have ratified and 48 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement.

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

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