PIB Notes

Civil Services Chronicle Online, April, 2020 :


  • The President of India presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu under the Indian nomination (individual) category and the Leprosy Mission Trust under the institutional category on February 6, 2020).
  • Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation, a pioneering organisation established in 1951 in the field of leprosy in India, has instituted the award titled “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.
  • The Award is presented once in two years and consists of Rs. 2 lakhs as cash award, a Medallion and a Citation. Two awards are presented either to individuals or institutions.
  • The Award is given to a Leprosy Worker or Institution who/which has undertaken work in the field of leprosy for a period of not less than 10 years and made significant contribution in any aspect of leprosy work, resulting in the amelioration of the suffering of leprosy patients and enabling them to lead normal life.

Ekam Fest

  • Week long exhibition-cum-fair “EKAM Fest” was organised by National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) under M/o Social Justice & Empowerment at New Delhi.
  • EKAM Fest is an effort for promoting entrepreneurship and knowledge among Divyangjan community, generating awareness among society about potentialities of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs); providing a major marketing opportunity to PwDs entrepreneurs.
  • NHFDC Foundation is making efforts for development of a brand and platform for marketing of products of these determined entrepreneurs. Accordingly, name of the brand has been arrived at Ekam (Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Awareness, Marketing).

Second Phase Of Swachh Bharat Mission Gets Nod

  • The Centre will begin implementing the second phase of its Swachh Bharat mission in rural areas from April, focusing on solid and liquid waste management and the sustainability of the abolition of open defecation. The scheme will be implemented by the States, with a fund sharing pattern of 60:40 between the Centre and the States. In the north-eastern and Himalayan states, the Central share will be 90%.
  • In February 2020, the Union Cabinet approved an allocation of Rs 52,497 crore for the Mission from the budget of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation over the next four years.
  • The remaining outlay of Rs 88,384 crore until 2024-25 will come via a convergence model, depending on funds released under the 15th Finance Commission and money allocated to the rural jobs guarantee scheme, as well as a revenue generation model being developed for solid and liquid waste management.

Enhanced Access And Service Excellence (EASE) 3.0

On 26th February, 2020, Union Finance Ministry launched the Ease (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) 3.0, the new reform agenda for tech-enabled banking.

EASE 3.0 agenda aims at providing smart, tech-enabled public sector banking for aspiring India.

  • It seeks to enhance ease of banking in all customer experiences, using technology, fintech, alternate data and analytics.
  • It will include facilities like Palm Banking for end-to-end digital delivery of financial service, Banking on Go via EASE banking outlets, digitalised branch experience, tech-enabled agriculture lending among others.
  • It emphasizes on the use of digital, analytics & AI, FinTech partnerships across customer service, convenient banking, end-to-end digitalised processes for loan sourcing and processing, analytics-driven risk management.

US Now India’s Top Trading Partner

  • According to the 2018-19 data from the Commerce Ministry, the United States has become India’s top trading partner surpassing China.
  • China was India's top trading partner since 2013-14 till 2017-18.
  • The bilateral trade between the US and India amounted to USD 87.95 billion as compared to USD 87.07 billion with China.
  • America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. While dealing with the US, India had a surplus of 16.85 billion in the year 2018-19 alone.
  • Currently, the top five trading partners of India are - US, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

India Now World’s 5th Largest Economy

  • India has emerged as the fifth-largest world economy in 2019  with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.94 trillion, overtaking the UK and France, as per a report by US-based think tank World Population Review.
  • The size of the UK economy is $2.83 trillion and that of France is $2.71 trillion.
  • In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, India's GDP (PPP) is USD 10.51 trillion, exceeding that of Japan and Germany. Due to India's high population, India's GDP per capita is USD 2,170 (for comparison, the US is USD 62,794).

SPICe+ Web Form

  • As part of the Government of India’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiatives, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified a new Web Form christened ‘SPICe+’ (pronounced ‘SPICe Plus’) replacing the existing SPICe form.
  • SPICe+ would be an integrated Web Form and would have two parts viz.: Part A-for Name reservation for new companies and Part B offering a bouquet of services.
  • It would offer 10 services by 3 Central Government Ministries & Departments (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour & Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance) and One State Government (Maharashtra).
  • It aims to save as many procedures, time and cost for starting a Business in India and would be applicable for all new company incorporations.
  • The new web form would facilitate onscreen filing and real-time data validation for the seamless incorporation of companies.


  • India and Iceland signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of fisheries. 
  • The salient features of the MoU are:
  • Creation of facilities for exchange of scientists and technical experts and their proper placement, especially in areas of estimating Total Allowable Catches in off shore and deep sea areas;
  • Provision of training to fisheries professionals from key fisheries institutions in the various management aspects on areas of modern fisheries management and fish processing.
  • Exchange of scientific literature research findings and other information.
  • Exchange of experts / expertise to study the prospects of fishing.  Processing and marketing of products from high seas fisheries for entrepreneurship development.

India-Brazil: Important Pacts

  • Brazilian President JM Bolsonaro was the chief guest for Republic Day, 2020. During his visit India and Brazil signed 13 agreements.
  • Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty is the first agreement signed by India on resolving bilateral disputes post India adopting the new draft template for investment treaty in 2015. As per the new draft, a new investor state dispute settlement mechanism that required foreign investors to exhaust local remedies before going for international arbitration was proposed.
  • Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws was also signed.
  • A decision to resolve ‘Brazil’s objection to support given by India to its sugar-cane growers (earlier taken to WTO)’ bilaterally.
  • Other important agreements include – MoU on Bio-energy Co-operation, Early Childhood, Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy etc.   

UN Chief Issues 7 Point ‘Call On Action’ On Human Rights

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 23rd Feb., 2020 issued a ‘call of action’ to countries, businesses and all people to help renew and revive human rights across the globe, laying out a seven-point plan amid concerns about climate change, conflict and repression.
  • The appeal was made in the latest session of Human Rights Council in Geneva. His seven-point plan involves linking human rights to issues like sustainable development, crisis prevention, gender equality, the development of the digital age, and freedom of expression and civil society, among other things. 

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