Polity & Governance
- PM announces Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
- Silver Award for e-filing of Income Tax Returns project
- World’s Largest LED Street Lighting Programme to the Nation
- 50% jump in smuggling of currency, reveals DRI
Bilateral & International Relations
- India, France ink pact for satellite launch
Key Facts for Prelims
- Nobel Prize Series India Exhibition
- Pakistan successfully conducts first test fire of nuclear-capable submarine cruise missile Babur-3
- Dhanush, India’s first long-range artillery gun
- Silver Award for Excellence in Citizen Centric Services
- India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI)
Polity & Governance
PM announces Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
On the sidelines of the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a scheme, Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY), to skill Indian youth seeking jobs abroad.
- The PKVY is aimed at skilling Indians seeking employment abroad.
- The programme is also aimed at boosting the confidence of the Indian youth so that they don’t feel like strangers when they land in a country of their choice for vocation.
- PKVY will train and certify Indians, who are keen on overseas employment in select sectors, in line with international standards.
- It will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation through its training partners and in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Skill Development Ministry.
- For this purpose, NSDC will leverage various MoUs it signed between 2011 and 2015 with different agencies of Germany, Canada, Australia, Singapore, UK, US, European Union, France, Iran and China.
Silver Award for e-filing of Income Tax Returns project
The Income Tax Department has been conferred the Silver Award in the National Awards on e-Governance-2016-17.
- The award has been conferred for the e-filing of Income Tax returns and other forms project in the category “Incremental Innovations” in existing projects.
- The award is in recognition of the achievements of the Department in the area of e-Governance and for significant innovations in successful e-Governance programs in the current Award period.
- The e-filing of Income Tax returns project had already won the Silver Award in the National Awards on e-Governance in 2007-08.
Innovations introduced by Income Tax Department:
Below are the path breaking innovations introduced by the Department in the e-filing of Income Tax returns:
Introduction of Electronic Verification Code (EVC):
- This innovation introduced in July 2015 enables the citizen to electronically verify Income tax returns and other forms using EVC.
- This is done through third party authentication services provided by Aadhaar using Aadhaar OTP, authentication by banks using net banking, ATM, bank account validation and security depositories such as NSDL and CDSL using demat account validation.
Securing taxpayer account using E-filing Vault-
- This innovation aims at adding one more level of authentication and enables the tax payer to completely secure the e-filing account to prevent any unauthorized access.
Easy compliance through Non-Filers Monitoring and E-Sahyog-
- This innovation aims at providing convenience to the tax payer for submitting tax compliance response through the e-filing portal.
- The taxpayer can now sitting at home or office any time any where respond to any letter from the Department seeking taxpayer clarification regarding non filing of return or any mismatch in Income Tax return.
- This innovation has the potential to significantly reduce compliance cost and increase voluntary compliance.
World’s Largest LED Street Lighting Programme to the Nation
The Union Ministry of Power unveiled world’s largest street light replacement programme in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area.
- It is implemented under LED based Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture under the Union Ministry of Power.
About the Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP):
- The Central Government’s Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) was launched in January 2015.
- Under the programme around 3.5 crore conventional street lights will be replaced with smart and energy efficient LED street lights by March 2019.
- The programme aims to install LED bulbs street-lighting across different cities in the country. The LED lights will replace inefficient lamps.
- It is presently running in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
50% jump in smuggling of currency, reveals DRI
The recently-released data by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Customs show a 50% jump in smuggling of Indian, foreign and counterfeit currency notes over the previous years.
- The figures are for the financial year 2014, 2015 and 2016 (up to March).
- The figures do not mirror the impact of demonetisation.
- Nearly ₹36.87 crore of foreign currency notes was seized in 2016, as opposed to ₹25.09 crore in 2015.
- The seizure of Indian notes was to the tune of ₹6.85 crore in 2016 as against ₹3.71 crore in 2015, while the seizure of counterfeit Indian notes rose to ₹2.72 crore in 2016 from ₹1.24 crore in the previous year.
- The data also reveals a 100% rise in smuggling of narcotics, electronic, fabrics, and aircraft parts.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is an Indian intelligence agency.
- It was constituted on 4th December 1957.
- DRI is the major intelligence agency which eradicates smuggling of drugs, gold, diamonds, electronics, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency, etc.
- The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence functions under the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue.
- The Directorate is run by officers from Central Excise and Customs.
- The Directorate is run by officers from Central Excise and Customs. The organisation runs on much smaller staff than other intelligence agencies.
- Though its early days were committed to combating smuggling in of gold, it now also addresses narcotics and economic crimes.
Bilateral & International Relations
India, France ink pact for satellite launch
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French Space agency (CNES) have signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology.
- Besides, agreement was also signed for equipping Axiom Research Lab’s lunar rover with two latest-generation CASPEX micro-cameras, developed by CNES in partnership with French firm 3DPlus.
Significance of this agreement:
- This agreement will strengthen the CNES-ISRO partnership. It will enable France to benefit from the Indian model of streamlining the costs of space programmes.
- Space cooperation is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership and spans over 50 years.
- ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of volume, after NASA.
Key Facts for Prelims
Nobel Prize Series India Exhibition
- Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Nobel Prize Series Exhibition in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- It is the first-of-its-kind conclave of Nobel laureates to be held in India.
- It has been organised by Nobel Media and coordinated by the Department of Biotechnology.
- Nine Nobel laureates are attending it and interact with students of Indian Universities.
- In 2016, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and Nobel Media had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for hosting Nobel Prize Series in India for the next 5 years.
Pakistan successfully conducts first test fire of nuclear-capable submarine cruise missile Babur-3
- Pakistan successfully test-fired its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
- This launch gives Pakistan a “credible” second-strike capability.
- The Babur-3 missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean and hit its target with precise accuracy.
- It has a range of 450km.
- It has been named after the first Mughal Emperor Zahir-ud-Din Babur.
- Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2.
- It incorporates state-of-the-art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems.
- It features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences.
- It also has certain stealth technologies, in an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.
- Babur-3 SLCM in land-attack mode, is capable of delivering various types of payloads including conventional as well as nuclear warheads.
Dhanush, India’s first long-range artillery gun
- Recently, the Indian Army has successfully conducted ‘user-validation’ trials of indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) Dhanush.
- It is India’s first, self-made, long-range artillery gun.
- It is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the private sector companies.
Silver Award for Excellence in Citizen Centric Services
- Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and the Oil Marketing Companies Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL collectively received Silver Award for Excellence in Citizen Centric Services in the National Awards on e-Governance 2016-17.
- The award is in recognition of the achievements of the Ministry and OMCs for significant innovations in the area of e-governance and various initiatives for the LPG sector like Sahaj (online issue of new connections), online refill payment, etc.
India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI)
- It is in news because it received more donations than last year at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 207.
- India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI) is a not-for-profit Trust set-up by the Government of India to facilitate philanthropic contributions by Overseas Indians to social and development projects in India.
- Presently, IDF-OI is promoting flagship programmes of Government of India- Swachh Bharat Mission and National Mission for Clean Ganga; and projects identified by the State Govts, for funding by Overseas Indians.
- Working with State Governments in areas such as sanitation; education; drinking water; women’s empowerment et/c, IDF-OI is offering projects for funding by Overseas Indians.
- Overseas Indians can contribute as an individual, or a group of individuals or even through their respective Indian Associations.
- IDF-OI does not recover any administrative cost from contributions received from Overseas Indians.