Polity & Governance
- First Phase of ESICS Pilot Project of Telemedicine Services inaugurated
- Union government launched #Gas4India campaign
- Govt approves 6 start-up centres
- CSCs may assemble LED lamps to boost rural economy: Prasad
- 20,000 Crore Long Term Irrigation Fund to be Raised
Bilateral & International Relations
- Expansion of India – Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)
Key Facts for Prelims
- Grauer’s gorilla
- Credit Rating of ULBs
- Sri Lanka is now malaria-free
- Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
- Naval Ship Trikand
Polity & Governance
First Phase of ESICS Pilot Project of Telemedicine Services inaugurated
Union government has inaugurated the first phase of Tele-medicine services of ESIC for providing specialist medical services at a distance to insured workers.
- With this Employees State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) Model Hospital Basaidarapur has been connected with three ESIS dispensaries at Katihar (Bihar), Unnao (UP) and Rudarpur (Uttrachal).
About the Tele-medicine services of ESIC:
- ESIC has launched an ambitious Pilot Project of Tele-Medicine Services at 11 ESI locations in coordination with C-DAC, Mohali.
- It was launched under the aegis of “Digital Inclusive and Smart Community (DISC)” which is a part of Digital India Programmed of Government of India.
- Under it, three specialized ESIC Hospitals will be connected with eight ESI Dispensaries at remote locations of the country where there are no specialized ESI healthcare services available.
- In second and third phase rest of the two Hospitals and five Dispensaries will be connected by month end thereby providing specialized health care services at the doorsteps of the IPs and their family members.
Union government launched #Gas4India campaign
Union government has launched #Gas4India campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country.
What is #Gas4India campaign?
- #Gas4India is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business.
What does the campaign include?
- The campaign includes social engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and its official blogsite, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events.
Govt approves 6 start-up centres
The Central government has approved six proposals to set up centres of excellence to promote and fund start-ups under the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovation (NIDHI), a programme steered by the Department of Science and Technology.
- The government has earmarked ₹500 crore to scale up the start-up eco system, under which seed funding of up to ₹10 lakh will be given to develop a prototype and access fabrication facilities in incubators.
NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations) is an umbrella program for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups.
- It is pioneered by the Department of Science & Technology(DST), Government of India.
Aim of NIDHI:
The program aims to provide technological solutions not only to the pressing needs of the society but also targets to create new avenues for wealth and job creation.
- NIDHI focuses on building a seamless and innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem especially by channelizing youth towards it and thereby bringing in the positive impact on the socio-economic development of the country.
Key stakeholders of NIDHI:
- The key stakeholders of NIDHI include various departments and ministries of the central government, state governments, academic and R & D institutions, mentors, financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists, industry champions and private sectors.
- NIDHI, by design connects and strengthens all the links of the innovation chain from scouting to sustaining to securing to scaling to showcasing, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
- NIDHI strongly addresses the new national aspirations by massively scaling up DST’s experience of three decades in promoting innovative startups.
CSCs may assemble LED lamps to boost rural economy: Prasad
To boost rural economy, the government plans to enable assembly and manufacturing of LED lights at the 2.29 lakh Common Service Centers (CSCs) in the country.
- Through these centers, the government will also provide in rural regions, tele-consultation services for animal healthcare as well as legal issues.
- Kits for testing of dieseses such as malaria and dengue will also be made available at these centers.
What are the Common Services Centers (CSCs)?
Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme.
- They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.
- CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:
- Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
- Governance and services on demand.
- Digital empowerment of citizens.
Significance of the CSCs:
- CSCs are more than service delivery points in rural India. They are positioned as change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods.
- They are enablers of community participation and collective action for engendering social change through a bottom-up approach with key focus on the rural citizen.
Rs. 20,000 Crore Long Term Irrigation Fund to be Raised
In a move that aims to address the perennial irrigation water crisis affecting rural India, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and NABARD signed an agreement to operationalise the Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF).
- The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will raise in phases over Rs 77,000 crore from market to fund around 100 prioritised irrigation projects, including 56 in drought-prone areas, under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKYS) over the next four years.
- The remaining Rs 57,000 crore would be raised through NABARD in case states fail to pool their share of fund for completing the irrigation projects.
- The fund will be instituted in NABARD as part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
- The agreement aims to complete the 99 prioritized irrigation projects as part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
- The loans from NABARD will be provided at 6% interest rate for a period of 15 years. The Water Users associations will be formed for participatory management of the projects.
- Corpus would be raised by way of budgetary resources and market borrowings to fund fast tracking of implementation of incomplete major & medium irrigation projects.
- The Fund, with an initial corpus of about Rs 20,000 crore, was announced in the Union Budget 2016-17 by Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) is a national mission to improve farm productivity and ensure better utilization of the resources in the country.
- Under PMKSY, the government plans to spend Rs 50,000 crore over five years.
- It seeks to amalgamate three major ongoing irrigation programmes of the Centre –
- The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme of Ministry of Water Resources
- Integrated Watershed management programme of Ministry of Rural Development and Land Resources, and
- The farm water management component of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture of the Department of Agriculture.
- The scheme would be implemented in ‘mission mode’, which means the district administration draws up their own irrigation plan with the help of district forest officers, lead bank officer and other departments. The state irrigation plan will be an amalgamation of all the district plans.
- The plan additionally calls for bringing ministries, offices, organizations, research and financial institutions occupied with creation and recycling of water under one platform. The goal is to open the doors for optimal water budgeting in all sectors.
Objectives of the PMKSY:
- The primary objectives of PMKSY are to attract investments in irrigation system at field level, develop and expand cultivable land under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani), enhance ranch water use in order to minimize wastage of water, enhance crop per drop by implementing water-saving technologies and precision irrigation.
Bilateral & International Relations
Expansion of India – Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)
An agreement on the expansion of India–Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed between India and Chile.
- The agreement is expected to considerably strengthen the commercial relations between both the countries.
- Under the expanded PTA, Chile has offered concessions to India on 1,798 products and India reciprocated with concessions on 1,031 products.
- Chile has offered concessions to India with margin of preference (extent to which duties are lower than those offered to other countries) ranging from 30% to 100%. While India has offered concessions to Chile with margin of preference between 10% and 100%.
- India’s export basket with Chile is diversified and keeping in view the wide variety of tariff lines offered by Chile, the expanded PTA would immensely benefit India.
- Expansion of India-Chile PTA will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries.
- The expansion would be an important landmark in India-Chile relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relations that have existed between India and Latin American countries.
India and Chile first signed a PTA in March 2006 but it was limited in scope.
- India’s offer list to Chile in the initial PTA consisted of 178 tariff lines with a margin of preference ranging from 10% to 50%.
- Chile’s offer list to India comprised 296 tariff lines with margin of preference ranging from 10% to 100%.
What is Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)?
- A preferential trade agreement is a trading bloc that gives preferential access to certain products from the participating countries. This is done by reducing tariffs but not by abolishing them completely.
- A PTA can be established through a trade pact. It is the first stage of economic integration.
Key Facts for Prelims
Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), a subspecies of eastern gorilla, the world’s largest ape, and confined to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The announcement was made at the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently underway in Hawaii.
Critically Endangered status means that a species is considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction.
Credit Rating of ULBs
Under the initiative of Credit Rating of urban local bodies (ULBs), 85 cities have launched the process and the same has been completed in respect of 12. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has got A- – rating (positive credit worthy). All these 85 cities would be given credit rating by March next year. Pune and Ahmedabad are in advanced stage of going for municipal bonds.
The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has gone LIVE on e-office.
All required arrangements have been made in the last three months. This included a joint training of officers and other employees to bring them on the same page with regard to e-office procedures, understanding the modules of e-office etc. A Central Registry Unit and technical support team has been created to ensure smooth transition from physical files to the electronic platform.
The e-office platform would not only digitize the entire office correspondence and file notings, but also ensure an audit trail of all entries and correspondence, thus providing an unprecedented level of accountability. It also migrates the chain of custody from the individual to the system allowing easy access to relevant documents at all times.
Sri Lanka is now malaria-free
Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free and will get a certificate from the World Health Organization.
It is the second country to eradicate malaria in the region after Maldives, which has been free of the disease since 1984.
Sri Lanka’s achievement is truly remarkable. In the mid-20th century, it was among the most malaria-affected countries, but now it is malaria-free.
Sri Lanka had begun an anti-malaria campaign that successfully targeted the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the disease, not just mosquitoes. Health education and effective surveillance also helped the campaign. To prevent parasites re-entering the country, the anti-malaria campaign is working with local and international partners to maintain surveillance and screening.
According to a 2015 WHO report, India is in the “control phase” with regard to malaria, but is working to reach pre-elimination by 2017 and to complete elimination thereafter.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted to people through the bite of infected female anopheles mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills and vomiting.
Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
It is eight-seater chopper under development for the armed forces.
It has been designed to carry out various utility roles such as reconnaissance, transport, cargo load, quick response and special operation.
It can also be used for ferrying VVIPs, as air ambulance, for policing and to search, rescue and evacuate people.
Recently, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has successfully conducted a technical flight of the new indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).
Naval Ship Trikand
In a demonstration of India’s commitment to its ties with Tanzania, Indian Naval Ship Trikand has arrived at Dar Es Salaam on a three-day visit, as part of its deployment to the East Coast of Africa and Island nations in the Western Indian Ocean.