Daily Current Affairs
Aimed at empowering vulnerable and marginalised women by imparting skills training, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will soon set up a skill development centre at ‘Bharosa,’ an integrated support centre for distressed women and children in Hyderabad.
- ‘Bharosa,’ an initiative of Hyderabad City Police, is a state-of-the-art centre to support women and children who are victims of violence. Since its inception in 2016, a total of 3,560 victims have approached ‘Bharosa’ centre with a range of problems.
- ‘Bharosa’ provides under one roof, 24X7 services related to police, medical, legal, prosecution, psycho-therapeutic counselling and relief and rehabilitation services in completely private counselling rooms to maintain confidentiality and privacy.
- The centre is equipped with well-trained staff and modern gadgets, including facilities like video conferencing, so that the victims need not go to the court.
- Headquartered in New York City, UNDP advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.
- The status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly.
- The UNDP Administrator is the third highest-ranking official of the United Nations after the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General.
- The UNDP Human Development Report Office also publishes an annual Human Development Report.
A meeting of stakeholders on Samarth – Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector under the Skill India Mission was recently held in New Delhi to familiarize the stakeholders about the scheme and its guidelines. The meeting was chaired by Union Minister of Textiles, Smt Smriti Zubin Irani.
About Samarth scheme:
- The broad objective of the scheme is to skill the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector covering the entire value chain of textiles, excluding spinning and weaving.
- The scheme is intended to provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) compliant skilling programmes to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the textiles sectors.
- The scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakh in organised and 1 lakh in traditional sector) over a period of 3 years (2017-20), with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore.
- National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) organizes qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude. These levels are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.
- There are 10 levels in the framework, with the entry level being 1, and the highest level being 10. This will enable a person to acquire desired competency levels, transit to the job market and, at an opportune time, return for acquiring additional skills to further upgrade competencies.
- The framework would be anchored and operationalized by the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), an autonomous body attached to the Ministry of Finance, mandated to coordinate and harmonize skill development efforts of the Government of India and the private sector.
Significance of NSQF:
- The NSQF would also help shift emphasis to outcome based learning – both in the general and vocational space.
- NSQF will also facilitate Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) that is largely lacking in the present education and training scenario. Additionally, it would help alignment of Indian qualifications to international qualifications.
- The credit accumulation and transfer system that will be integrated in the NSQF will allow people to move between education, vocational training and work at different stages in their lives according to their needs and convenience.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) Programme
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has shipped the first oil cargo for India’s strategic petroleum reserve at Mangalore.
- Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) had then signed an agreement with ADNOC which allows the firm to store 5.86 million barrels of crude in the strategic facility at Mangalore at its own cost.
- India can use the entire available crude oil stored by ADNOC in the Mangalore facility during an emergency situation. The Agreement with ISPRL also allows ADNOC to sell part of the crude oil to Indian refineries on commercial basis while adhering to mutually agreed minimum crude storage which is for the exclusive use of the Indian government.
About SPR programme:
- To ensure energy security, the Government of India had decided to set up 5 million metric tons (MMT) of strategic crude oil storages at three locations namely, Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur (near Udupi). These strategic storages would be in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and would serve as a cushion during any external supply disruptions.
- In the 2017-18 budget, it was announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase.
- The construction of the Strategic Crude Oil Storage facilities is being managed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
Need for strategic oil reserves:
- In 1990, as the Gulf war engulfed West Asia, India was in the throes of a major energy crisis. By all accounts India’s oil reserves at the time were adequate for only three days. While India managed to avert the crisis then, the threat of energy disruption continues to present a real danger even today.
- It is unlikely that India’s energy needs will dramatically move away from fossil fuels in the near future. Over 80% of these fuels come from imports, a majority of which is sourced from West Asia. This is a major strategic risk and poses a massive financial drain for an embattled economy and its growing current account deficit.
- To address energy insecurity, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government mooted the concept of strategic petroleum reserves in 1998. Today, with India consuming upwards of four million barrels of crude every day (January 2015 figures), the case for creating such reserves grows stronger.
Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana
The Centre has signed MoU with four States – Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Union Territory of Chandigarh for implementing Ayushman Bharat.
Highlights of the scheme:
It will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes -Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
Coverage: The scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme. The benefit cover will also include pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.
Target: The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database. Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
Role of state governments: State Governments will be allowed to expand AB-NHPM both horizontally and vertically. States will be free to choose the modalities for implementation. They can implement through insurance company or directly through Trust/ Society or a mixed model.
Council: For giving policy directions and fostering coordination between Centre and States, it is proposed to set up Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) at apex level Chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.
Who is eligible?
- It will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.
- The different categories in rural area include families having only one room with kucha walls and kucharoof; families having no adult member between age 16 to 59; female headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59; disabled member and no able bodied adult member in the family; SC/ST households; and landless households deriving major part of their income from manual casual labour.
- Also, automatically included families in rural areas having any one of the following: households without shelter, destitute, living on alms, manual scavenger families, primitive tribal groups, legally released bonded labour. For urban areas, 11 defined occupational categories are entitled under the scheme.
At the national level to manage, an Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Agency (AB-NHPMA) would be put in place. States/ UTs would be advised to implement the scheme by a dedicated entity called State Health Agency (SHA). They can either use an existing Trust/ Society/ Not for Profit Company/ State Nodal Agency (SNA) or set up a new entity to implement the scheme. States/ UTs can decide to implement the scheme through an insurance company or directly through the Trust/ Society or use an integrated model.
Benefits of the scheme:
This will lead to increased access to quality health and medication. In addition, the unmet needs of the population which remained hidden due to lack of financial resources will be catered to. This will lead to timely treatments, improvements in health outcomes, patient satisfaction, improvement in productivity and efficiency, job creation thus leading to improvement in quality of life..
Frozen Semen Station
Frozen Semen Station is being set up in Maranga, Purnea in Bihar under the RashtriyaGokul Mission with 100% contribution from the Central Government.
- The frozen semen station in Purnea will be the first state-of-the-art semen production center of the country.
- The center will develop highly modern bull shade, semen processing lab, feed and godown, agricultural equipment, and other facilities.
About Rashtriya Gokul Mission:
To conserve and develop indigenous bovine breeds, government has launched ‘Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ under the National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development (NPBBD).
The Mission is being implemented with the objectives to: a) development and conservation of indigenous breeds b) undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock; c) enhance milk production and productivity; d) upgrade nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi and e) distribute disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.
Rashtriya Gokul Mission will be implemented through the “State Implementing Agency (SIA viz Livestock Development Boards). State Gauseva Ayogs will be given the mandate to sponsor proposals to the SIA’s (LDB’s) and monitor implementation of the sponsored proposal. All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development will be the “Participating Agencies” like CFSPTI, CCBFs, ICAR, Universities, Colleges, NGO’s, Cooperative Societies and Gaushalas with best germplasm.
Funds under the scheme will be allocated for the establishment of Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres viz “Gokul Gram”.
- Gokul Grams will be established in: i) the native breeding tracts and ii) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle.
- Gokul Gram will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds and a dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract.
- The Gokul Gram will be self sustaining and will generate economic resources from sale of A2 milk, organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio gas for in house consumption and sale of animal products.
- The Gokul Gram will also function as state of the art in situ training centre for Farmers, Breeders and MAITRI’s.
- The Gokul Gram will maintain milch and unproductive animals in the ratio of 60:40 and will have the capacity to maintain about 1000 animals. Nutritional requirements of the animals will be provided in the Gokul Gram through in house fodder production.
- Gokul Gram will also be set up near to metropolitan cities for managing urban cattle. Metropolitan Gokul Gram will focus on genetic upgradation of urban cattle.
National Wind-solar Hybrid Policy
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy.
The objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. It also aims at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.
Highlights of the policy:
- On technology front the Policy provides for integration of both the energy sources i.e. wind and solar at AC as well as DC level. The Policy also provides for flexibility in share of wind and solar components in hybrid project, subject to the condition that, rated power capacity of one resource be at least 25 per cent of the rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project.
- The Policy seeks to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects. The existing wind/solar projects can be hybridised with higher transmission capacity than the sanctioned one, subject to availability of margin in the existing transmission capacity.
- The Policy provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities may invite bids. Policy also permits use of battery storage in the hybrid project for optimising the output and further reduce the variability. It mandates the regulatory authorities to formulate necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems.
Green Skill Development Programme (GSPD)
In its bid to create over five lakh job opportunities by 2021 through green skills, the government has launched GSPD-ENVIS mobile app to begin enrolments in 30 expert course under its Green Skill Development Programme (GSPD).
Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP):
- GSDP is a recent initiative under the ENVIS scheme for skilling the youth in the country. It is an initiative for skill development in the environment and forest region by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to develop India’s youth into employable and/or self-employment, making use of the widespread network and experience of ENVIS Hubs/RPs.
- The Green Skill Development programme endeavours to develop green skilled workers having technical knowledge and commitment to sustainable development, which will help in the attainment of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and National Biodiversity Targets(NBT).
What are Green Skills?
Green skills are those skills required to adapt processes, services and products to climate change and the environmental rules and necessities related to it. They embrace the information, abilities, values and attitudes required to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society. India is the second most populous country in the world is bestowed with a large working population.
Why Green Skills?
- Even though India has an advantage of reaping this demographic dividend but high drop-out rates from school coupled with poor vocational skills may hinder in reaping this dividend. There exists a demand-supply gap of skill sets, both cognitive and practical, at various levels in the Environment/ Forest fields in India.
- Green skilling is crucial for making a transition from energy and emissions – intensive economy to cleaner and greener production and service patterns. It also prepares people for green jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, while improving human well being and social equity.
- These skills are needed in areas like sewer water treatment, Climate resilient cities, green construction, Solid waste management etc.
- The critically endangered Bengal florican use not just protected grasslands but agricultural fields, too.
- It is also called as Bengal Bustard.
- Bengal floricans which are fewer than 1,000 adult remain in the world in two very fragmented populations.
- One of them is in the grasslands of the terai, the fertile foothills of the Himalayas.
- The other area is around Cambodia and Vietnam.
- It inhabits lowland dry, or seasonally inundated natural and semi-natural grasslands.
- The grasslands are often interspersed with scattered scrub or patchy open forest.
- It is under the CITES appendix 1.
Merchandise Export from India Scheme
- The Director General of Foreign Trade has said that the rates enhanced under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) would continue.
- It seeks to promote export of notified goods manufactured/ produced in India.
- MEIS is a major export promotion scheme of GOI implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The Five different schemes for rewarding merchandise exports with different kinds of duty scrip that were merged under this scheme are
- Focus Product Scheme (FPS)
- Focus Market Scheme (FMS)
- Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS)
- Agri. Infrastructure incentive scheme
- Vishesh Krishi Gramin Upaj Yojna (VKGUY)
- MEIS under Foreign Trade Policy of India (FTP 2015-20) is one of the two schemes introduced in Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20.
- The other being the SEIS, Service Exports from India Scheme.
- NASA has turned to professional botanists and novice gardeners, even high school students, to help them practice space gardening as it will be crucial for the next generation of space explorers.
- Necessary nutrients, like vitamins C and K, break down over time in freeze-dried foods which are used in space exploration.
- Astronauts are increasingly vulnerable to infections, poor blood clotting, cancer and heart disease without these necessary vitamins.
- The first portable growing box for space, equipped with LED lights, called Veggie, was tested at the orbiting outpost in 2014.
- Also NASA has enlisted 15,000 student botanists from 150 schools to grow plants in space-like conditions in their own classrooms.
- Using trays rigged with lights that mimic the grow boxes used in space; students must tend to the plants and record data on their progress, which eventually gets shared with NASA…
Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II
- Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II (6512 metres) consisting of nine women officers, was flagged off recently.
- The expedition aims at encouraging women in the field of adventure where dauntless courage, will-power and determination is put to test.
- The team also plans to set a new world record of practicing Yoga at 21000 ft on the occasion of Yoga Day 2018.
- Mt. Bhagirathi-II is located in the Garhwal Himalayas in Gangotri National Park.
- The peak rises right above the Gangotri glacier.
- The summit is challenging owing to its technical requirements, vertical ascents, inclement and unpredictable weather conditions.
Gender bias caused ‘excess’ deaths of girls under 5
- A Lancet Study state that there have been 2, 39,000 “excess deaths” per year of girls under the age of five in India.
- Around 22% of the overall mortality burden of under-five females is therefore due to gender bias.
- Excess mortality is the difference between observed and expected mortality rates in both genders.
- This study focuses on mortality after birth whereas most of the studies of India’s skewed sex ratios have focused on pre-natal mortality.
- The worst affected areas were all rural, agricultural areas with lower levels of education, high population densities, low socio-economic development and high levels of fertility.
- Many deaths of females under five were partly due to unwanted child bearing and subsequent neglect.
Tag:(GSPD), Bengal florican, Bharosa, Green Skill Development Programme, Merchandise Export from India Scheme, Mt. Bhagirathi-II, National Skills Qualifications Framework, National Wind solar Hybrid Policy, Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, Samarth, Samrath Scheme, Space Gardening, SPR, Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme