Current News National Person

Vikram Sarabhai

  • India is celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of scientist and innovator Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai.
  • He is considered the father of India’s space program.
  • Sarabhai established the Indian National Committee for Space Research in 1962, which was later renamed the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). He also established Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on 11 November, 1947 which was the first laboratory of independent India. He was the founding director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
  • As part of centenary year celebrations ISRO has instituted “Vikram Sarabhai Journalism Award in Space Science, Technology and Research”.

Current News National Person

Elangbam Valentina Devi

  • Manipur government has appointed a nine-year-old girl Elangbam Valentina Devi as brand ambassador for the Chief Minister’s Green Manipur Mission who was in the news recently after she sobbed inconsolably when two trees she planted were cut down.

Current News National Person

Shaliza Dhami

  • Wing Commander Shaliza Dhami became the first woman officer of the Indian Air Force to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit. Flight Commander is the second in command of the unit.
  • Wing Commander Dhami, serving for 15 years now, has been flying choppers. She became the first woman flying instructor of the Air Force and is also the first woman officer to get permanent commission of the flying branch.

PIB News National Economy

SEBI Panel For Social Stock Exchanges

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted a working group to suggest norms on Social Stock Exchanges (SSE) under the chairmanship of Ishaat Hussain, Director, SBI Foundation with 14 members.
  • The so-called social stock exchanges in the country will allow companies operating in sectors such as health, environment and transportation to raise risk capital.
  • In the Budget, the Centre had asked SEBI to initiate steps towards creating a social stock exchange.

PIB News National Economy

Digital Payment Abhiyan Launched

Nasscom’s Data Security Council of India(DSCI) has collaborated with Union Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Google India to launch ‘Digital Payment Abhiyan’.

About Digital Payment Abhiyan

  • The campaign aims at increasing awareness about cashless payment, educate end-users on the benefits of making digital payments, online financial security and urge them to adopt security and safety best practices.
  • It will be a pan-India campaign which will be crafted in seven languages — Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.
  • It will engage with users and make them aware of the dos and don’ts for different payment channels including UPI, wallets cards as well as netbanking and mobile banking

PIB News National Economy

RBI Expands Scope Of Bharat Bill Payment System

The Reserve Bank of India has expanded the scope of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) by adding other categories of recurring payments through the portal.

Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

  • BBPS is an interoperable platform that enables a customer to pay bills such as telephone, water, gas, direct-to-home (DTH) and electricity at a single location—electronic or physical.
  • With the expansion of the scope of the payment facility, other recurring payments such as school fees, municipal taxes, insurance premiums can also be paid via BBPS.
  • BBPS payments can be made using cash, cheques as well as through digital methods such as internet banking, debit, credit card, among others.
  • Bill aggregators and banks function as operating units and carry out these payment transactions for customers.

PIB News National Ecology & Environment

South China Salamander: World’s Biggest Amphibian

  • Using DNA from museum specimens, researchers have found that South China Salamander (Andrias sligoi) is the largest amphibian.
  • Chinese giant salamanders, which are critically endangered and can grow to nearly 2m long, were previously thought to be of a single species until new research revealed not one, but three different genetic lineages. Only two of them have been analysed by the researchers.

PIB News National Ecology & Environment

Greater Adria: A Continent Found Buried Deep Beneath Europe

  • Researchers from Utrecht University have revealed a piece of continental crust, named Greater Adria for the Adriatic region it settled in, broke away from North Africa more than 200 million years ago.
  • Much of the territory was plunged into the earth’s mantle, however some of the landmass has remained visible – making up a strip of land across Italy that stretches from Turin in the north to Puglia in the south.
  • Earth’s modern-day continents were joined together in one Pac-Man-shaped supercontinent known as Pangea, which eventually split into two fragments: Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south.

Other Recent Discoveries

  • Mauritia: A lava-covered piece of continent found under the popular island of Mauritius in Indian Ocean.
  • Zealandia: It is located in the southern Pacific Ocean, including New Zealand, New Caledonia and two Australian islands, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. The continent spans 1.9 million square miles but the bulk of it 94% is under the Pacific Ocean.

PIB News National Ecology & Environment


  • It was a campaign launched on World Rhino Day on September 22 by WWF India and Animal Planet with Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma as the face of the programme to help build awareness for the need to conserve the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros or the Indian Rhino.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
  • It is the state animal of Assam.
  • There are an estimated 3,500 Indian rhinos left in the world, out of which 82 per cent are found in India.
  • Once found abundantly across the Indus, Ganges and the Brahmaputra river basins, the animal is now found only in select pockets in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

PIB News National Ecology & Environment

NGT & RO Purifiers Issue

  • The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for the delay in issuing a notification to ban RO purifiers where total dissolved solids (TDS) in water are below 500 milligrams per litre and sensitise public about the ill-effects of demineralised water.

PIB News National India

‘UMMID’: To Tackle Inherited Genetic Diseases Of New Born Babies

  • The Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology has launched UMMID (Unique Methods of Management and treatment of Inherited Disorders) Initiative and inaugurated NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras to tackle inherited genetic diseases of new born babies designed on the concept of ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.
  • The program is being implemented at government hospitals so that people who cannot afford expensive care for genetic disorders will be benefited.
  • In India’s urban areas, congenital malformations and genetic disorders are the third most common cause of mortality in newborns. With a very large population and high birth rate, and consanguineous marriage favored in many communities, prevalence of genetic disorders is high in India.

The UMMID initiative aims to

  1. Establish NIDAN Kendras to provide counselling, prenatal testing and diagnosis, management, and multidisciplinary care in Government Hospitals wherein the influx of patients is more,
  2. Produce skilled clinicians in Human Genetics and
  3. Undertake screening of pregnant women and new born babies for inherited genetic diseases in hospitals at aspirational districts.
  • As a part of this initiative, in the first phase, five NIDAN Kendras have been established to provide comprehensive clinical care.

PIB News National India

India’s First ‘’Water-Grid’’

  • The country’s first-ever ‘’water-grid’’ costing Rs 3,50,000 crore will come in the parched Marathwada region of Maharashtra in the next five years as part of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JMM).
  • To be implemented over the next five years, the JJM involves saving water and delivering it to the people’s doorsteps to resolve their water problems.

PIB News National India

Second Multi Modal Terminal On Ganga

  • India’s second riverine Multi Modal terminal built at Sahibganj in Jharkhand was dedicated to the nation on 12 September, 2019.  This is the second of the three Multi Modal Terminals being constructed on river Ganga under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)
  • Earlier, in November, 2018 the first MMT was opened at Varanasi. The third one is Haldia Multi Modal Terminal.
  • The Sahibganj terminal will open up industries of Jharkhand and Bihar to the global market and provide Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity through waterways route.
  • It will play an important role in transportation of domestic coal from the local mines in Rajmahal area to various thermal power plants located along National Waterway-1.
  • Also, Sahibganj will get connected to North-East States through Bangladesh by river-sea route.

PIB News National World

Chennai –Vladivostok Maritime Route

  • India and Russia agreed to open a maritime route between the ports of Chennai and Vladivostok to ensure connectivity between the two countries.

PIB News National World

SpaceCom: A New Pentagon Command

  • SpaceCom is a new command of Pentagon (United States’ Department of Defense), dedicated to warfare in space.
  • Air Force General John Raymond, will lead the new command.

PIB News National World

Motihari-Amlekhgunj Pipeline

  • The recently launched Motihari (Bihar)-Amlekhgunj (Nepal) pipeline is the first cross-border petroleum products pipeline in South Asia.
  • The 69km pipeline will transport fuel from Barauni in Bihar to Amlekhgunj in Nepal.
  • Construction of the pipeline was undertaken by Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL), India’s largest refiner, in collaboration with Nepal Oil Corp. Ltd (NOCL).

PIB News National World

Chilahati- Haldibari Rail Link

  • The foundation stone was laid at Chilahati in Bangladesh for undertaking the work of up-gradation and laying of missing tracks from Chilahati to the border with India near Haldibari.
  • The 7.5-kilometre long railway track will help in providing connectivity from West Bengal into Assam via Bangladesh.
  • The Haldibari-Chilahati railway track was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during British undivided India. Trains from Bangladesh to Darjeeling via Siliguri operated till 1965 which stopped functioning after the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

PIB News National World

Taiwan: Losing Diplomatic Allies

  • Kiribati is the seventh country to sever its diplomatic ties with Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to office in 2016, following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, El Salvador and the Solomon Islands.
  • China claims Taiwan as its territory, and says the democratic island has no right to formal ties with any country.
  • Taiwan now has formal relations with only 15 countries worldwide.
  • India has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

PIB News National World

Operation Matterhorn

  • It was the largest peacetime repatriation of British Govt. after travel company Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy, stranding hundreds of thousands of holiday-makers.
  • The effort was to fly 150,000 travelers who were booked on Thomas Cook flights back home to Britain.

PIB News National World

World Patient Safety Day

  • In World War II, Operation Matterhorn was a military operation of the United States Army Air Forces for the strategic bombing of Japanese forces. The name comes from the Matterhorn, a mountain the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy, traditionally considered particularly difficult to climb.
  • The World Health Organization hosted the first-ever World Patient Safety Day on September 17, 2019.
  • It is an awareness campaign, to be observed annually, to prevent harms to patients due to errors in diagnosis, errors in medicine prescriptions and treatments, and the inappropriate use of drugs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 138 million patients are harmed every year by doctors' errors.
  • 17 September was established as World Patient Safety Day by the 72nd World Health Assembly in May 2019.
  • The theme of the very first World patient Safety Day was “Patient Safety: A Global Health Priority” and the slogan was “Speak up for Patient Safety”.

PIB News National Science & Technology

Radioactive Cesium Technology To Measure Soil Erosion

  • Researchers at the ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Dehradun have come up with a way to monitor soil erosion and decrease in carbon content in soil by correlating it with levels of radioactive cesium in soil.
  • Radioactive cesium technology is a more rapid and less expensive method for soil erosion studies in the severely intensive croplands. It gives more accurate results for all types of erosion studies including historic, comparative and long-term soil and soil organic carbon erosion.
  • For measuring cesium levels in soil, gamma spectroscopy technique is used. Different sites were found to have varying levels of cesium pointing at different degrees of soil degradation in different sites. By applying various formulas, the cesium loss was then used to calculate erosion and associated carbon loss in soil.
  • This method can help in monitoring the effects of soil erosion and effectiveness of soil conservation strategies.

PIB News National Science & Technology

First Indigenous Fuel Cell System

  • The first Indigenous High Temperature Fuel Cell System developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Indian industries under India’s flagship program named “New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI)” was launched on the occasion of CSIR Foundation Day.
  • The 5.0 kW fuel cell system generates power in a green manner using methanol / bio-methane, with heat and water as bi-products for further use; amounting to greater than 70% efficiency, which otherwise may not be possible by other energy sources.
  • The Fuel Cells developed are based on High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology.

PIB News National Economy

NIRVIK Scheme: To Ease Lending Process

  • The Ministry of Commerce & Industry through Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has introduced a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called NIRVIK to enhance loan availability and ease the lending process.
  • Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4% and 8% respectively for exporters.
  • Under ECIS, insurance cover percentage has also been enhanced to 90% from the present average of 60% for both Principal and Interest.

PIB News National Economy

Company Law Committee

  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has constituted an 11-member company law committee to analyze and examine the decriminalization of certain offences under the Companies Act, 2013, improving corporate compliance and other steps to improve the ease of doing business for law-abiding citizens.
  • It is chaired by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas

PIB News National Economy

IMPS: Best Global Payments Innovation

  • India's real-time money transfer platform IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) has been rated the best global payments innovation by US-based research firm FIS (Fidelity National Information Services).
  • In its fifth annual Flavors of Fast report, FIS identified 40 active real-time payment programs around the world.

Current News Indian Economy Infrastructure

11th Nuclear Energy Conclave

  • Recently, the 11th Nuclear Energy Conclave, organized by the India Energy Forum, under the theme: “Economics of Nuclear Power- Innovation towards Safer & Cost Effective Technologies”

Key Highlights

  • Various achievements were highlighted during the conclave such as joint ventures and increase in budget in nuclear energy sector.
  • Earlier the Atomic power plants were restricted in Southern India, but now thegovernment is setting up the nuclear plants in other parts of the country. A nuclear power plant is to be constructed in Gorakhpur, Haryana.
  • The Department of Atomic Energy is working along with TATA Memorial Centre towards the implementation of flagship programmes of the Government with priority given to shifting towards cashless transactions.
  • A “Hall of Nuclear Energy” was opened in PragatiMaidan in Delhi to educate the students and general public about the applications of nuclear energy.
  • Three technical sessions were also being held on the following  themes:
    • Growth of Nuclear Power for Meeting Base Load Demands-Opportunities & Challenges for Manufacturing Industry
    • Use of Nuclear Energy in Healthcare and Municipal Waste Treatment
    • Emerging Technologies for Economy and Enhanced Safety viz, Small & Medium Size reactors, Passive Safety features, Molten Salt Reactors

India Energy Forum (IEF)

  • Established in 2001, it is an independent, not-for-profit, research organization and represents the energy sector as a whole.
  • All major energy sector players in India such as the NTPC, NHPC, Power Grid, and other private players are members of the Forum.


  • To develop a sustainable and competitive energy sector in India
  • To promote a favourable regulatory framework for the development of the energy sector
  • To establish standards, for reliability and safety within the sector
  • To ensure an equitable deal for consumers, producers and the utilities
  • To encourage efficient and eco-friendly development and use of energy


  • It serves as an independent advocate of the industry promoting practical solutions to problems affecting project development and finance in India.
  • It works with companies and Government (Centre and States) to achieve consensus on such issues as regulatory structures and policies and the role of public organizations.
  • In addition, it closely with multilateral and domestic companies and agencies to ensure that their products and services are responsive to the needs of the project development in India.


  • It acts as a catalyst for the development of a sustainable and competitive energy sector in India.

Issues with Nuclear Sector in India

Land Acquisition Issue

  • One of the most politically contentious issues in recent times has been the government’s right to acquire land for the development of nuclear plants.There has been significant opposition and local protests as seen in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

Displacement and loss of Livelihoods

  • Land acquisition for the plants comes at the cost of displacement and loss of the livelihoods of entire community involved leading to various other problems.

Safety Issue

  • The biggest challenge in expansion of nuclear sector in India is the safety and security of nuclear power plants. In India, every region falls in seismic zone in some way and most of our nuclear plants are in weak seismic zones but lie in coastal areas. Their structure is earthquake-resistant but they have not been tested against tsunami.
  • A single nuclear accident can cause immense damage of unimaginable consequences to human life and the biodiversity in the surrounding areas, not to mention the sociological, economical and psychological disturbances. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and in more recent times, Fukushima disasters stand testimonial to this harsh reality.

Nuclear Waste Management Issue

  • Nuclear waste production is an especially large obstacle to the widespread acceptance of nuclear power. Radioactive waste arising from civilian nuclear activities as well as from defence-related nuclear-weapon activities, poses a formidable problem for handling and protecting the environment to be safe to the present and future generations.

Manufacturing Related Issue

  • Nuclear power plants require heavy engineering components: All the nuclear powered countries have their own domestic manufacturing base that covered most of the supply chain of materials required for building a nuclear power plant.WhileIndia's current manufacturing capability only covers the supply chain for 700 MW PHWRs. It is not yet ready to cover other reactors and reactors with capacities of more than 1 GW.
  • As India is not a signatory of NPT and NSG, nuclear supply is severely contained by sanctioned against India.

Fuel Supply Issue

  • India has low reserves of uranium. Currently, a major portion of domestic production of uranium comes from the Jaduguda mines of Jharkhand, which are old and the ore is found at great depths. Moreover, the high extraction cost makes it unviable as compared to imported uranium, the panel noted.

Way Forward

  • Nuclear Energy offers both opportunities and challenges for any aspiring countries including India. Without nuclear power, achieving energy security will be much more difficult; and without nuclear security, nuclear power is destined to failure. Nuclear security is an important component of achieving energy security.
  • Although nuclear power accounts for only about two percent of India’s installed power generation capacity, it will continue to play an important role in the overall energy mix of the country. The government has also announced plans to ramp up nuclear power from the present 7 GW to 63 GW by 2032.
  • The government has taken several measures to enable setting up of nuclear power reactors in the country. These include
    • Resolution of issues related to Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act & Creation of Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP).
    • Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act-1962 (as amended from time to time) to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects in the country.
    • Enabling agreements with the foreign countries for nuclear power cooperation including supply of fuel.
    • Identification and addressing of the issues in implementation of the projects through Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation “PRAGATI” platform.
  • India’s ambition to overcome poverty and rise will remain a dream unless it has access to adequate sources of power. The importance of nuclear power for India cannot be overstated despite scepticism in some quarters.