Question and Answer :: SRIRAM'S IAS

 Q. 515. 'Waste to Energy' as a part of 'Swachchata Hi Sewa' campaign
Ans.
“Waste to Energy” as a part of “Swachchata Hi Sewa” campaign
There is a huge amount of waste generated in the country and there there is an urgent need to convert the waste into energy. According to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, a framework will be worked on for energy generated by Waste plants and subsequently rates will also be fixed for them. Also there is a need for change in the habits of the people to ensure effective waste collection and segregation. Citizens should be educated on effective waste management so that it would be easier for the industries to process the waste. Effective waste management will help in creating a cleaner and greener India.
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is focusing on energy generation from urban, industrial and agricultural waste/residues, municipal solid wastes, vegetable and other market wastes, slaughterhouse waste and industrial wastes and effluents. These initiativeswill not only support generation of energy from the waste but also help in reducing pollution. It will also address the issue of burning of paddy straw by producing bio-CNG. The Ministry has already supported around 180 projects mainly based on production of Bio-CNG/ Biogas for various energy applications in industries and transport sector.
Three major waste to energy projects of 52 MW, based on Municipal Solid Waste(MSW) have already been installed and running successfully in Okhla, Ghazipur and Narela-Bawana in Delhi which help in converting solid waste to electricity.
In addition, under Swachcha Bharat Mission, about 40 projects with installed capacity of 344 MW supported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs are under various stages of commissioning.
 
 Q. 514. Office of Profit
Ans.
Office of Profit
Context: Recently the Election Commission recommended the disqualification 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs from Delhi, citing that they held offices of profit.

What is an office of profit?
It is a position in the government which cannot be held by an MLA or an MP. The post can yield salaries, perquisites and other benefits. The origin of this term can be found in the English Act of Settlement, 1701. Under this law, "no person who has an office or place of profit under the King, or receives a pension from the Crown, shall be capable of serving as a member of the House of Commons." This was instituted so that there wouldn't be any undue influence from the royal household in administrative affairs.

What do parliamentary secretaries do?
In the Westminster system, a parliamentary secretary is a Member of Parliament who assists a Minister in their duties. Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers usually appoint parliamentary secretaries from their own parties.

Why should an MLA or an MP not hold an office of profit?
According to Articles 102(1)(a) and 191(1)(a) of the Constitution, an MP or MLA is barred from holding an office of profit as it can put them in a position to gain a financial benefit. "A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament, (a) if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder".
Under the Representation of People Act too, holding an office of profit is grounds for disqualification.

Do other states in India have MLAs holding offices of profit?
West Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Mizoram and Manipur have had similar incidents. In West Bengal, Telangana and Punjab, the respective High Courts called the appointments "unconstitutional" and struck down the appointments. The case regarding appointment of parliamentary secretaries is pending in the Karnataka High Court. In Rajasthan, the State passes a Bill in October 2017 to make the posts constitutional, but the validity of this law has been challenged.
 
 Q. 513. Smart Star-Rating for Garbage Free Cities
Ans.
Smart Star-Rating for Garbage Free Cities
Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’ in Goa. The star-rating initiative, developed by the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban will be rating cities on a 7-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management, which will include Door to Door Collection, bulk generator compliance, source segregation, sweeping, scientific processing of waste, scientific land filling, plastic waste management, construction and demolition management, dump remediation & citizen grievance redressal system etc.
Cities can be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star based on their compliance with the protocol conditions specified for each of the rating. Further city should be ODF(Open Defecation Free) before it could be given rating of 3 star or above. While cities may self-declare themselves as 1-star, 2-star or 4-star, MoHUA will carry out an additional verification through an independent third party to certify cities as 3-star, 5-star or 7-star. Cities will need to get recertified themselves every year to retain their star-status.
The most significant feature of the rating protocol is that it provides stakeholders with a single metric to rate a city’s cleanliness, rather than separately evaluating multiple factors which contribute to a city’s overall cleanliness and garbage free status. The SMART rating (Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification, Targeted towards outcomes) is characterized by Trust and verify model and sustainability (progressive and to be recertified every year). 
The distinctive feature of Star Rating System will be that many cities can have higher stars as compared to only one city can be “Cleanest city” under Swachh Survekshan.
 
 Q. 512. Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)
Ans.
Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)

Base erosion and profit shifting
Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax planning strategies used by multinational companies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity. The project headed by the OECD was initiated by the G20 in 2012.
BEPS concerns strategies which aim to move profits to where they are taxed at lower rates and expenses to where they are relieved at higher rates. The result is a tendency to associate more profit with legal constructs and intangible rights and obligations, and reduce the share of profits associated with substantive operations involving the interaction of people with one another. "While these corporate tax planning strategies may be technically legal and rely on carefully planned interactions of a variety of tax rules and principles, the overall effect of this type of tax planning is to erode the corporate tax base of many countries in a manner that is not intended by domestic policy."

Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement
The DTAA, or Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement is a tax treaty signed between India and another country ( or any two/multiple countries) so that taxpayers can avoid paying double taxes on their income earned from the source country as well as the residence country. At present, India has double tax avoidance treaties with more than 80 countries around the world.
The need for DTAA arises out of the imbalance in tax collection on global income of individuals. If a person aims to do business in a foreign country, he/she may end up paying income taxes in both cases, i.e. the country where the income is earned and the country where the individual holds his/her citizenship or residence. For instance, if you are moving to a different country from India while leaving income sources such as interest from deposits in here, you will be charged interest by both India and the country of your current residence as per your consolidated global earnings. Such a scenario can have you pay twice the tax over the same income. This is where the DTAA becomes useful for taxpayers.

Benefits of DTAA:
There are lots of benefits associated with DTAA for taxpayers. The basic benefit includes not having to pay double taxes on the same income. Apart from this:
  1. Lower Withholding Tax (Tax Deduction at Source or TDS)
  2. Tax credits
  3. Exemption from taxes
The primary idea behind DTAA agreements with various countries is to minimize the opportunity for tax evasion for tax payers in either or both of the countries between which the bilateral/multilateral DTAA agreement have been signed.
 
 Q. 511. Social security system
Ans.
Social security system
The labour ministry has proposed a comprehensive social security system to provide retirement, health, oldage, disability, unemployment and maternity benefits to 50 crore workers in the country.
The plan is to implement the scheme in three phases over 10 years, after which the government hopes to make it universal. The scheme will be implemented in four tiers with the government wholly financing the cost for people below the poverty line.
The scheme will be largely funded from the Building and Construction Worker Cess and funds allocated to other scattered schemes through the National Stabilisation Fund set up for the purpose.
Its implementation would be regulated and monitored by an overarching regulatory body called the National Social Security Council to be chaired by the prime minister with finance minister, health minister and chief ministers of all states along with workers and employers as its members. The 50 crore beneficiaries will be classified into four tiers.
The first phase of the scheme will cost Rs 18,500 crore. The first phase will see all workers getting the bare minimum, which includes health security and retirement benefits. The second phase will see unemployment benefits being added to it while in the third phase, other welfare measures can be added.
The first tier will comprise destitute and people below poverty line who cannot contribute for their security and hence the cost will be entirely borne by the government under tax-based schemes.
Workers in the unorganised sector who have some contributory power but are not self-sufficient may be covered under the subsidised schemes in the second tier.
The third tier of beneficiaries will include those who either by themselves or jointly with their employers can make adequate contribution to the schemes, so as to be self-sufficient while the fourth tier will comprise comparatively affluent people who can make their own provisions for meeting the contingencies or risks as they rise.
India's total workforce stands at around 500 million. A little over 10% of this is in the organised sector, where workers enjoy social security of some sort under EPFO and ESIC. But a major portion of the total workforce is still in the unorganised sector, where workers do not often get even the minimum wage and lack any kind of social security cover.
Workers employed in the organised sector along with the employee contribute around 25% of the basic salary towards the provident fund and another 6% for insurance, taking the total contribution to more than 30%, which manages for the medical, provident fund and pension benefits for the employee.
 
 Q. 510. Health Index report
Ans.
Health Index report
NITI Aayog has released a comprehensive Health Index report titled, “Healthy States, Progressive India”. The report ranks states and Union territories innovatively on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other. The report has been developed by NITI Aayog, with technical assistance from the World Bank, and in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
The Health Index is a weighted composite Index, which for the larger States, is based on indicators in three domains: (a) Health Outcomes (70%); (b) Governance and Information (12%); and (c) Key Inputs and Processes (18%), with each domain assigned a weight based on its importance.
Among the Larger States, Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu ranked on top in terms of overall performance, while Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh are the top three ranking States in terms of annual incremental performance.
Among Smaller States, Mizoram ranked first followed by Manipur on overall performance, while Manipur followed by Goa were the top ranked States in terms of annual incremental performance.
Among UTs, Lakshadweep showed both the best overall performance as well as the highest annual incremental performance.
 
 Q. 509. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
Ans.
National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, to rank institutions of higher education in India. The Framework was approved by the MHRD and launched by Minister of Human Resource Development on 29 September 2015. There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions, management institutions, pharmacy institutions and architecture institutions. The Framework uses several parameters for ranking purposes like resources, research, and stakeholder perception. These parameters have been grouped into five clusters and these clusters were assigned certain weightages.

Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in Bengaluru was adjudged the overall best institution in the country.

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) has been adjudged the best engineering college and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) the best management institution.

All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Delhi was ranked number one institute under medical college category.

Delhi University's Miranda House was the best college and NLSIU-Bengaluru the best law school in the country.
 
NIRF, in its first rankings in 2016, had four categories — universities, engineering, management and pharmacy. In 2017, overall and college categories were added. In all, over 4,000 institutions have applied. Last year 3,000 institutions participated in the India Rankings 2017.The 2018 rankings include nine different categories-overall, universities, engineering, colleges, management, pharmacy, medical, architecture, and law. Out of which sections like medical, architecture and law have been introduced this year.
 
 Q. 508. Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018
Ans.
Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018
Salient Features:
  • It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission;
  • It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
  • It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission; and
  • It proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.
  • It proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.
Benefits: The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.
The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.
 
 Q. 507. ECONOMY
Ans.
ECONOMY
Badhta Bharat- Ubharata Bharat
DIGITAL PAYMENT PROMOTION & LESS CASH ECONOMY
  • Mera mobile mera bank mera batua: BHIM app (based on United Payments Interface(UPI)), to promote cashless economy brings payments to people’s phones
  • Cash incentives to promote digital payments – Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana
  • Aadhar enabled Payment system in place to promote less cash economy
GST
  • One Nation, One Tax- One Nation-One Market
  • 4 Tax Rates- 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%
  • Reduction in overall taxes on goods, estimated to be 25-30%
  • Lead to ease of doing business and increase in tax revenue collections.
Benefits of GST
  • Decrease in Inflation due to: Reduction in Cascading effect of Taxes and Overall Reduction in Prices
  • Ease of Doing Business due to: Common National Market, Benefits to Small Taxpayers
  • Decrease in “Black” Transactions due to: Self-Regulating on line Tax System, Non-Intrusive and transparent Tax System
  • More informed consumer due to: Simplified Tax Regime, Reduction in Multiplicity of Taxes
  • Poorer States to gain due to GST being a destination based Tax: Consumer States to benefit the most, Abolition of CST
  • Make in India boost due to: Exports to be Zero Rated, Protection of Domestic Industry - IGST
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS (DIPP)
  • Improved rank in Ease of Doing Business Ranking
  • Self-certification
  • Simplification of rules
  • Scrapping of about 1200 obsolete laws
  • Most of the regulatory processes put online.
  • 60% of defence Items out of the licensing process
  • Real Estate Bill passed to protect the interest of buyers and bring more transparency to the housing sector.
  • Gas pooling for power and fertilizer sectors.
 
 Q. 506. DIGITAL INDIA
Ans.
DIGITAL INDIA

Samvardhit Bharat- Samparkit Bharat
Under Digital India National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has undertaken “Development of Technology Portal” for dissemination of information on technologies developed across the country from a single source and to bring the information of various technologies to the large number of small & medium scale entrepreneurs/industry with limited resource of information. 

DIGITAL SAKSHARTA ABHIYAN (DISHA) OR NATIONAL DIGITAL LITERACY MISSION (NDLM)
  • Digital India Launched by PM on 1st July,2015
  • To create a participative, transparent and responsive government
  • A big step forward to transform the country into a digitally empowered knowledge economy.
  • Includes various schemes worth over Rs 1 lakh crore - Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, e-sign and national scholarship portal etc.
  • The program includes projects to ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically and people get benefit of the latest information and communication technology.
  • 2 lakhs 50 thousand gram panchayats to be connected with WiFi, Hotspot enabled broadband connection.
  • National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) to make at least one person in every family digitally literate with digital literacy skills by 2020.
COMMON SERVICE CENTRES:
  • In order to take the benefits of Digital India to every corner of country, a vast network of more than 2.5 lakh Common Services Centers have been created.
  • This has developed digital entrepreneurs among poor, marginalized, Dalits and women of India.
 BHARAT NET: From High ways to I-ways and village broadband
  • Under Bharat Net program, around 7.5 lakh kms OFC would be laid to connect 2.5 lakh villages. The program implementation speed has been significantly ramped up by involving willing States to undertake its execution.
  • In order to provide last mile internet access to rural citizens, Government is in the process of rolling out community Wi-Fi services in all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, that would ride on the Bhrat Net infrastructure.
 
 Q. 505. UN Road Safety trust fund
Ans.
UN Road Safety trust fund
The United Nations took a major step to address the tragedy of road accidents by launching the UN Road Safety Trust Fund to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents. Highlighting the opportunities offered by the fund, Mohammed said there is "a chance to save the lives of millions of people around the world, and to prevent injuries, suffering and the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents.
  • The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund aims to accelerate progress in improving global road safety by bridging the gaps in the mobilization of resources for effective action at all levels.
  • The Fund will mobilize resources from governments, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and individuals.
  • UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will be the secretariat for the Trust Fund.
  • The Trust Fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which include strengthened road safety management capacities, improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks, enhanced safety of vehicles, improved behaviour of road users and improved post-crash care.
 
 Q. 504. CLEAN INDIA- GREEN INDIA
Ans.
CLEAN INDIA- GREEN INDIA
 
Swachch Bharat- Harit Bharat
With an aim to provide sanitation facilities to every family including toilets, solid and liquid waste system, village cleanliness and safe and adequate drinking water supply the corporation has promoted and commercialised technologies relating to low cost toilets, safe and community based drinking water system, water filters, chlorine tablets etc.
 
SWACHH SWASTH SARVATRA
Swachh Swasth  Sarvatra is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation launched on 29 December, 2016.  Through this scheme CHCs in ODF Block supported under NHM to achieve Kayakalp certification, Gram Panchayat of Kayakalp PHC prioritized to become ODF and Training in WASH of CHC/PHC nominees. As part of it:
MOHFW will provide a grant of Rs. 10 lakhs to ensure that their Community Health Centre (CHC) achieves High Quality benchmarks of sanitation, hygiene and infection control with a minimum score of 70 under the Kayakalp assessment.
 
SWACHCH BHARAT ABHIYAN (UD, RD)
  • India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive launched by the Prime Minister on Gandhi Jayanti, 2nd October 2014 at Rajghat in New Delhi.
  • PM urges everyone to devote 100 hours every year that is two hours every week towards cleanliness.
  • Campaign aimed at the Mission Clean India by 2nd October 2019 to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
  • Sanitation coverage which was 42% previously has become 60%
  • Open Defecation Free (ODF) States: Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala
  • Urban Areas of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and Sikkim declared ODF.
 
 Swachch Bharat Gramin
  • Over 3.6 crore household toilets constructed since the launch of the Mission
  • 1,74,557 villages, 118 districts and 3 States declared ODF
  • Incentive for individual toilet has been increased to Rs. 12,000.
  • 100 Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) of historical and cultural significance will attain the highest levels of Swachhta as per global standards. 20 of these have been selected in Phase1 and Phase 2.
 Swachch Bharat Urban
 614 cities have been so far declared Open Defecation Free after due verification
All cities of Andhra Pradesh and  Gujarat declared ODF
 
SWACHCH VIDYALAYA:
  • Target was fully achieved with 4.17 lakh toilets added to 2.61 lakh government elementary and secondary schools from 15.8.2014 to 15.8.2015.
  • 13.77 crore children in 11.21 lakh government schools all over the country now have access to toilet facilities
SWACHCH BHARAT KOSH (Finance)
  • To improve the cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, priority to girl toilets in schools.
  • Purpose: Construction of new toilets and repair and renovation of dysfunctional toilets in villages, towns, government schools and aanganwaadis.
SWACHH BHARAT CESS (Finance)
  • Contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the form of Swachh Bharat Cess
 
 RURAL DRINKING WATER SUPPLY (MoDWS)
  • Rural drinking water supply coverage - No. of fully covered habitations increased from 73.66% as on 1.4.14 to 77.01% (As on 28.2.17)
  • Clean Water to Arsenic and Fluoride affected 28000 habitations by 2020
 
NAMAMI GANGE (MoWS& GR)
  • Ambitious Ganga Rejuvenation Program ‘NamaamiGange’ launched for cleaning of Ganga.
  • The Union Cabinet approved the budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore for Namami Gange programme in 2015.
  • Namami Gange is an integrated conservation programme with the aim to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • NMCG which was registered as a society in 2011 was reconstituted as an Authority on 7th October 2016. It is now empowered with regulatory powers under Environment Protection Act, 1986 and higher financial powers.
  • Under Namami Gange programme, 100% funds being provided by the central government.
UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All)
  • Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All. LED bulb distribution under domestic efficient lighting program in Delhi launched on 5 January 2015
  • 27.25 crore LED Bulbs distributed
  • 35,400 Million units of electricity saved per year
  • Reduction in Carbon Dioxide Emission up to 28.67 MT/year
 
 Q. 503. Young India-Vibrant India
Ans.
Young India-Vibrant India
STAND UP INDIA (Finance)
To promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and Women launched by PM on 5th April, 2016
To benefit at least 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs.
Loans of more than 15,000 entrepreneurs approved out of which more than 80% are women.
Rs. 500 crores have been allotted in 2016-17
18,565 women and 4,756 SC/STs have so far benefited from Stand Up India scheme.
Capital subsidy under New scheme ATUFS (Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme) in Textile Sector will create over 30 lakh jobs, especially for women

STARTUP INDIA (DIPP)
Action plan unveiled for encouraging startups.
Tax relief for three consecutive years out of a block of seven year for startups.
Start-up Fund of Rs. 10,000 Crore to be released over two Finance Commission cycles, that is, by 2025.
Startups are allowed to issue ESOPs to promoters working as employees
Start-up India, a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Start-ups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
In order to meet the objectives of the scheme, the corporation has taken following initiatives:
Nurturing Creativity and Innovation by institutionalizing Meritorious Innovation Awards
Transferred about 120 technologies to various entrepreneurs/ Start-ups, contributing significantly to Start up India
NRDC is assisting DIPP in evaluating the innovation content in the start-up applications for recognizing start-ups and recommending the eligible start-ups for tax exemption and other benefits.
Designated by DIPP as Government Facilitator for IP filings for Start-Ups
 
MUDRA (Finance) Pradhan Mantri MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) Yojana
Launched by PM on 8th April, 2015 to promote entrepreneurship spirit among the youth.
Easy, loans without guarantee under three categories – Shishu, Kishore and Tarun by the banks.
Loans more than Rs. 1.80 lakh crore disbursed to over 4 crore borrowers in 2016-17 FY as per data available till 13.04.2017
Budget allocation for 2017-18 doubled to Rs.2.44 lakh crores against Rs. 1.22 lakh crores in 2016-17
More than 70% of the loans has been availed of by women entrepreneurs
 
SKILL INDIA (MSDE)
Skill building is the basic and foremost step that would eventually lead to the success of Make in India.With this concept, the Corporation has taken up various activities for the upgradation of the skill set, especially of the rural masses and North – eastern territories.
The programme aims to reduce the drudgery of people in their daily lives belonging to rural and backward areas of the country, facilitate new avenues of employment generation and income generating activities through S & T intervention.
NRDC has conducted over 100 EDP/ Skill Development programs in North Eastern States and other backward regions on coir, sericulture, dairy, pottery, sanitation and agri & food processing clusters to improve the livelihood of the rural population. More than 200 units set-up by trainees and thus creating employment for others as well.
The Corporation also conducts IPR seminars / workshops / training programs.This activity creates awareness about the protection of inventions and also helps inventors and researchers to have the first hand insight in the patent protection procedures, infringement, valuation and commercialization of patents.
 
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana:
Under PMKVY (2015-16)
13,000 training centers opened across India Training in 375 trades.
19.85 Lakh youth trained part of PMKVY (2015-2016)
Under PMKVY -2 (2016-20)
More than 5,700 training centres opened across India
More than 16 lakh candidates trained
Model training centres known as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) are being opened in every district across India
Physical target of 20.5 lakh approved for 35 states/UT costing to INR 3000 crore till 2020
6.01 lakh training to be implemented through state/UTs by March’18
Additional target of 20 lakh allocated for enrolment and training by training providers
Women constitute approx. 50% of all enrolled candidates under PMKVY
 
SANKALP
Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion program (SANKALP) to be launched at a cost of Rs.4000 crores. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth
 
Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana (MSDE)
In order to encourage entrepreneurship among youth the scheme was launched on 9th November 2016.
The scheme aims at creating a culture of Entrepreneurship amongst youth by motivating, educating and equipping them with basics skills of entrepreneurship.
The scheme will be launched in 2200 Institutes of Higher Learning (colleges/universities/polytechnics), 300 schools, 500 ITI’s and 50 Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs).
The entrepreneurship education will be provided along with the formal education courses through Facilitated Blended Model, which is a combination of e-Learning and Class room teaching.
The course curriculum is based on experiential learning and emphasises on Learning by Doing.
E Cell is an important component of the scheme which build entrepreneurial capabilities in the students by virtue of exposing them to the real-life situations.
Hand holding of the participating institutes and students will be provided through a network of 55 Regional/Nodal Hubs spread across the country
 
National Young Leaders Program (NYLP)
New Scheme launched in Dec.,2014, to develop leadership qualities among the youth, with 5 following components and  is implemented through Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan.
i. Neighbourhood Youth Parliament
ii. Youth for Development Program
iii. National Young Leaders Award
iv. National Youth Advisory council
v. National Youth Development Fund.
Under Neighbourhood Youth Parliament, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan has involved 27.23 Lakhs youth and conducted 22,405 Block level Youth Parliament and 36,997 village level Youth Parliament upto September 2017.

Khelo India - Boost to Sports (Sports)
First Sports University to be opened in Manipur.
Launched as a Central Sector Scheme during the current financial year 2016-17 onwards
Target Olympics Podium scheme launched to identify and assist medal probable for 2020 Olympics
Task force for preparations for next 3 Olympic Games
 
 
 Q. 502. India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017
Ans.
India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017
  • Forest and Tree Cover of the country has increased by 8,021 sq km (1 %) as compared to assessment of 2015. The very dense forest has increased by 1.36 % as compared to last assessment. This is very heartening as VDF absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • The increasing trend of forest and tree cover is largely due to the various national policies aimed at conservation and sustainable management of our forests like Green India Mission, National Agro-Forestry policy (NAP), REDD plus policy, Joint Forest Management (JFM), National Afforestation Programme and funds under Compensatory Afforestation to States.
  • Successful agro-forestry practices, better conservation of forests, improvement of scrub areas to forest areas, increase in mangrove cover, conservation and protection activities have also led to increase in the forest and tree cover.
  • Green Highways (Plantations & Maintenance) Policy to develop 1,40,000 km long tree line with plantation along with both sides of national highways will go a long way in enhancing the forest & tree cover.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33%) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27%) and Andaman & Nicobar Island (81.73%).
  • Top 5 states where maximum forest cover has increased are Andhra Pradesh (2,141 sq kms), Karnataka (1,101 sq kms), Kerala (1,043 sq kms), Odisha (885 sq kms) and Telangana (565 sq kms).
  • Top 5 states where forest cover has decreased are Mizoram (531 sq km), Nagaland (450 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km), Tripura (164 sq km) and Meghalaya (116 sq km). It is important to mention here that these states are in the North Eastern region of the country where the total forest cover is very high i.e. more than 70% in each state. The main reasons for the decrease are - shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational felling, diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters.
Water bodies inside forests
  • Water bodies inside forests have increased over a decade. Forests play a vital role in water conservation and improve the water regime in the area.
  • State Forest Departments besides plantation and protection also undertake steps to improve water conservation through different interventions such as building Check dams, vegetation barriers, percolation ponds, contour trenches etc. under various Central & State Government schemes
  • As per the latest assessment, water bodies inside forest cover have increased by 2,647 sq kms during the last decade.
  • Maharashtra (432 sq kms), Gujarat (428 sq kms), Madhya Pradesh (389 sq kms) are top three states showing increase in water bodies within forest areas. Overall, almost all the states have shown a positive change in water bodies.
Mangrove cover
Mangrove cover of the country has shown a positive change. As per ISFR 2017, mangrove forests have increased by 181 sq kms. Maharashtra (82 sq kms), Andhra Pradesh (37 sq kms) and Gujarat (33 sq kms) are the top three gainers in terms of mangrove cover. 7 out of the 12 mangrove states have shown an increase in mangrove cover and none of them show any negative change. Mangrove eco-systems are rich in biodiversity and provide a number of ecological services. They also play a major role in protecting coastal areas from erosion, tidal storms and tsunamis.
Striving towards achieving Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) goal
India is striving towards achieving its NDC goal of creating additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.   As per present assessment total carbon stock in forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes. There is an increase of 38 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment.
 
 Q. 501. Defence Policy
Ans.
The defence ministry has come out with a draft policy. The policy envisages achieving a turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.
The policy aims to make India one of the top five manufacturers of defence platforms with active participation of public and private sectors.
The policy lists as a major aim achieving export of Rs 35,000 crore in military equipment and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.
The policy aims to make licensing process for defence industries liberal and the listing of items requiring licences will be reviewed.
The policy aims to make India self-reliant in defence production as well as fulfil demand of other friendly countries. The government identified 12 military platforms and weapons systems for production in India to achieve the aim of “self-reliance”. They are fighter aircraft, medium lift and utility helicopters, warships, land combat vehicles, missile systems, gun systems, small arms, ammunition and explosives, surveillance systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems and night fighting enablers, among others.
According to the policy the tax regime will be rationalised to make domestic manufacturing attractive by ensuring that there is no tax inversion. Taxes on import of capital goods and services, inputs and components used in defence production will be rationalised.
The policy aims to make taxes on import of capital goods and services, inputs and components used in defence production rational.
 
 Q. 500. Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018
Ans.
Salient Features:
  • It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission;
  • It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
  • It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission; and
  • It proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.
  • It proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.
Benefits: The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.
The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.
 
 Q. 499. National Anti Doping Agency (NADA)
Ans.
National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) was set up as registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1890 on November 24, 2005 with a mandate for Dope free sports in India. The primary objectives are to implement anti-doping rules as per WADA code, regulate dope control programme, to promote education and research and creating awareness about doping and its ill effects.
National Anti Doping Agency is mandated for Dope free sports in India. The primary objectives are to implement anti-doping rules as per WADA code, regulate dope control programme, to promote education and research and creating awareness about doping and its ill effects.
The primary functions of NADA are as under: To implement the Anti Doping Code to achieve compliance by all sports organizations  in the Country. To coordinate dope testing program through all participating stakeholders.To promote anti doping research and education to inculcate the value of dope free sports. To adopt best practice standards and quality systems to enable effective implementation and  continual improvement of the program. Ex-officio Chairman of NADA is the Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports.
Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE): An athlete, like any other person, may have illnesses or conditions that require the use of particular medications as treatment. But, Substances an athlete is required to take as a treatment may fall under the Prohibited List. In such a case, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) may under strict conditions, provide an athlete with the authorization to take the needed medicine, all the while competing in sport, with no resulting doping offence. 
The World Anti-Doping Agency is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee based in Canada to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports. The agency's key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.
In 2016, Professor Richard McLaren (academic), an independent investigator hired on behalf of WADA published a 2 part report showing that more than 1,000 Russians athletes in over 30 sports were involved in or benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015.
 
 Q. 498. Explain briefly about Asia Africa Growth Corridor. Why China wants the initiative to be merged with BRICS?
Ans.
The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor or AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India and Japan. Unlike One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) which entails development of a land corridor, AAGC will essentially be a sea corridor linking Africa with India and other countries of South-East Asia and Oceania. AAGC will achieve linkage by rediscovering ancient sea-routes and creating new sea corridors. AAGC initiative will link ports in Jamnagar (Gujarat) with Djibouti in the Gulf of Eden. Similarly, the ports of Mombasa and Zanzibar will be connected to ports near Madurai; Kolkata will be linked to Sittwe port in Myanmar.
The AAGC would consist of four main components:
  1. Development and cooperation projects,
  2. Quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity,
  3. Capacity and skill enhancement and
  4. People-to-people partnerships.
These four components as well as four elements or four pillars are complementary to promote growth and all round development in both the continents.
China has initiated a move to persuade India to go slow on the Asia Africa Growth Corridor. China sees it as an alternative Silk Road to tap the African market. Therefore, Beijing is now trying to persuade India and South Africa to merge the project with the BRICS platform. China is doing this to keep its rival, Japan, out of it. However, if AAGC is merged into BRICS, India's influence on Africa through the project will also get diluted. The Asia Africa Growth Corridor project was planned with the active support of the African Development Bank and several African countries including South Africa.
 
 Q. 497. India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017
Ans.
India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017
  • Forest and Tree Cover of the country has increased by 8,021 sq km (1 %) as compared to assessment of 2015. The very dense forest has increased by 1.36 % as compared to last assessment. This is very heartening as VDF absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • The increasing trend of forest and tree cover is largely due to the various national policies aimed at conservation and sustainable management of our forests like Green India Mission, National Agro-Forestry policy (NAP), REDD plus policy, Joint Forest Management (JFM), National Afforestation Programme and funds under Compensatory Afforestation to States.
  • Successful agro-forestry practices, better conservation of forests, improvement of scrub areas to forest areas, increase in mangrove cover, conservation and protection activities have also led to increase in the forest and tree cover.
  • Green Highways (Plantations & Maintenance) Policy to develop 1,40,000 km long tree line with plantation along with both sides of national highways will go a long way in enhancing the forest & tree cover.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33%) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27%) and Andaman & Nicobar Island (81.73%).
  • Top 5 states where maximum forest cover has increased are Andhra Pradesh (2,141 sq kms), Karnataka (1,101 sq kms), Kerala (1,043 sq kms), Odisha (885 sq kms) and Telangana (565 sq kms).
  • Top 5 states where forest cover has decreased are Mizoram (531 sq km), Nagaland (450 sq km), Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km), Tripura (164 sq km) and Meghalaya (116 sq km). It is important to mention here that these states are in the North Eastern region of the country where the total forest cover is very high i.e. more than 70% in each state. The main reasons for the decrease are - shifting cultivation, other biotic pressures, rotational felling, diversion of forest lands for developmental activities, submergence of forest cover, agriculture expansion and natural disasters.
Water bodies inside forests
  • Water bodies inside forests have increased over a decade. Forests play a vital role in water conservation and improve the water regime in the area.
  • State Forest Departments besides plantation and protection also undertake steps to improve water conservation through different interventions such as building Check dams, vegetation barriers, percolation ponds, contour trenches etc. under various Central & State Government schemes
  • As per the latest assessment, water bodies inside forest cover have increased by 2,647 sq kms during the last decade.
  • Maharashtra (432 sq kms), Gujarat (428 sq kms), Madhya Pradesh (389 sq kms) are top three states showing increase in water bodies within forest areas. Overall, almost all the states have shown a positive change in water bodies.
Mangrove cover
Mangrove cover of the country has shown a positive change. As per ISFR 2017, mangrove forests have increased by 181 sq kms. Maharashtra (82 sq kms), Andhra Pradesh (37 sq kms) and Gujarat (33 sq kms) are the top three gainers in terms of mangrove cover. 7 out of the 12 mangrove states have shown an increase in mangrove cover and none of them show any negative change. Mangrove eco-systems are rich in biodiversity and provide a number of ecological services. They also play a major role in protecting coastal areas from erosion, tidal storms and tsunamis.

Striving towards achieving Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) goal
India is striving towards achieving its NDC goal of creating additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.   As per present assessment total carbon stock in forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes. There is an increase of 38 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment.
 
 Q. 496. Disaster Risk Reduction
Ans.
Prime Minister has outlined a 10-point agenda for renewing efforts for disaster risk reduction. The following points were emphasised by the Prime Minister:
Stress to be laid on encouraging involvement of women volunteers and seeking greater cohesion in international response to deal with all kinds of calamities.
Emphasis on working towards risk coverage for all, starting from poor households to small and medium enterprises and multi-national corporations to nation states.
Emphasis has also been put on development sectors for imbibing the principles of disaster risk management and encouraging the involvement and leadership of women as they are the biggest sufferers of any disaster. Women are disproportionately affected by disasters. They also have unique strengths and insights. Therefore women should be trained a large number to support special needs of women affected by disasters.
Also there is a need for investment in risk mapping globally, leveraging of technology to enhance the efficiency of the disaster risk management efforts and utilising the opportunities provided by social media and mobile technologies.
Moreover, there is a need to build local capacity, ensuring that the opportunity to learn from a disaster is not wasted and bring about greater cohesion in international response to disasters.