Current Affair Analysis

4th August 2018 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

5 Crore mark achieved by Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana; Anganwadi Centres (AWCs); Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme; Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G); Vidya Lakshmi Portal for Education Loan; National Sports University Bill, 2018; What is ‘Social Media Hub’? Strategic Investment Fund; National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF); Kadaknath chicken; First foreign lender to get RBI nod for subsidiary; WOW app; e-Aksharayan; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 06, 2018


Polity & Governance

  • Of the 14 lakh, about 1.36 lakh Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in urban areas

Government Schemes & Policies

  • National Sports University Bill passed in Lok Sabha
  • Centre withdraws Social Media Hub Policy
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana achieves 5 Crore mark
  • WHO praises Swachh Bharat’s rural component
  • Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua gets GI tag

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Vidya Lakshmi Portal for Education Loan


  • Strategic Investment Fund under NIIF

Key Facts for Prelims

  • First foreign lender to get RBI nod for subsidiary
  • WOW app
  • e-Aksharayan

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Polity & Governance

Of the 14 lakh, about 1.36 lakh Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in urban areas

As per the data captured through the ICDS Monitoring Information System, A total of 14 lakh AWCs have been sanctioned to various States/UTs across the country which consists of about 1.36 lakh AWCs located in the urban areas.


  • On 1st June 2018, about 13.63 lakh AWCs (rural and urban) are operational.
  • about 24.3% AWCs out of 13.63 lakh operational AWCs (rural and urban) are running in rented buildings.

About Anganwadi Centres (AWCs):

  • Anganwadi is a type of rural mother and child care centre in India.
  • They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.


  • They provide a package of six services–supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education– to women and children.

About Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme:


  • ICDS Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by states/UTs. It was launched on 2nd October 1975.
  • It has following objectives: Improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; Reduce mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; Promote policy coordination and implementation for promoting child development; Lay adequate foundation for psychological, physical and social well-being of  children etc.
  • Under the scheme, services such as Supplementary nutrition; Pre-school non-formal education; nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-ups; and Referral services through Anganwadi Centres for children below 6 years of age as well as to pregnant women and lactating mothers are offered.
[Ref: PIB]


Government Schemes & Policies 

National Sports University Bill passed in Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha has passed National Sports University Bill, 2018 to set up the country’s first National Sports University in Imphal, Manipur that will provide sports education, research and coaching.


  • The Bill replaces National Sports University Ordinance, 2018 promulgated by President in May 2018 to protect interests of students who already have been enrolled in National Sports University.

Highlights of the National Sports University Bill, 2017:

  • The Bill establishes a National Sports University located in Manipur.
  • It will promote sports education in the areas of: (i) sports sciences, (ii) sports technology, (iii) sports management, and (iv) sports coaching.
  • It will function as a national training centre for select sports disciplines.
  • It may also establish campuses and study centres in other parts of the country.
  • The University will be empowered to grant degrees, diplomas and certificates.



The key objectives of the University are:

  • research, development and dissemination of knowledge in physical education and sports sciences,
  • strengthening physical education and sports training programmes,
  • generating knowledge capabilities, skills and competence at various levels, and
  • training talented athletes to help them to evolve into international level athletes.

Authorities of the University: 

  • The Bill provides for several authorities under the University. These include: Court, Executive Council, Academic and Activity Council, Board of Sports Studies etc.

Role the central government:

  • The central government will review and inspect the functioning of the University.
  • The Executive Council may take action based on the inspection report. If it fails to take action to the satisfaction of the central government, it will have to comply with the directions issued by the central government.
  • Further, the central government may annul any proceeding of the University which is not in line with the Act.


  • The University will be required to maintain a fund which will be credited with the funds that it receives from the central government, state government, and fees and money received from any other sources (grants and gifts).
  • All funds of the University will be invested as decided by the Board on the recommendation of the Finance Committee.

Significance of setting up this university:

  • Setting up of National Sports University in Manipur will result in giving an opportunity for youth of country in general and of North Eastern States in particular for pursuing courses such as B.PEd, MPEd, Diploma / certificate courses in coaching, physiotherapy, fitness, sports management, sports journalism, etc.
  • This university is expected to bridge gap that exists in sports environment of country in various areas such as sports science, sports technology, high performance training.
[Ref: PIB]


Centre withdraws Social Media Hub Policy

Centre has notified Supreme Court that it has withdrawn proposal for setting up ‘Social Media Communication Hub’.


  • This comes after apex court had issued notice to centre earlier and had termed Government’s proposal to monitor online data using this hub akin to ‘creating a surveillance state’.


  • Earlier in January this year, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had come up with the plan to set up a ‘Social Media Communication Hub’ that would help it keep a tab on trending news in districts and gather feedback on the Centre’s flagship schemes.
  • The proposal to set up such a hub had turned controversial, as many called it an indirect measure to “snoop” on and influence voters.

What is ‘Social Media Hub’?

  • The ‘Social Media Hub’ proposes to monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even email) handles at the very local level in multiple languages to carry out “sentiment analysis”, track down the influence-making social media users and to categorise the conversations on social media into positive, negative and neutral sections.
  • The stated aim of the project was to enable the government to understand the impact of social media campaigns on welfare schemes and improve the reach of such campaigns.
  • It also aimed to track real time the way social media receives news on government’s schemes and announcements and also political events.
  • As per the proposal, the project is meant to strengthen the social media division and recruit social media managers to be deployed in 712 districts of the country.

Social media managers:

  • Under this project, social media managers would be employed on a contractual basis in each district to be the “eyes and ears” of the government.
  • These persons were supposed to provide real-time updates from the ground and take people’s feedback on the government’s policies.

Role of social media managers:

  • Social media manager will be entrusted with the tasks of keeping a close eye on the regional and local media, collecting data of regional media and of local events, providing content for social media and supporting media units at the regional level for social media publicity.
  • They will also monitor local editions of newspapers, local cable channels, local audio channels (FM) and key local social media handles for important local developments.
  • They will make a daily analysis report incorporating local sentiments to be sent to region head in the PIB as well as the media hub (command centre).

Significance of ‘Social Media Hub’:

  • Information received from this ‘Social Media Hub’ would help the government in formulating policies, schemes or rectify any flaws in their implementation at the ground level so that the ultimate beneficiary who is the common man is benefited and has a direct way to communicate any complaints regarding the same to the Government.

Concerns raised by the petitioner over the social media hub:

  • The project had two aspects — “mass surveillance apparatus that aims at collecting and analysing huge volumes of data, and profiling people based on that” and “utilising this data to predict the mood of people online and issue responses, including those targeted at individuals or groups”. The social media analytical tool is expected to ‘listen’ to conversations on all major digital channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, as well as blogs and news channels.

Thus, the petition alleged that such intrusive action on the part of the government, is not only without the authority of law, but brazenly infringes her fundamental right to freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Such action of the government also violates her right of privacy.

[Ref: The Hindu, Economic Times]


Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana achieves 5 Crore mark

Union Government has announced that it has reached target of providing 5 crore free LPG connections under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) almost eight months ahead of schedule.


  • On this occasion, Lok Sabha Speaker Smt Sumitra Mahajan handed over 5 croreth LPG connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to Smt Takrdiran of Delhi in the Parliament House.

Key Facts:


  • Through PMUY, initially, 5 crore BPL households were targeted for providing deposit free LPG connections to BPL households by 31st March,2019. In a record time of 28 months for its launch, PMUY achieved the initial target of providing 5 crores LPG connection to BPL households.
  • In the current year, considering the huge success of the Scheme, target was revised to 8 crores with budgetary allocation of Rs 12,800 crore.
  • Uttar Pradesh (87 lakh), West Bengal (67 lakh), Bihar (61 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (45 lakh), Rajasthan (37 lakh) and Odisha (30 lakh) are six states that have accounted for nearly 65% of connections provided under PMUY and 47% of overall beneficiaries are from weaker sections of society i.e., SC/STs.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised PMUY as one of decisive intervention by Government to address indoor air pollution which accounts for nearly 10 lakh deaths in year in the country.

About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana aims to provide five crore LPG connections to women in Below Poverty Line (BPL) households over the next three financial years, at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore.


  • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • It is first social welfare scheme implemented by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • The scheme will be partially funded from the savings accruing to the government from LPG users who gave up their subsidy as part of the Give It Up programme.
  • The new users who receive LPG connections under the scheme will not have to pay the security deposit, while the Rs. 1,600 administrative costs, cost of pressure regulator booklet and safety hose will be borne by the government.
  • The households will be selected using the socio-economic and caste census data. Consumers will have the option to purchase gas stove and refills on EMI.

Some of the objectives of the scheme are:

  • Empowering women and protecting their health.
  • Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  • Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  • Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.

Why should we opt for LPG?

  • About 75 crore Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking.
  • A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.
  • According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.
[Ref: PIB]


WHO praises Swachh Bharat’s rural component

World Health Organisation has released the progress report on potential health impact from increased sanitation coverage through the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G).


Highlights of the report:


  • Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) will result in preventing more than three lakh deaths due to diarrhoea and protein-energy malnutrition between 2014-October 2019.
  • India’s rural sanitation coverage has escalated to 89.07% till August 2. Under the SBM-G, 19 States and Union Territories were declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) and 7.9 crore toilets were built, while 421 districts were declared ODF. Also, more than 4.9 lakh villages in the country were declared ODF.
  • The WHO study showed that before the initiation of SBM-G, unsafe sanitation caused 199 million cases of diarrhoea annually and that by 2019, the initiative aims to achieve 100% sanitation coverage.


About Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin):

  • Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin seeks to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by 2019 through improving access to sanitation.
  • It also seeks to generate awareness to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, and encourage the use of appropriate technologies for sanitation.
  • SBM-Gramin mainly focuses on ensuring the use of toilets, besides their construction.
  • The States and their implementing agencies will be given incentives for meeting performance standards: reducing open defecation, sustaining their open defecation-free status and improving solid and liquid waste management in rural areas.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua gets GI tag

The famous Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh has now got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.


  • GI registration is valid up to a period of around five years till February 7, 2022.

Significance of the move:

  • GI tag will ensure that no one else can use name Kadaknath Chicken while selling any other black chicken.
  • It will also enhance its commercial value that will translate into higher prices for producers mainly tribal districts of Jhabua.

About Kadaknath chicken:

  • It is native tribal districts of Jhabua, Alirajpur and parts of Dhar in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Kadaknath chicken breed is unique for its black colour due to its black-feathers. Its black colour stems from the deposition of melanin pigment.
  • This breed of chicken is popular for its adaptability and flavourful good-tasting black meat, which is believed to have medicinal properties.
  • Kadaknath chicken contains 25-27% of protein in comparison with other breeds of chickens that contain 18% protein. It is also known for its high iron content. It has fat and cholesterol content lower compared with other chicken breeds.


[Note: For all about GI Tag, read 2nd August 2018 CAA] [Ref: The Hindu]


Issues related to Health & Education 

Vidya Lakshmi Portal for Education Loan

What is it?


  • Vidya Lakshmi Portal was launched by the Government on August 15, 2015 to ensure that students can avail loans easily through single window system of banks for education loans.
  • Vidya Lakshmi is a first of its kind portal for students seeking Education Loan.
  • This portal has been developed under the guidance of Department of Financial Services, (Ministry of Finance), Department of Higher Education (Ministry of Human Resource Development) and Indian Banks Association (IBA).
  • The portal has been developed and being maintained by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited.
  • Students can view, apply and track the education loan applications to banks anytime, anywhere by accessing the portal. The portal also provides linkages to National Scholarship Portal.

Why in news?

  • As part of its digital initiative, Karnataka Bank has integrated its education loan scheme/s with Vidya Lakshmi Portal.
[Ref: PIB] 



Strategic Investment Fund under NIIF

In recent past, the Finance Ministry is planning to set up a fund under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) dedicated for strategic investments.


  • As on date, three funds have been established by the Government under the NIIF platform and registered with SEBI.

Three funds are:

  1. Category II Alternative Investment Funds and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund II (‘Strategic Fund’)
  2. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (or Master Fund)
  3. NIIF Fund of Funds – I.

About Strategic Fund:

  • The objective of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund II (‘Strategic Fund’) is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments.
  • The Strategic Fund will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.
  • It will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.

About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF):

Proposed in Union Budget 2015, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has been set up in last month of 2015.

ias toppers National Investment and Infrastructure Fund info

  • The objective of NIIF is to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, NIIF would solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners.
  • The Fund aims to attract investment from both domestic and international sources.
  • The objective of NIIF is to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, NIIF would solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners.
  • NIIF has been structured as a fund of funds and set up as Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.
  • It is a Rs. 40000 crore fund to provide long term capital for infrastructure projects.
  • The government’s contribution would be limited to 49% of the subscribed capital.
  • The government will seek participation from strategic investors such as sovereign fund, quasi sovereign funds and multilateral or bilateral investors, which can help leverage this fund to many times.
  • Cash-rich PSUs, pension funds, provident funds, National Small Saving Fund will be able to pick up stake in the fund.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund 1234 ias

[Ref: PIB] 


Key Facts for Prelims 

First foreign lender to get RBI nod for subsidiary


  • Mauritius-based SBM Group has received Reserve Bank of India’s approval to operate in the country through a wholly-owned subsidiary route.
  • With this, SBM will be the first foreign lender to receive this kind of approval after local incorporation was introduced in 2013.
  • Singapore’s DBS Bank is another lender which is awaiting final approval from the RBI to convert its 12 branches into a wholly owned subsidiary.


WOW app


  • WOW (Wellness of Women) mobile application was recently launched by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), the women’s wing of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • It is aimed at creating awareness on preventive healthcare for women across the country.




  • At a symposium for Indian Languages Technology Industry ‘Bhashantara’ in New Delhi, the IT Ministry’s Ajay Prakash Sawhney has launched e-Aksharayan in 7 Indian languages.
  • e-Aksharayan is desktop software that can convert scanned printed Indian Language documents into a fully editable text format in Unicode encoding.
  • e-Aksharayan will work in the following languages: Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Bangla, Gurmukhi, and Assamese.


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