PIB Analysis Date : 17/12/2018


Topics Covered

  1. Boost to educational infrastructure in tribal areas
  2. Salient Features of SEZ Schemes
  3. National Digital Communication Policy 2018
  4. India’s first military flight using Blended Bio-Jet Fuel Flown by IAF
  5. FDI Inflow (Prelims)
  6. Based on questions asked in the Parliament
  7. Mou’s Signed (Mainly Important for Mains)

1 . Boost to educational infrastructure in tribal areas

Boost to educational infrastructure in tribal areas 
Each block with over 50% tribal population and over 20,000 tribals to have EMRSs
462 new Eklavya Model Residential Schools to set up
Autonomous Society under M/o Tribal Affairs to run the EMRSs
Cabinet approves revamping of ‘Eklavya Model Residential Schools’

About the Release

  • Approval for setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons.
  • There will be an Autonomous Society under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs similar to NavodayaVidyalayaSamiti to run the EMRSs.
  • Upgradation of already sanctioned EMRSs on need basis with unit cost subject to a maximum of Rs. 5 crore per school.
  • Setting up sports facilities in 163 tribal dominated districts at a unit cost of Rs. 5 crore each to be constructed by the year 2022. 
  • Enhancing the grants for maintenance which are admissible every five years from Rs 10 lakh to Rs.20 Lakh.


  • EMRS is an excellent approach for imparting quality education to ST children. Apart from school building including hostels and staff quarters, provision fora playground, students’ computer lab, teacher resource room etc. are also included in the EMRSs. This initiative will benefit ST students immensely.
  • By focusing on specific intervention to cater to the educational needs of STs, the quality of the life of STs is expected to improve to the level of rest of the social groups and a visible impact by 2021 Census.

2 . Salient Features of SEZ Schemes

Exports from SEZs at Rs. 3.33 lakh crore; Employment generation at 19.96 lakh persons

  • A designated duty free enclave to be treated as a territory outside the customs territory of India for the purpose of authorised operations in the SEZ;
  • No licence required for import;
  • Manufacturing or service activities allowed;
  • The Unit shall achieve Positive Net Foreign Exchange to be calculated cumulatively for a period of five years from the commencement of production;
  • Domestic sales subject to full customs duty and import policy in force;
  • Full freedom for sub-contracting;
  • No routine examination by customs authorities of export or import cargo;
  • SEZ developers, co-developers and units enjoy direct tax and indirect tax benefits as prescribed in the SEZs Act.
  • SEZs being set up under the SEZ Act, 2005 and SEZs Rules, 2006 are primarily private investment driven. No funds are sanctioned by the Central Government for setting up of SEZ. However, fiscal concessions and duty benefits have been allowed to developers and units as per the SEZ Act and Rules thereunder

3 . National Digital Communication Policy 2018

Broadband for All & Creating 4 Million Jobs key objectives of NDCP-2018


  1. The present world has entered the era of modern technological advancements in the Telecom Sector such as 5G, IoT, M2M etc., a need was being felt to introduce a ‘customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ policy for the Indian Telecom Sector which can form the main pillar of Digital India by addressing emerging opportunities for expanding not only the availability of Telecom services but also Telecom based services.
  2. Accordingly, the new National Digital Communications Policy -2018 has been formulated, in place of the existing National Telecom Policy-2012, to cater to the modern needs of the digital Communications Sector of India.

About NDCP 2018

  • The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and Communications needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable Digital Communications Infrastructure and Services.
  • The key objectives are to be achieved by 2022. The key objectives are
  1. Provisioning of Broadband for all;
  2. Creating 4 Million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector;
  3. Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017;
  4. Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017;
  5. Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains;
  6. Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.
  • The policy, inter-alia, aims to provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen; provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats of India by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022; ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas; attract investments of USD 100 Billion in the Digital Communications Sector;
  • Train 1 Million manpower for building New Age Skill; expand IoT ecosystem to 5 Billion connected devices; establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals and facilitates India’s  effective participation in the global digital economy; and Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and secure digital communications infrastructure and services.
  • The policy further advocates for establishment of a National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority; establishing Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects; creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way,standardization of costs and timelines; removal of barriers to approvals; and facilitating development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.

4 . India’s first military flight using Blended Bio-Jet Fuel Flown by IAF

  • Experimental Test Pilots and Test Engineer from IAF’s premier testing establishment ASTE, flew India’s first military flight using blended bio-jet fuel on the An-32 transport aircraft.
  • Indian Air Force carried out extensive engine tests on the ground. This is now followed by flight trials using 10% biojet blended ATF.
  • This fuel is made from Jatropha oil sourced from Chattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority (CBDA) and then processed at CSIR-IIP, Dehradun.
  • IAF intends to fly the An-32 transport aircraft using biojet fuel on 26 January 2019, in the Republic Day flypast.

5 . FDI Inflow (Prelims)

Details of FDI in the country during last four years are given below:

S. No.Financial YearFDI Inflow (in USD Billion)

6 . Based on questions asked in the Parliament

Achievements of Make in India Programme

  • Six industrial corridors are being developed across various regions of the country. Industrial cities will also come up along these corridors.
  • India has become a net exporter of electricity – 7203 MU exported to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar during 2017-18.
  • One of the world’s largest 648-MW solar power plant in Tamil Nadu was commissioned on September 21, 2016.
  • Two path breaking prototype locomotives of WAGC3 & WAG11 class of 10,000 and 12,000 hp respectively were developed indigenously by converting existing diesel locomotive to upgraded electric locomotive.
  • Asia’s largest MedTech Zone (AMTZ) has been set up in Andhra Pradesh.
  • 88 cold chain projects were commissioned during June 2014 to August 2018, thereby, creating additional food processing capacity of 3.9 lakh tones.
  • Three textile mega clusters in Bareilly, Lucknow and Kutch are being set up, thereby benefitting 14505 artisans.
  • Major ports in India have added capacity of 92.19 MTPA during FY 2017-18. Total turnaround time at these ports has reduced by 33% from 96 hrs in FY 2014-15 to 64.32 hrs in FY 2017-18.

Adopt A Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan scheme : 10 monuments adopted under the ‘Adopt A Heritage’ project

  • It is a collaborative effort by Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments and envisages development and maintenance of tourist amenities at heritage sites and making them tourist friendly, to enhance tourism potential and cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.
  • The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public conveniences, safe drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signages, illumination, Wi-fi etc.
  • No fund is given by Ministry of Tourism. The Project envisages involvement of Private/Public Companies / Organizations and Individuals to adopt Monuments, Natural Heritage Sites and other Tourist Sites in the country, primarily under CSR

Project ‘Mausam’ extended up to 2020 with the pre-approved fund of Rs 60,039,297: Dr. Mahesh Sharma

  • Project ‘Mausam’ is the initiative of Ministry of Culture to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies.
  • This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean.
  • The main objective of the project is to inscribe places and sites identified under Project Mausam as trans-national nomination for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Promotion of E-Education

  • ICT in Education Curricula for School system: ICT in Education Curricula for students, teachers and teacher educators has been developed at the national level and being implemented across the country.
  • e-pathshala:  e-pathshala has been developed by NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training) for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials. 
  • Shagun portal: A web portal called ShaGun (from the words Shaala and Gunvatta) which has two parts, one of which is a Repository of good practices, photographs, videos, studies, newspaper articles etc on school education, State /UT wise has been developed which is in public domain. Its purpose is to showcase success stories and also to provide a platform for all stakeholders to learn from each other. This also instills a positive competitive spirit among all the States and UTs.
  • National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) –The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) is an initiative to bring together all digital and digitisable resources across all stages of school education and teacher education. 
  • SWAYAM:The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) an integrated platform for online courses, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level. It also offers online courses for students, teachers and teacher educators. 
  • SWAYAM PRABHA:-A programme for utilization of satellite communication technologies for transmission of educational e-contents through 32 National Channels i.e. SWAYAM  PRABHA DTH-TV has been launched. 
  • National Digital Library (NDL):- The National Digital Library of India (NDL) is a project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility.  

Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan aims to link the Higher Education Institutions with atleast (5) villages, so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.
  • It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between the society and an inclusive university system, with the latter providing knowledge base; practices for emerging livelihoods and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and private sectors
  • Objectives of the scheme are (i) To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions in understanding rural realities; (ii) Identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of existing technologies and development of new   technologies, or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions, as required by people; and (iii) To allow Higher Educational Institutions to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government Programs.

Migration of Tribals

  • As per the “Report of the Expert Committee on Tribal Health ‘Tribal Health in India’ Bridging the Gap and a Roadmap for the Future”, 104 million tribal people in India are largely concentrated in ten states and in the North-East.
  • Almost 90% of the tribal population of the country lives in rural areas.  There are 90 districts or 809 blocks with more than 50% tribal population and they account for nearly 45% of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) population in the country. 
  • In other words, almost 55% of the tribal population lives outside these 809 tribal majority blocks. 
  • The above report also states that as per Census, 2011 over two-thirds of the tribal population is working in the primary sector (as against 43% of the non-tribal population), and is heavily dependent on agriculture either as cultivators or as agricultural labourers
  • The tribals people are increasingly moving from being cultivators to agricultural labourers.
  • It is estimated that, in the last decade, about 3.5 million tribal people have left agriculture and agriculture-related activities to enter the informal labour market.
  • Displacement and enforced migration has also led to an increasing number of Scheduled Tribes working as contract labourers in the construction industry and domestic workers in major cities.  Currently, one of every two tribal households relies on manual labour for survival.
  • Constitutional provisions under Schedule – V provide safeguards against displacement of tribal population because of land acquisitions etc. The Governor of the State which has Scheduled Areas is empowered to prohibit or restrict transfer of land from tribals and regulate the allotment of land to members of the Scheduled Tribes in such cases. Government has also enacted several Laws which have specific provisions with regard to displacement, rehabilitation and resettlement of tribal people

7. MoU’s signed

Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and France in the field of new and renewable energy

  • The objective of the MoU is to define the modalities of discussions concerning, in particular, the future collaboration regarding in a pilot project to provide SECI an e-vehicle charging station with embedded batteries, powered by solar panels and optimized connection to the grid in order to support the Indian governments ambitious plan for the deployment of electrical vehicles by maximizing solar mobility and minimizing its grid impact.

Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and Afghanistan in the field of human resource development

  • The MoU would facilitate students and faculty of Educational Institutions in Afghanistan to register and use the SWAYAM Courses. Also, it would facilitate them to upload on SWAYAM, the courses developed in Afghanistan. The required training to students and faculty from Afghanistan would be imparted by MHRD, Government of India.
  • Through this MoU, both the countries agree to sign an agreement on mutual recognition of academic qualifications. This is expected to promote student mobility under Study in India program, by attracting more foreign students to come and study in Afghan Institutions.
  • SWAYAM, India’s own MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) platform offers various online courses prepared by the best faculty from across the country. Till date, more than 35 Lakhs students have enrolled in about 2000 courses that have been offered through SWAYAM. The students can avail credit transfer upto 20 % for the courses done through SWAYAM. Also, this platform is being used to provide Annual Refresher courses for higher education faculty.

Cabinet apprised of Joint Issue of Postage Stamps by India and South Africa

  • India and South Africa mutually agreed to jointly issue Postage Stamps on India-South Africa: Joint Issue on the theme “125th Year of Mahatma Gandhi’s Pietermaritzburg Station Incident & Birth Centenary of Nelson Mandela”. 

Cabinet approves signing of MoU between India and Australia for Cooperation in the Disability Sector

  • The MoU will encourage cooperation between India and Australia, through joint initiatives in the disability sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Australia. Further, the MoU will facilitate in improving rehabilitation of persons with disabilities especially for persons with intellectual disability and mental illness in both the countries.  Both the countries will take up specific proposals in disability sector as mutually agreed upon, for implementation.

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