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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 March 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 March 2018


Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

Context: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for restructuring of National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to strengthen governance, implementation and monitoring framework.

The approval would lead to restructuring of composition of Board of NSDF and the NSDC to strengthen governance, implementation and monitoring framework.


About NSDC:

National Skill Development Corporation India (NSDC), established in 2009, is a not- for- profit company set up by the Ministry of Finance.

The present equity base of NSDC is Rs.10 crore, of which the Government of India through Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) holds 49%, while the private sector has the balance 51%.



  • NSDC aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions.
  • It also provides funding to build scalable and profitable vocational training initiatives.
  • Its mandate is also to enable support system which focuses on quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships.
  • It also develops appropriate models to enhance, support and coordinate private sector initiatives.


About National Skill Development Fund:

The National Skill Development Fund was set up in 2009 by the Government of India for raising funds both from Government and Non Government sectors for skill development in the country.

  • A public Trust set up by the Government of India is the custodian of the Fund. The Trust accepts donation, contribution in cash or kind from the Contributors for furtherance of objectives of the Fund.
  • The Fund meets its objectives through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: NSDC, NSDF.
  • For Mains: Need for Skill enhancement and various government initiatives in this regard.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


India Convention Promotion Bureau

Context: The government of India has been providing necessary support to India Convention Promotion Bureau to promote India as a venue for International Conferences and Exhibitions.


About ICPB:

The India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) has been set up under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism.

  • It has been set up to promote India as a venue for International Conferences and Exhibitions.
  • It is a non-profit organization, with members comprising national airlines, hotels, travel agents, tour operators, tourist transport operators, conference organizers, etc.
  • It participates in International Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) Tourism trade fairs like IMEX in Frankfurt and Las Vegas, EIBTM- Barcelona and AIME- Melbourne along with the Indiatourism overseas offices.


What’s important?

For Prelims: ICPB.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.


First National Conclave on Psychological Trauma, Child Protection, and Mental Illnesses


Context: With an aim to provide a comprehensive synthesis of research, service provision, and clinical practice in addressing psychological trauma and subsequent mental illnesses in Indian children and adolescents, First ever National conclave was recently organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development.


Significance of the conference:

The conclave provided a common platform for all stakeholders (Academicians, Clinicians, Government and NGOs) working in this area in the direction of robust evidence based research, better service provision, and capacity building of professionals.


Need for action:

The cross cultural research in child and adolescent mental health in last 3 decades has reached at a consensus regarding the direct relationship of psychosocial adversities in childhood and resulting psychological trauma, affecting almost all aspects of life and development of the children and adolescents.

However, childhood adversities and resulting trauma is overlooked, underestimated and underreported due to various reasons in the developing countries, although media and official data indicates the higher prevalence of such adversities in terms of exposure of children to natural and man-made disasters, domestic violence, emotional abuse, trafficking, domestic violence, vehicular accidents, chronic life threatening illness of self or significant family members or sudden death of a parent or sibling.



Although there is an increasing global agreement on association of childhood trauma with a wide range of mental illnesses including first episode psychosis-a severe mental illness, the research in India is limited to very few descriptive and review studies.

  • The service provision to children witnessing such traumatic life events in institutional care homes suffers from lack of appropriate trained manpower/professionals in handling trauma and trauma focused service provision.
  • There are many gaps in training, research and service provision in India.


Psychological traumatic life event:

Psychological traumatic life event is a broad term that can encompass a multitude of experiences and situations, such as experiencing trafficking, physical and sexual abuse/assaults, war, torture, natural disasters, kidnapping, sudden death in family, sudden loss of limb, life threatening chronic illness, as well as witnessing murder, domestic violence, accidents, and dead bodies.


What’s important?

For Mains: Childhood trauma and adversities- need for awareness and mitigation.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.


Integrated Scheme for School Education

Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of Department of School Education and Literacy to formulate an Integrated Scheme on School Education.


Key features of the scheme:

  • The new scheme subsumes Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from nursery to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal for Education.
  • The main emphasis of the Integrated Scheme is on improving quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.


The objectives of the Scheme, across all levels of schooling, are:

  • Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students.
  • Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education.
  • Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education.
  • Ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions.
  • Promoting vocationalization of education.
  • Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as nodal agencies for teacher training.


Significance of the scheme:

  • The Scheme gives flexibility to the States and UTs to plan and prioritize their interventions within the scheme norms and the overall resource envelope available to them.
  • It will help improve the transition rates across the various levels of school education and aid in promoting universal access to children to complete school education.
  • The Scheme, by providing quality education, aims to equip the children with varied skills and knowledge essential for their holistic development and prepare them for the world of work or higher education in the future.
  • It would lead to an optimal utilization of budgetary allocations and effective use of human resources and institutional structures created for the erstwhile Schemes.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme

Context: The NITI Aayog has launched the baseline ranking for the Aspirational Districts based on published data of 49 indicators. All the states — except West Bengal and Kerala — are on board in this ranking initiative.

From April 1, these 101 districts will start entering data and from May onwards, they will be ranked based on progress made (delta ranking) on a real-time basis.


Performance of various districts:

  • As per the baseline ranking, Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh is ranked highest with score of 48.13% while Mewat in Haryana tails at the end with 26.02%.
  • Among others, Asifabad (Telengana), Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), Kiphire (Nagaland), Shrawasti, Siddarthnagar and Balrampur (Uttar Pradesh), Namsai (Arunachal Pradesh), Sukma (Chattisgarh) are ranked at bottom of the list.


About Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme:

‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ was launched in January with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts in the country.


Implementation strategy:

The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement.

This will converge the central and state schemes, collaborate central, state and district collectors to strengthen these districts by identifying the low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress and then rank the district by getting the data on a real-time basis.


Significance of the scheme:

With states as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.

Under the programme, identified districts are prodded and encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others.


Need for the development of backward districts:

India cannot grow at a high rate on a long run until these districts catch up, whatever high are the GDP number, it has no meaning until the benefit of growth percolates down to very basic level.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Transformation of Aspirational Districts programme.
  • For Mains: Cooperative federalism and its significance.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP)


Context: The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for cooperation on the response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in the South Asian Seas Region.

The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations comprising the South Asian seas region namely Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for protection and preservation of marine environment in the region.



Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will be the Competent National Authority and national operational contact point for implementation of “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” under the MoU and shall respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of Government of India. Further, ICG Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) will be the national emergency response centre for marine incidents.


About SACEP:

In order to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the South Asian region, the Governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka established the SACEP in 1982 in Sri Lanka.

The SACEP jointly with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed a “Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan” to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing and responding to a major oil pollution incident in the seas around the Maritime States of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


Need for special attention:

South Asia is one of the most diverse regions in the world. Bordered to the north by the Himalayas and to the south by the Indian Ocean, covers a diversity of ecosystems from lush tropical forest to harsh, dry desert. It is also one of the most populous regions, with over 1 billion people living in India alone.

  • Most of the South Asian nations share many similar environmental problems, stemming from poverty and its consequences on natural resources. According to the World Bank, during the past decade, South Asia has been the second fastest economically growing region in the world, and their efforts at increased production have put increasing pressure on natural resources and the environment.
  • Significant natural resource concerns of the region include depletion of water quality and quantity, dwindling forests and coastal resources, and soil degradation resulting from nutrient depletion and salinization.


Facts for Prelims:

The Malé Declaration on control and prevention of air pollution and its likely transboundary effects for South Asia is another significant efforts which encourages intergovernmental cooperation to combat the transboundary air pollution problem.


What’s important?

For Prelims: SACEP, Male declaration, IMO, Regional Oil Spill Contingency plan.


Sources: pib.




Paper 3:

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies.


National Agricultural Cooperative Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED)

Context: National Agricultural Cooperative Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) has signed the Debt Settlement Agreement with its eight lender banks.

The One Time Settlement with the lender banks has been made at Rs. 478 Crore. In addition, the lenders are entitled to the assignment of auction right of the property of one of the defaulters of its tie-up business conducted in the years 2003-05.


About NAFED:

National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.(NAFED), established in 1958, is registered under the Multi State Co-operative Societies Act.

  • Nafed was setup with the object to promote Co-operative marketing of Agricultural Produce to benefit the farmers.
  • Agricultural farmers are the main members of Nafed, who have the authority to say in the form of members of the General Body in the working of Nafed.
  • The objectives of the NAFED shall be to organize, promote and develop marketing, processing and storage of agricultural, horticultural and forest produce, distribution of agricultural machinery, implements and other inputs, undertake inter-state, import and export trade etc.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Employment.


Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana


Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for enhancing the scope of Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY).

The Government of India will now contribute the Employer’s full admissible contribution for the first three years from the date of registration of the new employee for all the sectors including existing beneficiaries for their remaining period of three years.


About Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana:

The scheme “Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana”(PMRPY) was announced in the Budget for 2016-17.

  • The objective of the scheme is to promote employment generation.
  • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • Under the scheme employers would be provided an incentive for enhancing employment by reimbursement of the 8.33% EPS contribution made by the employer in respect of new employment.
  • The PMRPY scheme is targeted for workers earning wages upto Rs. 15,000/- per month.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Awareness in space.


James Webb Space Telescope

Context: NASA has delayed the launch of its much awaited, $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope — set to be the world’s biggest space observatory — until at least May 2020.


What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope, also called Webb or JWST, is a large, space-based observatory, optimized for infrared wavelengths, which will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope.

It will cover longer wavelengths of light than Hubble and will have greatly improved sensitivity. The longer wavelengths enable JWST to look further back in time to see the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, and to peer inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.


Why is Webb an infrared telescope?

By viewing the universe at infrared wavelengths Webb will show us things never before seen by any other telescope. It is only at infrared wavelengths that we can see the first stars and galaxies forming after the Big Bang. And it is with infrared light that we can see stars and planetary systems forming inside clouds of dust that are opaque to visible light.


Who is James Webb?

This space-based observatory is named after James E. Webb (1906- 1992), NASA’s second administrator. Webb is best known for leading Apollo, a series of lunar exploration programs that landed the first humans on the Moon. However, he also initiated a vigorous space science program that was responsible for more than 75 launches during his tenure, including America’s first interplanetary explorers.


Sources: the hindu.

Facts for Prelims:


India’s first insect museum opens in Tamil Nadu:

Context: India’s first insect museum with the state-of-the-art amenities was recently unveiled in Tamil Nadu.