PIB Analysis : 5th, 6th and 7th January


Topics Covered

  1. FASTags
  2. National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
  3. Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE)
  4. National Policy on Domestic workers
  5. Open Acreage Policy
  7. Wage Rate under MGNREGA
  8. Island Development Agency
  9. Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribes Groups (PVTG)

1 . FASTags

NHAI to collaborate with Oil Marketing Companies for issuance of FASTags through petroleum retail outlets

What is FASTag

  • FASTag is a simple to use, reloadable tag which enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets you pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction.
  • FASTag is linked to a prepaid account from which the applicable toll amount is deducted. The tag employs Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology and is affixed on the vehicle’s windscreen after the tag account is active.
  • FASTag is a perfect solution for a hassle free trip on national highways. FASTag is presently operational at 407 toll plazas across national and state highways. More toll plazas will be brought under the FASTag program in the future.

About the Release

  • To ensure easier availability of FASTags, Indian Highways Management Company Ltd. (IHMCL), a company promoted by NHAI, is signing MoUs with state-run Oil Marketing Companies (IOCL, BPC, and HPC)
  • It will ensure availability of FASTags at petroleum outlets across India. In the first phase, the tags will be available across 50 Fuel Station in Delhi NCR, which will subsequently be expanded to outlets across India.
  • In the current National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program, FASTags are being issued by certified banks only through limited channels such as Point-of-Sale at NH toll plazas, online, and selected bank branches, etc.
  • Recent government measures like proposed FASTag – GST integration and FASTag acceptance at all Toll Plazas in India, have led to an urgent need of scaling up the FASTag marketing channels. These MoUswill help IHMCL to cater to the evolving market expectations.
  • To further supplement the strategy, IHMCL is also planning the launch of two mobile applications – MyFASTag and IHMCLPOS. These apps will enable customers to link the FASTags with their preferred bank account, recharge the FASTag via UPI platform, and also ensure that the tags are bank neutral.
  • IHMCL is also striving for the vision of One Nation – One Tag by aligning with various State Authorities/SPV to ensure that FASTag becomes the preferred digital payment instrument at State/Municipal Plazas. Twenty-six toll plazas located across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Hyderabad have been already covered under the scheme, while discussions are on with other State Government/agencies to help in achieving the vision of cashless economy running on a Digital India platform.

About Indian Highways Management Company

  • NHAI jointly with its Concessionaires and Financial Institutions incorporated Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL)
  • IHMCL has been mandated to implement the National Electronic Toll Collection Program (NETC) in the country.
  • The company launched the program under the brand name “FASTag” in April 2016. The program has achieved resounding success over the years and is now operational at over 450 toll plazas along the National Highways and select State Toll Plazas.

2 . National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)


  1. To provide the means of evaluation of certification programme for organic agriculture and products (including wild harvest, aquaculture, livestock products) as per the approved criteria.
  2. To accredit certification programmes of Certification Bodies seeking accreditation.
  3. To facilitate certification of organic products in conformity with the prescribed standards.
  4. To facilitate certification of organic products in conformity with the importing countries organic standards as per equivalence agreement between the two countries or as per importing country requirements.
  5. To encourage the development of organic farming and organic processing.

3 . Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE)

UGC decides to set up Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE) to refine and strengthen research publication

About CARE

  • With an aim to refine and strengthen the University Grants Commission (UGC) approved list of journals, the UGC decided to establish a Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE).
  • The good quality Research Journals in disciplines under Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Arts, Culture, Indian Knowledge Systems etc., will be maintained by CARE and referred to as ‘CARE Reference List of Quality Journals
  • This will be used for all academic purposes. The ‘CARE Reference List of Quality Journals’ will be regularly updated and published by the UGC and the Members of the Consortium at their respective websites.

4 . National Policy on Domestic Workers

The salient features of the proposed draft National Policy on Domestic Workers are as under:-

  • Inclusion of Domestic Workers in the existing legislations
  • Domestic workers will have the right to register as unorganized   workers. Such registration will facilitate their access to rights & benefits.
  • Right to form their own associations/unions
  • Right to minimum wages, access to social security
  • Right to enhance their skills
  • Protection of Domestic Workers from abuse and exploitation
  • Domestic Workers to have access to courts, tribunals for grievance redressal
  • Establishment of a mechanism for regulation of private placement agencies.
  • Establishment of a grievance redressal system for domestic workers.

5 . Open Acreage Licensing Policy

Open Acreage Licensing Programme Bid Round-II launched

About OALP

  • Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
  • Under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a bidder intending to explore hydrocarbons like oil and gas, coal bed methane, gas hydrate etc., may apply to the Government seeking exploration of any new block (not already covered by exploration). 
  • The Government will examine the Expression of Interest and justification. If it is suitable for award, Govt. will call for competitive bids after obtaining necessary environmental and other clearances. 
  • What distinguishes OALP from New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) of 1997 is that under OALP, oil and gas acreages will be available round the year instead of cyclic bidding rounds as in NELP. Potential investors need not have to wait for the bidding rounds to claim acreages.
  • Successful implementation of OALP requires building of National Data Repository on geo-scientific data.


Avoiding Multiple Driving Licences

  • NIC has been entrusted with the design, development, computerization roll-out and maintenance of the VAHAN for Vehicle Registration and SARATHI for issuing of Driving Licence project across all the states and Union Territory Administrations.
  • Subsequently to consolidate the database, State Register (SR) for all the states and National Register (NR) were established. Almost all the sites in 36 States/Union Territory Administrations are connected.
  • More than 25 crore Vehicle records and 15 crore Driving License records are available in National Register repository. State Transport Departments and enforcement agencies have been provided access to data on National Register to facilitate instant verification of all driving licenses (DLs)/ Registration Certificate (RCs). Wage rates for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005 are notified and revised annually based on Consumer Price Index-Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) by the Central Government in accordance with the provisions of Section 6(1) of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA.
  • MGNREGA wages are paid based on measurement of work done i.e. piece rate basis. Every State has its defined Schedule of Rates on the basis of which the work output is defined and used to calculate the wages for MGNREGA beneficiaries. The actual wage payable is calculated based on the output of the worker.

7 . Island Development Agency

Final ‘Site Potential Development Report’ prepared for 4 islands in Andaman & Nicobar and 5 islands in Lakshadweep: Shri K J Alphons

About the Release

  • The holistic development of identified Islands in the country has been taken up by NITI Aayog. The final Site Potential Development Report has been prepared for four islands in Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) namely Smith, Ross, Long and Aves Islands and five islands in Lakshadweep namely Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam and Suheli Islands. 
  • Tourism based projects have been identified in Long, Aves, Smith and Neil Islands of A&N and Minicoy, Kadamat and Suheli Islands of Lakshadweep while according priority to air and sea connectivity and the construction of airport at Minicoy in Lakshadweep by the Indian Air Force.

About Island development Agency

  • In 2017, the Island Development Agency (IDA) was established for the holistic development of the islands, focusing on community-based tourism.
  • Key Infrastructure projects such as creation of jetties/berthing facilities, Roll-on/Roll-off ships; Bridges on Andaman Trunk Road; Upgradation of Diglipur Airport; Construction of Minicoy Airport; Modernization of existing Jetty at Kavarati; Augmentation of Satellite Bandwidth from 1.118 Gbps to 2.118 Gbps in Andaman & Nicobar; augmentation of helicopter services for Islanders and tourists etc. are being accorded priority accordingly. 
  • It is chaired by the Home Minister

8 . Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribes Groups (PVTG)

About Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribes Groups

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing a scheme namely “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribes Groups (PVTG)” for the welfare of PVTGs. 
  • This is a demand driven scheme. The scheme is flexible as it enables the States/Union Territory(UT) to focus on areas that they consider is relevant to PVTGs and their socio-cultural environment while retaining the culture and heritage of the community by adopting habitat development approach and intervening in all spheres of their social and economic life.
  • Activities under the scheme include housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, culture, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs.

9 . Development of Gandhi Circuit

About Development of Gandhi Circuit

  • Development of Gandhi Circuit in Bihar is one of the projects identified for development under the Special Package for Bihar announced by the Prime Minister in 2015.
  • A project for “Development of Gandhi Circuit: Bhitiharwa-Chandrahia-Turkaulia under Rural Circuit theme of Swadesh Darshan Scheme” has been sanctioned in Bihar

Swadesh Darshan Scheme


  • India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for development of tourism and job creation in the country. There is a great scope and need to develop tourist circuits on specific themes to attract the tourists having special interest in visiting such places.
  • This can be achieved only through an integrated approach by providing engaging experiences for distinct categories of tourists i.e. Domestic and International. Various themes which are unique and specific to the area can include beaches, culture, heritage, wildlife etc.
  • Such theme based tourist circuits should be developed in a manner that supports communities, provides employment and fosters social integration without comprising upon the environmental concerns and provides unique experiences to the tourists.
  • Swadesh Darshan scheme is envisioned to synergise with other Government of India schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc. with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation, driving force for economic growth, building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realise its potential.
  • The duration of Swadesh Darshan Scheme is till the 14th Finance Commission Period i.e. March 2020.


  • To position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation;
  • Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner;
  • Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
  • Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the circuit/destinations;
  • Follow community based development and pro-poor tourism approach;
  • Creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increased sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area.
  • To create employment through active involvement of local communities;
  • Harness tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development.
  • To make full use of the potential and advantages in terms of available infrastructure, national culture and characteristic strong points of each and every region throughout the country by development of theme based circuits.
  • Development of tourist facilitation services to enhance visitor experience/satisfaction.

10 . Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project

India’s assistance for construction of Sittwe Port

Kaladan Multi Model Transit Transport Project

  • The Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project was jointly identified by the India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal mode of transport for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar as well as to the North-Eastern part of India through Myanmar.
  • This project, which will connect Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border, is expected to contribute to the economic development of the North-Eastern States of India, by opening up the sea route for the products. It also provides a strategic link to the North-East, thereby reducing pressure on the Siliguri Corridor.
  • In the absence of an alternate route, the development of this project not only serves the economic, commercial and strategic interests of India, but also contributes to the development of Myanmar, and its economic integration with India.
  • Since the project is of political and strategic significance, it was decided to execute it through India’s grant assistance to Myanmar. 

About Sittwe Port

  • Construction of Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project.
  • Its objective is to create a multi-modal sea, river and road transport corridor for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar through Sittwe port as well as to North-Eastern part of India via Myanmar.
  • Once fully operational, the project would encourage investment and trade and also open up alternate routes for connectivity to India’s North East Region.

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