Polity & Governance
- EPFO bags National Award on e-Governance
- Kerala becomes the first to achieve 100% literacy
Science & Technology
- Digital dividends not spreading rapidly, says World Bank
- Satellite technology to help NHAI monitor highway projects
Polity & Governance
EPFO bags National Award on e-Governance
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has won the National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for launching the Universal Account Number (UAN).
- The award has been announced by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances.
- The EPFO won the gold award in the ‘innovative use of technology in e-governance’ category and the retirement body will get a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.
- The EPFO had launched UAN in July 2014 for Employees covered by EPFO to enable PF number portability and so far 5.65 crore workers in 4.57 lakh organizations had been allocated UAN.
- The UAN facility enables workers to transfer their provident fund deposits while switching jobs anywhere in India easily.
- Through UAN, active employees are provided a universal number which can be linked to various provident fund account numbers provided to them while working in different organisations.
- A single account number can be used through all of workers’ employments with various organisations.
- When a worker changes his job, he is required to inform his UAN to new employer and after the previous and present employments are linked to the number, the transfer process happens on its own.
- Earlier, the worker had to apply for transfer of funds on change of job from one organisation to another. The portal also allows a worker view his provident fund balance on a real-time basis without going through the employer.
- The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), is a statutory body of the Government of India under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
- It administers a compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and an Insurance Scheme. The schemes cover Indian workers as well as International workers (for countries with which bilateral agreements have been signed.
- It is one of the largest social security organisations in India in terms of the number of covered beneficiaries and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
- The EPFO’s apex decision making body is the Central Board of Trustees (CBT).
[Ref: Hindu, Wiki]
Kerala becomes the first to achieve 100% literacy
The Vice-President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari has officially declared Kerala as the first state in the country to achieve 100% primary education status.
- This has been achieved through the primary education equivalency drive of the state literacy mission — Athulyam.
- The programme was aimed at providing primary education people aged between 15 and 50 years. It was implemented in two stages.
- The beneficiaries were identified through family registries prepared by anganwadis under the social justice department.
- In the second phase of this Athulyam programme, the students who have not received primary education or who failed to get primary education due to several reasons were recognised and these students were provided classes to achieve the education.
- What is also remarkable about the project is that it was completed using limited resources. The project also relied heavily on the participation of volunteers and the Panchayati Raj institutions.
Education in Kerala:
- The significance of education in Kerala is indicated by the state’s ranking as the most literate in the country.
- Schools and colleges are mostly administered by the government, private trusts, or individuals.
- Each school is associated with either the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), Kerala State Education Board or the (NIOS).
Science & Technology
Digital dividends not spreading rapidly, says World Bank
A new World Bank report titled ‘World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends’ noted that almost 1.063 billion Indians were offline even though India ranked among the top five nations in terms of the total number of Internet users, along with China, the U.S., Japan and Brazil.
- The report says that while the internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies are spreading rapidly throughout the developing world, the anticipated digital dividends of higher growth, more jobs, and better public services have fallen short of expectations.
Noted Facts of the Reoprt:
- With 60% of the world’s population still offline, institutional and regulatory barriers to efficiency are exacerbating the problem of low and unevenly distributed “digital dividends” from growing Internet penetration across countries.
- The report also notes that India, along with Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, has the greatest restrictions on service trade.
- The report also asks India to have an appropriate business environment, which shapes how firms adopt and use technology.
- With the advent of big data, which includes the likes of India’s Aadhaar unique identity project, secret snooping by governments can be for legitimate law enforcement reasons, but sometimes violates laws and rights.
- 57% of Indians believe private information on the Internet is very secure, but only 18% of French and 16% of German respondents do.
- The Bank’s report has also outlined several cases of NGOs partnering with the Indian government and such digital citizen engagement led to success with projects such as “I Change My City,” “I Paid A Bribe,” and the “Karnataka BVS.”
- With nearly 20% of the world’s population unable to read and write, the spread of digital technologies alone is unlikely to spell the end of the global knowledge divide. Yet, there were numerous examples worldwide of success stories where the power of the Internet had been leveraged to improve, for example, the delivery of public services.
Satellite technology to help NHAI monitor highway projects
NHAI has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) under Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and North East Centre for Technology Application and Research (NECTAR) for use of spatial technology for monitoring and managing National Highways.
- NHAI will take up some pilot projects with both the organizations to identify and finalise actual use and benefits of both satellite data & geospatial technology and UAV technology in highway and infrastructure sector.
- A technical cell would also be set up which will run 24×7 to provide relevant project specific data using this technology to project report Consultants, Engineers, staff and users.
- The use of satellite data and geospatial technology will be useful in providing inputs in highway and infrastructure projects for preparation of DPR, prefeasibility status in new alignment, upgrade/road widening, monitoring of road segments under construction and Road Asset Management System.
- The use and benefits of unmanned aerial vehicle technology will be useful in monitoring, construction progress, Road Asset Management, feasibility report and DPR preparation, immediate assessment and remedy of problematic spots etc.
- National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been entrusted with National Highways Development Project (NHDP), along with other projects for development, maintenance and management of National Highways across the country.
- To accomplish this mandate, it is required to use advanced and multiple technologies to expedite project preparation, monitor construction progress, operation and maintenance and optimal management of its assets.
- National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a part of ISRO, is the focal point for distribution of remote sensing satellite data products in India.
- The NRSC supplies satellite data products acquired by Indian Satellites (ISRO) and also by the foreign satellite product companies.
- North East Centre for Technology Application and Research (NECTAR), Department of Science and Technology uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for acquiring aerial images for infrastructure planning.