PIB Weekely Analysis

Compilation of PIB News Articles

GS PAPER 2

Indus Waters Treaty 1960: Present Status of Development in India

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

About the treaty:

  • The Indus system comprises of main Indus River, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. 
  • The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.
  • Under the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of three rivers, namely Ravi, Sutlej and Beas ( Eastern Rivers)averaging around 33 million acre feet ( MAF) were allocated to India for exclusive use.
  • The waters of Western rivers - Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab averaging to around 135 MAF were allocated to Pakistan except for specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India as provided in the Treaty.
  • India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run of the river (RoR) projects on the Western Rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation is unrestricted.

Is India using the water to its full capacity?

  • To utilize the waters of the Eastern rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use:
  • India has constructed Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. 
  • The storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, Indira Gandhi Nahar Project etc has helped India utilize nearly entire share (95 %) of waters of Eastern rivers.
  • However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilized to Pakistan below Madhopur. 

To stop the flow of these waters that belong to India for its utilization in India, following steps have been taken:

  • Resumption of Construction of Shahpurkandi project: 

This project will help in utilizing the waters coming out from powerhouse of Thein dam to irrigate 37000 hectares of land in J&K and Punjab and generate 206 MW of power. The construction work has now resumed by Govt of Punjab under monitoring of Govt of India.

  • Construction of Ujh multipurpose project: 

This project will create a storage of about 781 million cu m of water on river Ujh , a tributary of Ravi for irrigation and power generation in India itself and  provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 ha in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba district of J&K apart from providing water for the district Kathua of J&K. 

  • 2nd  Ravi Beas link below Ujh: This project is being planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through river Ravi, even after construction of Thein Dam, by constructing a barrage across river Ravi for diverting water through a  tunnel link to Beas basin. The project is expected to utilize about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujh dam by diverting the same to Beas basin for benefits of other co-basin states. 

The above three projects will help India to utilize its entire share of waters given under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960.

MAINS QUESTION

What is Indus Water Treaty 1960? How far it is helpful for India to pressurise Pakistan? Comment (10 marks)

Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

In news

The Minister for Human Resources Development launched the Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS) for providing industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship Promotional Scheme (NAPS).The program aims to enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing ‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.

Objectives of the scheme

  • To improve employability of students by introducing employment relevance into the learning process of the higher education system
  • To forge a close functional link  between education and industry/service sectors on a sustainable basis
  • To provide skills which are in demand, to the students in a dynamic manner
  • To establish an ‘earn while you learn’ system into higher education
  • To help business/industry in securing good quality manpower
  • To link student community with employment facilitating efforts of the Government

Operation of the Scheme

  • The primary scheme will be operated in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) which provides for placing of apprentices upto 10% of the total work force in every business/industry.  
  • The scheme will be implemented by the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) , initially the Banking Finance Insurance Services (BFSI), Retail, Health care, Telecom, Logistics, Media, Management services, ITeS and Apparel.  
  • More sectors would be added over time with emerging apprenticeship demand and curriculum adjustments.

Potential benefits of the scheme:

  • The education with skills is the need of the hour and the SHREYAS will be a major effort in this direction to make our degree students more skilled, capable, employable.
  • It is aligned to the needs of our economy so that they contribute to country’s progress and also obtain gainful employment. 
  • The programme conceived for students in degree courses, primarily non-technical, with a view to introduce employable skills into their learning, promote apprenticeship as integral to education and also amalgamate employment.
  • SHREYAS portal will enable educational institutions and industry to log in and provide their respective demand and supply of apprenticeship. 
  • The matching of students with apprenticeship avenues will take place as per pre-specified eligibility criteria. The State Governments are expected to play a major role in securing apprenticeship opportunities, apart from the Sector Skill Councils, so that general degree students passing out in April 2019, gain the option of industry & service sector apprenticeship. 

GS PAPER 3

NITI Aayog hosts Conference on The Future of Indian Banking

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

About:

  • NITI Aayog co-hosted a conference on “The Future of Indian Banking” with the Foundation for Economic Growth and Welfare (EGROW Foundation).  
  • The conference aimed to increase and elevate the discourse on the banking sector in India, and help develop insights to inform the continued evolution of the Indian banking sector for optimally supporting the growing credit needs of the Indian economy.  
  • There is still a lot of work to be done in improving the financial system and furthering reforms in the financial sector.

Key messages from the deliberations included:

  • Technology has become critically important for banking already and will continue to become more important in future. This will serve to bring banking closer to the customer, including those in rural areas, and also bring tremendous efficiencies with greater speed of service at much lower cost.
  • Appropriate skilling of banking human resources is necessary to keep pace with best credit practices and new technology-based banking paradigm. In addition, banking staff needs to be trained to prepare for a larger role of banking in expanding the Indian economy.
  • The banking industry has to be continuously prepared for fraud and rising cyber security risks.
  • The banking industry requires a suitable vigilance mechanism for trustworthy banking but with a clear mandate to distinguish between deliberate action, criminal negligence, error in judgment or unforeseeable business risk.
  • There may be a need to think again in terms of specialised and sector based banking.
  • Public sector banks have consistently supported social banking, unlike private and foreign banks. Public sector banks should continue to do so.
  • To compete effectively globally there is a need for bigger banks in India.
  • There is a need for more research on banking sector issues, specific to the Indian context.

MAINS QUESTION

From the past few years the Indian banking sector has experienced weak growth. Elucidate the reform s taken by the government and how far it has helped in restructuring the banking sector. (15 marks)

National Policy on Software Products - 2019

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology 

In news

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the National Policy on Software Products - 2019 to develop India as a Software Product Nation.

Facts related to IT Industry:

  • The Indian IT Industry has predominantly been a service Industry. 
  • Need has been felt to move up the value chain through technology oriented products and services. 
  • To create a robust software product ecosystem the Government has approved the National Policy on Software Products - 2019, which aims to develop India as the global software product hub, driven by innovation, improved commercialisation, sustainable Intellectual Property (IP), promoting technology start­ups and specialized skill sets. 
  • The Policy aims to align with other Government initiatives such as Start-up India, Make in India and Digital India, Skill India etc so as to create Indian Software products Industry of USD 70-80 billion with direct & indirect employment of 3.5 million by 2025.

NPSP-2019, the Policy has the following five Missions:

  • To promote the creation of a sustainable Indian software product industry, driven by intellectual property (IP), leading to a ten-fold increase in India share of the Global Software product market by 2025.
  • To nurture 10,000 technology startups in software product industry, including 1000 such technology startups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns & cities and generating direct and in-direct employment for 3.5 million people by 2025.
  • To create a talent pool for software product industry through: up-skilling of 1,000,000 IT professionals, motivating 100,000 school and college students and generating 10,000 specialized professionals that can provide leadership.
  • To build a cluster-based innovation driven ecosystem by developing 20 sectoral and strategically located software product development clusters having integrated ICT infrastructure, marketing, incubation and mentoring support.
  • In order to evolve and monitor scheme & programmes for the implementation of this policy, National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and Industry.

Impact

The Software product ecosystem is characterized by innovations, Intellectual Property (IP) creation and large value addition increase in productivity, which has the potential to significantly boost revenues and exports in the sector, create substantive employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in emerging technologies and leverage opportunities available under the Digital India Programme, thus, leading to a boost in inclusive and sustainable growth.

National Mineral Policy, 2019

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Objective of the policy:

The aim of National Mineral Policy 2019 is to have a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

Background

  • National Mineral Policy 2019 replaces the extant National Mineral Policy 2008 ("NMP 2008") which was announced in year 2008. 
  • The Ministry of Mines constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. K Rajeswara Rao to review the previous policy.

Details of the new policy:

The National Mineral Policy 2019 includes provisions which will give boost to mining sector such as

  • Introduction  of Right of First Refusal for RP/PL holders.
  • Encouraging  the private sector to take up exploration.
  • Encouragement  of merger and acquisition of mining entities.
  • Transfer of mining leases and creation of dedicated mineral corridors to boost private  sector mining areas.
  • The 2019  Policy proposes to grant status of industry to mining activity to boost financing of mining for private sector and for acquisitions of mineral assets in other countries by private sector
  • Long term import export policy for mineral will help private sector in better planning and stability in business
  • The Policy also mentions rationalize reserved areas given to PSUs which have not been  used and to put these areas to auction, which will give more opportunity  to private sector for participation
  • The Policyalso mentions to make efforts to harmonize taxes, levies & royalty  with world benchmarks to help private sector

Key changes introduced:

  • Among the changes introduced in the National Mineral Policy, 2019 include the focus on make in India initiative and Gender sensitivity in terms of the vision.  
  • In so far as the regulation in Minerals is concerned, E-Governance, IT enabled systems, awareness and Information campaigns have been incorporated.  
  • Regarding the role of state in mineral development online public portal with provision for generating triggers at higher level in the event of delay of clearances has been put in place.  
  • NMP 2019 aims to attract private investment through incentives while the efforts would be made to maintain a database of mineral resources and tenements under mining tenement systems.   
  • The new policy focuses on use coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals.  
  • The utilization of the district mineral fund for equitable development of project affected persons and areas. 
  • NMP 2019 proposes a long term export import policy for the mineral sector to provide stability and as an incentive for investing in large scale commercial mining activity.
  • The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.

Points to be noted down for prelims

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM KISAN)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) was announced in the interim Budget 2019-20.
  • Under the Scheme, Rs 6,000 will be given per year to small and marginal farmer families having combined land holding/ownership of upto 2 hectares.
  • The amount will be given in three instalments of Rs.2000 each.
  • The amount will be transferred directly to the bank account of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer. DBT will ensure transparency in the entire process and will save time for the farmers.
  • PM KISAN is a Central Sector scheme with 100% funding from Government of India. 
  • State Government and UT Administration will identify the farmer families which are eligible for support as per scheme guidelines.
  • The scheme implemented through DBT, will transfer the amount directly to the bank account of the beneficiary, thereby eliminating middlemen and corruption. 
  • As against the onetime loan waivers, PM KISAN is truly an empowering project designed for ensuring dignified life for small scale farmers. In the long run, the scheme is expected to address farmer migration and improve crop intensity.

IPrism

  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, in collaboration with ASSOCHAM and ERICSSON India, has launched the second edition of ‘IPrism’, an Intellectual Property (IP) competition for students of schools, polytechnic institutes, colleges and universities. 
  • It aims to foster a culture of innovation and creativity in the younger generation, the competition will provide young creators an opportunity to see their creations recognized on a national platform.
  • Cash prizes worth more than Rs. 2 lakh will be given to the winning teams besides a special trophy of recognition for the school/institute/college that the students represent. 

India hosts ‘4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit’

  • The global intergovernmental meeting on digital health is being hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP).
  • India took the world stage at the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland by successfully introducing and unanimous adoption of Resolution on Digital Health. This resolution highlighted global attention to the potential, challenges and opportunities of Digital Health interventions and the need for closer collaboration on the issue globally for countries achieving health-related SDG targets as well WHO's implementation of 13th General Program of Work.
  • The Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) is an international collaboration of governments, government agencies and multinational organisations dedicated to improving the health and well-being of their citizens through the best use of evidence-based digital technologies.

Rail Drishti Dashboard

  • It encompasses all the digitisation efforts in Indian Railways and promoting transparency and accountability. 
  • It brings information from various sources on a single platform and gives access to key statistics and parameters to every citizen of the country.
  • Information on Rail Drishti has been categorised into 15 user friendly sections
    • Trains On Run
    • Irctc Kitchens
    • Grievances
    • Achievements
    • Station Images
    • Heritage

National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 Awards

  • National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 on 12th January, 2019. 
  • The National Youth Day in order to encourage the youth in the age group of 18-25 years to engage with public issues and understand the common man’s point of view.
  • National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 has been jointly organised by National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under the aegis of Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
  • On the theme of “Be the Voice of New India” and “Find solutions and contribute to policy”. 
  • Youth in the age bracket of 18-25 years were invited to participate in the District, State and National level Youth Parliaments. 

Aviation Conclave 2019

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation, in association with Airports Authority of India, AAICLAS and Confederation of Indian Industry, is organizing the Aviation Conclave 2019.
  • The theme of the conclave is “Flying for All”.
  • The conclave is being held in New Delhi 
  • The Conclave is about the future of Indian aviation – it bringing together industry leaders, government and regulators for setting the tone and propelling us to realize our Vision-2040’.
  • 5-key sessions covering the Drone-Ecosystem Policy Roadmap, Roadmap for Manufacturing Aircraft and associated equipment, including Regional Transport Aircraft, in India, the Project Rupee Raftaar- Aircraft Financing and Leasing from India, the National Air Cargo Policy, and the Mission to transform Indian Airports into Next-Gen Aviation Hubs. 

Sampriti - 2019

  • India Bangladesh defence cooperation, a joint military exercise Sampriti-2019 will be conducted at Tangail, Bangladesh March 2019.  
  • Exercise Sampriti-2019 is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh and this will be the eighth edition of the exercise which is hosted alternately by both countries.
  • The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.  
  • The exercise will involve tactical level operations in a counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment under the UN mandate.

Indigenous semiconductor chips

  • India’s first Indigenous Semiconductor Chips developed by Bengaluru based semiconductor company “SIGNALCHIP” for 4G/LTE and 5G NR MODEMs.
  • India is just breaking into the elite club of the world and this will have huge implications for India’s data security and data sovereignty, besides the positive economic implications.
  • US and China are battling it out for the core ICT technology, India cannot lag behind.

Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana

  • "Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana" for providing financial support to Integrated Bioethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock. 
  • Under this Yojana, 12 Commercial Scale and 10 demonstration scale Second Generation (2G) ethanol Projects will be provided a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support
  • The scheme focuses to incentivise 2G Ethanol sector and support this nascent industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development in this area.
  • The ethanol produced by the scheme beneficiaries will be mandatorily supplied to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to further enhance the blending percentage under EBP Programme.
  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has targeted to achieve 10% blending percentage of Ethanol in petrol by 2022.