PIB Analysis : 5th and 6th February

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Soil Health Card Scheme
  2. Quality Council of India (QCI)
  3. New Pension Schemes
  4. President’s Address and Motion of Thanks
  5. Gender Parity Index
  6. National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme
  7. Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)
  8. Measures to eradicate Malnutrition
  9. Facts for Prelims

1 . Soil Health Card Scheme

What is Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme?

  • It is a scheme promoted by the Department of  Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture. 
  • It will be implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments. 
  • A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his holding and advice him on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

What is a Soil Health Card?

  • SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings. 
  • It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macro-nutrients) ; S (Secondary-nutrient) ; Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro – nutrients) ; and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters). 
  • Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for thefarm.

How can a farmer use a SHC?

  • The card will contain an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding.
  • It will show recommendations on dosage of different nutrients needed. 
  • Further, it will advise the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities he should apply, and also the soil amendments that he should undertake, so as to realize optimal yields.

What is the ideal time for soil sampling?

  • Soil Samples are taken generally two times in a year, after harvesting of Rabi and Kharif Crop respectively or when there is no standing crop in the field.

2 . Quality Council of India (QCI)

About Quality Council of India

  • The Quality Council of India (QCI) works for promotion of Quality Standards across various economic and social sectors such as manufacturing, education, health and environment.
  • The QCI has been established as a National body for Accreditation on recommendation of Expert Mission of EU after consultation in Inter-Ministerial Task Force, Committee of Secretaries and Group of Ministers through a Cabinet decision in 1996.
  • Accordingly, the QCI was set up through a PPP model as an independent autonomous organization with the support of Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations
    • Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM
    • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
    • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)

The QCI is the umbrella organisation of five boards:

  1. NABL – National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories;
  2. NABH- National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare;
  3. NABET- National Accreditation Board for Education and Training;
  4. NABCB- National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies; and
  5. NBQP- National Board for Quality Promotion.

Functions and Projects

  • Besides carrying out accreditation, certification, empanelment and third-party assessment activities through its Boards, QCI is also involved in project initiation, planning & development and its successful execution for various ministries, Government departments and State Governments.
  • It carries out such activities through its five Boards and three divisions under Special Projects namely:
    • [PADD] – Project Analysis and Documentation Division; and
    • [PPID] – Project Planning & Implementation Division.

National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies(NABCB)

  • National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies provides accreditation to Certification and Inspection Bodies based on assessment of their competence as per the Board’s criteria and in accordance with International Standards and Guidelines. 
  • NABCB is internationally recognized and represents the interests of the Indian industry at international forums through membership and active participation. NABCB is a member of International Accreditation Forum (IAF) & Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) as well as signatory to their Multilateral Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MLAs / MRAs) for Quality Management Systems, Environmental Management Systems, Food Safety Management Systems, Product Certification, Global G.A.P. and Information Security Management Systems.
  • NABCB is also a signatory to PAC MLA for Energy Management Systems. 
  • NABCB is a Full Member of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) & Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and a signatory to their MRAs for Inspection. NABCB accreditations are internationally equivalent and facilitates global acceptance of certifications / inspections by its accredited bodies.

National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH)

  • National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) operates accreditation programme for healthcare organisations.
  • The board is structured to cater to much desired needs of the consumers and to set benchmarks for progress of healthcare organizations.
  • The Board while being supported by all stakeholders including industry, consumers, government, operates within the overall internationally accepted benchmarks of quality. NABH is an Institutional Member of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (lSQua).
  • It is also a member as well as on the Board of Asian Society for Quality in Healthcare (ASQua).

National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET)

  • National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) has set up an established mechanism for overall quality assurance in sectors such as services, education-formal and non-formal, industry and environment.
  • Forfocused strategic direction it performs its activities through five distinct verticals namely; Formal Education Excellence Division (FEED), Skills Training, Skill Certification, Environment & MSME.
  • The activities of the Board are accreditation of Certification Bodies that are working in the domain of personnel certification, certification of training providers and educational organizations.
  • NABET works with many Central Government ministries, state governments and sector specific associations/chambers to help them create structures and standards in their services, training institutions and other regulatory processes through third party accreditation mechanism.
  • With the aim to add creative value to the services, education and training-learning ecosystem NABET works as per International standards and protocols. NABET is a member of International Accreditation Forum (IAF) & Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC).

National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL)

  • National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL) grants Accreditation (Recognition) of technical competence of a testing, calibration, medical laboratory, Proficiency Testing Provider (PTP) and Reference Material Producer (RMP) for a specific scope following international standards.  NABL has Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) with Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and is also signatory to International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

3 . New Pension Schemes for Unorganised Sector


  • Government of India has introduced two voluntary and contributory Pension Schemes, i.e.
    • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojna, (PM-SYM), a  pension scheme  for  the  Unorganised Workers
    • National Pension Scheme  for  the  Traders and  Self Employed  Persons (NPS-Traders)  (for  the Vyapari’s) under section 3(1) of  Unorganised  Workers Social Security  Act, 2008 to  provide  old  age  protection  to  them. 

About the Schemes

  • The schemes envisage for providing minimum   assured monthly pension of Rs. 3000/- after attaining the age of 60 years.
  • If  the  subscriber dies,  the  spouse  of  the  beneficiary shall  be  entitled  to   receive  50%  of  the  pension  as  family  pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouse.
  • The monthly contribution ranges from Rs.55-Rs.200/- depending upon the entry age of the beneficiary.
  • The schemes are being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India and Common Service Centres. LIC is the Fund Manager and responsible for pension pay-out. Common Service Centre is the enrolment agency responsible for enrolment of the beneficiaries through its 3.50 lakhs Centres across India.


  • PM-SYM is meant for old age protection  and  social  security  of  Unorganised  Workers (UW) who  are  mostly engaged as rickshaw  pullers, street vendor, mid-day  meal workers,  head  loaders,  brick kiln  workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washermen, home-based, agricultural workers,  construction  workers,  beedi workers,  handloom  workers,  leather workers, audio-visual workers or  in  similar other  occupations. There are estimated 42 crore such unorganised workers in the country.
  • The entry  age for  the  beneficiary is  18-40 years  and  he/she should not  be  a member  of  ESIC/EPFO or  an  income  tax payer.

NPS Traders Scheme

  • The NPS-Traders scheme  is  meant  for old  age  protection and  social security  of  Vyapaaris (retail traders/ shopkeepers and  self-employed  persons) whose annual  turnover  is  not  exceeding  Rs.1.5 Crore.
  • These retail traders / petty shopkeepers and  self-employed  persons are  mostly  working as  shop  owners,  retail  traders,  rice  mill  owners,  oil  mill  owners,  workshop owners,  commission  agents, brokers of real  estate,  owners of  small  hotels, restaurants  and  other  Vyapaaris.
  • The  entry age  for  the  scheme  is  18-40 years and the Vyapaari should  not  be a  member of  ESIC/EPFO/PM-SYM or  an income  tax payer.

4 . President’s Address and Motion of Thanks

Context : Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his reply in Rajya Sabha, to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address said that in the last five years Government has brought new thoughts and new approach to the governance.

Presidents Address – Article 86 (1) and Article 87

  • Article 86(1) of the Constitution provides that the President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members. However, since the commencement of the Constitution, there has not been any occasion when the President has addressed either House or both Houses assembled together, under the provision of this article.
  • Article 87 provides for the special address by the President.
    • Clause (1) of that article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons.
    • Such an Address is called ‘special address‘; and it is also an annual feature. No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
    • This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together. If at the time of commencement of the first session of the year, Lok Sabha is not in existence and has been dissolved, and Rajya Sabha has to meet, Rajya Sabha can have its session without the President’s Address.
    • In the case of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together after the members have made and subscribed the oath or affirmation and the Speaker has been elected. 

Motion of Thanks

  • The address is followed by a motion of thanks moved in each House by ruling party MPs, followed by discussions that last up to three or four days and conclude with the Prime Minister replying to the points raised during the discussion.
  • After the PM’s reply, MPs vote on the motion of thanks and some may move amendments to the address.
  • The amendments may emphasise or add issues addressed by the President or highlight those that did not find mention.
  • Changes proposed by MPs are not passed in Parliament. Since 1952, only amendments proposed by Rajya sabha MPs have been passed during the vote on the address,

5 . Gender Parity Index in School Education

About Gender Parity Index

  • Gender Parity Index (GPI) at various levels reflects equitable participation of girls in the School system.
  • However, under Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education (ISSE), bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education continues to be one of the major objectives. 
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI) for the year 2018-19 at different levels of School Education is as under: 
    • Primary – 1.03
    • Upper Primary – 1.12
    • Secondary – 1.04
    • Higher Secondary – 1.04

Govt Interventions

  • To bring gender parity and equity in School Education, various interventions  have been targeted for girls under Samagra Shiksha which include opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the State, provision of free text-books to girls up to Class VIII, uniforms to all girls up to class VIII, provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers’ sensitization programmes to promote girls’ participation,  provision for Self-Defence training for the girls from classes VI to XII, stipend to CWSN girls from class I to Class XII, construction  of  residential  quarters  for  teachers  in  remote/hilly  areas/in areas with difficult terrain. 
  • In addition to this, to reduce gender gaps at all levels of school education and for providing quality education to girls from disadvantaged groups, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been sanctioned in Economically Backward Blocks (EBBs) under Samagra Shiksha.  KGBVs are residential schools from class VI to XII for girls belonging to disadvantaged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minority and Below Poverty Line (BPL). A total of 5930 KGBVs have been sanctioned under Samagra Shiksha as on 30.09.2019.
  • Under Samagra Shiksha, State Specific Projects for varied interventions under equity, including menstrual health and hygiene are emphasized for enhancing access, retention, quality and reducing drop-out of girls in schools by promoting enrolment drives, retention and motivation camps, gender sensitization modules etc. State Specific Projects are sanctioned by the Project Approval Board as per the Annual Work Plans proposed by the State/UT concerned. Such projects include Life Skills, Awareness programmes, Incinerators, Sanitary Pad Vending Machines. The amount of Rs. 15566.96 lakh has been approved for State Specific Projects for the year 2019-20 under Samagra Shiksha.

Results of the Intervention

  • As per All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) Report 2018-19, there is an increase in Gender Parity Index in Higher Education across the country. It has increased during the last five years from 0.92 in 2014-15 to 1.0 in 2018-19.

6 . National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme

About the Scheme

  • The Central Sector Scheme ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS) is being implemented since 2008 with the objective to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue the study at secondary stage. Under the Scheme one lakh fresh scholarships @ of Rs.12000/- per annum per student are awarded to selected students of class IX every year and their  continuation/renewal  in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools. There is a separate quota of scholarships for each State/UT. The selection of students for award of scholarships under the scheme is made through an examination conducted by the States/UTs Governments. As on date approx 16.93 lakh scholarships have been sanctioned to the Students across the country.
  • The scheme is boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2015-16. The NSP has been developed by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) for streamlining and fast tracking the release of Scholarships across Ministries / Departments with efficiency, transparency and reliability. The eligible students from different States/UTs register themselves on NSP.
  • The Scheme was evaluated by the National Institute of Planning and Administration (NIEPA). As per the evaluation study report, the scheme helped poor families in sending their meritorious children for secondary and senior secondary education and has therefore recommended for increasing the scholarship amount from Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1000/- per month for class IX and class X students and Rs. 1500/- per month for Class XI and XII students to make the scheme more attractive and effective. Accordingly, with the approval of Expenditure Finance Committee the rate of scholarship has been enhanced from Rs. 6000/- to Rs. 12000/- per annum with effect from 1st April, 2017. 

7 . Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)

About SFURTI Scheme

  • Ministry of MSME is implementing a ‘Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries’ (SFURTI) Scheme under which financial support is being provided for setting up of traditional industries clusters viz. Khadi, Coir & Village industries clusters.

Objectives of the Scheme

  • To develop clusters of traditional industries in the country over a period of five years.
  • To make traditional industries more competitive, market-driven, productive and profitable.
  • To strengthen the local governance system of industry clusters, with active participation of the local stakeholders, so that they are enabled to development initiatives.
  • To build up innovated and traditional skills, improved technologies, advanced processes, market intelligence and new models of public-private partnerships, so as to gradually replicate similar models of cluster-based regenerated traditional industries.

8 . Measures to eradicate Malnutrition


  • The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through States/UTs to address various aspects related to nutrition.
  • Ministry is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition among children and women in the country.

Goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan

  • The goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner with fixed targets as under:
S. No.ObjectiveTarget
1.Prevent and reduce Stunting in children(0- 6 years)@ 2% p.a.
2.Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0-6 years)@ 2% p.a.
3.Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among young Children(6-59 months)@ 3% p.a.
4.Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among Women and Adolescent Girls in the age group of 15-49 years.@ 3% p.a.
5.Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW).@ 2% p.a.
  • The Abhiyaan aims to reduce malnutrition in the country in a phased manner, through a lifecycle approach, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach.
  • The Abhiyaan has mechanisms for timely service delivery and a robust monitoring as well as intervention infrastructure.
  • The major activities undertaken under this Abhiyaan are ensuring convergence with various other programmes; Information Technology enabled Common Application Software for strengthening service delivery and interventions; Community Mobilization and Awareness Advocacy leading to Jan Andolan to educate the people on nutritional aspects; Capacity Building of Frontline Functionaries and incentivizing States/ UTs for achieving goals.

National Health Mission

  • Further steps taken under the National Health Mission (NHM), a flagship programme of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to address malnutrition inter alia include promotion of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation, de-worming, promotion of iodized salt, Vitamin-A supplementation, Mission Indradhanush to ensure high coverage of vaccination in children, conducting intensified diarrhoea control fortnights to control childhood diarrhoea, management of sick severely malnourished children at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers, monthly Village Health and Nutrition Days, Home Based Newborn Care (HBNC) and Home Based Young Child Care (HBYC) programmes and Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram.
  • Under POSHAN Abhiyaan, a well-researched, designed and tested communication plan & IEC materials have been developed and intensive Mass Media Campaign is conducted through various mass media channels like radio, television and social media. Also, during the home visits conducted by AWWs, through the use of ICDS-Common Application Software (ICDS-CAS), the beneficiaries are counselled on nutrition related issues like breastfeeding, complementary feeding, infant and young child care. ICDS-CAS has embedded videos related to Infant and Young Child care and nutrition for educating the beneficiaries.
  • Further, Food and Nutrition Board under this Ministry, through its regional field units, conducts training programmes on nutrition and nutrition education programmes on the importance of healthy balanced diets especially through the use of locally available foods. Mass awareness campaigns through the use of electronic and print media are also organized.

9 . Facts for Prelims

Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti (MRGS)

  • In 2018, Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production has launched a programme ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti (MRGS)’ to promote self-reliance and have an enabling framework for creation of Intellectual Property (IP) and management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in Indian Defence sector. 

Young Scientist Labs

  • As per directives of Government of India, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has identified five niche technology areas and established the following Young Scientist Laboratories (YSLs) in year 2019:
    • Artificial Intelligence (DYSL-AI), Bengaluru
    • Quantum Technologies (DYSL-QT), Mumbai
    • Cognitive Technologies (DYSL-CT), Chennai
    • Asymmetric Technologies (DYSL-AT), Kolkata
    • Smart Materials (DYSL-SM), Hyderabad
  • The labs are located in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. As per the norms laid out, everyone at the labs is under 35 years of age.
  • The five labs were dedicated to the Nation by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 02 January, 2020.

Indian Institute of Information Technology

  • Indian Institute of Information & Technology are envisaged to promote higher education and research in the field of Information Technology.
  • Establishment of Indian Institute of Information Technology in public-private partnership mode is a unique feature of Government of India where contribution to the capital cost is also being borne by Industry Partner and State Government apart from the Central Government.

Production of crude steel

  • As per World Steel Association data, India became the second largest steel producer of crude steel after China in 2018 and 2019, by replacing Japan. 


  • The “Khoya-Paya” another citizen centric portal has also been launched in 2015. The Ministry of WCD supports 24×7 outreach helpline service for children in distress. This service is available through a dedicated toll free number, 1098, which can be accessed by children in crisis or by adults on their behalf from any place in the geographical location of India.

Mallakhamb, Kalaripayattu, Gatka and Thang-Ta

  • Mallakhamb : Mallakhamb is an ancient traditional Indian sport. ‘Malla’ means gymnast, and ‘khamb’ means pole. Thus, the name ‘Mallakhamb’ stands for ‘a gymnast’s pole’. The origin of Mallakhamb can be traced to the 12th century, where it is mentioned in Manas-Olhas – a classic by Chalukya in 1135 A.D. For seven centuries, the art lay dormant, till it was revived by Balambhatta Dada Deodhar, the sports and fitness instructor to Peshwa Bajirao II, who reigned during the first half of the 19th century. The apparently simple ‘khamb’ does not reveal the complexities of the exercises, which require the performer to turn, twist, stretch and balance on the pole. It is this consummate grace, this agility, dexterity and suppleness of body, combined with quick reflexes, muscle coordination and sense of timing, that single out this game as special. Of the states in India, more than 14 participate in Mallakhamb competitions at the national level. On April 9, 2013, the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh declared Mallakhamba the state sport. As of 2017, more than 20 other states in India have followed suit.
  • Kalaripayattu is an Indian martial art and fighting style that originated in modern-day Kerala. 
  • Gatka is the name of an Indian martial art associated with the Sikhs of the Punjab region, and with the Tanoli (Pathan Tribe) and Gujjar communities residing in mountainous regions of northern Pakistan who practice an early variant of the martial art. It is a style of stick fighting, with wooden sticks intended to simulate swords
  • Thang-Ta : Thang – Ta is popular term for the ancient Manipuri Martial Art known as Huyen Lallong. 

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