2nd AUGUST 2017
1. NITI Aayog
- NITI Aayog, or the National Institution for Transforming India, is a Government of India policy think-tank established by the BJP government in 2015 to replace the Planning Commission which followed the top-down model.
- The stated aim for NITI Aayog’s creation is to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India.
- The emphasis is on bottom-up approach and make the country move towards cooperative federalism.
- The Prime Minister serves as the Ex-officio chairman.
- The governing council consists of all state Chief Ministers, chief ministers of Delhi and Puducherry, Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar, and vice chairman nominated by the Prime Minister.
- In addition to full members, there are two part-time members and four ex-officio members and a chief executive officer.
- The temporary members are selected from the leading universities and research institutions.
2. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) is an initiative launched in June 2015 in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor.
- It envisions Housing for All by 2022, when the Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
- It is proposed to build 2 crore houses for urban poor including Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups in urban areas by the year 2022 through a financial assistance of Rs. 2 trillion from central government.
- The houses given under this scheme will be owned by females or jointly with males.
- It provides central assistance to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and other implementing agencies through States/UTs for:
1. In-situ Slum Redevelopment with private sector participation using land as resource,
2. Affordable Housing through Credit Linked Subsidy,
3. Affordable Housing in Partnership with private and public sector and
4. Beneficiary led house construction/enhancement.
- Credit linked subsidy component is being implemented as a Central Sector Scheme while other three components as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).
- Beneficiaries include Economically weaker section (EWS), low-income groups (LIGs) and Middle Income Groups (MIGs). The annual income cap is up to Rs 3 lakh for EWS, Rs 3-6 lakh for LIG and Rs 6 -18 lakhs for MIG.
- EWS category of beneficiaries is eligible for assistance in all four verticals of the Missions whereas LIG and MIG categories are eligible under only Credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) component of the Mission.
3. United National Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948.
- The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the two world wars.
- The Declaration consists of 30 articles which, although not legally binding, have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, economic transfers, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws.
- The seven paragraphs of the preamble-setting out the reasons for the Declaration-represent the steps.
- Articles 1 and 2 are the foundation blocks, with their principles of dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood. The main body of the Declaration forms the four columns.
- The first column (articles 3-11) constitutes rights of the individual such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery.
- Articles 6 through 11 refer to the fundamental legality of human rights with specific remedies cited for their defense when violated.
- The second column (articles 12-17) constitutes the rights of the individual in civil and political society (including such things as freedom of movement).
- The third column (articles 18-21) is concerned with spiritual, public, and political freedoms such as freedom of association, thought, conscience, and religion.
- The fourth column (articles 22-27) sets out social, economic, and cultural rights including healthcare.
- In Cassin’s model, the last three articles are concerned with the duty of the individual to society and the prohibition of use of rights in contravention of the purposes of the United Nations Organisation.
4. Persons of Indian Origin (PIO)
- Persons of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) was a form of identification issued to a Person of Indian Origin who held a passport in a country other than Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- On 9 January 2015, the Person of Indian Origin card scheme was withdrawn by the Government of India and was merged with the Overseas Citizen of India card scheme.
- All currently held PIO cards are treated as OCI cards.
- PIO card holders will get a special stamp in their existing PIO card, saying “lifelong validity” and “registration not required”, thus making them equal to existing OCI cards.
5. Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
- It is a scheme that was introduced in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora, particularly in developed countries.
- It was introduced by The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005 in August 2005.
- It was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention at Hyderabad in 2006.
- To apply for and utilise an OCI document, a holder must be a citizen of and hold a passport of another country, except that of Pakistan and Bangladesh
- The Government of India, on application, may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India, if the person:
1. was a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or at any time thereafter; or
2. belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947; or
3. was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950; or
4. is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or
5. is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or
6. is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or
7. is a spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application
8. No person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh is eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.
- An Overseas Citizen of India, according to the Government of India allows a holder:
1. Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India;
2. Exemption from foreigner registration requirements for any length of stay in India; and
3. Parity with Non-Resident Indians in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
- Overseas citizens of India are not citizens of India from a constitutional point of view and will not enjoy the following rights even if resident in India:
1. the right to vote,
2. the right to hold the offices of President, Vice-President, Judge of Supreme Court and High Court, Member of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly or Council,
3. appointment to Public Services (Government Service).
6. National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)
- It is an entrance examination in India, for students who wish to study any graduate medical course (MBBS/ dental course (BDS) or postgraduate course (MD / MS) in government or private medical colleges in India.
- NEET-UG (Undergraduate), for MBBS and BDS courses, are conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
- NEET-UG replaced the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) and all individual MBBS exams conducted by states or colleges themselves in 2013.
- NEET was declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of India in 2013.
- However, it was restored on April 11 2016, after a five-judge Constitution bench recalled the earlier verdict and allowed the Central Government and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to implement the common entrance test until the court decides afresh on its validity.
- Undergraduate courses at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, Postgraduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER) are outside the NEET’s purview, as these institutes were set up by separate laws.
7. Medical Council of India
- The Medical Council of India (MCI) is a statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India.
- The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933. The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act.
1. grants recognition of medical qualifications
2. gives accreditation to medical schools
3. grants registration to medical practitioners
4. monitors medical practice in India
- The MCI was dissolved by the President of India in 2010 following the arrest of MCI’s president Ketan Desai by the CBI
- Desai was caught by the CBI accepting a bribe of 2 crores to grant recognition to a private college. He was immediately removed from the Medical council and his registration cancelled.
- The council was revamped in 2013 and the current President of MCI, Dr.Jayshreeben Mehta was elected unanimously. She became the first woman president of MCI in 80 years since the council came into being.
- The NITI Aayog has recommended the replacement of Medical Council of India (MCI) with National Medical Commission (NMC).
- The decision has been approved by most states and after its approval by the Prime Minister it will be proposed as final bill in the upcoming parliamentary sessions.
8. Geographical Indication (GI)
- A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country).
- India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
- GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”
- The GI tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name.
- Darjeeling tea became the first GI tagged product in India, in 2004-05, since then by May 2017, 295 had been added to the list.
9. Marco Polo’s account of India
- Marco Polo (1254 -1324) was a Venetian merchant traveller.
- His travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde (Book of the Marvels of the World, also known as The Travels of Marco Polo, c. 1300), a book that described to Europeans the wealth and great size of China, its capital Peking, and other Asian cities and countries.
- This book inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers.
- Towards the close of the thirteenth century he came to Malabar, along the Coromandal Coast and has given us an account of the kingdom of Pandya.
- According to Marco Polo, the pearls found in the kingdom are exquisite.
- He speaks of the port of Kayal in glowing terms and says that it was visited by Arabian and Persian ships laden with horses, etc for sale.
- He praises the king for his good administration and for his generous treatment of foreign merchants.
- As regards the social life of the people he refers to the polygamy practiced by the kings, the prevalence of Sati, the popular belief in omens and astrology.
- Marco Polo also visited Warangal and speaks of Queen Rudrama Devi as a lady of much discretion, who administered her realm with justice and equity.
- He says that the country produced the finest muslins and other costly fabrics.
- Marco Polo praised the merchants of Gujarat as being the best and the most truthful in the world.
10. Adam’s Bridge
- Adam’s Bridge, also known as Rama Setu, is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.
- Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
- The bridge is 50 km (30 mi) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (south-west) from the Palk Strait (northeast).
- Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 1 to 10 metres (3 to 30 ft) deep in places, which hinders navigation.
- The bridge is mentioned in the ancient Indian Sanskrit epic Ramayana of Valmiki.
- The name Rama’s Bridge or Rama Setu (Sanskrit; setu: bridge) refers to the bridge built by the Vanara (ape men) army of Rama in Hindu theology with instructions from Nala, which he used to reach Lanka and rescue his wife Sita from the Rakshasa king, Ravana.
11. Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project
- It is a proposed project to create a shipping route in the shallow straits between India and Sri Lanka.
- This would provide a continuously navigable sea route around the Indian Peninsula.
- The channel would be dredged in the Sethusamudram sea between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, passing through the limestone shoals of Adam’s Bridge.
- The project involves digging a 44.9-nautical-mile long deepwater channel linking the shallow Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar.
- It was first conceived in 1860, finally announced by the United Progressive Alliance Government in 2005.
- The proposed route through the shoals of Adam’s Bridge is opposed by some groups on religious, environmental and economical grounds.
12. Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan (JSA)
- It has been launched in Rajasthan with the vision to ensure effective implementation of water harvesting and water conservation related activities in the rural areas using a holistic approach, informed by the values of leadership, moral responsibility, excellence, innovation, partnership and purity.
- The traditional system of rain water harvesting and conservation for drinking purpose and kharif croping, people used to construct ‘Boaries’,’Talab’,’Tanka’,’Khadin’.
- This adversely affected the crop production, as water table continuously went down.
- It converges various schemes and brings them on a single platform under one umbrella to conserve the four waters i.e. Rainfall, Runoff, Ground water and Soil moisture upto maximum potential and effective results.
13. National Green Tribunal
- National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
- The Act provide for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
- The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
- The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
- The tribunal is mandated to make an endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
- The tribunal shall consist of a full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members.
- A judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of High Court are eligible to be Chairperson or judicial member of the Tribunal. Even existing or retired judge of High Court is qualified to be appointed as a Judicial Member.
- The Tribunal has Original Jurisdiction on matters of “substantial question relating to environment” (i.e. a community at large is affected, damage to public health at broader level) & “damage to environment due to specific activity” (such as pollution).
- The Bill specifies that an application for dispute related to environment can be filed within six months only when first time dispute arose (provide tribunal can accept application after 60 days if it is satisfied that appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filling the application).
14. National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC)
- It was established in 2015 to assist State and Union Territories particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation.
- The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has been appointed as National Implementing Entity (NIE) responsible for implementation of adaptation projects under the (NAFCC).
- The focus of the fund is to assist adaptation projects and programmes to support concrete adaptation activities that reduce the effects of climate change facing communities and sectors.
- As of now, there is no provision for any external assistance to be credited to NAFCC.
15. Herfindahl-Hirschman index
- It is a measure of the degree to which production in a market is either concentrated or dispersed.
- A market in which production is divided among several producers is considered to be less concentrated than one in which all production is in the hands of just one producer.
- The Herfindahl-Hirschman index is used by anti-trust agencies which possess the mandate to promote competition.
- It is calculated by squaring the market share of each producer in the market and then comparing the sum to a scale.
- Critics of the idea say that the lack of legal barriers to entry is a better measure to gauge competition in any market.
16. INS Chakra
- INS Chakra is a 8,140-tonne Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine.
- The construction of the Nerpa submarine was started in 1993, but was then suspended due to lack of funding.
- The Indian Navy sponsored the building and sea trials of the submarine provided it was given to the Indian Navy on lease for 10 years.
- It was launched as K-152 Nerpa in October 2008 and entered service with the Russian Navy in late 2009.
- While K-152 Nerpa was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan on 8 November 2008, a fire suppression system was accidentally initiated. The accident killed 20 civilian specialists and navy crew members and injured 21 others.
- The submarine was leased to the Indian Navy in 2011 after extensive trials, and was formally commissioned into service as INS Chakra at Visakhapatnam in 2012.
17. INS Arihant
- INS Arihant is the lead ship of India’s Arihant class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.
- The 6,000 tonne vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam.
- Arihant was launched in 2009. After fitting out and extensive sea trials, it was commissioned in August 2016.
18. India-Africa Forum Summit
- The India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is the official platform for the African-Indian relations.
- IAFS will be held once in every three years.
- It was first held in 2008 in New Delhi attended by heads of state and government of India and 14 countries of Africa chosen by the African Union.
- Rising oil and food prices were the top concerns for the African and Indian leaders during the summit.
- The second summit was held at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, with India and 15 African Countries participating.
- The summit in a rotation basis was scheduled to be held in New Delhi in December 2014. But the scheduled summit was postponed to 2015 and it was decided to include more number of African leaders unlike previous two occasion where the event was restricted to only 10-15 African countries.
- The third summit in a rotation basis was held in New Delhi in October 2015.
- Leaders and representatives of all 54 countries of Africa attended the summit. 41 countries were represented at the level of heads of state/government.
- India unveiled $10 billion in Lines of Credit for a host of development projects over the next five years and pledging a grant assistance of $600 million. This grant includes an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. It will also include 50,000 scholarships in India over the next five years and support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa.
19. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
- PMI or a Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of business activity — both in the manufacturing and services sectors.
- It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of some key business variables from the month before.
- It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed.
- The PMI is derived from a series of qualitative questions. Executives from a reasonably big sample, running into hundreds of firms, are asked whether key indicators such as output, new orders, business expectations and employment were stronger than the month before and are asked to rate them.
- A figure above 50 denotes expansion in business activity. Anything below 50 denotes contraction. Higher the difference from this mid-point greater the expansion or contraction.
- The PMI is usually released at the start of the month, much before most of the official data on industrial output, manufacturing and GDP growth becomes available.