“Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/ marine ecosystems or a combination thereof. BRs are designated to deal with one of the most important questions of reconciling the conservation of biodiversity, the quest for economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values. BRs are thus special environments for both people and the nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs.
The Biosphere Reserve Programme is guided by UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme as India is a signatory to the landscape approach supported by MAB programme.
A scheme called Biosphere Reserve is being implemented by Government of India since 1986, in which financial assistance is given in 90:10 ratios to the North Eastern Region States and three Himalayan states and in the ratio of 60:40 to other states for maintenance, improvement and development of certain items.
The State Government prepares the Management Action Plan which is approved and monitored by Central MAB Committee”.
The Government has launched the ‘Test and Treat Policy for HIV patients’ in April 2017. As per this policy all people living with HIV (PLHIV) are to be treated with Antiretro Viral Therapy regardless of CD4 count, clinical stage, age or population. The National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI 2017-2024 has been approved in June 2017. Details –
Accelerating HIV prevention in key population and ‘at risk group’.
Expanding quality assured HIV testing with universal access to comprehensive HIV care.
Elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Addressing the critical enablers in HIV programming.
Restructuring the strategic information system to be efficient and patient-centric.
Facts and figures –
As per HIV estimation 2015, India is estimated to have 21 lakhs people infected with HIV and 15.2 lakhs PLHIV know their HIV status through the strategy of scaling up of HIV counselling & testing services in 23,019 health facilities.
A total of 536 Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) centres are providing ART treatment across the country.
The National Guidelines on HIV Counselling & Testing Services (revised in Dec 2016) include the HIV screening through trained ancillary health care provider in community based setting for priority population including High Risk Groups, TB suspect & patients, STI/RTI attendees, sexual partners/ spouses of PLHIV, prison inmates, pregnant women, adolescent age group etc.
As per latest data, IMR has reduced by 58% in India during the period of 1990-2015 which is more than to Global decline of 49% during the same period. The full immunization coverage also improved from 43.5% in 2005 to 62.0% in 2015 and mortality due to Tuberculosis has reduced from 76 per 1,00,000 in 1990 to 32 per 1,00,000 in 2015. Steps taken to combat IMR and increasing vaccine coverage under National Health Mission –
Promotion of Institutional deliveries through cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free ante-natal check-ups, delivery including Caesarean section, post-natal care and treatment of sick infants till one year of age.
Strengthening of delivery points for providing comprehensive and quality Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) Services.
Newborn Stabilization Units (NBSU) and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) units for care of sick and small babies.
Early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for first six months and appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are promoted in convergence with Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is being supported to provide vaccination to children against many life threatening diseases such as Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Measles.
Name based tracking of mothers and children till two years of age (Mother and Child Tracking System) is done to ensure complete antenatal, intranatal, postnatal care and complete immunization as per schedule.
Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) for health screening, early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays including disability and early intervention services has been Operationalized to provide comprehensive care to all the children in the age group of 0-18 years in the community.
Iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation is being done for the prevention of anaemia among the vulnerable age groups, home visits by ASHAs to promote exclusive breast feeding and promote use of ORS and Zinc for management of diarrhoea in children.
Capacity building of health care providers – Various trainings are being conducted under National Health Mission (NHM) to build and upgrade the skills of health care providers in basic and comprehensive obstetric care of mother during pregnancy, delivery and essential newborn care.
Low performing districts have been identified as High Priority Districts (HPDs) which entitles them to receive high per capita funding, relaxed norms, enhanced monitoring and focused supportive supervisions and encouragement to adopt innovative approaches to address their peculiar health challenges.
Domestic Cruise Industry (GS – 3 Economy and Tourism) Tourism sector is a very talked about sector and reading about it will enrich your IAS coaching. Cruise tourism is a high-end luxury tourist segment of tourism sector. Significance –
It is estimated that on an average a cruise tourist spends about US$200-300 and a cruise staff/officer spends about US$100-150 per port visit.
Cruise operations augment local economic activities as business opportunities arise for supply for provisions, transport, hotels, bunkering etc. to cruise ships which generate direct and indirect employment.
The local economy also gains from the spending by cruise tourists during land excursions.
Measures taken to boost cruise industry –
All major ports offer a minimum rebate of 30% across the board to cruise ships on all vessel related charges (port dues, pilotage and berth hire) from the notified scale of rates.
Major ports do not levy any priority/ousting/shifting charges for berthing the cruise vessel, provided the liner informs port 30 days in advance about the requirement of the berth.
To attract cruise liners to make major ports as homeports, the major ports provide rebate of 25% in vessel related charges for coastal cruise movement. This is in addition to the 40% existing rebate for coastal vessels. Further, walk-in berthing/preferential berthing is given to cruise vessels at home port without any extra charge.
Foreign flag vessels carrying passengers had been allowed to call at Indian ports for a period of 10 years with effect from 6th February, 2009 without obtaining a license from Director General of Shipping. This has been further extended for a period of five years i.e. up to 5th February, 2024.
For promoting cruise, a Task Force has been constituted jointly by Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Tourism. The Task Force is responsible for drawing up strategies for promotion of cruise tourism including development of facilities and related infrastructure as well as facilitation.
Standardized Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling cruise vessels and passengers have been implemented.
To address manpower, coordination and logistic issues for handling cruise vessels at ports, Port Level Committees with chairman of the respective Major Port Trust as Chairman, Secretary Tourism of the concerned state as Vice-Chairman and Regional Director of the respective region of Ministry of Tourism as Convener have been constituted.
Ministry of Tourism under its Scheme for Assistance to Central Agencies extends financial assistance to the Ports for development of cruise related tourism infrastructure
We hope you liked the summary. PIB is an essential part of the preparation as it provides the best and genuine news for IAS preparation.
Details of Defence Agreements signed with Russia over the past five years is as under
Defence Agreements for training of Indian armed forces personnel in the military educational establishments of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation. (Date of signing 11.12.2014).
Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on cooperation in Aircraft flight safety. (Date of signing 21.01.2015).
Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering. (Date of signing 24.12.2015).
Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India on supply of S-400 Triumph Air Defence Missile systems to the Republic of India. (Date of signing 15.10.2016).
Defence Agreements between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India for construction of follow-on-ships of project 11356 in Russia and in India (Date of signing 15.10.2016).
India-Russia defence relations
India and Russia have several major joint military programmes including –
BrahMos cruise missile programme
5th generation fighter jet programme
Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme (230+ to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft
Additionally, India has purchased/leased various military hardware from Russia
S-400 Triumf 12.
Kamov Ka-226 200 to be made in India under the Make in India initiative.
T-90S Bhishma with over 1000 to be built in India.
Akula-II nuclear submarine (2 to be leased with an option to buy when the lease expires).
INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier programme.
Tu-22M3 bombers (4 ordered).
US$900 million upgrade of MiG-29.
Mil Mi-17 (80 ordered) more in Service.
Ilyushin Il-76 Candid (6 ordered to fit Israeli Phalcon radar).
The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is currently jointly operated by Indian Air Force and Tajikistan Air Force.
Defence Agreements | Conclusion
The Government makes all efforts to encourage greater manufacturing of defence equipment in India through the ‘Make in India’ framework, including through transfer of technology arrangements. Several licensed production agreements have been implemented with Russian companies in India, such as for Sukhoi-30 aircraft, T-90 tanks, BMP-2 armoured personnel carriers etc. Divulging the texts of such Agreements will not be in the interest of national security.
Raipur Airport – Swami Vivekananda Airport was once again ranked first in Customer Satisfaction among 49 airports in the country.
Raipur Airport achieved 4.84 score on a five-point scale index in the latest CSI survey conducted by an independent agency for the period of January-June 2017, followed by Udaipur, Amritsar and Dehradun airports which have scored 4.75, 4.74 and 4.73 respectively.
The integrated terminal building of Raipur was inaugurated in 2012. High level maintenance of infrastructure and passenger facilities, the green ambience, state-of -the- art technology and courteous staff ensuring passenger satisfaction has resulted in Raipur getting this recognition for the third consecutive time in the past two years.
Customer Satisfaction Index
Airport Authority of India makes continuous efforts to improve the services and passenger facilities at its airports, and this has placed it amongst the best service providers in the world.
Customer Satisfaction is one of the key performance objectives of AAI which is evaluated through Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted by an independent agency commissioned by AAI.
The survey covers a wide range of parameters like transportation, parking, passenger facilities and cleanliness etc
Minister of Railways dedicated to the nation the first 1600 HP DEMU train with Solar Powered Coaches with a unique facility of Battery Bank.
The entire electrical need of the coaches for Lighting, Fans and Information Display System will be met from the Solar Energy produced from the solar panels fitted in the roofs of coaches.
While this train has been manufactured by the Coach Factory of Indian Railways namely Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, its Solar panels and Solar systems have been developed and fitted by Indian Railways Organisation of Alternative Fuel (IROAF) Delhi.
This first rake has been commissioned and based at Shakurbasti DEMU shed in Delhi of Northern Railway. Twenty-four more coaches will be fitted with this system within the next 6 months. The first rake will be put in the commercial service over the suburban railway system of Delhi division of Northern Railway.
Normally, DEMU trains provide power for its passenger comfort systems – lights and fans – from a diesel driven generator fitted on its Driving Power Car (DPC).
IROAF has developed this system with a smart MPPT inverter which optimises power generation on a moving train to cater to full load even during the night.
The unique feature of Battery Bank through storage battery ensures sufficient electricity when the sunlight is not available.
The system helps in reducing Diesel consumption of the DPC and hence reduces carbon signature of these commuter trains by reducing CO2 generation by 9 Tonnes per coach per year.
A solar power DEMU train with six trailer coaches will save about 21,000 Litres of Diesel and thereby bring cost saving of Rs.12 Lac every year. Savings for a 10 coach rake with 8 trailer coaches will increase proportionately. These benefits will continue for entire 25 years’ life time of the rake. This will help in making DEMU commuter services better, more economical and environment friendly.
Other important facts
Indian Railways is trying to increase use of non-conventional sources of energy. More solar powered trains may be inducted in future. Indian Railways has already made a target of 1000 MW Solar Plants in next five-years.
Indian Railways is also taking several others environment friendly measures like Tea Plantation, Bio-toilet, Water-Recycling, Waste Disposal, using Bio-fuel CNG and LNG, Wind Energy etc.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in New Delhi today to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.
The objective of the Technology and Innovation Support Centre is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of Technology and Innovation Support Centres in India.
Services offered by Technology and Innovation Support Centre include
Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
Training in database search;
On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
Monitoring technology and competitors;
Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.
The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal Point for the TISC national network.
As the national focal point, CIPAM shall identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC program.
CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.
WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centre program provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
Over 500 Technology and Innovation Support Centres operate worldwide and establishing TISC in India will give the host institutions an access to the global network. In upcoming years, CIPAM is planning to establish TISCs in Universities, State Science Councils, R&D institutions etc. TISC will give an impetus to knowledge sharing, sharing of best practices among the TISCs, capacity building, generation and commercialization of IPs.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crores.
SASEC | Details
Manipur being a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain presently has only road transport as a means of mass transport system within the state. Hence development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the State and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.
The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state. Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lane with paved shoulder.
SASEC | Financing of the project
The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.
SASEC | Significance
The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus trade, commerce and tourism in the region will get a boost.
The workers of Manipur who specialize in creating bamboo and wood based handicraft items and uniquely designed hand woven textile items will get a new market among the Myanmar’s customers.
Small scale industries such as those making farm implements and tools, stationery, plastic extrusion items, carpentry units, could also develop markets beyond the border.
Besides socio-economic development the project will also lead to reduction in average travel time along the project road by nearly 40%.
In addition, the new features of road safety namely vehicular underpasses, crash barriers, road signs & markings, service roads for segregation of slow and high moving traffic, truck lay-by, bus-bays etc. will help in greatly reducing accidents.
Improved highway and lesser travel time will lead to savings in terms of fuel cost.
SASEC | Background
For fulfilling India’s “Look East” Policy and to promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia, the Government of India has notified an Integrated Custom Post (ICP) at Moreh. The development of this project is essential in order to support the increased traffic volume due to coming up of ICP.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi.
ISARC | Details
Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi.
This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
This Centre will be the first international Centre in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.
Benefits from ISARC
The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties.
This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents.
India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed.
The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers.
The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.
Management of ISARC
ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director.
A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair.
The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.