Daily Current Affairs : 14th and 15th April 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Gram Swaraj Scheme
  2. CALM System
  3. South Asia Economic Focus
  4. Vaccine in the upper arm
  5. Reservation in Promotion

1 . Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Scheme

Context : The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today has approved continuation of revamped Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) for implementation during the period from 01.04.2022 to 31.03.2026 (co-terminus with XV Finance Commission period) to develop governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

Major impact including employment generation potential

  • The approved scheme of RGSA will help more than 2.78 lakh Rural Local Bodies including Traditional Bodies across the country to develop governance capabilities to deliver on SDGs through inclusive local governance with focus on optimum utilisation of available resources. The key principles of SDGs, i.e. leaving no one behind, reaching the farthest first and universal coverage, along with gender equality will be embedded in the design of all capacity building interventions including trainings, training modules and materials. Priority will be given to subjects of national importance principally under themes, namely: (i) Poverty free and enhanced livelihood in villages, (ii) Healthy Village, (iii) Child Friendly Village, (iv) Water Sufficient Village, (v) Clean and Green Village, (vi) Self-Sufficient Infrastructure in Village, (vii) Socially Secured Village, (viii) Village with Good Governance, and (ix) Engendered Development in Village.
  • As Panchayats have representation of Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes and women, and are institutions closest to the grassroots, strengthening Panchayats will promote equity and inclusiveness, along with Social Justice and economic development of the community. Increased use of e-governance by PRIs will help achieve improved service delivery and transparency. The scheme will strengthen Gram Sabhas to function as effective institutions with social inclusion of citizens particularly the vulnerable groups. It will establish the institutional structure for capacity building of PRIs at the national, state and district level with adequate human resources and infrastructure.
  • Panchayats will progressively be strengthened through incentivisation on the basis of nationally important criteria to recognise roles of Panchayats in attainment of SDGs and to inculcate spirit of healthy competition.
  • No permanent post will be created under the scheme but need based contractual human resources may be provisioned for overseeing the implementation of the scheme and providing technical support to States/UTs for achieving goals under the scheme.

No. of beneficiaries

  • Around 60 lakh Elected Representatives, Functionaries and other stakeholders of Rural Local Bodies including Traditional Bodies across the country will be direct beneficiaries of the scheme.


  • The revamped RGSA will comprise Central and State components. The Central Components of the scheme will be fully funded by the Government of India. The funding pattern for State Components will be in the ratio of 60:40 among Centre and States respectively, except NE, Hilly States and Union Territory (UT) of J&K where Central and State share will be 90:10. However, for other UTs, Central share will be 100%.
  • The scheme will have both Central Component – National Level activities viz. National Plan of Technical Assistance, Mission Mode project on e-Panchayat, Incentivization of Panchayats, Action Research & Media and State component – Capacity Building & Training (CB&T) of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), Institutional support for CB&T, Distance learning Facility, Support for construction of Gram Panchayat (GP) Bhawan, co-location of Common Service Centres (CSCs) in GP Bhawans and computer for GPs with special focus on NE States, Special Support for strengthening Gram Sabhas in PESA Areas, support for innovation, support for Economic Development & Income Enhancement support for Economic Development & Income Enhancement etc.
  • The implementation and monitoring of the activities of the scheme will broadly be aligned for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Panchayats are the focal points for all the developmental activities and implementation of schemes of various Ministries/ Departments and State Government to achieve SDGs.
  • Ministry under revamped RGSA will shift its focus towards capacitating the elected representatives of PRIs for Leadership Roles to develop effective third tier of Government to enable them to deliver on localization of SDGs principally for nine themes, namely: (i) Poverty free and enhanced livelihood in villages, (ii) Healthy Village, (iii) Child Friendly Village, (iv) Water Sufficient Village, (v) Clean and Green Village, (vi) Self-Sufficient Infrastructure in Village, (vii) Socially Secured Village, (viii) Village with Good Governance, and (ix) Engendered Development in Village.
  • The scheme will also converge capacity building initiatives of other Ministries/ Departments for attainment of SDGs. The Sector Enablers of Rural Local Bodies including traditional bodies to be included in training programmes of different Ministries/ Departments, imparting training to the functionaries and other stakeholders in their respective domain.
  • To recognise roles of Panchayats in attainment of SDGs and to inculcate spirit of healthy competition. A greater role for the nodal ministries in assessment of performance of Panchayats and sponsoring of awards in the corresponding areas envisioned.
  • To provide in depth analysis, evidence based research studies and evaluation will be carried in the fields related to PRIs. Activities related to awareness generation, sensitizing rural masses, disseminating government policies and schemes through electronic, print, social and conventional media will be undertaken.

Implementation strategy and targets

  • The Central Government and the State Governments will take action for completing the activities approved for their respective roles. The State Government will formulate their Annual Action Plans for seeking assistance from the Central Government as per their priorities and requirement. The scheme will be implemented in a demand driven mode.

States/districts covered

  • This scheme will extend to all States and UTs of the country and will also include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where Panchayats do not exist.


  • The then  Finance Minister, in his budget speech for 2016-17, announced the launch of new restructured scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), for developing governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • In compliance of this announcement and the recommendations of the Committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman-NITI Aayog, Centrally Sponsored Scheme of RGSA was approved by the Union Cabinet on 21.04.2018 for implementation from Financial Year 2018-19 to 2021-22 (01.04.2018 to 31.03.2022).
  • Third party evaluation of RGSA undertaken during 2021-22. The evaluation report appreciated the interventions made under RGSA scheme and recommended its continuation for strengthening of PRIs. Further, CB&T is a continuous process, as every five years a majority of Panchayat representatives are elected as fresh entrants, required to be capacitated in terms of knowledge, awareness, attitude, and skills to perform their roles in local governance. Therefore, imparting basic orientation and refresher trainings to them is an inescapable requirement for equipping them to discharge their mandated functions efficiently and effectively. Hence, the proposal for continuation of revamped RGSA was prepared for implementation during the period from 01.04.2022 to 31.03.2026 (co-terminus with XV Finance Commission period).

Details and progress of scheme if already running

  1. Centrally Sponsored Scheme of RGSA was approved by the Union Cabinet on 21.04.2018 for implementation from Financial Year 2018-19 to 2021-22. The main Central Components were Incentiviasation of Panchayats and Mission Mode Project on e-Panchayat including other activities at Central level. The State component primarily includes CB&T activities, institutional mechanism for CB&T along with other activities at limited scale.
  2. Under scheme of RGSA including Incentiviasation of Panchayats and Mission Mode Project on e-Panchayat, an amount of Rs.2364.13 crore released to the States/ UTs/ Panchayats and other implementing agencies from 2018-19 to 2021-22 (as on 31.03.2022).
  3. Around 1.36 crore Elected Representatives, Functionaries and other stakeholders of PRIs received various and multiple Trainings under the scheme during 2018-19 to 2021-22 (as on 31.03.2022).

2 . CALM System

Context : On April 8, the Army issued a Request for Information for the Cannister Launched Anti-Armour Loiter Ammunition (CALM) System. The Army has specified that it intends to procure 150 such systems.

About Calm System

  • The CALM System is a pre-loaded canister with loiter ammunition or a drone which once fired can remain aloft for a period of time over the area of operation, and when a target is sighted it can be guided down to destroy the target with the explosive payload that it carries.
  • Usually, loiter ammunitions carry a camera which is nose-mounted and which can be used by the operator to see the area of operation and choose targets. These munitions also have variants which can be recovered and reused in case they are not used for any strike

What use of the equipment has been specified in the RFI?

  • The RFI states that the CALM Systems will be used in the plains and deserts of the Western parts of the country as well as the Northern high altitude areas of heights up to 5,000 metres.
  • In the plains and deserts, the system should be able to operate between the temperature of zero degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius while in high altitude it should be able to operate between minus 15 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
  • It will be employed by the Mechanised Infantry units of the Army for surveillance of beyond line of sight targets by day and night in real time and beyond visual range engagement of enemy armoured fighting vehicles and other ground based weapon platforms over extended ranges.

3 . South Asia Economic Focus

Context : India to grow at 8%: World Bank

About South Asia Economic Focus

  • South Asia Economic Focus is a bi-annual publication of World Bank
  • This issue of the South Asia Economic Focus, describes recent economic developments, analyzes the economic impact on South Asia of the war in Ukraine, presents growth forecasts, provides risk scenarios, and concludes that reshaping economies goes hand in hand with reshaping norms.

Details of the Report

  • India is projected to grow at 8% over the current fiscal year (April 1- March 31), and 7.1% over the next (2023-24) fiscal year
  • The country is estimated to have grown at 8.3% in the fiscal year that just passed, following a contraction of 6.6% in the previous year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For the South Asia region, growth is expected to be slower than projected, by 1 percentage point, at 6.6% in 2022 and 6.3% next calendar year. This is due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has impacted the region, when it was already experiencing “fragile” growth, rising commodity prices, bottlenecks to supply and financial sector vulnerabilities. The impact of the war has seen faster inflation, deteriorating current account balances and growing fiscal deficits, according to the lender.

4 . Vaccine in the Upper Arm

Context : Almost everyone vaccinated for Covid-19 over the last 16 months will remember that he or she received a quick prick in the upper arm. This is because most vaccines, including those for Covid-19, are most effective when administered through the intramuscular route into the upper arm muscle, known as the deltoid, experts say

Why are vaccines generally administered into muscle?

  • There are several reasons, but the most important one is that the muscles have a rich blood supply network. This means whenever a vaccine carrying an antigen is injected into it, the muscle releases the antigen, which gets dispersed by the muscular vasculature, or the arrangement of blood vessels in the muscle.
  • The antigen then gets picked up by a type of immune cells called dendritic cells, which function by showing antigens on their surface to other cells of the immune system. The dendritic cells carry the antigen through the lymphatic fluid to the lymph node.
  • The rich blood supply network also gives the muscles a protective mechanism. This means that additives to the vaccine, such as aluminium salts, do not lead to severe local reactions. “Conversely, if the vaccine is administered into the subcutaneous fat tissue [between the skin and the muscle], which has a poor blood supply, absorption of the antigen vaccine is poor and therefore you may have failed immune response; similarly, the additives which could be toxic, could cause a local reaction
  • The same thing could happen when the vaccine is administered intradermally (just below the outermost skin layer, the epidermis). Hence, the route chosen now for most vaccines is intramuscular.
  • Also, compared to the skin or subcutaneous tissue, the muscles have fewer pain receptors, and so an intramuscular injection does not hurt as much as a subcutaneous or an intradermal injection.

But why the upper arm muscle in particular?

  • In some vaccines, such as that for rabies, the immunogenicity — the ability of any cell or tissue to provoke an immune response — increases when it is administered in the arm. “If administered in subcutaneous fat tissues located at the thigh or buttocks, these vaccines show a lower immunogenicity and thus there is a chance of vaccine failure
  • “Since the dosage of the vaccine is small (0.5mm) and there is little possibility of severe swelling of the injection site, resulting in inconvenience, its administered in the arm
  • Numerous studies on the fat layer between the skin and muscle have found that in most adults (both men and women), the layers seem to be the thinnest around the deltoid muscle. “Although the muscle mass in the gluteal area (the buttocks) is much more than in the deltoid, the fat layer is also larger, so to deposit the vaccine inside the muscle may need a longer needle. However, men tend to have a lesser fat layer near the upper arm muscle as compared to women, so women sometimes may need a longer needle to deposit the vaccine into the deltoid muscle

Why not administer the vaccine directly into the vein?

  • This is to ensure the ‘depot effect’, or release of medication slowly over time to enable longer effectiveness. When given intravenously, the vaccine is quickly absorbed into the circulation. The intramuscular method takes some time to absorb the vaccine.
  • Wherever a vaccination programme is carried out, it is carried out for the masses. To deposit the vaccine, the easiest route would be the oral route (like the polio vaccine). However, for other vaccines that need to be administered intravenously or intramuscularly (enabling wider field-based administration), the intramuscular route is chosen from a public health perspective over the intravenous route

Which vaccines are administered through other routes?

  • One of the oldest vaccines, that for smallpox, was given by scarification of the skin. However, with time, doctors realised there are better ways to vaccinate beneficiaries. These included the intradermal route, the subcutaneous route, intramuscular route, oral, and nasal routes.
  • “There are only two exceptions that continue to be administered through the intradermal route. These are the vaccines for BCG and for tuberculosis, because these two vaccines continue to work empirically well when administered through the intradermal route

5 . Reservation in Promotion

Context : The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked all Union government departments to collect data on inadequate representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes before implementing the policy of reservation in promotion in government offices.


  • Following a January 28 Supreme Court judgment, the Attorney-General opined that three conditions were to be met while implementing the policy of reservation in promotions.


  • “Collection of quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes;
  • Application of this data to each cadre separately;
  • If a roster exists, the unit for operation of the roster would be the cadre or which the quantifiable data would have to be collected and applied in regard to the filling up of the vacancies in the roster.”

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