PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE
- Asia Society Game Changer Awards & Kung Fu Nuns
- ICEDASH and ATITHI
- Mission Innovation (MI)
- National Hydrology Project (NHP)
- Wastelands Atlas’ – 2019
- Special Window fund
- Facts for Prelims : Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB)
Feni River, ShaalaDarpan portal, India Services Brand
1 . Asia Society Game Changer Award
Context : Shri Patel congratulates the Kung Fu Nuns for receiving Asia Society’s Game Changer Award for their heroic human rights activism
About Asia Society Game Changer Awards
- Founded in 1956, the Asia Society is a nonpartisan, non-profit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, Washington, DC and Zurich.
- The society is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.
- Each year, the Asia Society honor individuals, organizations, or movements that have inspired, enlightened, and shown true leadership in areas that reflect Asia Society’s core pillars of policy and business, arts and culture, and education.
- This year’s Game Changer Awards along with its founding partner, Citi group is honoring women who are applying their unique vision and talent to make the world a better place.
About The Kung-Fu Nuns
- The Kung Fu Nuns are the fearless daughters of India who represent a new generation of Buddhists using spirituality to inspire real-life action & impact.
- They are a strong community of 700 nuns and growing, with a thousand year-old Drukpa legacy.
- Harnessing the ancient martial art to build strength, promote equality, and improve communities, they are inspiring young girls to break stereotypes and be their own heroes.
- They belong to the Drukpa Lineage, a thousand-year-old Buddhist tradition that began in the Himalayas.
- The Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual leader and founder of the Drukpa order, encouraged his nuns to train in Kung Fu to build confidence as leaders.
- In doing so, he flouted centuries of Buddhist tradition that barred nuns from physical exercise.
- They are the only Buddhist nuns in the world to practice Kung Fu. The nuns use their martial arts expertise to challenge gender roles in India’s conservative culture.
2 . ICEDASH and ATITHI
Context : Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman today unveiled two new IT initiatives – ICEDASH and ATITHI – for improved monitoring and pace of Customs clearance of imported goods and facilitating arriving international passengers by electronic filing of Customs baggage and currency declarations.
- ICEDASH is an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) monitoring dashboard of the Indian Customs helping public see the daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and airports. With ICEDASH, Indian Customs has taken a lead globally to provide an effective tool that helps the businesses compare clearance times across ports and plan their logistics accordingly.
- This dashboard has been developed by CBIC in collaboration with NIC. ICEDASH can be accessed through the CBIC website.
- With ATITHI, CBIC has introduced an easy to use mobile app for international travelers to file the Customs declaration in advance.
- Passengers can use this app to file declaration of dutiable items and currency with the Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India. ATITHI is available on both, iOS and Android.
3 . Mission Innovation (MI)
Context : The Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health and Family Welfare,Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the Mission Innovation (MI) Face to Face meeting of Innovation Challenges(IC)
About Mission Innovation
- Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union to dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation.
- As part of the initiative, participating countries have committed to double their governments’ clean energy research and development (R&D) investments over five years, while encouraging greater levels of private sector investment in transformative clean energy technologies.
- These additional resources are expected to dramatically accelerate the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable.
- Mission Innovation has identified eight (8) Innovation Challenges which are global calls to action aimed at accelerating research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in technology areas where increased international attention would make a significant impact in shared fight against climate change.
- The Innovation Challenges cover the entire spectrum of RD&D; from early stage research needs assessments to technology demonstration projects. India is also co-leading Smart Grids, Off Grids and Sustainable Biofuels Innovation and is actively participating in all ICs and other activities of MI.
- These challenges taken up under Analysis and Joint Research and co-led by India and Canada includes:
- Smart Grids
- Off-Grid Access to Electricity
- Carbon Capture
- Sustainable Biofuels
- Converting Sunlight
- Clean Energy Materials and
- Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge
4 . National Hydrology Project (NHP)
About National Hydrology Project
- NHP is a Central Sector Scheme being implemented by Department of Water Resources,
- River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with support from World Bank.
- The National Hydrology Project (NHP) is intended for setting up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation and management.
- It will also provide tools/systems for informed decision making through Decision Support Systems (DSS) for water resources assessment, flood management, reservoir operations, drought management, etc.
- The NHP will help in gathering Hydro-meteorological data which will be stored and analysed on a real time basis and can be seamlessly accessed by any user at the State/District/village level. The project envisages to cover the entire country as the earlier hydrology projects covered only 13 States.
The components of the proposal are:
- In Situ Hydromet Monitoring System and Hydromet Data Acquisition System.
- Setting up of National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC).
- Water Resources Operation and Management System
- Water Resources Institutions and Capacity Building
The NHP will result in the improvement of:
- Data storage, exchange, analysis and dissemination through National Water Informatics Centre.
- Lead time in flood forecast from 1 day to at least 3 days
- Mapping of flood inundation areas for use by the disaster management authorities
- Assessment of surface and ground water resources in a river basin for better planning & allocation for PMKSY and other schemes of Govt. of India
- Reservoir operations through seasonal yield forecast, drought management, SCADA systems, etc.
- Design of SW & GW structures, hydropower units, interlinking of rivers, Smart Cities.
- Fulfilling the objectives of Digital India.
- People Centric approach: The programme envisages ultimate aim for water management through scientific data collection, dissemination of information on water availability in all blocks of the country and establishing of National Water Information Centre. The automated systems for Flood Forecasting is aimed to reduce water disaster ultimately helping vulnerable population. It is people and farmer centric programme as information on water can help in predicting water availability and help farmers to plan their crops and other farm related activities. Through this programme India would make a place among nations known for scientific endeavours.
5 . Wastelands Atlas’ – 2019
Context : Realizing the importance of availability of reliable database on the wastelands of the country, the Union Minister for Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar released the Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
About Wasteland Atlas
- The Department of Land Resources in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has published Wastelands Atlases of India – 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2011 editions.
- The new wastelands mapping exercise, carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is brought out as the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
- This Wastelands Atlas-2019 provides district and state wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area including mapping of about 12.08 Mha hitherto unmapped area of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16 have been presented in the Atlas.
Need of the Atlas
- India with 2.4% of total land area of the World is supporting 18% of the World’s population.
- The per capita availability of agriculture land in India is 0.12 ha whereas World per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha.
- Unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the Country. Therefore, robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes / schemes.
- The effort has resulted in estimating the spatial extent of wastelands for entire country to the tune of 55.76 Mha (16.96 % of geographical area of the Country i.e. 328.72 Mha) for the year 2015-16 as compared to 56.60 Mha (17.21%) in the year 2008-09. During this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands are converted into non wastelands categories.
- There is a net conversion of 0.84 Mha (0.26%) of different wasteland categories in the country during 2008-09 to 2015-16.
- A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and / or ravinous land.
- The wastelands have undergone positive change in the states of Rajasthan (0.48 Mha), Bihar (0.11 Mha), Uttar Pradesh (0.10 Mha), Andhra Pradesh (0.08 Mha), Mizoram (0.057 Mha), Madhya Pradesh (0.039 Mha), Jammu & Kashmir (0.038 Mha) and West Bengal (0.032 Mha).
- Majority of wastelands have been changed into categories of ‘croplands’ (0.64 Mha), ‘forest-dense / open’ (0.28 Mha), ‘forest plantation’ (0.029 Mha), ‘plantation’ (0.057 Mha) and ‘industrial area’ (0.035 Mha) etc.
6 . Special Window fund
Context : The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today approved the establishment of a ‘Special Window’ fund to provide priority debt financing for the completion of stalled housing projects that are in the Affordable and Middle-Income Housing sector.
About the Special Window Fund
- The Hon’ble Finance Minister on September 14, 2019 had announced that a special window for affordable and middle-income housing will be created. This special window will provide last mile funding for housing projects which are stressed.
- Subsequently, Inter-ministerial consultations and several stakeholder consultations were held with the housing industry including Housing Finance Companies, Banks, NBFCs, Investors, and Real Estate Developers. Problems being faced by home buyers, developers, lenders, and investors were ascertained that could be addressed through the Special Window.
- For the purposes of the fund, the government shall act as the Sponsor and the total commitment to be infused by the Government would be upto INR 10,000 crore.
- The fund will be set up as a Category-11 AIF (Alternate Investment Fund) debt fund registered with SEBI and would be professionally run.
- For the first AIF under the Special Window, it is proposed that SBICAP Ventures Limited shall be engaged to be the Investment Manager.
- This fund would in turn would provide relief to developers that require funding to complete a set of unfinished projects and consequently ensure delivery of homes to the home-buyers.
- Since the real estate industry is intrinsically linked with several other industries, growth in this sector will have a positive effect in releasing stress in other major sectors of the Indian economy as well.
What is an Alternate Investment Fund
- Alternative Investment Fund or AIF means any fund established or incorporated in India which is a privately pooled investment vehicle which collects funds from sophisticated investors, whether Indian or foreign, for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors.
- AIF does not include funds covered under the SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996, SEBI (Collective Investment Schemes) Regulations, 1999 or any other regulations of the Board to regulate fund management activities.
- Further, certain exemptions from registration are provided under the AIF Regulations to family trusts set up for the benefit of ‘relatives‘ as defined under Companies Act, 1956, employee welfare trusts or gratuity trusts set up for the benefit of employees, ‘holding companies‘ within the meaning of Section 4 of the Companies Act, 1956 etc. [Ref. Regulation 2(1)(b)]
Categories of AIF
- Applicants can seek registration as an AIF in one of the following categories, and in sub-categories thereof, as may be applicable:
- Category I AIF: o Venture capital funds (Including Angel Funds) o SME Funds o Social Venture Funds o Infrastructure funds
- Category II AIF
- Category III AIF
Category II AIFs
- AIFs which do not fall in Category I and III and which do not undertake leverage or borrowing other than to meet day-to-day operational requirements and as permitted in the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012.
- Various types of funds such as real estate funds, private equity funds (PE funds), funds for distressed assets, etc. are registered as Category II AIFs.
7 . Facts for Prelims
Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB):
- The Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) was initially set up with the approval of the Cabinet at its meeting held on 01.11.1973 as an independent recruiting agency for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- It was established with the main objective of recruitment to all the scientific positions under the ICAR as the UPSC was reluctant to undertake recruitment to the posts of the ICAR on the ground that it was not a Government organization but a registered Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
- With a view to grant an independent status and functional autonomy to the Board, the Cabinet at its meeting held on 1st August, 2018 has approved the ASRB to be delinked from the ICAR and attached it with the Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. For purposes of autonomy, secrecy, accountability and efficient functioning, the Cabinet has inter-alia approved that the Board shall have its own cadre of administrative staff in the secretariat and have independent administrative control, by delinking the existing provision of posting of staff from ICAR headquarters.
- The revamped Board comprises a Chairman, three Members and Secretary. The major functions of the ASRB is to conduct the ARS / NET Examination, lateral entry selections for all Senior Scientific positions and consider cases of Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) for the Scientific cadre. The Board also conducts examination for filling up of Group ‘A’ positions in the Administrative and Technical cadres.
Shaala Darpan Portal
- ShaalaDarpan is an end to end e-Governance school automation and management system for NavodayaVidyalayaSamiti (NVS)
- It has been implemented as the first major initiative to enable automation of all activities of the country’s largest residential schooling system through a single umbrella – 636 schools, 8 Regional Offices, 8 NLIs and Head Quarter.
India Services Brand
- The ‘India Services’ brand was created by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to represent the services sector of India. The services sector having overtaken agriculture and manufacturing in terms of growth and size is a key driver of global trade and a very valuable source of employment.
- The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh