Showing posts with label GOVT. POLICIES AND SCHEMES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOVT. POLICIES AND SCHEMES. Show all posts

Monday, July 3, 2017


1.Clean energy Cess
  • Clean Energy Cess (now renamed as Clean Environment Cess) is levied on coal, lignite and peat.
  •  Clean Environment Cess also acts as green tax, on the lines of polluter pays principle.
  • In many countries carbon taxes are levied also on other fossil fuels like petroleum, natural gas etc. However, in India this is applied only on coal and its variants - lignite and peat.

  • The fund raised through the cess is being used for the National Clean Energy Fund for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies or renewable energy source
2. National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) was launched by UPA Government in 2013 by merging two erstwhile schemes. 
  • National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) and National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP) 
  • Why? The idea was that a single programme would help promote better synergy and avoid overlap of the administrative functions. • Relevance in 2016? The NDA Government is tweaking a few things around the scheme and the regulatory framework around the wetlands
  • The government is revising the regulatory framework. In this context, the government has come up with Draft Wetland Rules 2016 and invited comments • To provide a greater role to the states in management of their wetlands, taking into consideration that water and land both are state subjects. 
  • The government is planning to upgrade the existing Wetland Research and Training Centre of Chilika Development Authority at Barkul in Odisha as National Capacity Development Centre for Wetlands.
3. Divyangjan
  • Divyangjan: National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 
  • Awards organised under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 
  • National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities are given under 14 categories
4. Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) Bill 
  • Types of disabilities increased from existing 7 to 21 
  • Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time 
  • Acid Attack Victims have been includedDwarfism, muscular dystrophy and three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease included 
  • Proposed to increase reservation from 3% to 4% in Government jobs for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability
5. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)
  • Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) is a comprehensive and balanced declaration, incorporating all its development priorities 
  • Commitment to conservation of nature, along with development challenges like poverty eradication, food security, universal access to education, health and energy etc
  • India’s NDC allows Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow, while reducing the emissions 
  • Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been set up under the UNFCCC as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention
6. Utilisation of Renewable Energy via Vision 2020 document
  • Vision 2020 document of the Indian Railways envisages to utilize at least 10% of its energy requirement from renewable sources 
  • Indian Railways (IR) has planned to source about 1000 Mega Watt (MW) Solar Power as part of its Solar Mission • Indian Railways also plans to harness about 200 MW of wind power in next five years
7. Reforms carried out in RMK to help poor women 
  • RashtriyaMahilaKosh (RMK): a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 
  • An apex micro-finance organization under the Ministry of Women and Child Development • Main objective: to provide micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities at concessional terms in a client-friendly manner to bring about their socio-economic development
  • Target beneficiaries: rural women and are from different economic activities viz., agriculture, horticulture, pisciculture, dairying, poultry and Animal husbandry, traditional and modern handicraft, small business including petty shop, teashop, vegetable and fruit shop etc., or any other income generating activities/ livelihood activities
8. Restrict the use of newspapers as food packaging material 
  • Expressing concern over the practice of wrapping, covering or processing foods with newspaper and printed recycled paper materials in India 
  • Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare directed The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to issue an advisory restricting the use of newspapers as food packaging material 
  • Newspapers are printed with ink that can be absorbed in the food 
  • Printing inks may also contain harmful colors, pigments, binders, additives, and preservatives 
  • Besides, presence of pathogenic microorganisms in used newspapers also poses potential risk to human health 
  • The newspaper ink contains many hazardous chemicals which can trigger serious health problems 
  • Paper/ cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with metallic contaminants, mineral oils and harmful chemicals like phthalates 
  • They can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity, leading to cancer-related health complications 
  • Need to improve awareness among small businesses, particularly unorganized sector, and provide clear guidance 
  • This should be backed up by systematic monitoring and enforcement by authorities.
9. More than 3 lakh Formulations from the texts of AYUSH System have been digitalized under TKDL
  • As per Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) information, 204 Patents have been granted on formulations/ processes/ products of herbs / plants 
  • As per the Patents Act 1970, patents can be imparted only to new formulations based on products related to herbs/ plants or processes related thereto, which are not in public domain and fulfill the criteria of patentability 
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945, does not have any provision for registration of Ayurvedic formulations 
  • To protect Traditional Medicinal Knowledge of India, the Ministry of AYUSH has created Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in collaboration with CSIR
10. .India Signs Open Skies Agreement With Six Countries During ICAN 2016 
  • International Civil Aviation Negotiations (ICAN) - 2016 were held recently in Nassau. Its directions: Increase in traffic rights 
  • Open Skies agreement: allows unlimited number of flights to six metro airports namely Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai, was signed with six countries namely Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland, Spain and Sri Lanka 
  • Code Shares: provide seamless connectivity to the travelling passengers and make possible connectivity between far off destinations not served by direct flights
11. Indigenously Developed Sonars - 
  • Abhay (Compact Hull-Mounted Sonar for Small Ships and Shallow Water Crafts): replaced Russian sonar enables indigenous sonar system to be installed on small ships 
  • HUMSA-UG (Upgrade for the Hull-Mounted Sonar Array (HUMSA) 
  • NACS (Near-field Acoustic Characterization System for Ship Sonars) 
  • AIDSS (Advanced Indigenous Distress Sonar System for Submarines): Used to signal that a submarine is in distress and thereby enable quick rescue and salvage
12. What is International Solar Allaince
  • The ISA will strive to bring together more than 121 solar resource rich nations for coordinated research, low cost financing and rapid deployment 
  • The foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters was laid at Gwal Pahari, Guragaon in Haryana • ISA will put India globally in a leadership role in climate and renewable energy issues 
  • It will give a platform to showcase its solar programmes
Mission & Vision
  • ISA’s Mission and Vision is to provide a platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to the common goals of increasing utilizing of solar energy in meeting energy needs of ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner
  • The overarching objective is to create a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security & sustainable development; improve access to energy and opportunities for better livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.
13. largest Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)
  • Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) is currently running in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area 
  • It is the World’s Largest Street Light Replacement Programme 
  • Implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture under the Ministry of Power, Government of India
14. Development Foundation of Overseas Indians
  • A not-for-profit Trust set-up by the Government of India 
  • To facilitate philanthropic contributions by Overseas Indians to social and development projects in India • IDF-OI is chaired by External Affairs Minister Work undertaken: • IDF-OI is promoting flagship programmes of Government of India- 
  • Swachh Bharat Mission, National Mission for Clean Ganga, and projects identified by the State Govts, for funding by Overseas Indians 
  • Working with State Governments in areas such as sanitation; education; drinking water; women’s empowerment etc.
15. India takes first steps to have a policy on artificial life forms 
  • News: The environment ministry will be convening a group of experts on biodiversity and biotechnology 
  • It will assess the extent of synthetic biology work in Indian labs, potential benefits and risks, and the implications of the trans-boundary movement of such forms of life • There are assorted labs in India that work on synthetic biology and Indian students have, since the turn of the decade, been participating in international competitions to engineer new life forms using standardised biological tools 
  • No policy yet: Last December, officials from the environment ministry participated in the United Nations Biodiversity Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at Cancun, Mexico, where about 8,000 delegates from 180 countries convened to discuss matters related to biodiversity 
  • India, so far, has no policy on synthetic biology, and according to a presentation made at the venue, it has promised to “put in place a Synthetic Biology Team for articulating India’s view” in a forthcoming edition of the conference 
  • A major part of discussions at the CBD generally involve assessing risks from the Living Modified Organisms, a broader term that also includes genetically modified plants 
  • While India has a biosafety system in place to assess risks from GM crops, it has faced severe opposition from several activist groups 
  • Countries in the west have advanced far in terms of synthetic biology applications and 
  • we still aren’t clear on GMO. A lot of work needs to be done
What is it?
  • An emerging science whereby new life forms can potentially be made in labs and existing life forms — such as bacteria and other microbes — can be tweaked to exude specific proteins or chemically useful products 
  • Synthetic biology in microbial systems can potentially be used to produce drugs, vaccines, fuel components and other chemicals 
  •  A popular example is the production of artemisinin, a powerful anti-malarial drug, in yeast at a commercial level 
  • Microorganisms have also been constructed to act as sensors that can detect a toxin in vitro or in vivo
16. Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016. This is the first major inter-governmental event after the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR).
Sendai Framework now-
  • Adopted at the third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015, is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda and identifies targets and priority action areas towards reducing disaster risk.
  • Framework is for 15 years, 2015-2030.
  • It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
  • Framework is the successor instrument to the Hygo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2050: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster.
16.First-ever International Agrobiodiversity Congress held in New Delhi from 6-9 November, 2016 
About- The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress – IAC 2016 – will gather 900 delegates from 60 countries in New Delhi, India, from 6-9 November, 2016.
Co-organized by- The Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Bioversity International, a CGIAR Research Center headquartered in Rome, Italy, International Agrobiodiversity Congress received support from many Indian and international organisations engaged in the conservation and use of genetic resources.
  • Agricultural biodiversity – or agrobiodiversity – is the foundation of sustainable agricultural development and is an essential natural resource to ensure current and future food and nutrition security.
  • India Society of Plant Genetic Resources was founded in 1987 as a multidisciplinary scientific body to provide a forum to all those interested in plant genetic resources to express their views, publish their findings and interact with different stakeholder
  • Biodiversity International is a global research-for-development organization. Bioversity International delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
17. First LNG fuelled bus in the country launched in Kerala
About- For the 1st time in the Country, an LNG fuelled bus has been launched by the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
Joint effort of- Petronet LNG Limited (PLL), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd to introduce LNG as a fuel in commercial vehicles in the state capital
LNG fueled bus is being launched as part of a plan of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to use LNG directly for mass transportation and to reduce carbon emissions in the Country simultaneously generating savings. The launch also coincided with the fourth meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) holding Transport portfolios.
  • LNG is an environmentally friendly fuel with less number of Nox, Soxand particulate matters, as compared to any other automotive fuel. Co2 emission is also lesser than Diesel.
  • LNG is greener as well as more economical as compared to Diesel. LNG is more suitable for heavy duty segment like Trucks and Buses.
  • Introduction of LNG in transport segment will also help India to meet its COP21 commitment
18. Marakesh (CoP 22) & India
Pavilion witnessed three side-events that focused on the initiatives in afforestation and REDD+ in India, ecosystem and climate change and sustainable transportation.
Afforestation and REDD+
  • Experts highlighted that forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change, particularly in India, where nearly 25% of the area has tree cover.
  • Government has asked the forestry sector to help the country meet its goal of creation of 2.5-3.0 billion tonnes of additional carbon sinks, as per the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • This target will be met using a variety of means, including- Afforestation + Reforestation+ Agro-forestry, conducted through community participation and mechanisms like REDD+.
  • REDD+ stands for– Reducing Emissions by Deforestation and Degradation, an initiative finalized under the UN’s Paris Agreement in 2015.
  • India has begun implementing REDD+ pilot projects, developing protocols for-Improving measurement, Reporting, and verification (MRV) and safeguard information systems (SIS).
  • Emphasis was also placed on promoting the exchange of information and present potential collaborations among South Asian countries that share Himalayan and tropical ecologies organized by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Role of forest in climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Climate change alters existing biome types and can cause forest dieback with consequent loss of biodiversity.
  • Various forest conservation oriented acts and policies in India are contributing to a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, stabilization and improvement of carbon stocks in forests, and conservation of biodiversity.
  • India’s forests serve as a major sink of CO2, offsetting around 12% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the country. IUCN had elaborated about its initiatives in India.
  • ICIMOD provided the information on various activities including preparation of inventory of methodology on climate change and river system in India.
  • Representative of Government of Bihar provided detailed information on the initiatives on the agro-forestry and strategy to meet the climate change risk.
India’s Efforts-
  • India’s efforts on sustainable transport solutions, the Ministry of Railways, Government of India, with its technical partner, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, hosted the third session on “Sustainable Transport Solutions” at the India Pavilion at COP-22 in Marrakech, where the current climate negotiations are underway.
  • In addition, there have been efforts to decrease fossil-fuel dependence in the transport sector, which have been incorporated by moving towards cleaner sources of energy and increasing the share of renewables in driving mobility.
‘Sustainable Transport Systems’ at the India Pavilion
  • India has focused its low carbon initiatives on the development of railways, waterways, Mass Rapid Transport Systems (MRTS) and other forms of public transport.
  • Initiatives such as the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) were highlighted by Executive Director, Ministry of Railways, and the Sagarmala projects on development of waterways by Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Shipping.
  • The initiatives are aimed at increasing the share and volume of freight traffic on the more energy efficient rail and water based transport modes.
  • The representative from Council on Energy, Environment and Water highlighted that the Indian Railways has taken a leadership role by planning to substitute its petroleum use with alternatives like bio-fuels, and consistently pursuing a policy of railway electrification through renewable sources of energy, with potential reduction of 138 MT of CO2 by 2030.
COP 22 Discuss Climate Change Adaptability 
(Topic: Climate Change)
About- The India Pavilion witnessed two major side events on Climate Change Adaptability, organised by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) and The Ministry of Agriculture.
Climate Change Adaption- Preserving Water Resources
  • The opening session, “Climate Change Adaptation – Preserving Water Resources” was moderated by Advisor, Ministry of Water Resources.
  • Highlighted the initiatives taken by National Water Mission, established by the Government of India under the National Action Plan on Climate Change formulated by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change for adaptation and mitigation of impact of climate change on water resources in particular and elaborated on various goals of the NWM and emphasized the achievements of the Mission in the sphere of integrated water resource management and development.
  • Second session for the day, hosted by Ministry of Agriculture, was held under the chairmanship of Director General, MANAGE, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
  • Through various policy initiatives and efforts around afforestation, food security, waste reduction, employment for agriculture labours, sustainable agriculture; the Government is trying to keep pace with the time and mitigate severe impacts of climate changes in agriculture.
  • Detailed presentation on various policies and schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, on integrated farming systems, agro-forestry, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and integration of various departmental activities like irrigation, agriculture, rural development is ensured.
19.1st BRICS Trade Fair was organized in New Delhi
  • To promote trade and investment opportunities amongst the participating BRICS nations i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • BRICS Trade Fair was not a direct consumer fair allowing sales of merchandise, the immediate revenue earned by participating Indian Companies cannot be quantified. (Not required)
  • India organised the 1st BRICS Trade Fair during its Presidency pursuant to the announcement made by Prime Minister of India during the BRICS Summit at Ufa, in 2015.
  • The Presidency of BRICS will move to China in 2017 and they would need to take a decision on the organisation of the next BRICS Trade Fair.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) is the first extensive scheme which has been initiated in the form of Centre Sponsored Programme (CSP).
  • Implementation of this scheme is carried out by the State Governments based on the cluster for every 20 hectare land.
  • Under clusters the farmers are granted financial assistance for maximum one hectare land and Government of India has earmarked Rs. 50,000 for every hectare land during the period of transformation of three year ceiling. Objective in this regard has been chalked out for 10,000 of clusters while covering area of 2 lakh hectare land.
21.Pandit DeenDayalUpdhyayUnnat Krishi ShikshaYojna
  • Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry has launched a new scheme named as Pandit DeenDayalUpadhyayUnnatKrihsishikshaYojna to fish out the talent of Indian youths and all over development of rural India has launched.
  • Scheme is being implemented by Agriculture Education Division related to Indian Council of Agricultural Research Council (ICAR).
  • Under this course of action the trainers will be selected on village level so as to establish training centre, to impart knowledge about natural/organic/sustainable farming/rural economy. Various training programmes will be conducted in different regions in these centers.
  • Almost 100 training centers will be set up throughout the country for the participation of teachers in various activities for the Advanced India Campaign conducted by Agriculture Research Council/Human Resource Development Ministry under this scheme alongwith.
22. First World Tsunami Awareness Day will be celebrated on November 5, 2016
23. Ministry of Tourism is organising the “BRICS Convention on Tourism” on September 01-02, 2016 in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh as a precursor to the The BRICS Summit to be held in Goa on October 15-16, 2016.
24.Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs has appealed to the industry leaders, State Governments, other departments and civil society in pooling efforts to make available medicines at affordable prices to the common man.
Pharma SahiDaam App-
  • Mobile App. developed by NPPA which shows the MRP fixed by NPPA for various scheduled drugs on real time basis.
  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has come out with ceiling price of 368 new drugs within 6 months of the issue of New National List of Essential Medicines-2015.
25.Polymetallic Nodules
Union Cabinet, chaired by the PM, has approved the extension of contract between Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules for a further period of 5 years (2017-22). The earlier contract is expiring on 24th March 2017.
  • Polymetallic nodules, also known as manganese nodules are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.
  • Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.
Distribution world over:
26.South Asia Biosafety Conference Inaugurated at Hyderabad
Thirteen nations are participating in the South Asia Biosafety Conference (SABC) at Hyderabad, to share international experience amongst scientists and regulators in biotechnology, environmental risk assessment and biosafety regulation in South Asia.
Biosafety measures its India-
  • India has a robust regulatory framework for ensuring biosafety of all types of genetically engineered organisms under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Regulations are supported by a series of guidelines to deal with various aspects.
  • Emphasize on capacity-building and sharing of experience has to be a continuous activity to ensure effective implementation of the biosafety regulations.
  • Such activities also help in increasing awareness and creating an environment of understanding among various stakeholders.
Major Problem-
  • Modern world is facing enormous challenges to achieve food security.
  • In the backdrop of increasing demand for food, dwindling natural resources and increasing biotic and abiotic stresses as a result of intensification of agriculture and climate change, the world has no option, but to accelerate utilization of the available and emerging technologies for improving world food production.
Solution- Agriculture biotechnology is a powerful tool for addressing the emerging challenges, as already demonstrated by the fast adoption of such technologies in dealing with biotic and abiotic stress
27. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)
Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is organizing its 5th Innovator’s Meet here on 22nd -23rd September, 2016
National Biotechnology Development Strategy-
  • In the National Biotechnology Development Strategy, 2015-2020, Bio-incubators would be scaled up to 50 and 5 new Bio-clusters would be formed.
  • With over 500 Start ups and SMEs, 100 Entrepreneurs being a part of this ecosystem, BIRAC has nearly 50 products in different stages of development and commercialization.
  • The target is scaling this 10 times in the next 5 years through initiatives like BIG (Biotechnology Ignition Grant), SITARE (supporting grass root student innovators), eYUVA (creating entrepreneurial culture in universities), BioNEST (nurturing entrepreneurship by establishing Bio Incubation Centres), tax exemptions to biotech startups in Budget 2015-16, inter alia
for introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country was accorded assent by the President on 8thSeptember, 2016, and the same has been notified as the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.
Constitutional significance-
  • As per Article 279A (1) of the amended Constitution, the GST Council has to be constituted by the President within 60 days of the commencement of Article 279A. The notification for bringing into force Article 279A with effect from 12th September, 2016 was issued on 10th September, 2016.
  • As per Article 279A of the amended Constitution, the GST Council will be a joint forum of the Centre and the States
  • Council will make recommendations to the Union and the States on important issues related to GST, like- The goods and services that may be subjected or exempted from GST, model GST Laws, principles that govern Place of Supply, threshold limits, GST rates including the floor rates with bands, special rates for raising additional resources during natural calamities/disasters, special provisions for certain States, etc.
Council shall consist of the following members namely-
  • Union Finance Minister… Chairperson
  • Union Minister of State, in-charge of Revenue of finance… Member
  • Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government… Members
benefits of GST

Easy compliance:
Removal of cascading
Improved competitiveness:
Gain to manufacturers and exporters:
29. SWAYAM Portal— Scheme under Online Courses 
for providing online learning courses offered by the best teachers to anyone desirous of learning, at anytime of his choice and to be accessed anywhere in the Country.
30.MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection-
  • Chief components of the MAA Programme are—
  • Community awareness generation
  • Strengthening inter personal communication through ASHA
  • Skilled support for breastfeeding at Delivery points in Public health facilities
  • Monitoring and Award/recognition
  • Programme will be monitored by UNICEF.