05 & 06, February 2017

1.Mahatma Gandhi BunkarBimaYojana : Insurance Scheme for Handloom Weavers

Source: PIB

Under the Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY), 4.33 lakh handloom weavers from North Eastern States availed benefits in the last five years.

  • During the period of 2012-13 to 2016-17, 25.93 lakh weavers have been covered till now.
  • Besides this, the Implementing Agency, i.e. Life Insurance Corporation of India, will submit final enrolment figures for 2016-17 after 31st March,2017.

Key facts:

The basic objective of the “Mahatama Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana‟ is to provide enhanced insurance cover to the handloom weavers in the case of natural as well as accidental death and in cases of total or partial disability of weavers prior to attaining the age of 60 years.

  • During the XII Plan the Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Yojana will continue to be implemented with the same benefits as were given in 11th plan period.
  • The weaver should be earning at least 50% of his income from handloom weaving.
  • All weavers, whether male or female, between the age group of 18 and 59 years are eligible to be covered under the scheme, including minorities, women weavers and weavers belonging to NER.
  • The weavers belonging to the State Handloom Development Corporations/Apex/ Primary Handloom Weavers‟ Cooperative Societies will be covered under the Scheme. Weavers outside co-operative can also be covered under the scheme on a certificate from the State Directorate of Handlooms that they are fulfilling the eligibility conditions.
  • It will be the responsibility of the State Director in charge of Handlooms to verify the eligibility of the weavers who are proposed to be covered under the scheme.
  • It will be the responsibility of the State Director In charge and LIC to ensure that women weavers, weavers belonging to minorities and weavers of NER States (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim) are given adequate representation while implementing the scheme.


The “Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana” also provides scholarship to the children of parents who are covered under it under “Shiksha Sahyog Yojana”.

The benefit is restricted to two children of the member covered.  Both the children irrespective of gender based discrimination will be covered for scholarship.

2.Steps taken for Development of Sericulture

Source: PIB

The Catalytic Development Programme consists of various components and subcomponents under Mulberry, Vanya and Post Cocoon Sectors.

  • The programme is continued for implementation as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with certain modifications and deepening of XI Plan activities, for implementation in a project mode during XII Plan.
  • The packages under CDP covers three major areas viz., Mulberry, Vanya (Non-Mulberry) and Post-cocoon sectors to be supplemented by other components of Support Services, which are common to all packages.
  • The programme catalyzes the efforts of State Governments to improve the quality, productivity and production of raw silk, besides generating employment opportunities, particularly in the rural areas.


Government through Central Silk Board (CSB) had implemented a Centrally Sponsored Scheme viz. ‘Integrated Scheme for the Development of Silk Industry’ for development of Sericulture industry in various states including Tamil Nadu, focusing on intervention in critical areas such as Feed, Seed, Breed, Post Cocoon Technology and Capacity Building.

‘Catalytic Development Programme’(CDP) in various states during XII Plan period (up to 2014-15), to synergize and disseminate technologies & innovations developed by R&D units of CSB.

  • The objective under the scheme was to incentivize investment among stakeholders to enhance production, productivity and quality of silk.
  • The components under the CDP envisaged strengthening and creation of silkworm seed infrastructure, development of farm and post-cocoon infrastructure and creation of better marketing facilities to ensure remunerative price to primary producers.


3.Use of Bitcoins

Source: PIB

Promotion of Digital economy is in integral part of Government’s strategy to clean the system and weed out corruption and black money. The earlier initiatives of the Government to promote financial inclusion and the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) trinity were important pre-curser.

  • However, RBI has cautioned the users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (VCs), including Bitcoins about the potential financial, operational, legal customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to.
  • The creation, trading or usage of VCs including Bitcoins, as a medium for payment have not been authorised by the Reserve Bank of India.

4.Budget 2017-18 focuses on educational empowerment and skill development of the Minorities

Source: PIB

The Union Budget (General) 2017-18 will be helpful in socio-economic-educational empowerment of Minorities.

Key facts:

  • The Minister of Minority Affairs further stated that more than Rs 2600 crore have been provided for various scholarships and skill development schemes such as “Seekho aur Kamao”, “Nai Manzil”, “Nai Roushni”, “Usttad”, “Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centre” and “Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarship for Girls”.
  • Besides this, funds under Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) will also be utilised for various educational development activities.
  • The Budget of Minority Affairs Ministry has been increased to Rs 4195.48 crore for 2017-18. This is Rs 368.23 crore more than 2016-17 Budget of Rs 3827.25 crore with an increase of about 9.6 per cent.
  • Rs 22 crore has been allocated for “Usttad” scheme which aims to promote and provide national-international markets for traditional arts of the Minority communities.
  • Rs 1200 crore has been allocated for Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) with an increase of Rs 141 crore compared to last year’s budget.
  • MsDP scheme provides basic infrastructure for Minority concentrated areas such as schools, hospitals, roads, multi-purpose community centres “Sadbhav Mandap”.

Hunar Haat

  • The Ministry of Minority Affairs is organizing second edition of “Hunar Haat” with the theme “Craft Aur Cuisine Ka Sangam”
  • “Hunar Haat” is aimed at encouraging, promoting and providing national and international market to artisans/craftsmen belonging to the Minority communities.
  • “Hunar Haat” is being organized through National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme of Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • “Hunar Haat” is aimed at providing opportunity and a platform under one roof to artisans & craft persons of Minority communities, to demonstrate, showcase and sell their products.

5.Underwater harbour defence, surveillance system launched

Source: Indian Express

The system will enhance the security of valuable assets against asymmetric threats.

  • The inauguration of IUHDSS is a significant step in strengthening Harbour Defence and Security at Mumbai.
  • The IUHDSS is a state of the art system with integrated radars, electro optic cameras and sonars. The sensors have been strategically installed around the Mumbai Harbour to provide comprehensive real-time situational awareness for monitoring and analysis.

Kochi–  India’s first harbour defence system

Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System (IUHDSS)

  • Designed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
  • Consists of advance sensors, coastal surveillance radars and sound navigation and ranging systems (SONAR).
  • Capable of detecting, tracking, identifying and generating warning for all types of underwater and surface threats to harbour security.
  • The integrated system can detect presence of divers and under water threats with the help of this automatic system.

6.Government constitutes six-member committee to improve Haj policy, look into subsidy issue

Source: Indian Express

The Union government has formed a six-member committee to study the ways to improve India’s Haj policy and look into the issue of subsidy to the pilgrimage in light of a 2012 Supreme Court order on gradually reducing and abolishing it by 2022.

Key Facts

  • The committee will examine implications of various directions of the Supreme Court with regard to the existing Haj policy, and suitable amendments in it.
  • It will also review the effectiveness of Haj Committee of India’s management of pilgrims’ accommodation and air travel.
  • It will also figure out whether the pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia paying less in the absence of the subsidy.
  • It will also assess the aspects of transparency, consumer satisfaction and disclosure requirements for private tour operators to protect interest of the pilgrims to make the policy of greater assistance to the pilgrims.


  • The Union Government gives Haj subsidy to Muslim Hajj pilgrims in the form of airfare subsidy as well as assistance for domestic travel to reach specially designed haj departure airport terminals.
  • In 2012, the Supreme Court had directed the Union Government to gradually reduce and abolish Haj subsidy by 2022.
  • It had ordered government to invest the subsidy amount (approximately Rs 650 crore a year then) on educational and social development of the community.

7.Tribe offers clues to hidden wonders of medicinal plant

Source: The Hindu

  • A medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka could offer scientists the key to new herbal formulations and modern drugs for the treatment of cancer and wounds and burns.
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.

The researchers have filed for a patent on a novel herbal drug formulation possessing wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immuno- enhancing, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.

Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY)

Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY) – Assam Village Development in the next five years culminating in 2021-22.

  • The main aim of the scheme is to bring revolutionary changes by doubling the farm income and a move to bring about the paradigm shift towards holistic development of villages in Assam.
  • However, the scheme will be implemented through the saturation model’ by covering each revenue village and through the focused interventions in direct economic activities, logistic support including market linkages, and community support.
  • Under the scheme, a Village Knowledge Centre will be set up in each village to bring proper balance in the scheme and a and MGNREGA playground will be developed in each village of the state.

8.UN seeks India’s nominee for anti-terror panel

Source: The Hindu

India has been asked to send the name of its nominee for inclusion in a global team to assist a United Nations committee which decides on banning terror outfits and their leaders.

  • The presence of the country’s nominee on the panel may facilitate the government’s efforts to get Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and mastermind of last year’s Pathankot air base attack, banned.
  • India’s effort to get JeM chief listed in the UN’s sanctions list of organisations and individuals linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIS has been repeatedly blocked by China.

Key facts:

  • The nominations have been sought from qualified individuals to serve on the ‘Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team’ in support of the important ‘1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee’.
  • Those interested should be experts on ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaeda and affiliated individuals and entities, their evolution, linkages and changing nature of the threat. They should have “willingness to travel extensively, including in difficult environments”.
  • The position requires a high level of personal commitment to the monitoring team’s mandate and to the United Nations.
  • The final selection of the team is made by the UN secretariat based on assessment of the individual qualifications of the candidate.
  • The monitoring team works in tandem with the UN Secretariat to standardise the format of all United Nations sanctions lists and also assists the Committee in regularly reviewing names on it.

Background: India’s effort to get JeM chief listed in the UN’s sanctions list of organisations and individuals linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIS has been repeatedly blocked by China. Azhar’s JeM, which is said to have links with Taliban and Al-Qaeda, has been blacklisted by the UNSC.

9.Union Government launches Measles Rubella vaccination campaign

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country at Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key facts:

  • Under it all children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination free-of-cost acros irrespective of their previous vaccination status or disease status.
  • Measles vaccine is currently provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
  • However, rubella vaccine will be a new addition to it. After the completion of the campaign, MR vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child.
  • Measles immunization will directly contribute in reduction of under-five child mortality and with combination of rubella vaccine, it will control rubella and prevent CRS (congenital rubella syndrome) in country population.

10.Nagaland: Protesters to enforce bandh : Nagaland to seek PM nod for civic and urban law exemption

Source: Indian Express

The Nagaland Cabinet has decided to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister to issue an ordinance to exempt the state from the provision of Part IX A of the Constitution related to municipalities and ULBs, and their composition.

This is seen as state government’s attempt to placate the tribal bodies which is opposing 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies (ULBs) and resorted to violence protest following which polls were called off.

The state Cabinet has decided to take the matter to New Delhi to demand that Nagaland be exempted from the purview of Part IX A.

Constitution of India says:

  • Part IX (A) of the Constitution of India – which pertains specifically to municipalities – is not applicable to the state of Nagaland. Part IX (A) does not embrace a state where it is wholly tribal.
  • In other words, Part IX (A) is applicable to the states where tribals or scheduled castes are in minority and the majority are non-tribals, non-scheduled castes.

Special provision to Nagaland under Article 371 (A)

  • The Article 371 A is the only Special Provision for the Nagas inserted in the Constitution of India by the Constitution 13th  Amendment Act.1962
  • Many believe that Part IXA clashes with Article 371 (A) of the Constitution which guarantees special rights to the state of Nagaland.
  • Under the article, customary laws, social practices, beliefs of the people and the resources of the state are safeguarded from intervention by the Centre and its policies unless the state assembly decides so by a resolution.
  • While provision 243(T) of Part IXA grants reservation to women in municipalities, Naga social groups have said this goes against their customary laws as protected by Article 371(A).

Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution (Special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland) states that – “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,

No Act of Parliament in respect of:

  1. Religious or social practices of the Nagas,
  2. Naga customary law and procedure,
  3. Administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law,
  4. Ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides.

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