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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 1st Feb to 7th Feb, 2016


Rashtrapati Bhavans annual Udyanotsav
(Topic: Indian Culture, salient aspects of art forms, literature and architecture from ancient to modern)
The World famous Mughal Gardens will remain open for general public from February 12 to March 19, 2016
(except on Mondays which are maintenance days)
Members of the public will also be able to visit the Spiritual Garden, Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden and
Musical Garden
Whats unique in this years Udyanotsav
Exhibition Stalls will be set up near the Spiritual Garden displaying models of organic cultivation farms as
well as organic fresh vegetables and fruits grown in the Presidents Estate Organic Farm
Vermi-compost and Masala Stall set up by women Self Help Groups of Rashtrapati Bhavan

Heritage development Projects (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana) Approved

(Topic: India Heritage and Culture)
Approved by- Ministry of Urban Development

Aim- Improving tourist infrastructure in heritage places of Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal in Telangana
Heritage ParkAn inter-Ministerial HRIDAY National Empowered Committee approved development of a Heritage Park in
Amaravati besides developmental works at 1000 Pillar Temple and Kazipet Durgah and rejuvenation of
pond at Padmakshi Temple in Warangal city
In Amaravati, Heritage Park will be developed over an area of 3.50 acres opposite Dhyan Buddha Statue
Exhibition Halls and shops will be used to promote to local art and handicrafts and other products

Importance of Amaravati and WarangalAmaravati and Warangal are among the 12 cities included in the Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana
(HRIDAY) for improving social, cultural and economic ecosystems by augmenting necessary infrastructure
Objective: Conserving the rich cultural heritage and enabling better facilities for tourists and pilgrims

Vietnam Lifts Ban on Import of Indian Groundnut- Major Step Forward in Securing Market Access
(Topic: Import and Export polices of India)
AboutVietnam has formally lifted the ban on import of Indian Groundnut, thereby providing market access after nine
Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (MARD) have formally stated that Plant Protection
Department of Vietnam (PPD) will issue import permits for groundnuts for January 18th 2016
Delegation was satisfied after seeing fumigation facilities, export procedures and export certification system for
export of groundnuts export from India, as per the Standard Operating Procedure developed by Directorate of
plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad.
Issue- Vietnam had temporarily suspended import of groundnuts from India due to interceptions of quarantine pests
living Caryedon serratus and Trogodrma granarium intercepted in consignments of groundnuts exported since
January, 2015
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
(Topic: Government Policies and its implementation)

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) completes ten years of implementation on
2nd February 2016
Success ScenarioPercentage of Scheduled Caste workers has consistently been about 20% and Scheduled Tribe workers have
been about 17%
A total of 1,980.01 croreperson days have been generated, out of which the percentage worked by women has
steadily increased much above the statutory minimum of 33%
Sustainable assets have been created linked to conservation of natural resources and overall development of
Gram Panchayats
More than 65% of the workstaken up under the programme are linked to agriculture and allied activities
Revival of the Programme

Revival has been achieved due to a slew of reforms undertaken by the Ministry of Rural Development
Most important of these has been the timely release of funds to states to provide work on demand
Electronic fund management system has been successfully instituted which allows for real time and
transparent release of funds to implementing agencies and beneficiaries
Consistent coordination between banks and post offices and constant monitoring of pendency of payments has
led to a reduction in wage delays.

Steps to be takenSimplification and strengthening of procedures for the implementation of the MGNREGA as an employment
Consolidation of all key instructions from the Central Government on the implementation of the Act
States are encouraged to innovate with flexibility
Convergent planning exercise currently underway in 2569 backward blocks in the country will be consolidated
in the State Rural Development Plan (SRDP) which will be the basis of implementation and monitoring for the
coming year
Concurrent social audits and community monitoring will be undertaken
Renewed focus on sustainable individual assets to benefit the poor and vulnerable households with the
following targets5 Lakh farm ponds and 10 Lakh Vermi
NADEP compost pits in the FY 2016-17
Continued focus on construction of Anganwadi Buildings and individual household latrines
Focus on imparting skills to workers aim to train and place 10,000 Barefoot Technicians from worker
households and through Project LIFE, skill and train workers for wages, for self-employment and livelihood
To address the distress situation of droughts in nine states Ministry declared an additional 50 days of
employment in the drought affected areas

Rurban Mission, Kerala

(Topic: Governments policies and steps for development of rural areas)
Ensuring availability of amenities to rural populace is on the top priority of the central government as 69% of
Indias population resides in villages
Focused approach to make qualitative improvement in rural lives is being adopted through effective
implementation, better outreach and continuous monitoring

Rurban MissionClusters of 15-20 villages having about 30 to 40 lakh population will be developed

Clusters will be geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with a population of about 25000 to 50000 in
plain and coastal areas and a population of 5000 to 15000 in desert, hilly or tribal areas
Clusters of village would follow administrative convergence units of Gram Panchayats
For the selection of clusters, the Ministry of Rural Development is adopting a scientific process of cluster
selection which involves an objective analysis at the District, Sub District and Village level, of the
demography, economy, tourism and pilgrimage significance and transportation corridorimpact
Transform rural areas to economically, socially and physically sustainable spaces that will be launched from
In first year: 100 Rurban growth clusters will be developed
AimsTo create 300 such clusters over the next 3 years, across the country
Funding for Rurban Clusters will be through various schemes of the Government converged into the cluster
To ensure an optimum level of development, fourteen components have been suggested as desirable for the
cluster, which would include- Skill development training linked to economic activities
SPMRM will provide an additional funding support of upto 30 percent of the project cost per cluster as Critical
Gap Funding (CGF) as Central Share to enable development of such Rurban clusters
Help check migration from villages in search of livelihood, uprooting family fabric
Annual plan for each Panchayat will be drafted and Village Panchayats will be given financial and
administrative powers

Health Ministry issues guidelines on Zika Virus Disease

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of social services relating to health, education, human
Disease transmitted through
Bite of an infected Aedes mosquito
Same mosquito that is known to transmit infections like dengue and chikungunya
Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947
World Health OrganizationReported 22 countries and territories in Americasfrom where local transmission of Zika virus has been reported
Microcephaly in the newborn and other neurological syndromes (Guillain Barre Syndrome) have been found
temporally associated with Zika virus infection
There are a number of genetic and other causes for microcephaly and neurological syndromes like Guillain
Barre Syndrome
Zika virus disease has the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of
the mosquito vector, a lack of immunity among population in newly affected areas and the high volume of
international travel
World Health Organization has declared Zika virus disease to be a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern (PHEIC) on 1stFebruary, 2016

In IndiaDisease has not been reported in India

However, the mosquito that transmits Zika virus, namely Aedes aegypti , that also transmits dengue virus, is
widely prevalent in India
SymptomsThose infected with Zika virus disease either remain asymptomatic (up to 80%) or show mild symptoms of
fever, rash, conjunctivitis, body ache, joint pains
Zika virus infection should be suspected in patients reporting with acute onset of fever, maculo-papular rash
and arthralgia, among those individuals who travelled to areas with ongoing transmission during the two
weeks preceding the onset of illness
MedicationNo vaccine or drug available to prevent/ treat Zika virus disease at present
Spread overDisease has been reported so far in the following countries- Brazil, Barbados, Bolivia, Columbia, Dominican
Republic, Equador, El Salvador, French Guyana. Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras,
Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, St Martin, Suriname, Virgin Island and Venezuela. It
may be noted that this list is likely to change with time
Enhanced Surveillance
Community based Surveillance
Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) through its community and hospital based data gathering
mechanism would track clustering of acute febrile illness and seek primary case, if any, among those who
travelled to areas with ongoing transmission in the 2 weeks preceding the onset of illness
IDSP would also advise its State and District level units to look for clustering of cases of microcephaly among
new-borns and reporting of Gullian Barre Syndrome
Maternal and Child Health Division (under NHM) would also advise its field units to look for clustering of cases
of microcephaly among new-borns.
International Airports/ Ports
All the International Airports / Ports will display billboards/ signage providing information to travellers on Zika
virus disease and to report to Custom authorities if they are returning from affected countries and suffering
from febrile illness
Airport / Port Health Organization (APHO / PHO) would have quarantine / isolation facility in identified Airports
Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Civil Aviation will be asked to instruct all international airlines
to follow the recommended aircraft disinfection guidelines
APHOs shall circulate guidelines for aircraft disinfection (as per International Health Regulations) to all the
international airlines and monitor appropriate vector control measures with the assistance from NVBDCP in
airport premises and in the defined perimeter
Rapid Response Teams

Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) shall be activated at Central and State surveillance units. Each team would
comprise an epidemiologist / public health specialist, microbiologist and a medical / paediatric specialist and
other experts (entomologist etc) to travel at short notice to investigate suspected outbreak
National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi would be the nodal agency for investigation of outbreak in
any part of the country.

Laboratory Diagnosis
NCDC, Delhi and National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, have the capacity to provide laboratory diagnosis
of Zika virus disease in acute febrile stage
These two institutions would be the apex laboratories to support the outbreak investigation and for
confirmation of laboratory diagnosis
Ten additional laboratories would be strengthened by ICMR to expand the scope of laboratory diagnosis
RT- PCR test would remain the standard test. As of now there is no commercially available test for Zika virus
disease. Serological tests are not recommended
Risk Communication
States/ UT Administrations would create increased awareness among clinicians including obstetricians,
paediatricians and neurologists about Zika virus disease and its possible link with adverse pregnancy outcome
(foetal loss, microcephaly etc)
There should be enhanced vigilance to take note of travel history to the affected countries in the preceding two
Public needs to be reassured that there is no cause for undue concern
Central/ State Government shall take all necessary steps to address the challenge of this infection working
closely with technical institutions, professionals and global health partners
Vector Control
There would be enhanced integrated vector management. The measures undertaken for control of dengue/
dengue hemorrhagic fever will be further augmented
Guidelines for the integrated vector control will stress on vector surveillance (both for adult and larvae), vector
management through environmental modification/ manipulation; personal protection, biological and chemical
control at household, community and institutional levels. Details are at Annexure-I
States where dengue transmission is going on currently due to conducive weather conditions (Kerala, Tamil
Nadu etc) should ensure extra vigil

Travel Advisory
Non-essential travel to the affected countries to be deferred/ cancelled
Pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant should defer/ cancel their travel to the affected
All travellers to the affected countries/ areas should strictly follow individual protective measures, especially
during day time, to prevent mosquito bites (use of mosquito repellent cream, electronic mosquito repellents,
use of bed nets, and dress that appropriately covers most of the body parts)

Persons with co-morbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory illness, Immune disorders etc)
should seek advice from the nearest health facility, prior to travel to an affected country
Travelers having febrile illness within two weeks of return from an affected country should report to the nearest
health facility
Pregnant women who have travelled to areas with Zika virus transmission should mention about their travel
during ante-natal visits in order to be assessed and monitored appropriately.
Non-Governmental Organizations
Ministry of Health &FW / State Health Departments would work closely with Non-Governmental organizations
such as Indian / State Medical Associations, Professional bodies etc to sensitize clinicians both in Government
and private sector about Zika virus disease
Based on available evidence, World Health Organization is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions
Co-ordination with International Agencies
National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, the Focal Point for International Health Regulations (IHR), would
seek/ share information with the IHR focal points of the affected countries and be in constant touch with World
Health Organization for updates on the evolving epidemic
Indian Council of Medical Research would identify the research priorities and take appropriate action
Situation would be monitored by the Joint Monitoring group under Director General of Health Services on
regular basis
Guidelines will be updated from time to time as the emerging situation demands

Report of the Companies Law Committee

(Topic: Constitutional Committees and Recommendations)
Companies Law Committee was constituted in June 2015 for examining and making recommendations on the issues
arising out of implementation of the Companies Act, 2013
Recommendations cover significant areas of the Act, including
Raising of capital,
Accounts and audit,
Corporate governance,
Managerial remuneration, c
Companies incorporated outside India and offences/ penalties
Some of the key changes proposed are listed belowManagerial remuneration to be approved by shareholders. [s. 197, 198]

Modify definition of associate company and subsidiary company to ensure that equity share capital is the
basis for deciding holding-subsidiary relationship rather than both equity and preference share capital. [s. 2]
Private placement process to be substantially simplified, doing away with separate offer letter, making
valuation details public, details/record of applicants to be kept by company and to be filed as part of return of
allotment only, and reducing number of filings to Registrar. [s. 42]
Incorporation process to be made easier and allow greater flexibility to companies: An unrestricted objects
clause to be allowed in the Memorandum of Association dispensing with detailed listing of objects, selfdeclarations to replace affidavits from subscribers to memorandum and first directors; changes also in various
Forms. [s. 4, 7]
Provisions relating to forward dealing and insider trading to be omitted from Companies Act. Listed companies
are covered under SEBI Act/Regulations. [s. 194, 195]
Companies may give loans to entities in which directors are interested after passing special resolution and
adhering to disclosure requirement. [s. 185]
Restriction on layers of subsidiaries and investment companies to be removed. [s. 2(87), 186(1)]
Change in the definition of term relative for determining disqualification of auditor [s. 141]
Rationalize penal provisions with reduced liability for procedural and technical defaults. Penal provisions for
small companies to be reduced [ various sections]
No filing fees if financial statements and annual returns filed within prescribed time. [s. 403]
Auditor to report on internal financial controls with regard to financial statements. [s. 143]
Frauds less than Rs. 10 Lakh to be compoundable offences. Other frauds to be continued to be noncompoundable[s. 447]
Reducing requirement for maintaining deposit repayment reserve account from 15% each for last two years to
20% during the maturing year
Foreign companies having insignificant/incidental transactions through electronic mode to be exempted from
registering and compliance regime under Companies Act, 2013. [s. 379]
Disclosures in the Directors Report to be simplified and duplications with SEBIs disclosure requirements and
financial statements to be removed while retaining the informative content for shareholders. [s. 134, Rules]
Increased threshold for unlisted companies for compliance in context of requirement for Independent Directors
(IDs), Audit Committee and Nomination and Remuneration Committee. [s. 149, 177, 178]
Test of materiality to be introduced for pecuniary interest for testing independence of ID; thresholds for
relatives pecuniary interest to be revised to make it more practical. [s. 149]
Requirement for a managerial person to be resident in India for twelve months prior to appointment to be done
away with. [Schedule V]
Disclosures in the prospectus required under the Companies Act and SEBI Regulations to be aligned, with a
view to make these simpler, by allowing prescriptions to be as per SEBI Regulations. [s. 26]
ESOPs to be allowed to promoters working as employees/directors [s.62, Rules]
Limit on sweat equity to be raised from 25% of paid up capital to 50% for start-ups. [s.54]
Recognition of the concept of beneficial owner of a company proposed in the Act. Register of beneficial
owners to be maintained by a company, and filed with the Registrar. [new section]
Provisions with regard to consolidation of accounts to be reviewed and those with respect to attachment of
standalone accounts of foreign subsidiaries to be relaxed in certain cases. [s. 129, 136]
Re-opening of accounts to be limited to 8 years. [s. 130]

Mandatory requirement of taking up some items only through postal ballot to be relaxed in case of a company
that is required to provide electronic voting at its General Meetings. [s. 110]
Requirement for annual ratification of appointment/continuance of auditor to be removed. [s. 139]
(Try to remember only the most imp. Points)

Works Module of Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS) and Implementation of e-Tendering in
Works Contracts
(Topic: Government Policies, Railway and e-technology)
Developed by Railways in association with Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an IT arm of Ministry of
AimTo bring transparency and efficiency in tender process for carrying out Works Contracts of Indian Railways
HighlightsInaugural ceremony was accomplished by Railway Minister launching one tender for construction of washing
line with catwalk and pit at Varanasi Station and other miscellaneous works in connection with Varanasi yard
remodelling work
Step towards IT enablement of Indian Railways- Saves time & brings transparency at global benchmark
HelpE-Connectivity will bring huge benefit as transparent process will bring people closer to the Railways
Portal will enable railways to implement e-governance in Works Contract with facilities likeCreation and publication of tenders online,
Enable tenderers to view tenders,
Submit their requisite amount and bid offers online
Facilitate instant online creation of comparative chart and briefing note
Lead to reduction in hassles related toTendering process,
Saving in cost and time,
Increase in ease of working,
Increase in efficiency,
Increase in competition,
Reduction in complaint related to tendering and easy access to information
Introduced few new concepts like online creation and maintenance of SOR (Schedule of Rates) and NonSchedule directories, standardization of tender conditions and interactive documents and better document
management system

Salient FeaturesIn view of enabling e-governance and transparency in Railways it was decided to implement e-tendering in
Works Contract
Maintenance upgradation of existing assets and creation of new assets needs a huge involvement of Works
Manual handling of huge volume of tenders has its own shortcomings like being time consuming, lack of
uniformity, constraints on bidders in submitting their bids etc
To increase the efficiency and bring more transparency in tendering system, e-tendering in Works Contract is
being introduced through newly developed IT applications
Application will go a long way in increasing efficiency and effectiveness of Indian Railways system
Application will facilitate all tendering departments of Railway viz. Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical,
Signalling & Telecom, Commercial, Health etc
Benefits to Bidders
Free access to information about tenders/ Corrigenda issued by all Railway Departments/ Units
Submission of Payments and bid offers online
Easy access to comparative statements
Work from the comforts of your office / home and Choose time as per your convenience

Progress of Jal Kranti Abhiyan reviewed

(Topic: Government Policies and its Implementation)
Initiated by- Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
Aim- Creating awareness on aspects of water security and water conservation
Jal Kranti AbhiyanTwo villages, preferably facing acute water scarcity are being selected as Jal Grams
An integrated water security plan, water conservation, water management and allied activities are being
planned for these villages by Panchayat level committee to ensure optimum and sustainable utilization of
Totally 1348 villages have to be identified in 674 districts, out of which 1001 have been selected as Jal Grams
in the country
Senior officials from CWC and CGWB who are nodal agencies for implementation have been directed to take
up issue with State Governments whenever Jal Gram selection has been slow
From each Jal Grams, one elected representative of Panchayat and one representative of the water users
association are being identified as Jal Mitra/ Neer Nari
Training is being imparted to them to create mass awareness about issue pertaining to water as well as
providing necessary guidance in tackling water supply related routine issues
Card known as Sujalam Card (with the logo Water Saved, Water Produced) is being prepared for every Jal
gram which would provide the yearly status/information on availability of water for the village from all sources

A committee has been formed at village level and block level for implementation and monitoring of works under
Jal gram, Block level, District level and State level committees have also been set up in the states to monitor
the progress of Jal Gram

DIPP and Qualcomm announce QPrize Make in India contest for Start Ups
(Topic: Government Policies and its Implementation and steps taken for its promotion)
AboutIn support of the Make in India Week, the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Qualcomm
Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), through its venture investment arm, Qualcomm Ventures, announced Indias
largest start-up contest QPrize Make in India awarding US$ 350,000 in equity investment as prize money for
the winning company
Qualcomm has supported Prime Minister Modis vision of Make in India by recently announcing Qualcomm
Design in India Initiative
Supporting vision by announcing the QPrize Make in India special edition contest to energize the start-up
ecosystem to join this movement towards creation of a local product design and manufacturing ecosystem
Aim- To catalyse Indian entrepreneurs and start up community to drive the entire value chain from innovation to
manufacturing in India

CBDT Signs Two Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) With United Kingdom
(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India)
AboutCentral Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into two bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with
United Kingdom
CBDT has concluded by signing three bilateral APAsA bilateral APA signed with Japan
Two bilateral APAs were signed with two Indian group entities of a UK based Multi-National Company (MNC)

Key HighlightsAPAs have been entered into soon after the Competent Authorities of India and United Kingdom finalised the
terms of the bilateral arrangement under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) process contained in the
APAs cover the period: 2013-14 to 2017-18 and also have a Rollback provision for 2 years (2011-12 and
Transfer pricing disputes on the same transaction were recently resolved under MAP for each of these two
companies for the years 2006-07 to 2010-11

With the signing of the bilateral APAs, the two Indian companies have been provided with tax certainty for 12
years each (5 years under MAP and 7 years under APA)
CBDT has so far signed 41 APAs out of which 38 are unilateral and 3 are bilateral.

HelpfulProviding a stable and predictable tax regime

Address the issues of payment of management & service charges and payment of royalty
Transactions generally face prolonged and multi-layered transfer pricing disputes

Training Programme Inaugurated as Part of Indo-Thai Geo Spatial Cooperation Project

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India)
ForegroundsSeven trainees from Thailand started their 4-week long training at Indian Institute of Surveying and Mapping
(IISM) of Survey of India as part of Indo-Thai Geo Spatial Cooperation Project
Trainees are from Geo informatics & Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), Thailand
Monitored by: Department of Science & Technology on behalf of Government of India
Cooperation project seeks to
Share and demonstrate capabilities and expertise gained by the Survey of India in Urban Mapping by
undertaking survey of a chosen town of area about 100 sq km, in Thailand
For imparting training in surveying and mapping techniques by the officials of GISTDA at the Indian
Institute of Surveying and Mapping (IISM)
Project UpshotMemorandum of understanding was signed in 2013 during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to the
Thailand between Royal Kingdom of Thailand and Government of India
Ideates cooperation between the two countries in the field of Science, Technology and Education

Programme Undertakings
During this one month they will be taking training in different specialization of surveying and mapping likePhotogrammetric,
Geodesy and
Topographical mapping
After the training, will use the knowledge gained during the training for various types of mapping including the
urban mapping in that land

llSMEstablished in 1967, a pioneer institute in lndia in the field of training in Surveying and Mapping
Trained more than 30000 Indian personnel at various levels and more than 600 from other Asian-African
country in field of Survey and Mapping
Officers and Personnel from almost all state government came regularly to llSM
SOl, the India premier national mapping agency, is serving the country for nearly past 250 years by generating and
providing the quality geospatial data and map to the country

India Signs an Agreement to Become an Associate Member State of European Molecular Biology
(Topic: Bilateral, Regional and Global groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting Indias interests)
AboutIndia through the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology signed a Cooperation
Agreement to acquire the status of the Associate Member State European Molecular Biology Organisation
After the signing of an agreement with Singapore by EMBC in July 2015, India will now become second such
country outside the European region
AimStrengthen scientific interaction and collaborative research between India and Europe in this field EMBO is an
organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences
To support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information
EMBCMovement was started in 1964 as European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC)and subsequently it got
intergovernmental funding
With this India as an EMBC Associate Member State, researchers working in India are now eligible to
participate in all EMBO programmes and activities
Indian scientists can apply to EMBOs programmes, such asLong-term fellowships for postdoctoral researchers,
Short-term fellowships,
Courses and workshops,
EMBO Young Investigator Programme
Europe will benefit from networking with the top-level scientists in Indias research community

12 th South Asian Games

(Topic: Sports)

Held in Guwahati & Shillong from 5 th Feb, 2016 to 16-Feb-2016

HighlightsBiggest sporting extravaganza ever held in the North East India
First ever gender equal South Asian Games with men & women participation in all the sports
Participants- SAARC nations namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and
Sri Lanka
SAARCComprise 21% of the worlds total population and around 9.12% of Global economy
SAARC is a platform for the people of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and
understanding so as to achieve lasting peace and prosperity of its member nations and South Asian Games
play a vital role in achieving this objective
Games logo, Mascot, Song
Symbolizes peace, progress & prosperity in the region
Consists of 8 petals representing the 8 countries participating in the Games
Colors of petals are from the flags of the 8 countries

Mascot: TIKHOR, a Baby rhino

TIKHOR is someone who is Sharp, Naughty, Sporty & Modern and is a Motivator, friend and messenger of
peace, progress & prosperity
Theme song: Ei Prithibi Ekhon Krirangon, Krira Hol Shantir Prangon sung by the world famous musician late
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika
Song means that the whole world is a playground and sports is a symbol of peace
Song is being translated in official languages of all SAARC nations and will be sung in each of these

Government to bring amendment to raise to 50 % reservation for women in panchayats from existing 33% in
coming Budget Session
(Topic: Constitutional Amendments, Reservation and Women Empowerment)
Government to push amendments for increasing to 50 per cent the reservation for women in Panchayats from
33 percent in the coming Budget session of Parliament
Some States had provided 50 per cent reservation to women in Panchayats, but through the Constitutional
Amendment, it will be implemented in the whole country


On the basis of the report of the Bhuria Committee submitted in 1995, PESA was enacted in 1996 to extend
Part IX of the Constitution with certain modifications and exceptions to Fifth Schedule areas in 108 districts in
10 States
Need faster implementation of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) PESA Act by states for the
uplift of tribal
Enhance peoples participation in decision making at local level as tribal population will feel more
comfortable to raise their issues and concerns in smaller Gram Sabhas at village level rather than at
Gram Panchayat level
Will have a positive impact in preventing and checking extremism and resentment among tribal
population if implemented effectively
Discussions includedFraming of PESA Model Rules;
Compliance of the provisions of the State Panchayati Raj Acts and Subject Laws with provisions of the PESA
Act; e
Empowerment of Gram Sabha;
Strategies for capacity building;
Infrastructure and staff in Gram Panchayats and effective utilisation of grant of Fourteenth Finance
Commission awards etc

National Arogya Fair-2016

(Topic: Development and Management of Social Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resource)
Organized by: Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa & Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in
collaboration with the State government of Uttarakhand and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)
AROGYA fair has grown into a country-wide phenomenon with more than 10 fairs organized throughout the
year now
To create awareness among the people about the uses of the AYUSH Systems, their cost-effectiveness and
the availability of herbs and plants used for prevention and treatment of common ailments at their door-steps
through various mass-media channels to achieve the objective of Health for all
ImportanceOver the past three decades, there has been a tremendous resurgence of Worlds interest in the AYUSH
Systems of Medicine, including countries in Europe and USA
It is mainly because of holistic approach towards preventive, promotive and positive health and multidimensional aspects of disease management in these traditional systems of medicine
In this regard signed several MoUs for bilateral cooperation in the area of traditional medicine and setting up
Ayurveda chairs and AYUSH information centres in various countries, such as South Africa, Malaysia and
Trinidad & Tobago, the Minister disclosed


To create a strong healthcare system in the hills

AYUSH System of medicine is also more economical
Growing herbs and medicinal plants can create employment opportunities in the hills, especially when it is
linked with industry requirements in an integrated manner
Highlights of SessionLarge varieties of health products for treating diabetes, blood pressure, joint pains, heart diseases, geriatric
problems and common ailments are on display at the Fair
Free Learning Sessions are being organized for visitors with themes like Panchakarma, Homeopathy for
Womens disorders, Yog se Arogya and Management of Non-Communicable Diseases in Siddha System,
treatment of lifestyle diseases like diabetes through AYUSH, and many more
Focus on role of Dincharya and Pathyapathya for maintenance, Siddha Medicine basic principles, Stress and
Homoeopathy etc

Labour and Employment Ministry Sign Eight MoU with Leading Agencies Connecting Job Providers and
(Topic: Government steps to generate employment)
Signed between- Ministry of Labor and Employment signed eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with leading
organizations engaged in employment and career related activities
HelpProvide transparent and credible platform and will save both employers and job seekers from possible
fraudulent practices
New initiative to link all the employment exchanges on a national platform so that more and more jobs can be
accessed by youth
Emphasizing on generating employment opportunities and to transform Employment Exchanges to Career
Centers for offering counselling and guidance to youth
National Career ServiceInitiative was launched in 2015 as an ICT based platform for providing employment services to public
NCS has been implemented to act as an integrated platform for all key stakeholders like industry, central
government, state government, PSUs etc. to join hands in realizing Indias aspirations of becoming a globally
competitive workforce
IT enabled platform will provide credible information to and from job provider and job seeker about each other
and these MoUs are only the first step in this journey
Industry to come forward and take advantage of the National Career Service (NCS) portal for getting skilled
NCS is thus partnering with organizations operating in various domains
ISF (Indian Staffing Federation) will facilitate quality jobs to be made available on the NCS from leading private
placement organizations

Uber will provide micro-entrepreneurship opportunities to drivers who register on the NCS portal as Local
Service Providers
com, Quikr Jobs, Tech Mahindra (Saral Rozgar), will offer jobs opportunities to NCS registered
Government has also launched Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Start-up India etc. to boost the economy
as well as generate large employment opportunities for youth

AimTo meet the aspirations of youth for jobs with the industry demand and has evolved a policy for entering into
partnerships with leading organizations
Strategic interventions will enhanceCareer and employment opportunities,
Offer counselling and guidance for career development,
Focus on decent employment,
Enhance female labour force participation,
Encourage entrepreneurial endeavors,
Focus on inclusive growth initiatives,
Facilitate transition of workforce from informal to formal sectors,
Engage with rural workforce for higher productivity,
Facilitate re-employment (second-life) opportunities for returning and retired workforce etc

Indo-Nepal Battalion Level Combined Exercise Surya Kiran

(Topic: India and its neighbourhood relations)
Ninth Indo-Nepal Combined Battalion level Military Training Exercise SURYA KIRAN will be conducted at
Pithoragarh from 08 February to 21 February 2016 under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade of Central Command
During the exercise, an Infantry battalion each from Indian Army and the Nepalese Army would be training
together and sharing their experiences of Counter Terrorism operations and Jungle Warfare in mountain
Surya Kiran series of exercises is a bi-annual event which is conducted alternatively in Nepal and India
AimTo enhance interoperability between the Indian and the Nepalese Army units in Jungle Warfare and Counter
Terrorism operations in mountainous terrain
Training will also focus on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief including medical and aviation support
Both the Armies will stand to benefit mutually from shared experiences
Combined training, mutual interaction and sharing of experiences between both the countries shall further
strengthen the historical military and strategic ties giving further fillip to the bilateral relations and existing
strong bonding between both countries

Global Biotechnology Summit on Destination India
(Topic: Science and Technology)
About- A two day Global Biotechnology Summit on Destination India will be held on 5 th & 6th February 2016 at
Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi
AimTo showcase Indias Biotechnology strength and capacity
Provide an opportunity to bring together all stakeholders to discuss opportunities, collaborations and to prepare
a joint action plan for achieving the target of 100 billion US dollars for the Biotech sector by 2020
Summit held as a run up to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) celebrating its 30 th Foundation Day on 26 th
February, 2016
HighlightsSeries of scientific activities including town-hall lectures, debates and other interactions with eminent scientists
as well as overseas experts were organized in association with various autonomous institutes and star
Contributions of key stakeholders Individuals, Institutions (including Universities), Industry and Society are
being show cased to mark the occasion
Participants: Eminent scientists from national and international public and private sector organizations and
universities and delegations from State Governments, representatives and delegations from other countries
with which DBT partners, students, research fellows, Biotech Start-up Entrepreneurs, policy-makers, Civil
society and other stakeholders are to be the participants

HelpTo spread the message across the country and internationally on the impact which Life Sciences and
Biotechnology have made on society
Attract investors and other key partners to invest in the biotech sector in India, in response to the call given by
the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for Make in India and for encouragement of the start-up ecosystem with
a potential for scale-up
Focus on the priority themes
Make in India,
Nurturing Bio entrepreneurship,
Skill India,
Biotech opportunities and
Action for Swachh Bharat

Formation of Joint Venture Companies with State Governments

(Topic: Infrastructure- Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc)
Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for
allowing the Ministry of Railways to form Joint Venture Companies with the State Governments to mobilize
resources for undertaking various rail infrastructure projects in States
Joint Venture Companies would be formed with equity participation of Ministry of Railways and concerned
State Governments
JV can also form project-specific SPVs with equity holding by other shareholders like Banks, ports, public
sector undertakings, mining companies etc

HelpJoint Venture exercise would ensure greater participation of State Governments in implementation of Railway
Projects both in terms of financial participation as well as decision making process
Facilitate in faster statutory approvals and land acquisition
Besides travelling people, various cement, steel, power plants etc. would get the necessary rail link for
transportation of their raw material and finished products

Setting up Advanced Polymer Laboratory

(Topic: Science and Technology)
MoU signed between- Central Institutes of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET), under the Ministry of
Chemicals & Fertilizers, Government of India with Karnataka Government
It is to- Set up Advanced Polymer Design and Development Research Laboratory cum High Learning Centre at
HelpAct as a multi-functional one-step facility with specialization in product development in Polymer sector
Conduct R&D, product tests and evaluations and commercialization of technology
Developing new Plastics Technologies, Processes and Products to enhance the use of plastics for promotion of
industries and betterment of the people
Establish a strong relationship with industries, especially for design and development of advanced polymers,
micro fluidic device development and manufacturing techniques for medical and electronics etc
Compliment a number of projects of ISRO, DRDO, Department of Science and Technology, D/o Electronics,
CSIR and other public and private sector organizations.


Meet the Governments drive on Make in India and Skill India through indigenization of technology for import
substitution in the areas ofDefense material,
Bio-polymers & bio-nano composites for packaging,
Bio-sensors for healthcare applications,
Natural fiber reinforced composites for automobile applications,
Polymer adhesives and coating for marine applications,
Fuel solar cells for solar energy and e-waste recycling
Address various global issues such as requirement of light weight components, Nano-composites, high
performance coatings, flame retardant polymers, increased use of plastic in agriculture and construction, and
tailor-made polymer solution for various industries
CIPETIt has 28 centers across the country out of which 5 centers have been added during the current year 2015-16
Eleven more centers have been approved for next 2 years
CIPETs conduct diploma and UG/PG programmers, undertake research, and provide technology support to
industry by way of designing, tooling, moulding, testing quality control etc.

MNRE revises benchmark cost of Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) Technologies

(Topic: Science and Technology-developments and their applications and effects in everyday life)
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), proposes an upward revision of the benchmark cost of
Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) Technologies Programme
Aim- To promote energy efficiency
Benchmark cost
Related to the performance efficiency in design and manufacturing of systems so that smaller systems could
deliver more energy in a cost effective manner
Existing benchmark costs of the CST systems were developed under off-grid & decentralised solar
application scheme of the National Solar Mission in 2010
CSTSystems include Non-Imaging compound (NIC) parabolic reflectors, Single Axis Automatic Tracked (Scheffler,
PTC, LFR etc.), and Dual Axis Automatic Tracked (Paraboloid Dishes, Central Tower etc.)
Proposed revision in the Benchmark cost on the basis of instantaneous heat output/ heat delivery from CST
systems will also accommodate increase in the cost of various components of CST systems

Eighth Meeting of Special Committee on Interlinking of Rivers

(Topic: Infrastructure- Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc)

Interlinking of River (ILR)Programme is of national importance and has been taken up by the Government on high priority
To ensure greater equity in the distribution of water by enhancing the availability of water in drought prone and
rain-fed area through interlinking of rivers
Ministry has already identified 14 links under Himalayan Rivers component and 16 links under Peninsular
Rivers component for inter basin transfer of water based on field surveys and investigation and detailed
Issues Discuss- Status of Ken- Betwa link project Phase-I and II, status of Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-TapiNarmada link projects, Intra state link proposals and restructuring of National Water Development Agency

World Navies United through Ocean during IFR 2016

(Topic: Security- Naval Fleet Warships)
Honble President and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, reviewed the
Fleet comprising naval warships from Indian as well as frontline foreign navies, the eleventh Fleet Review after
Independence and the second with participation of foreign navies
HighlightsAfter a 21-Gun salute and ceremonial Guard of Honour, the President embarked INS Sumitra, an indigenously
built Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) designated as the Presidential Yacht
Showcased the latest acquisitions of the Indian Navy such as MiG 29K, Long Range MR aircraft P8I and AEW
helicopter KM-31

ImportanceBrought together navies from across the globe on Indian shores, signifying common desire to use the seas to
promote peace, cooperation and friendship, as also to develop partnerships for a secure maritime future

Joint Declaration between India and Germany- Extension of the tenure of the Indo-German Science &
Technology Centre (IGSTC)
(Topic: Science and Technology)
About- Joint Declaration between the Ministry of Science & Technology and the Federal Ministry of Education and
Research of Germany on the extension of the tenure of the Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC)
AimExtension of tenure of the bilateral IGSTC for a period of five years beyond 2017 till 2022
Provides for enhancement of funding allocation from 2 million Euros per year to a maximum of 4 million Euros
per year by each side
Committed funding will be based on the principles of activity matching funding for supporting collaborative
research partnerships of industrial relevance

Creation of new scientific knowledge base and the application of research results for technology development
and application
Enable IGSTC to furtherEnhance
Strengthen and
Improve research and technology cooperation of industrial relevance through cooperation between:
laboratories + academia + industry of both the countries
IGSTC will support and fund selected R&D projects linking research laboratories and industry (2+2 scheme)
from India and Germany and assist in mobilizing resources to carry out collaborative industrial R&D projects

IGSTC was established under an agreement between the two Governments in October 2007 and started
operation in 2011
Presently IGSTC is supporting joint industrial R&D projects in areas such asAdvanced manufacturing
Biomedical devices & healthcare
Automobile engineering
Water sensors
Clean energy technology
Information and computing technology

MSP for Copra for 2016 season

(Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices)
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its
approval for the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for Copra for 2016 season
Decision is based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)
CACPAn expert body, takes into accountCost of production,
Overall demand-supply,
Domestic and international prices,
Cost of conversion of copra into coconut oil,

Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) of Milling Copra has been increased to
Rs.5950/- per quintal for 2016 season from Rs. 5550/- per quintal in 2015
Also, the MSP for FAQ of Ball Copra has been increased to Rs.6240/- per quintal for 2016 season from Rs.
5830/- per quintal in 2015
MSP of Copra is expected to ensure appropriate minimum prices to the farmers and step up investment in
Coconut cultivation and thereby production and productivity in the country


National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and National Cooperative
Consumer Federation of India Limited (NCCF) would continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies to undertake price
support operations at the Minimum Support Prices in the Coconut growing states
Government has taken several other farmers friendly initiatives over the last one year are as following:

PMFBYA new crop Insurance scheme in which uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops
and 1.5% for all Rabi crops
In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5% and
there is no upper limit on Government subsidy
Government has also created portal on crops insurance in order to keep farmers better informed
Soil Health Card- Soil health management in the country is being promoted through setting up of soil & fertilizer
testing laboratories and implementation of organic farming

PKVY- Government has also framed guidelines under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY) to promote organic
farming and develop potential market for organic products
PMKSY- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, has been launched with the objective of creating sources of assured
Kisan Channel- A dedicated Kisan Channel has been started by the Doordarshan to address various issues
concerning farmers

NAMAn initiative is being taken to set up a National Agriculture Market (NAM)

Enable farmers to overcome the impediments in marketing of agricultural produce and get better price
A common e-market platform is being created and would be provided free of cost to the States/UTs that
undertake to introduce a single license for trading in the whole state, a single point levy of market fee and
permit e-trading Government is also encouraging formation of Farmer Producer Organisations

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd and
Rusnano OJSC of Russia
(Topic: Investment Models)
MoU- National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd. with RUSNANO OJSC of Russia
Signing of the MoU is a follow-up of the Prime Ministers visit to Russia on 23-24 December, 2015 and
discussions between NIIF and RUSNANO over the past several months
Both sides agreed to cooperate in diverse sectors and facilitate high-technology investments in India
FUND for joint implementation of investments into projects in India
Both the Parties will establish a joint working group with a view to further develop cooperation between the
Parties and work on the development of the definitive agreements based on the principles outlined in the
RUSNANO is a Russian development institute with interest to invest in projects in the field of high technologies
and defence including the projects aimed at establishment of manufacturing industrial enterprises in India

NIIFGovernment of India has established the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) as a Category II
Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations
NIIF is financed from Governments own contribution and is expected to have equity participation from both
foreign and domestic strategic anchor partners, with the Governments share being 49%
Objective of NIIFTo maximise economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both
Greenfield and Brownfield, including stalled projects and other nationally important projects in India