PIB Notes

RAISE 2020

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will organize the first Global AI Summit in India- ‘RESPONSIBLE AI FOR SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT’ (RAISE 2020), during 11th -12th  April with a focus on harnessing AI for social transformation, inclusion, and empowerment.
  • The summit will bring together the innovators, investors and collaborators of the technology.
  • RAISE 2020 will have the following three key features:
  • AI Startup Pitchfest: It will be an exclusive closed door pitching for a select few before the best of investor community and potential customers.
  • AI Startup Theatre: It will provide a great opportunity for select start-ups to showcase their offerings at the centre stage of a premium and one of its kind summits to audience from around the globe.
  • AI Startup Awards: The awards will recognize the potentially high impact, champion startups for using AI as a solution and enabler.


  • Carbon more than 8,000 years old has been found inside the world's deepest blue hole — the Yongle Blue Hole (YBH) — which was recently discovered in the South China Sea.
  • This finding will help in studying carbon cycling and potential mechanisms controlling it.
  • Blue holes are marine caverns filled with water and are formed following dissolution of carbonate rocks, usually under the influence of global sea level rise or fall. What distinguishes them from other aquatic caverns is that they are isolated from the ocean and don’t receive fresh rainwater. They are generally circular, steep-walled and open to surface.
  • YBH has a depth of 300 metres, far deeper than the previously recorded deepest blue hole, Dean’s Blue Hole in Bahamas, which had a depth of 202 metres.

Animal Culture Linked To Conservation For The First Time

  • A report on conserving Sperm Whales and Chimpanzees based on their culture was presented in the 13th Conference of Parties CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)). This is the first time that a conservation strategy based on animal culture was considered in CMS.
  • Animal Culture is the learning of non-human species through socially transmitted behaviour. It is believed that animals learn from their adults or peers, the ability of acquiring knowledge, choosing optimal migration routes, etc.  

Warming, Acidic Oceans May Nearly Eliminate Coral Reef Habitats By 2100

  • Rising sea surface temperatures and acidic waters could eliminate nearly all existing coral reef habitats by 2100, and restoration of projects in these areas will likely meet serious challenges, according to a new research presented in the Ocean Sciences Meeting, 2020.
  • The study further states that cleaning beaches, combating land pollution are decent but not concrete enough measures in ensuring sustenance of coral reefs. The preliminary findings, as per the report, suggest sea surface temperature and acidity are the most important factors in determining if a site is suitable for restoration.

Vulture Population Down From 4 Crore To 4 Lakh In 3 Decades

  • While addressing the media before CoP 13 (CMS), Environment Minister said that the number of vultures reduced from 4 crore to 4 lakh in three decades .
  • The major reason for decline in the population of vultures has been the use of ‘Diclofenac’, a veterinary drug used to treat cattle.
  • Vultures are known to be of vital importance for ecosystem as they feed on dead cattle. This scavenging act helps in allaying diseases caused by animal leftovers like rabies, anthrax, etc.
  • Vulture is listed as 'Critically Endangered' under IUCN Red List since 2002.       
  • Diclofenac application on cattle is not yet banned Pan-India except Tamil Nadu which has put a ban on application of Diclofenac for cattle treatment.

NGT Calls For Scientific Disposal Of Fly Ash

  • The National Green Tribunal has directed thermal power plants in the country to take prompt steps towards scientific disposal of fly ash (a by-product of thermal power plant).
  • It asked the thermal power plants to follow the statutory notification of MoEFCC under Environment Protection Act, 1986 (requiring 100% utilization and disposal of fly ash).

3rd Phase Of PMGSY

  • The government has launched Phase-3 of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • The Phase III involves consolidation of ‘Through Routes’ and ‘Major Rural Links’ connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.
  • Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States. The duration of the scheme is 2019-20 to 2024-25.
  • The funds would be shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched by the Govt. of India to provide connectivity to unconnected habitations as part of a poverty reduction strategy.

‘Silver Line’ Project

  • The Ministry of Railways has approved the ‘Silver Line’ project of Kerala government that aims to connect major districts and towns of the state with semi high-speed trains.
  • The corridor will be 532-km long and will be built away from the existing line between Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.
  • The Kerala Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail), a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the Kerala government to execute projects on a cost-sharing basis, will be the nodal agency.

Future Skills PRIME

  • Future Skills PRIME is the next phase of the ‘Future Skills’ platform that was launched in 2018.
  • This expanded digital platform would be called Future Skills PRIME (Programme for Reskilling/ Upskilling of IT Manpower for Employability).
  • Now it is open to professionals from outside the IT industry as well, those who want to skill themselves in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Internet of Things, Big Data, cybersecurity, social and mobile and so on.
  • It is a joint venture program between the Ministry of Electronics and IT with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) to skill 412,000 professionals in the next three years.

‘Good Governance Index’

  • The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions released, the ‘Good Governance Index’ on the occasion of Good Governance Day (December 25). The Day is observed on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • The Good Governance Index is a uniform tool across States to assess the Status of Governance and impact of various interventions taken up by the State Government and UTs.
  • The objectives of GGI are to provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs, enable states and UTs to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result oriented approaches and administration.
  • The states and UTs are divided into three groups- Big States, North-East & Hill States and UTs.
  • The GGI takes into consideration ten sectors (Agriculture and Allied Sectors, Commerce & Industries Human Resource Development, Public Health, Public Infrastructure & Utilities, Economic Governance, Social Welfare & Development, Judicial & Public Security, Environment, Citizen-Centric Governance) on total 50 indicators.
  • Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Pondicherry topped in the Composite Index in the Big States, North-East & Hill States and UTs respectively.

Sectors and Best Performers



Big States

North-East & Hill States


Agriculture and Allied Sectors


Madhya Pradesh




Daman & Diu


Commerce & Industries







Human Resource Development




Himachal Pradesh




Public Health







A&N Islands


Public Infrastructure & Utilities


Tamil Nadu


Himachal Pradesh



Economic Governance






Social Welfare & Development






Daman & Diu

Judicial & Public Security


Tamil Nadu


Himachal Pradesh






West Bengal


Himachal Pradesh







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