Current Affairs - PIB News
On 25th August 2021, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched ‘SUJALAM’, a ‘100 days campaign’ as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations to create more and more ODF Plus villages by undertaking waste water management at village level particularly through creation of 1 million Soak-pits and also other greywater management activities.
- The effort of campaign would be directed towards achieving the ODF plus status for villages across the country in an accelerated manner in a short time.
- The campaign will not only build desired infrastructure i.e. soak pit for management of greywater in villages but will also aid in sustainable management of water bodies.
- The disposal of waste water and clogging of water bodies in the villages or on the outskirts of the villages remain one of the major problems.
- The Campaign would help in management of the wastewater and in turn would help to revive the water bodies.
- Furthermore, the campaign would boost the momentum of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II activities through community participation and it will increase awareness about ODF-plus activities - hence ensuring long term maintenance and sustainability of built infrastructure.
- Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) against hostile radar threats.
- Defence Laboratory Jodhpur, a DRDO laboratory developed the advanced Chaff material and chaff cartridge-118/I in collaboration with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), a Pune based laboratory of DRDO, meeting qualitative requirements of IAF.
- The Indian Air Force has started the process of induction of this technology after completion of successful user trials.
- In today’s electronic warfare, survivability of fighter aircraft is of prime concern because of advancement in modern radar threats. To ensure survivability of aircraft, Counter Measure Dispensing System (CMDS) is used which provides passive jamming against Infra-Red and radar threats.
- Chaff is a critical defence technology used to protect fighter aircraft from hostile radar threats. The importance of this technology lies in the fact that very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as decoy to deflect enemy’s missiles for ensuring safety of the fighter aircraft.
- The technology has been given to the industry for production in large quantities to meet the annual rolling requirement of the Indian Air Force.
On 18th August 2021, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer for phase down of Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) by India, adopted by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on October, 2016 at 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held at Kigali, Rwanda.
- HFC phasedown is expected to prevent the greenhouse gas emissions, helping prevent climate change and would benefit the people.
- The industry producing and consuming Hydrofluorocarbons will be phasing out Hydrofluorocarbons as per the agreed schedule under and transition to non-HFC and low global warming potential technologies.
Implementation Strategy and Targets
- National strategy for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons as per the applicable phase down schedule for India will be developed after required consultation with all the industry stakeholders by 2023.
- Amendments to the existing legislation framework, the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024
- Hydrofluorocarbons’ phasedown is expected to prevent the emission of up to 105 million tonne of carbondioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
- Implementation of HFC phase down under the Kigali Amendment through the adoption of low-global warming potential and energy-efficient technologies will achieve energy efficiency gains and carbon dioxide emissions reduction - a "climate co-benefit".
- Under the Kigali Amendment; Parties to the Montreal Protocol will phase down production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons, commonly known as HFCs.
- Hydrofluorocarbons were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternative to chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) such as R-12 and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) such as R-21. While HFCs do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14,000, which have adverse impact on climate.
- Recognizing the growth in use of HFCs, especially in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning sector the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties (MOP) held in October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to add HFCs to the list of controlled substances and approved a timeline for their gradual reduction by 80-85 per cent by the late 2040s.
Kigali Amendment & India
- India will complete its phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 80% in 2047.
About Montreal Protocol
- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international environmental treaty for protection of the Ozone Layer by phasing out the production and consumption of man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
Montreal Protocol & India
- India became a Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on 19 June 1992 and since then has ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol.
- After the present approval of the Cabinet, India will be ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons.
- India has successfully met the phase out targets of all the Ozone Depleting Substances as per the Montreal Protocol Schedule.
On 18th August 2021, Shri Injeti Srinivas, Chairperson, International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), launched the pilot run/soft launch of the International Bullion Exchange which is scheduled to go live on October 1, 2021 the Foundation Day of IFSCA.
- Following the announcement by Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in Union Budget 2020-21, the International Financial Services Centres Authority (Bullion Exchange) Regulations, 2020 were notified on December 11, 2020 which inter alia cover the Bullion Exchange, Clearing Corporation, Depository and Vaults.
- Government has also taken steps to notify bullion spot trading and bullion depository receipts with underlying bullion as financial products and bullion related services as financial services.
- The International Bullion Exchange shall be the “Gateway for Bullion Imports into India”, wherein all the bullion imports for domestic consumption shall be channelized through the exchange.
- The exchange ecosystem is expected to bring all the market participants at a common transparent platform for bullion trading and provide an efficient price discovery, assurance in the quality of gold, enable greater integration with other segments of financial markets and help establish India’s position as a dominant trading hub in the World.
- The IFSCA has approved the application by the Holding Company for setting up the International Bullion Exchange through the subsidiary of the holding company, “India International Bullion Exchange IFSC Ltd.”, encompassing the Bullion Exchange and the Bullion Clearing Corporation.
- CDSL-IFSC, a foreign depository has been designated as the Bullion Depository for the Bullion Exchange responsible for managing the Vault Manager.
On 4th August 2021, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of the revised Samagra Shiksha Scheme for a period of five years i.e., from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
The scheme covers 1.16 million schools, over 156 million students and 5.7 million Teachers of Govt. and Aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level).
The Samagra Shiksha scheme is an integrated scheme for school education covering the entire gamut from pre-school to class XII. The scheme treats school education as a continuum and is in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG-4). The scheme not only provides support for the implementation of the RTE Act but has also been aligned with the recommendations of NEP 2020 to ensure that all children have access to quality education with an equitable and inclusive classroom environment which should take care of their diverse background, multilingual needs, different academic abilities and make them active participants in the learning process.
The major interventions, across all levels of school education, proposed under the scheme are:
- Universal Access including Infrastructure Development and Retention;
- Foundational Literacy and Numeracy,
- Gender and Equity;
- Inclusive Education;
- Quality and Innovation;
- Financial support for Teacher Salary;
- Digital initiatives;
- RTE Entitlements including uniforms, textbooks etc.;
- Support for ECCE;
- Vocational Education;
- Sports and Physical Education;
- Strengthening of Teacher Education and Training;
- Programme Management; and
- National Component.
Following new interventions have been incorporated in the revamped Samagra Shiksha based on the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020:
- In order to enhance the direct outreach of the scheme, all child centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through DBT mode on an IT based platform over a period of time.
- The scheme will have an effective convergence architecture with various Ministries/ developmental agencies of the Centre and State Governments. The expansion of vocational education will be done in convergence with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and other Ministries providing funding for Skills. The existing infrastructure of schools and ITIs and Polytechnics will be used to ensure optimum utilization of the facilities, not only for school going children but also for out of school children.
- Provision of training of Master Trainers for training of Anganwadi workers and In-service teacher training for ECCE teachers.
- Provision of upto Rs 500 per child for Teaching Learning Materials (TLM), indigenous toys and games, play based activities per annum for pre-primary sections in Government Schools.
- NIPUN Bharat, a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy to ensure that every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy at the end of grade III and not later than grade V has been launched under the scheme with provision of TLM upto Rs 500 per child per annum, Rs 150 per teacher for teacher manuals and resources, Rs 10-20 lakh per district for assessment.
- Specific training modules under NISHTHA by NCERT to train Secondary teachers and Primary teachers.
- Strengthening of infrastructure of schools from pre-primary to senior secondary, earlier pre-primary was excluded.
- Incinerator and sanitary pad vending machines in all girls' hostels.
- Addition of new subjects instead of Stream in existing senior secondary schools.
- Transport facility has been extended to secondary level @ upto Rs 6000 per annum.
- For out of school children at 16 to 19 years of age, support will be provided to SC, ST, disabled children, upto Rs 2000 per child per grade to complete their secondary/senior secondary levels through NIOS/SOS.
- Financial support for State Commission for Protection of Child Rights @ Rs 50 per elementary school in the state, for protection of child rights and safety.
- Holistic, 360-degree, multi-dimensional report showing progress/ uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains will be introduced in the form of Holistic Progress Card (HPC).
- Support for activities of PARAKH, a national assessment centre (Performance, Assessments, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development)
- Additional Sports grant of upto Rs. 25000 to schools in case atleast 2 students of that school win a medal in Khelo India school games at the National level.
- Provision for Bagless days, school complexes, internships with local artisans, curriculum and pedagogical reforms etc included.
- A new component Appointment of Language Teacher has been added in the scheme- components of training of teachers and bilingual books and teaching learning material added, besides support for salary of teachers.
- Provision made for all KGBVs to be upgraded to class XII.
- Enhanced financial support for existing Stand-alone Girls' Hostels for classes IX to XII (KGBV Type IV) of uptoRs 40 lakh per annum (earlier Rs 25 lakh per annum).
- Training for 3 months for inculcating self-defence skills under 'Rani Laxmibai Atma Raksha Prashikshan' and amount increased from Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 per month.
- Separate provision of stipend for CWSN girls @ Rs. 200 per month for 10 months, in addition to student component from pre-primary to senior secondary level.
- Provision of annual identification camps for CWSN at block level @Rs. 10000 per camp and equipping of Block Resource centres for rehabilitation and special training of CWSN.
- Provision for Establishment of New SCERT has been included and new DIETs in districts created upto 31st March 2020.
- Setting up of assessment cell preferably at SCERT to conduct various achievement surveys, develop test materials & item banks, training of various stakeholders & test administration, data collection analysis and report generation, etc.
- The academic support of BRCs and CRCs has been extended for pre-primary and Secondary level also.
- Support under Vocational Education extended to Government aided schools also in addition to Government Schools and grant/number of job roles/sections linked to enrolment and demand.
- Provision of Classroom cum workshop for Vocational Education in schools serving as Hub for other schools in the neighbourhood. Provision of transport and assessment cost for schools serving as spokes has been made.
- Provision of ICT labs, Smart classrooms including support for digital boards, smart classrooms, virtual classrooms and DTH channels have been provided.
- Child tracking provision included for students of Government and Government aided schools
- Support for Social Audit covering 20% of schools per year so that all schools are covered in a period of Five years.
Implementation Strategy and Targets:
- The Scheme is implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme through a single State Implementation Society (SIS) at the State level. At the National level, there is a Governing Council/Body headed by the Minister of Education and a Project Approval Board (PAB) headed by Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy. The Governing Council/body will be empowered to modify financial and programmatic norms and approve the detailed guidelines for implementation within the overall Framework of the scheme. Such modifications will include innovations and interventions to improve the quality of school education.
- In order to enhance the direct outreach of the scheme, all child centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through DBT mode on an IT based platform over a period of time.
- The Scheme covers 1.16 million schools, over 156 million students and 5.7 million Teachers of Government and Aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level) by involving all stakeholders of the school ecosystem i.e. Teachers, Teacher Educators, Students, Parents, Community, School Management Committees, SCERTs, DIETs, BITEs, Block Resource Persons, Cluster Resource Persons, Volunteers for providing quality, inclusive and equitable education. Further, the scheme will have effective convergence architecture with various Ministries/ developmental agencies of the Centre and State Governments. As envisaged in NEP 2020, there will be a greater focus on imparting skills among the students. The expansion of vocational education will be done in convergence with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and other Ministries providing funding for Skills. The existing infrastructure of schools and ITIs and Polytechnics will be used to ensure optimum utilization of the facilities, not only for school going children but also for out of school children.
The Scheme aims to universalize access to school education; to promote equity through the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, and to improve the quality of education across all levels of school education. The major objectives of the Scheme are to Support States and UTs in:
- Implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020);
- Implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009;
- Early Childhood Care and Education;
- Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy;
- Thrust on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st century skills to the students;
- Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
- Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
- Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
- Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as nodal agency for teacher training;
- Ensuring safe, secure and conducive learning environment and maintenance of standards in schooling provisions and
- Promoting vocational education.
Recognizing the crucial role of Foundational skills in the national development, it was announced under the 'AtmaNirbhar Bharat' campaign that a National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission will be launched, for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3 by 2026-27. In this context, "National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat)" has been launched on 5th July 2021 under Samagra Shiksha.
- Soil Health Card Scheme: It is implemented to provide soil test based information on nutrient status to farmers along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and fertility. Financial assistance is provided under Soil Health Card (SHC) for imparting farmer’s trainings and field demonstrations on balanced use of fertilizers.
- 4Rs Approach: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is recommending soil test based balanced and integrated nutrient management through conjunctive use of both inorganic and organic sources (manure, bio-fertilizers etc.) of plant nutrients with 4Rs approach i.e right quantity, right time, right mode and right type of fertilizer for judicious use of chemical fertilizers to prevent deterioration of soil health and contamination of groundwater. In addition, split application and placement of fertilizers, use of slow releasing N-fertilizers and nitrification inhibitors, growing leguminous crops and use of Resource Conservation Technologies (RCTs) are also advocated.
- Awareness & Education: Government is focusing on creating awareness and educating the farmers about organic farming practices (including use organic sources of plants nutrients) under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Mission Organic Value Chain Development of North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) schemes. Awareness generation programs/workshop on various aspects of ground water including preventing ground water pollution and safe use of contaminated water are being conducted by Central Ground Water Board periodically.
- National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment implements the scheme of National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR), under which there is a provision of providing Grant-in-Aid to drug de-addiction centres for female.
- Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan: Ministry has launched Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (NMBA) in 272 identified vulnerable districts with an aim to create awareness about ill effects of substance abuse. Under NMBA, nearly 1.5 Lakh women have been actively involved. Anganwadi & ASHA Workers, ANMs, Mahila Mandals & Women SHGs are some of the Women Groups actively participating in the Abhiyaan.
- As of now, Ministry provides financial assistance to four de-addiction centers which provide services exclusively to women. The details of these centers is as under
- Sneha Bhawan Imphal West, Manipur
- United Voluntary Youth Council Churachandpur, Manipur
- New life Home Society Aizwal, Mizoram
- Sri Baba Trust and Foundation Bangalore
The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD), Government of India, with a view to provide dedicated focus towards promoting & facilitating investments in the Indian Dairy sector, has setup Dairy Investment Accelerator under its Investment Facilitation Cell.
- This Investment Accelerator is a cross functional team constituted to serve as the interface with investors. It shall provide support across the investment cycle:
- Offering specific inputs for evaluation of investment opportunities
- Addressing queries about application to govt. schemes
- Connecting with strategic partners
- Providing on-ground assistance with state departments & relevant authorities
- The Dairy Investment Accelerator will work with DAHD to organize a series of events with global & local industry participants and one-on-one discussions with the investors to understand their perspectives, facilitate direct interactions with government officials and connects with other players in the industry.
- Dairy Investment Accelerator is also generating awareness among investors about Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development fund (AHIDF). AHIDF is one of the flagship schemes by DAHD, Government of India whereby Rs. 15,000 crore fund has been setup for offering financial support to entrepreneurs, private companies, MSME, Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs), and Section 8 companies. Eligible entities can avail the benefits of the scheme to set up new units or expand existing units in areas of dairy processing & related value addition infrastructure, meat processing & related value addition infrastructure and Animal Feed Plant. The benefits available are:
- 3% interest subvention on loans
- 2-year moratorium with 6-year repayment period
- INR 750 Cr credit guarantee
The Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, Shri RK Singh addressed the conference of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on “Aatmairbhar Bharat - Self Reliance for Renewable Energy Manufacturing”. He stated that India had emerged as world leader in the Energy Transition.
- India had one of the fastest rates of growth of Renewable Energy capacity in the world.
- India has pledged in COP-21 in Paris that by 2030; 40% of its power generation capacity will be from non-fossil fuel sources andhad already reached at 38.5% and if the capacity under installation is added, it comes to 48.5%.
- India will continue to be a world leader in the coming years as well and as it has set a target of 450 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by 2030.
- India had achieved universal access by connecting every village and every hamlet under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana Scheme and connecting every household under Saubhagya Scheme.
- It was the fastest and the largest expansion of access in the world.This had also resulted in the demand for electricity going up rapidly.
- India has already touched 200 GW of demand even when the effects of COVID-19 was still there. The demand had crossed what it was during pre-COVID time and it is expected that electricity demand will continue to rise.This gives us the space for adding more Renewable Energy capacity.
- Some countries had been dumping solar cells and modules at very low price and harming our local industry.To prevent dumping it has been decided to impose customs duty on imported cells and modules so as to provide protection to Indian Industry from dumping.
- The mechanism of ALMM (Approved List of Models and Manufacturers) will also provide protection to Indian Industries.
Other Initiatives: Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia
- India will also emerge as a leader in Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia.
- India proposes to green industry sectors to replace Grey Hydrogen (drawn from imported natural gas) with Green Hydrogen and for this it will come out with a Green Hydrogen Purchase Obligation for different sectors like petroleum and fertilizer. This will also provide huge demand for domestically manufactured solar and wind equipments as well as storage.
- Green ammonia is made with hydrogen that comes from water electrolysis powered by alternative energy.
Support to Industries
- Government proposes to come out with Rules and Regulations providing for easier Open Access for those industries which want to become green i.e. which want to rely on green energy for their functioning.Industry will be able to either set up green energy manufacturing capacity itself or through a developer and draw power from it through open access.The surcharge on open access will also be rationalized so as to ensure that open access is not saddled with unfair levies.
On 8th July 2021, the Union Cabinet gave its approval to the modifications in Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’.
- The modifications in the Scheme will help to achieve a multiplier effect in generating investments while ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers.
Changes brought to the Scheme
- Eligibility has now been extended to State Agencies/APMCs, National & State Federations of Cooperatives, Federations of Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Federations of Self Help Groups (SHGs).
- At present Interest subvention for a loan upto Rs. 2 crore in one location is eligible under the scheme. In case, one eligible entity puts up projects in different locations then all such projects will be now be eligible for interest subvention for loan upto Rs. 2 crore. However, for a private sector entity there will be a limit of a maximum of 25 such projects. This limitation of 25 projects will not be applicable to state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, federations of FPOs and federation of SHGs. Location will mean physical boundary of a village or town having a distinct LGD (Local Government Directory) code. Each of such projects should be in a location having a separate LGD code.
- For APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto Rs. 2 crore will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types e.g. cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units, silos, etc. within the same market yard.
- The period of financial facility has been extended from 4 to 6 years upto 2025-26 and overall period of the scheme has been extended from 10 to 13 upto 2032-33.