PIB Analysis : 16th & 17th July 2020

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  2. PRASHAD Scheme
  3. International Centre of Automotive Technology(ICAT) .
  4. Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2020
  5. Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone
  6. U.S.-India Strategy Energy Partnership
  7. Facts for Prelims


Context : The first on-line NISHTHA programme for 1200 Key Resources Persons of Andhra Pradesh was launched by Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriya ‘Nishank’  and Minister of State for HRD Shri Sanjay Dhotre


  • NISHTHA is a National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement at the elementary stage under Samagra Shiksha -a flagship programme of MHRD to improve learning outcomes.
  • NISTHA is an integrated programme seeks to train all heads and teachers as first level counsellors to be alert and responsive to the needs of the students, in addition to promoting joyful learning and taking special care of the requirements of special children
  • The prominent features of this integrated programme are activity based modules including educational games and quizzes, Social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, preparation for school based assessment, in-built continuous feedback mechanism, online monitoring and support system, training need and impact analysis (Pre and Post training).
  • In order to enhance professional development of teachers, special emphasis has been given on design and development of training modules. The training Modules for NISHTHA have been developed through a consultative process involving the suggestions from the States and UTs and CBSE, KVS, NVS, School Principals and Non-Governmental Organizations, such as Kaivalya Foundation, Tata Trust, Azim Premji Foundation and Aurobindo Society.
  • This mega capacity building programme has been integrated with technology to ensure smooth facilitation, availability of digital content and technology enabled teaching methods to support the teachers. A Mobile App and Learning Management System (LMS) based on MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) have been developed by NCERT
  • NISHTHA in face-to-face mode was launched on 21st August, 2019. Thereafter, 33 states/UTs have launched this programme in their states/UTs in collaboration under Samagra Shiksha, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • In 29 States/UTs, the NISHTHA training programme has been completed by the NCERT at the state level.

2 . PRASHAD Scheme

Context : Union Minister of State(IC) for TourismSh. Prahlad Singh Patelvirtually joined Chief Minister of GujaratSh. Vijaybhai Rupanion the inauguration of project“Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Somnath, Gujarat”  today.  The project “Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Somnath, Gujarat” sanctioned under the PRASHAD scheme in March 2017 has been successfully completed with the cost of Rs. 45.36 crores. 


  • India is a land of numerous religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Sufism having their major pilgrimage centres in different parts of the country.
  • Pilgrimage tourism is a form of tourism motivated partly or wholly by religious sentiments.
  • Religion and spirituality are common motivations for travel, with major tourist destinations having developed largely as a result of their connections to sacred places, persons and events.
  • The growth of domestic tourism largely depends on pilgrimage tourism. To tap this potential there is a need for holistic development of the selected pilgrimage destinations in cooperation with other stakeholders. 

About PRASAD Scheme

  • The ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the objective of integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.  
  • The scheme aimed at infrastructure development such as entry points (Road, Rail and Water Transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities like Information/ Interpretation Centers, ATM/ Money exchange, eco-friendly modes of transport, area Lighting and illumination with renewable sources of energy, parking, drinking water, toilets, cloak room, waiting rooms, first aid centers, craft bazars /haats/ souvenir shops/ cafeteria, rain shelters, Telecom facilities, internet connectivity etc. 

3 . Automotive technology e-portal from International Centre of Automotive Technology(ICAT)

Context : Portal will help in making strong and self-reliant automotive industry in India which is in tune with the vision of Make in India and Atma-Nirbhar vision of Government of India.


  • Department of Heavy Industry (DHI), Govt of India, has embarked on a mission to promote innovation, R&D and product development in India for various sectors.
  • Mission involves creation of technology platform e-portals where such technology development, information exchange and innovation can be facilitated.
  • There are five portals being developed for specific sectors by different organizations viz, BHEL for power sector equipment, HMT for machine tools, CMFTI for manufacturing technology, ICAT and ARAI for automotive sector.
  • The objective of these portals is to create an ecosystem which will bring solution seekers and problem solvers together.
  • These include, industry, academia, research institutes, start-ups, professionals and experts. ICAT is developing technology platform for automotive industry called ASPIRE – Automotive Solutions Portal  for Industry, Research and Education.

About ASPIRE Portal

  • ICAT is developing technology platform for automotive industry called ASPIRE – Automotive Solutions Portal  for Industry, Research and Education.
  • The key objective of this portal is to facilitate the Indian Automotive Industry to become self reliant by assisting in innovation and adoption of global technological advancements by bringing together the stakeholders from various associated avenues.
  • The activities would include Research and Development, Product Technology Development, Technological Innovations, Technical and Quality Problem Resolution for the industry, Manufacturing and Process Technology Development, hosting Challenges for Technology Development and also conducting Market Research and Technology Surveys for identifying the trends in the Indian auto industry.
  • The e-portal will act as a one stop solution providing a technology platform which will help to bring together the various stakeholders from the Indian auto industry, providing the necessary impetus for ushering the industry into future with combined efforts. This includes bringing together the automotive OEMs, Tier 1 Tier 2 & Tier 3 companies, R&D institutions and academia (colleges & universities) on matters involving technology advancements.
  • Apart from acting as a solution and resource platform, the portal will also host grand challenges in line with the need of the industry as will be identified from time to time, for development of key automotive technologies.
  • The ASPIRE portal has been prepared by ICAT and made live in its initial version on 15th July, 2020 as Phase-I.
  • The first phase will include connecting the users and experts on the portal for functionality assessment.
  • Phase II of the portal which is expected by August 15, 2020 will include the posting of domain specific challenges, team formation and finalizing the milestones for the execution of projects for the said challenges and industry problems.
  • These measures are being developed to develop strong and self-reliant automotive industry in India which is in tune with the vision of Make in India and Atma-Nirbhar vision of Government of India.

4 . Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2020

Context : Dr Jitendra Singh launched the revamped PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration and the web portal www.pmawards.gov.in

About the Award

  • Government of India has instituted a scheme in 2006 namely, “The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” – to acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by Districts/ Organizations of the Central and State Governments.
  • All officers of Central & State Governments individually or as a group or as organizations are eligible for consideration
  • The Scheme was restructured in 2014 for recognizing the performance of District Collectors in Priority Programs, Innovations and Aspirational Districts.
  • The Scheme has been restructured again in 2020, to recognize the performance of District Collectors towards economic development of the District.
  • The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration under the restructured scheme shall be conferred by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on Rashtriya Ekta Diwas – October 31, 2020 at the Statue of Unity, Kevadia, Gujarat.

About the Revamped Scheme

  • The Scheme Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2020, has been revamped to recognize the performance of the District Collectors towards outcome indicators, economic development, peoples’ participation and redressal of public grievances. Nominations have been called in four major categories – District Performance Indicators Programme, Innovation General Category, Aspirational Districts Program and Namami Gange Program.
  • Under the District Performance Indicators Programme, District Collectors would be evaluated on their contribution to Inclusive Development through credit flow to priority sector, Promoting peoples movements – Jan Bhagidari through effective implementation of priority sector schemes of SBM (Gramin) and SBM (Urban) programs, Improving service delivery and redressal of Public Grievances.
  • The Innovations category of the Scheme has been broad-based to provide separate award categories for innovations at National, State and District level. The period of consideration for the awards is 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2020. In all 15 Awards would be conferred under the Scheme in 2020.

5 . Bhagirathi Eco Sensitive Zone

Context : In a review meeting of the CHAARDHAAM ROAD PROJECT in the State of Uttarakhand via Video Conferencing, Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar informed that the Zonal Master Plan(ZMP), prepared by the Government of Uttarakhand and appraised by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, has been accorded approval by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC) on 16th July,2020.

About Bhagirathi Eco – Sensitive Zone

  • The Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone notification from Gaumukh to Uttarakashi covering an area of 4179.59 sq. kilometer was issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC) on 18th December 2012 keeping in view the requirements of the local people without affecting their rights and privileges and also ensuring eco-friendly development for their livelihood security.
  • The notification was subsequently amended on 16th April, 2018 in consultation with the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, GOI; Government of Uttarakhand and Indian Road Congress.

About the Notification

  • The Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone notification mandated the State Government of Uttarakhand to prepare ZMP to be implemented under the supervision of the Monitoring Committee.
  • The ZMP is based on watershed approach and includes governance in the area of forest and wildlife, watershed management, irrigation, energy, tourism, public health and sanitation, road infrastructure, etc.

Purpose of Zonal Master Plan

  • The purpose of making the Zonal Master Plan is to regulate the developmental activities in the region in such a way that it ensures:
    • Environmental and Ecological protection of the entire endangered area, falling in the catchment of river Bhagirathi from Gaumukh to Uttarakashi town.
    • Holistic development of the area ensuring livelihood security of the people living in thearea including protection of their traditional rights and privileges.


  • The approval of ZMP will give a boost to conservation and ecology of the area and also to undertake developmental activities as permitted under ZMP.
  • The approval of ZMP will give a boost to conservation and ecology of the area and also to undertake developmental activities as permitted under ZMP.
  • The approval will also pave way for faster execution of the ChaarDhaam Project.


  • Approval of the ZMP could make the entire Bhagirathi region extremely vulnerable to natural disasters
  • The Himalayas are extremely fragile mountains. The rocks still haven’t consolidated completely. Hill cutting will definitely destabilise hills, if there is forest loss debris would flow into the river affecting the river and making the entire region extremely vulnerable to landslides. Also beyond 1800 to 2000 metres altitude its mostly moraines (unconsolidated glacial debris). If there is a cloudburst these will add to landslides.
  • Himalayas are in seismic zone V a major earthquake can happen anytime.

6 . U.S.-India Strategy Energy Partnership

Context : U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel Dharmendra Pradhan co-chaired a virtual ministerial meeting of the U.S.-India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) to review progress, highlight major accomplishments, and prioritize new areas for cooperation.

About US – India Strategic Energy Partnership

  • Established in April 2018 at the direction of President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recognizing the strategic importance of energy to the U.S.-India bilateral relationship, the SEP builds upon longstanding energy partnership and sets the stage for meaningful engagements through robust government-to-government cooperation and industry engagement.
  • The United States and India share an all-of-the-above approach to energy security and energy access.
  • The SEP organizes inter-agency engagement on both sides across four primary pillars of cooperation:
    • (1) Power and Energy Efficiency;
    • (2) Oil and Gas;
    • (3) Renewable Energy;
    • (4) Sustainable Growth.


  • Through the 4 pillars, the United States and India are working to strengthen and modernize the power grid and distribution utilities for clean, affordable, and reliable energy access; improve efficiency, flexibility, and environmental performance in the power sector; promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth through long-term energy development; enhance energy security through oil and gas trade, and infrastructure investment; advance the development, deployment, and integration of renewable energy and expand access to finance for renewable energy projects; and reduce market barriers to energy trade and investment. 
  • The SEP also supports USG efforts under the Asia EDGE initiative, which establishes India as a strong energy partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The two countries are also leading joint research and development (R&D) through the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Research (PACE-R) on smart grids and energy storage to increase resilience and reliability of the electric grid.
  • Recently they announced new areas of research on transformational power generation based on supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles and advanced coal technologies for power generation and hydrogen production, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

Recent Agreements / Decisions

  • Enhancing Energy Security : The sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin cooperation on Strategic Petroleum Reserves operation and maintenance, including exchange of information and best practices. They also discussed the possibility of India storing oil in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase their nation’s strategic oil stockpile.
  • Harnessing Innovation : The sides launched a public-private Hydrogen Task Force to help scale up technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and fossil fuel sources and to bring down the cost of deployment for enhanced energy security and resiliency. They also signed an MOU to collaborate on India’s first-ever Solar Decathlon India in 2021, establishing a collegiate competition to prepare the next generation of building professionals to design and build high efficiency buildings powered by renewables. The sides jointly launched collaboration between the U.S. DOE National labs and the Indian National Institutes under the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy as part of the newly launched South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE), supported by USAID, for joint research on development and deployment of advanced clean technologies.
  • Modernizing the Power System : The two sides have been collaborating to modernize Distribution Sector through various reform measures for achieving reliable quality 24X7 power supply through increased private participation; enhancing consumer centricity; deployment of Smart Meters across India; and, establishing Smart Grid Knowledge Centre in India as a “Global Centre of Excellence” for Smart Grids. USAID and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation are developing a concept to establish a new $25-million credit guarantee for the Small and Medium Enterprise sector to deploy rooftop solar. The sides agreed to collaborate on advanced high-efficiency coal technologies with low-to-zero emissions through carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), focusing on USDOE’s Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) initiative to develop 21st Century coal energy systems. New areas of technical cooperation include application of renewable energy in the economic sectors; development of new business models and decision-making tools for renewable energy; skill building and training programs; and adoption of emerging digital technologies and advanced IT management tools to enhance cyber security of renewable energy systems.
  • Enhancing Energy Efficiency and Conservation : The United States and India have been working to enhance building and appliance efficiency through enhanced building codes, design and operation of smart buildings of the future, smart meters and demand side response, as well as retrofit of buildings to improve building performance, promote energy conservation, and improve indoor air quality. The sides are also working to enhance energy efficiency in the industrial sector and will work to advance a comprehensive energy management system in accordance with ISO50001. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) jointly initiated a new activity, “Retrofit of Air Conditioning to Improve Air Quality for Safety and Efficiency” (RAISE) for healthy and energy efficient buildings. The initiative will be scaled in public sector buildings
  • Promoting Energy Trade and Investment : The sides noted the significant increase in bilateral hydrocarbon trade since the establishment of SEP, with the bilateral hydrocarbon trade touching US$ 9.2 billion during 2019-20, marking a 93% increase since 2017-18, and affirmed to promote greater hydrocarbon trade between the two countries. The sides took note of their governments’ strong commitment to advance our civil nuclear cooperation, and welcomed recent progress on the Westinghouse commercial reactor project at Kovvada, which represents an important milestone in our strategic relationship.
  • Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth : The sides are working to enhance long-term energy development and plans and strategies through adoption of best practices and methodologies in energy data management; capacity building in energy modeling and promotion of low carbon technologies. USAID and NITI Aayog jointly launched the India Energy Modeling Forum to build a network of modeling community and its linkage with Government for analytical work and policy making exercise.
  • Empowering Women in the Energy Sector : Recognizing the need for a more balanced workforce with diverse skill sets to support energy innovation and address critical energy challenges of the future, the Ministers committed to addressing gender diversity, gender mainstreaming, and promoting women’s entrepreneurship across the energy sector through the SEP platform. USAID launched the South Asia Women in Energy (SAWIE) platform focused on the power sector and the sides are working to incorporate gender-focused activities across the technical pillars.

7 . Facts for Prelims

Indian Council of Agricultural Research 

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare , Government of India. Formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, it was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in pursuance of the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
  • The ICAR has its headquarters at New Delhi. 
  • The Council is the apex body for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.
  • With 101 ICAR institutes and 71 agricultural universities spread across the country this is one of the largest national agricultural systems in the world.
  • The ICAR has played a pioneering role in ushering Green Revolution and subsequent developments in agriculture in India through its research and technology development that has enabled the country to increase the production of foodgrains by 5.6 times, horticultural crops by 10.5 times, fish by 16.8 times, milk by 10.4 times and eggs by 52.9 times since 1950-51 to 2017-18, thus making a visible impact on the national food and nutritional security.
  • It has played a major role in promoting excellence in higher education in agriculture. It is engaged in cutting edge areas of science and technology development and its scientists are internationally acknowledged in their fields.

National Research Development Corporation (NRDC)

  • National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) was established in 1953 by the Government of India, with the primary objective to promote, develop and commercialise the technologies / know-how / inventions / patents / processes emanating from various national R&D institutions / Universities and is presently working under the administrative control of the Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology.
  • During the past six decade of its existence and in pursuance of its corporate goals, NRDC has forged strong links with the scientific and industrial community in India and abroad and developed a wide network of research institutions, academia and industry and made formal arrangements with them for the commercialisation of know-how developed in their laboratories and is now recognised as a large repository of wide range of technologies spread over almost all areas of industries, viz. Agriculture and Agro-processing, Chemicals including Pesticides, Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Bio Technology, Metallurgy, Electronics and Instrumentation, Building Materials, Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics etc.
  • It has licensed the indigenous technology to more then 4800 entrepreneurs and helped to establish a large number of small and medium scale industries.
  • Besides being the torch bearer in the field of technology transfer, NRDC also undertakes number of activities under its structured promotional programme for encouragement and advancement of research, promotion of inventions and innovations such as meritorious inventions awards, Techno-Commercial support, Technical and financial assistance for IPR Protection, Value addition services and support for further development of technologies and much more.
  • NRDC has also successfully exported technologies and services to both developed as well as the developing countries. NRDC is recognised, particularly in the developing countries, as the source of reliable appropriate technology, machines and services, which are typically suitable for these countries.

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