SERB – POWER (Promoting Opportunities For Women In Exploratory Research)

  • The Union Minister for Science & Technology has launched a Scheme named -SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research).
  • SERB is a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology, GOI, established by an Act of the Parliament of India in 2009 (SERB ACT, 2008).

About the Scheme

  • The Scheme is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It will have two components namely (i) SERB-POWER Fellowship (ii) SERB- POWER Research Grants.

SERB-POWER Fellowship

  • Targets - Women researchers in 35-55 years of age with a limit of up-to 25 Fellowships per year and not more than 75 at any point in time.
  • Fellowship – Rs. 15,000/- per month in addition to regular income; Research grant of Rs. 10 lakh per annum; and Overhead of Rs. 90,000/- per annum.
  • Duration - Three years, without the possibility of extension once in a career.

SERB- POWER Research Grants

  • This will empower women researchers by funding them under the following two categories:
    • Level I (Applicants from IITs, IISERs, IISc, NITs, Central Universities, and National Labs of Central Government Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 60 lakhs for three years.
    • Level II (Applicants from State Universities / Colleges and Private Academic Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 30 lakhs for three years.


  • The program is formulated to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D Laboratories.
  • SERB - POWER is specially designed to provide structured effort toward enhanced diversity in research to ensure equal access and weighted opportunities for Indian women scientists engaged in research and development activities.
  • It will empower women scientists and cultivate women friendly culture in our academic and research institutions and ensure more women in leadership positions in decision making bodies.

NITI Aayog Launches Youth Co:Lab Programme

  • On 4th October, 2019, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed among NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to mark the launch of Youth Co:Lab programme.
  • AIM and UNDP, as United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF), are collaborating to spread awareness about different issues pertaining to youth, the future of work and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through Youth Co:Lab.


  • The programme aims to accelerate social entrepreneurship and innovation among young entrepreneurs.

About the Youth Co:Lab Programme

  • The programme will provide young entrepreneurs and innovators a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors, who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills.
  • The initiative will also convene a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India.
  • Focus Points- The first phase of Youth Co:Lab will focus on 6 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
    • SDG 5 (Gender Equality)
    • SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation)
    • SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
    • SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)
    • SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production)
    • SDG 13 (Climate Action)
  • Under the programme, young people in the age group of 18-29 years and start-ups will be invited to showcase their proposed ideas and solutions to tackle some of the region’s biggest social challenges.


  • The efforts of UNDP and NITI Aayog will be directed at supporting young people with an emphasis on the following overarching priorities: catalysing youth innovation, empowering young people through technology, fostering youth inclusion, promoting youth leadership, and promoting social entrepreneurship.
  • Youth entrepreneurship has immense potential benefits and harnessing and utilizing in right direction will help to create huge employment opportunities, leading to better and sustainable development of the country.

Youth Co:Lab

  • Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, it is a multi-dimensional and multi-level response to tackle the challenges young people face, by positioning them front and centre to find solutions to today’s most pressing problems.


  • To establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, social entrepreneurship.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

  • AIM including Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) is a flagship initiative by NITI Aayog to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.


  • To serve as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.


  • Entrepreneurship Promotion: through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation Promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.

AIM has adopted a holistic framework in the achievement of its objectives:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL): to promote creative, innovative mind set in schools
  • Atal Incubators Centres (AIC): to promote entrepreneurship in universities and industry
  • Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges: to promote specific product innovations with social / economic impact
  • Mentors of Change: to mentor students at ATL and AIC Incubators / Startups

United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF)

  • In September, 2018, NITI Aayog and United Nations in India signed the Sustainable Development Framework for 2018-2022, aimed towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The UNSDF outlines the development cooperation strategy between the Government of India and the United Nations Country Team in India, in support of the achievement of India’s key national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Focus Areas: poverty and urbanization; health, water, and sanitation; education; nutrition and food security; climate change, clean energy, and disaster resilience; skilling, entrepreneurship, and job creation; and gender equality and youth development.


  • Development for All: The UNSDF is underpinned by the overarching principle of the SDGs to leave no one behind, echoing the Government of India’s message of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (development for all). It will help to to accelerate the pace towards building a New India by 2022, an India that is free of poverty and equal for all.
  • Development of Low-Income States: It targets the seven low-income states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP), the North-East region, and the aspirational districts identified by the NITI Aayog.
  • Development of Vulnerable Sections: Work will focus on improving the lives of the most marginalized, poor, and vulnerable communities and people in the country, especially women and girls.

Government Initiatives to Promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), it is a Skill Certification Scheme to enable a large number of Indian youth to >take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)

  • Launched by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship division, Department of Science & Technology, it aims for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups. It focuses to build an innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem with an objective of socio-economic development through wealth and job creation.

Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE) Scheme

  • It aims to assist Institutions of Higher learning to strengthen their Technology Incubation Centres and thus enable young entrepreneurs to b companies for commercial exploitation of technologies developed by them.
  • TIDE 2.0 provides financial and technical support to incubators engaged in supporting ICT startups using emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, Block-chain, Robotics in seven pre-identified areas of societal relevance.

Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE)

  • Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, it provide to set up a network of technology centers, incubation centres to accelerate entrepreneurship and also to promote start-ups for innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and agriculture based industry .
  • Objectives
    • Create new jobs and reduce unemployment
    • Promote entrepreneurship culture in India
    • Facilitate innovative business solution

Way Forward

  • Entrepreneurs play an important role in the economic development of a country. Successful entrepreneurs innovate, bring new products and concepts to the market, improve market efficiency, build wealth, create jobs, and enhance economic growth.
  • While supporting young firms in technology and other new-age innovative sectors is important, India also needs to develop an ecosystem that encourages innovation at more mature enterprises across the industrial spectrum- across the existing manufacturing, export, and rural and <social enterprise sector, in order to give a fillip to the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

NISHTHA: World’s Largest Teacher’s Training Programme Launched

  • On 21st August, 2019, Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry launched the Integrated Teachers Training Programme, National Initiative for School Head’s and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA).
  • This training programme has been included as one of the two transformative ideas from this Department for the 100 days programme of the Government.


  • It aims to build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants covering all teachers and Heads of the school at the elementary level in all government school, faculty members of state councils of Educational Research and Training and other educational departments of all States and Union Territories.

Salient Features of NISHTHA

  • Activity Based Modules: The prominent features of this integrated programme are activity based modules including educational games and quizzes, Social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, preparation for school based assessment, in-built continuous feedback mechanism, online monitoring and support system, training need and impact analysis (Pre and Post training).
  • Standard Training Modules: The initiative is first of its kind wherein standardized training modules are developed at national level for all States and UTs.
  • Comprehensive Training Resources: The training will be conducted directly by 33120 Key Resource Persons (KRPs) and State Resource Persons (SRP) identified by the State and UTs, who will in turn be trained by 120 National Resource Persons identified from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Non-Government Organisations.
  • Integrated with Technology: It has been integrated with technology to ensure smooth facilitation, availability of digital content and technology enabled teaching methods to support the teachers. A Mobile App and Learning Management System (LMS) based on MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) have been developed by NCERT. LMS will be used for registration of Resource Persons and Teachers, dissemination of resources, training gap and impact analysis, monitoring, mentoring and measuring the progress online.
  • Post Training Interventions: In order to ensure sustainable impact on classroom transactions, this integrated training programme is embedded with post training interventions including provision of mentoring. After the completion of KRP training, National Resource Persons will regularly be in touch with KRPs and will form Quality Circles that will work to share ideas, challenges and their solutions and best practices. This will help in building pedagogical skills and connecting with peers, thereby leading to improvement in learning outcomes of the students.


  • It will motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical thinking in students, handle diverse situations and act as first level counsellors.
  • It will help to upgrade their skills and ensure that they are trained in the best way. Teachers at elementary level will be able to acquire scientific temperament and knowledge of other important educational aspects and transfer it to students.
  • Teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects related to Learning Outcomes, Competency Based Learning and Testing, Learner-centered Pedagogy, School Safety and Security, Personal-social qualities, Inclusive Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching-learning including Artificial Intelligence, etc.

Textile Ministry To Impart Skill Training Under Samarth Scheme

  • On 14th August, 2019, Ministry of Textiles in a meeting, decided to impart skill training to 4 lakh people in 18 states under the Samarth - Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS).
  • However, the ministry signed MoU with only 16 states as Jammu & Kashmir and Odisha, did not participate in the meeting. The 16 states are- Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Karnataka,Manipur, Haryana, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.

Key Points

  • The programme covers the entire value chain of the textiles sector such as apparel and garments, knitwear, metal handicraft, handloom, textiles, handicraft and carpet except spinning and weaving.
  • The training programme involves advanced technology oriented features like Aadhaar Based Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS), CCTV recording, dedicated Call Centre, Mobile App based Management Information System and on-line monitoring.
  • After the training, employment will be provided to all these beneficiaries in various textiles related activities.
  • Those who are not employed by the industry may get additional benefits provided by financial services under Mudra scheme(It is to be noted that about three-fourths of workers in the textiles sector are women and 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the Mudra loan are women).
  • North Eastern States must be given focus on silk and jute sector. 

Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)

  • Also known as Samarth, the scheme was started in 2017, in order to meet the skill gap in the textile industry and to ensure steady supply of skilled manpower (total 10.00 lakh persons - 9 lakhs in organised& 1 lakh in traditional sector) for the entire value chain of textile except spinning andweaving in the organized sector, for a period of three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.


  • To skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector.


  • To provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors, covering the entire value chain of textile, excluding Spinning and Weaving.
  • To promote skilling and skill upgradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute.
  • To enable provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self-employment to all sections of the society across the country.

Impact of the Decision

In India, there is huge potential of employment generation in the textiles sector. This initiative will help the ministry to extend its support to the state agency and make them equal partners for building the spirit of national development to boost the textiles sector as well as the workforce involved in it.

Challenges Faced by the Textile Industry

  • Large Amount of Unskilled Labour: Though Industry has cheap manpower but mostly they are unskilled this makes them less productive comparative to other south Asian countries.
  • Poor Infrastructure: Outdated technological and low degree of modernization in various steps of value chain affects badly the quality, cost and distribution which results in failures to meet global standards in the highly competitive export market. Though India is a hub of IT services, they are not effectively implemented in textile sector to improve the productivity.
  • High Power Tariff:Power cost is the most significant cost in the whole supply chain. High power cost and erratic supply hampers the production in India.
  • Low Capital Investment: Lack of scale and the fragmented nature of industry have discouraged mega investments in the Indian textile industry. Unattractiveness of the industry has resulted in low FDI inflows, despite 100% FDI being allowed under the automatic route. These drawbacks created a hurdle to make industry more competitive on the global basis.
  • Strict Tax Norms: The strict and changing government policies at the state and central government levels pose a major challenge to the textile industry. The tax structure GST (Goods and Service Tax) makes the garments expensive.
  • Strict Competition from Neighbouring Countries:There is fierce competition from China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the low price garment market. Besides, in the global market tariff and non-tariff barrierscoupled with quota is posing major challenge to the Indian textileIndustry.
  • Social Issues: Social issues like child labor, safety of women and personal safety norms are also some of the challenges for the textile industry in India.

Way Forward

  • Despite availability of raw material, textile industry could not be promoted in many parts of the country because of its competitive structure with decentralized small scale industries.
  • The Indian textile industry requires support from both the Central and State governments to become competitive in the global market. The Skill India and Make-in India program of Central government is helping the industry in getting required skilled manpower and good market for textile products.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

Why is it in News?

In a recent report NSDC has pointed out that Skill India Mission is overly dependent on short term courses and shall focus on long term courses to make it more productive.

About NSDC:

  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a not-for-profit public limited company incorporated under section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • NSDC was set up by the Ministry of Finance as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
  • The Government of India through Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) holds 49% of the share capital of NSDC, while the private sector has the balance 51% of the share capital.

How does NSDC work?

  • NSDC acts as a catalyst in skill development by providing funding to enterprises, companies and organizations that provide skill training.
  • It also develops appropriate models to enhance, support and coordinate private sector initiatives. It also frames the curriculum to train the trainees directly or through the partnership with other organizations.

Source: IE

Gig Economy

Why is it in News?

In a recent survey it has been found that 85% of the companies are open to hiring people on contract basis.

What is a Gig Economy?

A gig economy is a work environment where organizations hire temporary workers or freelancers instead of full-time long-term employees.

How has Gig Economy evolved?

  • The main reason is the emergence of the digital economy worldwide. Here, workforce is highly mobile and work can be done from anywhere, anytime. This means that you need not reach at the location of the organization to do the job. This gives flexibility to the workforce.
  • Sometimes there is seasonal demand for some products, so part-time workers come to the aide of the companies.
  • Due to cost cutting, organizations resorts to part-time workers as they are not provided with social security net which is saving for the company.

Problems with Gig Economy:

  • Part time workers or freelancers don’t enjoy the employment rights which are usually given to permanent employees of the organization.
  • Social security net (Pensions, Insurance) etc. are usually not provided to part-time workers.
  • These part time workers are not provided the platform for training so that their skills can be upgraded.
  • Lack of security/ stability of jobs.