Current News Indian Economy Banking & Finance

‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges’Programme


  • The Centre on September 9 launched the Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges programme to support MSMEs and start-ups for making India innovative, resilient, tech-driven, and research and development (R&D)-oriented.
  • The NitiAayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), in collaboration with ISRO and four ministries (defence, health and family welfare, housing and urban affairs, and food processing industries), will focus on challenges in 15 sectors through the programme.
  • The programme provides a great opportunity for the government to become the first buyer of indigenous Made in India technology solutions.
  • A grant-in-aid of up to Rs 50 lakh for 9-12 months have been earmarked for start-ups to develop a minimum usable prototype.
  • The AIM is a flagship initiative of the NitiAayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, based on detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of India in the years ahead.

Current News Ecology & Environment

Living Planet Report 2020


The Living Planet Report is published every two years by the World Wide Fund for Nature. It is based on the Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculations.

  • The Living Planet Report is the world's leading, science-based analysis, on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity.

Key Findings

  • Our planet’s wildlife populations have now plummeted by 68% since 1970 and there are no signs that this downward trend is slowing.
  • 84% decline in population of freshwater species, including fish birds, amphibians and mammals - the starkest average population decline in any biome since 1970.
  • 1/3 freshwater or riverine species threatened with extinction.
  • 85% area under wetlands that has already been lost worldwide.
  • 75 per cent of the Earth’s ice-free land surface has already been significantly altered, most of the oceans are polluted.
  • The largest wildlife population loss, according to the Living Planet Index, has been in Latin America at an alarming 94 per cent.
  • Almost 90 per cent of global wetlands have been lost since 1700.
  • The report finds that India has lost nearly one-third of its natural wetlands to urbanisation, agricultural expansion and pollution over the last four decades.
  • 14 out of 20 river basins in India are already water stressed and will be moving to extreme water scarcity by 2050.

Factors behind Planet’s Vulnerability

  • Land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife
  • Species overexploitation (like overfishing)
  • Invasive species and diseases
  • Pollution and climate change

PIB News National

India Post Launched ‘Five Star Villages’ Scheme


The Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages, to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country.

  • The scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra; based on the experience here, it will be implemented nation-wide.
  • The scheme seeks to bridge the gaps in public awareness and reach of postal products and services, especially in interior villages.
  • All postal products and services will be made available and marketed and publicized at village level, under the Five Star Villages scheme. Branch offices will function as one-stop shop to cater all post office - related needs of villagers.

The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include:

  1. Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates,
  2. Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts,
  3. Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts,
  4. Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy and
  5. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BimaYojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan JyotiBimaYojana Account.

Star Rating of Villages

  • If a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status; if a village completes three schemes, then that village get three-star status and so on.

Scheme Implementation Team

  • The scheme will be implemented by a team of five GraminDakSevaks who will be assigned a village for marketing of all products, savings and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts. This team will be headed by the Branch Post Master of the concerned Branch Office.
  • Mail overseer will keep personal watch on progress of team on daily basis. The teams will be led and monitored by concerned Divisional Head, Assistant Superintendents Posts and Inspector Posts.

Campaign

  • The team of Gramin Dak Sevaks will conduct door-to-door awareness campaign on all schemes, covering all eligible villagers. Wide publicity will be given by displaying the information on notice board of Branch Office. Prominent places of targeted villages like Panchayat Offices, schools, village dispensaries, bus depots, and markets will also be used for advertising and pamphlets will be distributed. Small melas will be organized, considering COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Training and Monitoring

  • Required training and infrastructure, covering all schemes, would be provided to all branch offices in identified villages. The scheme progress and target achievement will be closely monitored at Circle, Regional and Divisional levels. Monthly progress will be reviewed by the Chief Post Master General.