Ojaank IAS Academy




16 July 2022 – Current Affairs

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National Conference on Agriculture and Horticulture

Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?

Two-day National Conference of the Ministers of Agriculture and Horticulture of the States concludes in Bengaluru

In details –
  • The two-day National Conference of Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers of the States, organized by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in coordination with the Government of Karnataka, concluded successfully in Bengaluru.
  • On the basis of extensive deliberations in various sessions during the conference, the States agreed to increase their contribution in areas such as Natural Farming, Digital Agriculture, Crop Insurance, promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Agricultural Infrastructure Fund towards achieving the Central Government’s efforts for Sustainable Agriculture Development, which will be a concrete step towards achieving the goal of India’s ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India).
  • Appressing a press conference on the occasion, the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said that there is tremendous potential in the Agriculture sector.
  • There is a need to focus on Innovation and technological advancements to address the emerging challenges in this sector and work towards the welfare of small farmers.
  • He said that compared to other sectors, Agriculture performed positively during the Covid pandemic due to specific interventions of the Central Government such as the uninterrupted relaxation given to agricultural works and running Kisan Rail benefitted the Agriculture sector and farmers. Shri Tomar emphasized that there is a need to focus our attention towards better implementation of the policies and programmes of the Government of India in coordination with the State Governments.
  • This includes effective implementation of Digital Agriculture Mission, promotion of FPOs, development of better trade mechanism of agricultural produce through e-NAM, making best use of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for development of Infrastructure in rural areas.
  • He said that the States need to focus on Crop Diversification keeping in view the demand for high value crops to enable increase in the farmers income. On this occasion, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ms. Shobha Karandlaje and the Agriculture Minister of Karnataka, Shri B.C. Patil were present.
Topics were discussed –
  • During the two-day conference, discussions were held with the States on important topics for the overall development of Agriculture in the country.
  • Consultations held with the State Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers and senior Agriculture officers will facilitate the Central Government to develop a roadmap and smooth action plan for effective implementation of all the schemes in the interest of the farming community.
  • The conference also deliberated upon the International Year of Millets – 2023 to be observed in the next year.
  • Keeping in view the importance of Nutritious Cereals, the States agreed to increase their production and area, as well as promote the processing, value addition and marketing of nutritious cereals, taking all possible steps along with the Central Government.

Mascot ‘Jagriti’

Paper 3 – Economy
Why Should You Know?

Recently Department of Consumer Affairs launched ‘Jagriti’, a mascot to empower consumers and generate awareness towards consumer rights.

In details –
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has launched “Jagriti”, a mascot for empowering consumers and generating awareness of their rights.
  • Jagriti will be projected as an empowered consumer who is spreading awareness about consumer rights & addressing solutions to the problems faced by the consumers.
  • The “Jagriti” mascot will be used to generate consumer awareness about various themes of the Department like provisions of Consumer Protection Act 2019, Hallmarking, National Consumer Helpline toll free number 1915, provisions of weights & measures Act, decisions of the Central Consumer Protection Authority and testimonials by consumers on grievance redressal.
  • By bringing the Jagriti Mascot, DoCA aims to strengthen its consumer awareness campaign presence in digital and multimedia and reinforce a young empowered and informed consumer as a top-of-mind consumer rights awareness recall brand.
  • Jagriti mascot shall be shown along with tagline “Jago Grahak Jago” in all its media campaigns. The two are new synonymous with young aware consumers and bring sharp focus to consumer rights knowledge and movement.
About Consumer Protection Act 2019 –
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a consumer protection law passed by the Government of India, which was passed by the indian government in 2019 to protect the interests of the consumers of the country and to prevent fraud with them.
  • This Act has become effective from 20th July 2020. This new Act has replaced the old Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Salient features-
Definition of consumer
  • According to this act a person is called a consumer who buys and consumes goods and services to satisfy his needs.
  • The special thing is that a person who buys goods and services to sell or for commercial purpose is not considered a consumer.
Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) –
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provides for the establishment of CCPA, which will promote and enforce the rights of consumers as well as protect them.
  • This authority will also look into matters related to unfair trade practices, deceptive advertisements and violation of consumer rights.
  • It will also have the power to impose fines on violators and pass orders for recall of goods sold or services, to end unfair trade practices and to refund the price paid by consumers.
  • This authority will be headed by the Director General.
Consumer rights –

This act provides 6 rights to the consumers;

  1. the right to be informed about the quantity, quality, purity, capacity, price and standard of goods or services
  2. the right to be safe from dangerous goods and services
  3. the right to be protected from unfair or restrictive trade practices
  4. Availability of a variety of goods or services at competitive prices
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission –

The Act provides for the establishment of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) at the national, state and district levels.

CDRC will deal with the following types of complaints-

  1. overcharging or charging unexplained price
  2. unfair or restrictive trade practices
  3. Sale of goods and services dangerous to life
  4. Sale of defective goods or services
Jurisdiction of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 –
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has fixed the jurisdiction of National, State and District Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) by Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs).
  • The National Disputes Redressal Commission will hear complaints of more than Rs 10 crore while the State Disputes Redressal Commission will hear complaints which are more than Rs 1 crore but less than Rs 10 crore.
  • The District Disputes Redressal Commission will hear complaints in which the complaint is of fraud of less than Rs 1 crore.

Apex Committee of Ministry of Defence

Paper 3- Security
Why Should You Know?

Ministry of Defence sets up an Apex Committee for Performance and Efficiency Audit

In details –
  • The Ministry of Defence has set up an institutional mechanism comprising of an Apex committee with Defence Secretary as Chairman to conduct a Performance and Efficiency Audit into various aspects of its activities.
  • This kind of audit is expected to provide valuable inputs to the top management of the Ministry of specific shortcomings, if any, in planning and execution of projects, and suggest systemic improvements in internal controls, soundness of financial procedures, identification of risk factors, etc. It is a major shift from the existing transaction-based compliance audit to carry out an outcome-based Performance/ Efficiency Audit aimed at enhancing overall efficiency.
Members of the committee –

The members of the committee include

  1. Vice Chiefs of the three Services,
  2. Secretary Defence (Finance),
  3. Chief of Integrated Staff Committee (CISC),
  4. Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA),
  5. Director General (Acquisition) and
  6. other senior officials of Ministry of Defence and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Work area –
  • The broad areas that have been identified for the conduct of Performance and Efficiency Audit include Defence Capital Procurements, provisioning, logistics, inventory levels, Maintenance of platforms/ assets, role and performance of Authority Holding Sealed Particulars (AHSP) etc.
  • the Apex committee can also recommend any other specific area for Performance and Efficiency Audit.
  • The committee chaired by Defence Secretary will identify specific areas for the conduct of performance and audit by CGDA and monitor performance audit reports and action taken thereon.
  • It also shall advise Raksha Mantri on remedial measures to be adopted as well as measures for overall improvement in strengthening of internal oversight and Risk Management Framework.

India Rankings 2022 of higher educational institutes

Paper 2 – Education
Why Should You Know?

Union Education Minister Releases India Rankings 2022 of higher educational institutes.

In details –
  • On July 15, 2022 The Union Minister Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan released the India Rankings 2022.
  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), launched in November 2015 by the Ministry of Education, was used for this edition as well as for the past six editions of India Rankings released for the years 2016 to 2022.
  • Five broad categories of parameters identified in the NIRF and their weightage on scale of 10 are given below:
  • Each of these five parameters have 2 to 5 sub-parameters. A total number of 18 – 21 sub-parameters are used for ranking of HEIs in different categories and subject domains.
  • Institutions are ranked based on total sum of marks assigned for each of these five broad groups of parameters. In addition to parameters used for Overall category, the following two additional sub-parameters were included in methodology developed afresh for ranking institutions under “Research Institutions”: i) Research Papers published in journals covered in the First Quartile of Journal Citation Report (JCRQ1); and ii) H Index.
  • Besides, sourcing data on various parameters from applicant institutions, third party sources of data have also been used, wherever possible.
  • Scopus (Elsevier Science) and Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) were used for retrieving publications and citations data. Derwent Innovation was used for retrieving data on patents. Data retrieved from these sources was shared with the institutions for transparency with a provision to give their inputs.
Key Highlights of India Rankings 2022
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras retains its 1st position in Overall Category for fourth consecutive year and in Engineering for seventh consecutive year.
  • Top 100 in Overall category consists of 40 CFTIs  and CFU (including 38 technical institutions), 26 state universities, 24 deemed universities, 6 private universities, 7 medical institutions and 3 management institutions.
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru tops the Universities Category for seventh consecutive year. It stood first in Research Institutions Category for second consecutive year.
  • IIM Ahmedabad tops in Management subject retaining its first position for third consecutive year.
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi occupies the top slot in Medical for the fifth consecutive year. Moreover, AIIMS is ranked at 9th position in Overall category for the first time.
  • Jamia Hamdard tops the ranking in Pharmacy for fourth consecutive year.
  • Miranda House retains the 1st position amongst Colleges for the sixth consecutive year.
  • IIT Roorkee stands at 1st position in Architecture subject for second consecutive year.
  • National Law School of India University, Bengaluru retains its first position in Law for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Colleges in Delhi dominate ranking of colleges with five colleges out of first 10 colleges from Delhi.
  • The Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences takes the top slot for the first time in Dental Subject displacing Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal.

ABDM Hackathon Series

Paper 2 – Health
Why Should You Know?

National Health Authority commences the first Hackathon under the ‘ABDM Hackathon Series’ in Pune, Maharashtra.

In details –
  • The National Health Authority (NHA) is organising its first hackathon under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Hackathon Series from 14th to 17th July, 2022 at the Smart City Operations Centre, Pune, Maharashtra in hybrid format.
  • The hackathon is being organized under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) in association with Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL).
  • Various teams comprising of innovators, developers and data experts have joined physically and virtually to collaborate and build innovative solutions.
  • This hackathon is the first in the series of hackathons.  This will encourage young talent in this country to contribute to the enhancement of the building blocks of our digital healthcare ecosystem and create innovative solutions for the country and the world.
  • In addition to the Unified Health Interface (UHI), the hackathon is also focussed at mobilising the health start-up ecosystem in India by bringing together individuals and organisations to develop innovative solutions.
  • The tentative prize pool for ‘Round 1 – Kickstarting UHI’ is Rs. 60,00,000. The solutions shall be assessed by an independent jury. The prize shall be awarded to the top performers on each challenge track on two major themes:
  • Innovation Track: Challenge for innovative solutions to power digital health in an open network around various use cases such as teleconsultation, ambulance booking, lab tests, physical consultation booking, lab tests booking.
  • Integration Track: Challenge to accelerate development of applications that are compatible with UHI and integrate these applications with the applications of other such participants to enable digital health transactions on the UHI network.
About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) –
  • Prime Minister launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) via video conferencing on 27th September 2021.
  • It aims to provide digital health IDs for all Indian citizens to help hospitals, insurance firms, and citizens access health records electronically when required.
  • Under the mission, citizens will be able to create their Ayushman Bharat health account numbers, to which their digital health records can be linked.
  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other. The Mission will not only make the processes of hospitals simplified but also will increase ease of living.
  • The pilot project of the Mission had been announced by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2020.The project is being implemented in the pilot phase in six States & Union Territories (Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Puducherry)

SCO Industry Ministers Meeting

Paper 3 – Tourism
Why Should You Know?

Recently, the second meeting of industry ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member countries was held in Uzbekistan.

In details –
  • Recently, the second meeting of industry ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member countries was held in Uzbekistan, which was organized virtually.
  • SCO has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India & Pakistan as full- time member nations.
  • On behalf of India, the Union Minister of Heavy Industries Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey participated in this meeting. He said that India is determined to boost cooperation with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
  • During the meeting, the Minister highlighted that India will continue to play an active, positive and constructive role in the organisation. He also reiterated India’s commitment to collaborate with industrialists of SCO member countries to explore mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • The Minister further stated that by walking together and with mutual cooperation, we can give new direction to socio-economic and industrial development in the region. He said that it is because of this desire for the development of the SCO region, India has prepared the ‘Draft Program for Promotion of Industrial Cooperation among Business Worlds of SCO Member States and the Regulations for the Organization and Organizing of Exhibition Programs’ at the Industry Ministers’ Session of the SCO Member States.
  • Dr. Pandey emphasized upon India’s robust industrial environment and reiterated that despite disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its performance had significantly improved in 2021-22. He said that the share of mining & quarrying, manufacturing & construction in India’s GDP is now 28%. He told that under the inspirational leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister, the government has drawn up a comprehensive program for industrial rejuvenation to remove long-standing bottlenecks arising due to inadequate infrastructure & sluggish business processes.  He also highlighted that various labour market reforms have also been introduced to improve the industrial environment in the country.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation –
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a political, economic, and military organization of Eurasia founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • it is the world’s largest regional organization, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population, and more than 30% of global GDP.
  • Notable China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan established the organization in Shanghai in 1996 under the name “Shanghai V”.
  • Back in 2001, in the summit held in Shanghai, Uzbekistan was included in “Shanghai VI” which is now known as Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO.
  • Its headquarter is in Beijing.
  • India and Pakistan signed the memorandum of obligations in June 2016 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, thereby starting the formal process of joining the SCO as full members.
  • On 9 June 2017, at the historic summit in Astana, India and Pakistan officially joined SCO as full- members.

166 CNG stations across 14 states

Paper 3 – Energy Resources
Why Should You Know?

The Union minister Shri Hardeep S. Puri dedicates 166 CNG stations across 14 states.

In details –
  • Taking a significant step towards building a Natural Gas-based economy as envisioned by Indian government, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri dedicated 166 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations to service of the community.
  • These CNG stations have been set up by GAIL (India) Limited and nine of its group City Gas Distribution (CGD) companies in 41 Geographical Areas (GAs) across 14 states.
  • these CNG stations commissioned at the cost of Rs 400 Crore will further strengthen the gas-based infrastructure and availability of cleaner fuel in the country. as compared to 2014 when there were about 900 CNG stations, currently the number of CNG stations have crossed 4500, and will be ramped up to 8000 in the next two years.
  • The number of PNG connections have also now crossed 95 lakhs as compared to about 24 lakhsin the year 2014.
  • Sh. Puri emphasized that rollout of CNG on such a scale is expected to incentivise market for CNG vehicles and will have exponential impact in terms of manufacturing, skill development and employment generation. These CNG stations will provide direct employment to about 1000 persons.
  • Sh. Puri also visited exhibition on Promotion of CNG and LNG based Clean Mobility Technology Vehicles organized by SIAM. During the interaction, he emphasized on the need to reduce vehicular emission through adoption of cleaner fuel and technology in automotive sector. He stressed on the need for enhanced coverage of CNG and LNG vehicles and requested the automotive companies to ensure availability of CNG/LNG vehicles on pan India basis.
  • After the completion of ongoing CGD development in GAs awarded under the 11th& 11th A CGD bidding round of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board, 98% of India’s population and 88% of its geographical area will have access to Natural Gas.
  • It is noteworthy that Hon’ble Prime Minister has set an ambitious target of expanding the share of Natural Gas in the primary energy mixto 15% to usher in a gas-based economy. The development of a gas-based economy is expected to play a key role in achieving India’s target of net zero by 2070.
What is CNG?
  • The full name of CNG is Compressed Natural Gas, which is made by compressing natural gas. It is completely natural gas. which is primarily composed of methane. This gas is used as fuel for most vehicles.
  • CNG combustion produces fewer undesirable gases than the other fuels. It is a clean fuel because it has the lowest amount of carbon and other pollutants.
  • CNG is used in conventional petrol/internal combustion engine automobiles.
  • In view of the high fuel prices and increasing environmental pollution, CNG is also being used in auto-rickshaws, pickup trucks, school buses and trains etc.
  • It is relatively safe as it disperses rapidly into the air.
  • The primary source of obtaining CNG is from oil wells, bed methane wells, coal wells and even natural gas wells.

The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2022

Paper 2 – Constitution
Why Should You Know?

The Indian government is preparing a bill for a new registration regime for newspapers that would also include digital news media, which is currently not included in the Centre’s registration framework.

In details –
  • The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2022 has been listed for introduction in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.
  • The Bill seeks to replace the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 by decriminalization of the existing Act, keeping the procedures of the extant Act simple from the view point of medium and small publishers and uphold the values of Press Freedom.
  • The Bill seeks to do away with all the old provisions of the PRB Act, 1867, whereby the Central and State Governments may make appropriate rules or regulations to regulate the norms or conditions of issue of Government advertisements in newspapers, recognition of newspapers and such other facilities. to formulate regulations. for newspapers. Through the bill, the I&B ministry proposes to simplify the registration process by creating a Press Registrar General along with laying down a simple system of registration of e-papers.
  • It is noteworthy that the government had first released the draft Press and Magazine Registration Bill in 2017, which seeks to simplify the process of registration of newspapers and do away with penal provisions under the PRB Act.
  • The PRB Act provides for imposing fine on publishers for not printing the name of the printer in a newspaper or magazine or for not making a declaration before a magistrate about the operation of the printing press. The proposed bill seeks to create a Press Registrar General and bring digital media under its ambit.
  • The draft bill for 2019 defines “news on digital media” as “a digital form of news that can be transmitted over the Internet, computer, mobile network” and “which includes text, audio, Includes visuals and graphics.
  • The Bill seeks to enable the Central Government and the State Government to make suitable rules for issuing government advertisements in newspapers, for recognition of newspapers and for regulating the criteria or conditions of such facilities for newspapers.

The Knowledge Portal for Khadi

Paper 3 – Economy
Why Should You Know?

KVIC launches Knowledge Portal for Khadi by the Center of Excellence for Khadi

In details –
  • The Knowledge Portal for Khadi is a platform developed by the Center of Excellence for Khadi to provide design directions to the Khadi institutions.
  • The portal was inaugurated by Ms Preeta Verma, CEO-KVIC, on 14th July 2022.
  • The Center of Excellence for Khadi has been set up by KVIC, Ministry of MSME at NIFT, to support Khadi Institutions.
  • Knowledge Port for Khadi attempts to disseminate design knowledge to a broader section of Khadi Institutions.
  • The portal intends to create design intervention by simplifying the trends specially suitable for Khadi.
  • Four stories/design directions have been conceptualised and presented in Volume I. Each story has a key theme, colour palette, and directions for woven designs, prints, textures, and surfaces.
  • Every story has been separated into two segments – Home and Apparel. Besides the themes, the portal also provides size charts, silhouette boards, buttons and closures, seams and finishes for both home and apparel.
  • The information will be updated twice a year to provide directions according to the seasons and trends.
  • It is envisaged that the information will be of value to not only Khadi institutions but also to organisations providing support to develop apparel, home products, and packaging for Khadi.
  • The textiles showed in the portal as direction have been specially woven using varied thicknesses of Khadi yarns to explore possibilities of creating textures and structures for home and apparel.
  • The portal will be hosted on the website of the Center of Excellence for Khadi.
About Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission –
  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission is a statutory body created by the Government of India under the ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act 1956’ of the Parliament.
  • It is an apex body under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Government of India) dealing with Khadi and Village Industries in India, Whose main objective is to plan, promote, provide facilities and assistance for the establishment and development of Khadi and Village Industries in rural areas, in which it can also take the help of other agencies working in the field of rural development as per the requirement.
  • In April 1957, it took over the full charge of the erstwhile All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, while other divisional offices are located in Delhi, Bhopal, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati. Apart from the divisional offices, it also has offices in 28 states to implement its various programmes.

National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment

Paper 2 – Governance
Why Should You Know?

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) along with its partners had conducted the National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment.

In details –
  • A National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment was conducted by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) in association with its knowledge partners, viz. NASSCOM and KPMG in 2021. 
  • This is a periodic assessment intended to improve the effectiveness of States/Union Territories and the Central Government in delivery of their online services to citizens.
  • After the evaluation results which were released recently, the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been ranked at 1 under the Central Ministries Portal and the Digital Police Portal has been placed at 2 under the Central Ministry Services Portal.
  • In this exercise, the service portals were evaluated along with their parent Ministry/Department’s portal. In respect of MHA, the Digital Police portal of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) i.e. https://digitalpolice.gov.in/ was shortlisted for the evaluation under the Services Portal.
  • Correspondingly, the main website of the Ministry of Home Affairs i.e. https://mha.gov.in was shortlisted as the parent Ministry portal for evaluation.
two main categories –

All Government portals that were evaluated were divided into two main categories-

  • States/Union Territories/Central Ministry portal
  • State/Union Territory/ Central Ministry Services Portals.
Parameters –

There were four main parameters of assessment:-

  1. Accessibility
  2. Content Availability
  3. Ease of Use and Information Security
  4. Privacy for Central Ministry Portals

An additional three parameters were also used for the Central Ministry Services Portals – End Service Delivery, Integrated Service Delivery and Status and Request Tracking.

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