Current Affairs Analysis

26th April 2018 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

HARIMAU SHAKTI 2018; Declaration of Scheduled Areas in Rajasthan; scheduled areas; Fifth Schedule {Article 244(1)}; National Biopharma Mission; restructured National Bamboo Mission; Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0; MoU between India and Sao Tome and Principe in the field of Medicinal Plants; Location of Sao Tome and Principe; Atal New India Challenges; Atal Innovation Mission (AIM); Bhabha Kavach; Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC); Time Stamping and Time Synchronization network (TSTSN), etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 26, 2018


Polity & Governance

  • Cabinet approves declaration of Scheduled Areas in respect of Rajasthan

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Signing of Legal Agreements between India and World Bank on National Biopharma Mission
  • CCEA approves restructured National Bamboo Mission
  • HRD Ministry Launches Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Sao Tome and Principe on cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants

Science & Technology

  • NITI Aayog announces the launch of Atal New India Challenges
  • Bhabha Kavach: BARC offers first indigenous bulletproof vest

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Time Stamping and Time Synchronization network (TSTSN)

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Polity & Governance

Cabinet approves declaration of Scheduled Areas in respect of Rajasthan

The Union Cabinet has given approval to the declaration of Scheduled Areas in respect of Rajasthan under Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

  • This will ensure that the Scheduled Tribes of Rajasthan will get benefits of protective measures available under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

What are scheduled areas?

As per the Fifth Schedule {Article 244(1)} to the Constitution of India, the expression ‘Scheduled Areas’ means ‘such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas’. 

  • In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6(2) of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, the President may at any time by order increase the area of any Scheduled Area in a State after consultation with the Governor of that State; rescind, in relation to any State or States, any order or orders made under this paragraph, and in consultation with the Governor of the State concerned, make fresh orders redefining the areas which are to be Scheduled Areas.
  • The current fifth scheduled areas are in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.


  • The Executive power of the Union shall extend to giving directions to the respective States regarding the administration of the Scheduled Areas.
  • The Governors of the State in which there are “Scheduled areas” have to submit reports to the President regarding the administration of such Areas, annually or whenever required by the President.
  • Tribes Advisory Councils are to be constituted to give advice on such matters as welfare and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes.
  • The Governor is authorised to direct that any particular Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of the State shall not apply to a Scheduled Area or shall apply, only subject to exceptions or modifications. The Governor is also authorised to make regulations to prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by, or among members of the Scheduled Tribes.
  • The Governor may make regulations for the peace and good government of any area in a State which is for the time being a Scheduled Area.
  • These provisions of the Constitution relating to the administration of the Scheduled Areas and Tribes may be altered by Parliament or by ordinary legislation.
  • The Constitution provides for the appointment of a Commission to report on the administration of the Scheduled Areas and the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the States.
  • The President may appoint such Commission at any time, but the appointment of such Commission at the end of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution was obligatory.


  • The Scheduled Areas were first notified in 1950. Subsequently, Constitution Orders (CO) specifying Scheduled Areas in Rajasthan were issued in 1981.
  • Due to re­organization and creation of new districts and changes in population of Scheduled Tribes as per 2011 Census, Rajasthan Government has requested for extension of Scheduled Areas in the state.
[Ref: PIB] 


Government Schemes & Policies 

Signing of Legal Agreements between India and World Bank on National Biopharma Mission

The Union Government has entered into agreement with World Bank for flexible financing arrangement to accelerate research towards early development for biopharmaceuticals under National Biopharma Mission.


  • The agreement was signed between the project implementing agency – BIRAC a PSU of DBT, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (on behalf of World Bank).

About National Biopharma Mission:

  • The National Biopharma Mission is being implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) – a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • It aims to make India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective biopharmaceutical products such as vaccines, biologics and medical devices for combating public health concerns.
  • The programme will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to better address the rising burden of diseases in the country.
  • It will also bring isolated centres of excellence together, enhance regional capabilities and strengthen the current bio-clusters network in terms of capacities as well as quantity and quality of output.
  • This would strengthen translational capability of academic researchers; empower bio-entrepreneurs and SMEs by decreasing the cost and risk during early stages of product development and also elevate the innovation quotient of the industry.
[Ref: PIB]


CCEA approves restructured National Bamboo Mission

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) during remaining period of 14th Finance Commission (2018-20) with an outlay of Rs. 1290 crore.

  • The restructured mission will ensure holistic development of bamboo sector by addressing complete value chain and establish effective linkage of producers (farmers) with industry.


Empowerment of Executive Committee

  • CCEA has also approved Empowerment of Executive Committee for formulation of guidelines of NBM and make changes therein, including cost norms for various interventions from time-to-time as per needs felt and specific recommendations of states with approval of Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

Objectives of restructured NBM

  • Increase area under bamboo plantation in non-forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change.
  • Improve post-harvest management through establishment of innovative primary processing units, treatment and seasoning plants, primary treatment and seasoning plants, preservation technologies and market infrastructure.
  • Promote product development at micro, small and medium levels and feed bigger industry. Rejuvenate the under developed bamboo industry in India.
  • Promote skill development, capacity building, awareness generation for development of bamboo sector.


  • The restructured mission will benefit directly and indirectly farmers as well as local artisans and associated personnels engaged in bamboo sector including associated industries.
  • It will directly benefit about one lakh farmers as it has proposed to bring about one lakh ha area under plantation.
  • It is expected to establish about 4000 treatment and product development units and bring more than 100000 ha area under plantation.

States/districts to be covered: 

  • The restructured mission will focus on development of bamboo in limited states where it has social, commercial and economical advantage, particularly in North Eastern region and in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.


  • The bamboo plantation will contribute in optimizing farm productivity and income thereby enhancing livelihood opportunities of small and marginal farmers including landless and women as well as provide quality material to industry.
  • The restructured mission will serve as potential instrument for enhancing income of farmers and also contribute towards climate resilience and environmental benefits.
  • It will also help in creating employment generation directly or indirectly in both skilled and unskilled segments.

About National Bamboo Mission (NBM):

NBM, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme was started in 2006-07.

  • It was subsumed under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) during 2014-15 and continued till 2015-16.
  • It aims to promote growth of bamboo sector through area based regionally differentiated strategy.
  • The NBM mainly emphasized on propagation and cultivation of bamboo, with limited efforts on processing, product development and value addition. There is weak linkage between farmers (producers) and industry.
  • The restructured mission addresses the complete value chain for growth of the bamboo sector.


  • Increase coverage area under bamboo in potential areas, with improved varieties to enhance yields.
  • Promote marketing of bamboo and bamboo based handicrafts.
  • Establish convergence and synergy among stake-holders for the development of bamboo.
  • Promote, develop and disseminate technologies through seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge.
  • Generate employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths.
[Ref: The Hindu]


HRD Ministry Launches Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

Human Resource Development Ministry has launched Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0.


About Unnat Bharat Abhiyan:

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Human Resources Development, with the intention to enrich Rural India.
  • It aims to leverage the knowledge base and resources of the Premier Institutions of the country to bring in transformational change in rural developmental process.
  • It also aims to create a vibrant relationship between the society and the higher educational institutes, with the latter providing the knowledge and technology support to improve the livelihoods in rural areas and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and private organisations in the society.


About Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0:

  • Under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0, the institutions have been selected on a Challenge Mode and the scheme has been extended to 750 reputed Higher Educational Institutes (both public and private) of the country.
  • Also, scope for providing Subject Expert Groups and Regional Coordinating Institutes to handhold and guide the participating institutions has been strengthened.
  • IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this programme and the Ministry intends to extend the coverage to all the reputed Higher Educational Institutes, in a phased manner. Each selected institute would adopt a cluster of villages / panchayats and gradually expand the outreach over a period of time.

 [Ref: PIB]


Bilateral & International Relations 

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Sao Tome and Principe on cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants

The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sao Tome and Principe for Cooperation in field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy.

  • The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between two countries in areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine. This will be of immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural heritage.

Location of Sao Tome and Principe:


  • Sao Tome and Principe is an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa.
  • It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands: Sao Tome and Principe off the northwestern coast of Gabon.
  • It is the second-smallest African country after Seychelles.
[Ref: PIB]


Science & Technology 

NITI Aayog announces the launch of Atal New India Challenges

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the NITI Aayog has launched the Atal New India Challenge.

About the Atal New India Challenge:

It shall be run in collaboration with various ministries- Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.

  • Under the Atal New India Challenge, AIM will invite prospective innovators/MSMEs/start-ups to design market-ready products, using cutting edge technologies or prototypes across 17 identified focus areas such as Climate Smart Agriculture, Smart Mobility, Predictive Maintenance of Rolling Stock, Waste Management etc.
  • Applicants showing capability, intent and potential to productize technologies will be awarded grants up to Rs. One crore. This grant will be further supplemented by mentoring, handholding, incubating and other support as needed at various stages of commercialisation, while generating wider deployment for the product.

About Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country and revolutionizing the innovation eco-system – touching upon the entire innovation life cycle through various programs.
  • Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) create innovators, Atal Incubation Centre and support to Established Incubation Centre will take the innovations to the market and a network of Incubators shall help create enterprises around these innovations.
[Ref: PIB]


Bhabha Kavach: BARC offers first indigenous bulletproof vest

It is an armour panel developed by BARC which gives personal protection against bullets of different threat levels.

Key features:

  • Bhabha Kavach made up of BARC Nano-Sheets are lighter in weight with reduced trauma level with respect to the existing jackets.
  • The jacket is made using extremely hard boron carbide ceramics that is hot-pressed with carbon nano-tubes and composite polymer.


About Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC):

  • The BARC is India’s premier nuclear research facility based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • It is multi-disciplinary research center with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development.
  • Its R&D covers entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas.
  • BARC’s core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation.
[Ref: PIB]


Key Facts for Prelims 


As part of ongoing Indo-Malaysian defence cooperation, a joint training exercise HARIMAU SHAKTI is being conducted in Malaysia.

The exercise is aimed at bolstering cooperation & coordination between armed forces of both the nations and to share the expertise of both the contingents in conduct of counter insurgency operations in jungle terrain.



Time Stamping and Time Synchronization network (TSTSN)

  • National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) and Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical knowledge sharing for establishing nationwide Time Stamping and Time Synchronization network (TSTSN) and traceability of Time signal to UTC NPL Time.
  • The nationwide TSTSN consisting of 22 numbers of Time Synchronization Centers (TSC’s) will be set up by DoT with technical assistance from CSIR-NPL. 
  • This network will provide synchronizing pulse in Indian Standard Time (IST) to all Telecom & Internet Service providers (ISPs) in all 22 LSA (Licensed Service Areas) in the country.
  • The primary purpose of synchronizing telecom network with IST time stamp is to enable security agencies to overcome difficulty in analyzing and correlating cyber events in this era of advancement of telecom technology.
  • It will also improve telecom network efficiency by reducing packet loss due to reduced slips in better synchronized digital network.


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