09, May 2017

  1. Smartgram Initiative

Source: PIB

The SMARTGRAM initiative of Rashtrapati Bhavan was inaugurated for five villages of Haryana i.e. Tajnagar, Dhaula, Alipur, Harchandpur and Rojka Meo by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on July 2, 2016. On May 1, 2017, it was approved that the initiative be extended to 100 villages in the vicinity of the initially selected five village of Haryana.

The aim of the meeting was to sensitize them on the initiative and discuss plans for implementation of various programmes in these villages.


  • A large number of projects have been undertaken in the initially selected five villages of Haryana under the SMARTGRAM initiative in the fields of agriculture, skill development, energy, education, heath, employment generation, developing entrepreneurship
  • These initiatives have generated a lot of enthusiasm in the nearby areas. Therefore, this initiative was extended to 95 more villages in the vicinity of the earlier selected five villages taking the total number of villages under the SMARTGRAM initiative to 100.

  1. DIPP & WIPO to set up Technology and Innovation Support Centers

Source: PIB

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)have signed an agreement to establish Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC)

  • WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC) 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 (IP) rights.

Services offered by TISCs may 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 project.
  • CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.
  • TISC will give an impetus to Knowledge sharing, sharing of best practices among the TISC’s, capacity building, generation and commercialization of IPs.

CIPAM – Ministry of Commerce and Industry

  • CIPAM, which functions under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) was set up pursuant to the National IPR Policy that envisages its creation in order to facilitate promotion, creation, and commercialization of IP assets.
  • CIPAM, the pivotal role of IPR Policy in protecting the public interest, as well as promoting creativity and innovation in the country.
  • The CIPAM logo has been designed keeping in mind the clarion call, “Creative India; Innovative India” as the Cell is tasked with the crucial role of achieving the objectives of the IPR Policy.


  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. We are a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 189 member states.
  • Our mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all. Our mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967.

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Member States

WIPO’s member states determine the direction, budget and activities of the Organization through the decision-making bodies. We currently have 189 member states.

To become a member, a state must deposit an instrument of ratification or accession with the Director General. The WIPO Convention provides that membership is open to any state that is:

  • A member of the Paris Union for the Protection of Industrial Property, or member of the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works; or
  • A member of the United Nations, or of any of the United Nations’ Specialized Agencies, or of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or that is a party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice; or
  • Invited by the WIPO General Assembly to become a member state of the Organization.

  1. Union Home Minister chairs the Review Meeting of LWE-affected States

Source: PIB

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh carried out a review of the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) situation in the ten LWE affected States.

The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

Security Issues:

The Home Minister enunciated an operational strategy ‘SAMADHAN’ to fight Left Wing Extremism.

The elements of this strategy are

  • S for Smart Leadership,
  • A for Aggressive Strategy,
  • M for Motivation and Training,
  • A for Actionable Intelligence,
  • D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators,
  • H for Harnessing Technology,
  • A for Action Plan for Each Theatre and
  • N for No access to Financing.

Important issues and requests of States included the following

  • Continuation/resumption of LWE specific schemes like Security Related Expenditure (SRE), Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS), Integrated Action Plan (IAP)/ Additional Central Assistance (ACA), Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) Schools and Fortified Police Stations.
  • Inclusion of some new districts under the SRE Scheme.
  • Deployment of additional Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) Battalions. Some States have also sought exemption from payments for CAPF battalions provided by the Centre.
  • Most States requested for helicopter support for operations.
  • Use of modern technology by the State Police and the CAPF was also discussed.
  • Issues related to inter-State coordination, intelligence sharing, setting up of Joint Task Forces for operations along inter-State boundaries were deliberated upon.
  • The Chief Minister of Bihar suggested that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) needs to be reviewed to ensure effective choking of fund flow to LWE groups.
  • Measures to prevent repetition of incidents such as at Sukma on April 24, 2017 was discussed at length with suggestions from SPs of the 35 worst affected LWE districts.

Development issues, the following points were discussed

In addition to the various facets of security, the socio-economic empowerment of the people at large is essential so that the public support stays with the Government. It is necessary for States to work on a coordinated strategy of security and development so that the confidence of the public in the democratic process is maintained in the LWE affected areas.

  • Minister of Road Transport and Highway informed that various new technologies like pre-fabricated slabs and soil stabilization were been examined.
  • Minister of New and Renewable Energy Resources informed that the Ministry was undertaking several Solar Parks, Solar Lighting and Solar Pumps schemes for providing low cost energy to LWE affected States.
  • Minister for Power informed that the electrification of villages in LWE areas is being undertaken on a war footing with Dec, 2018 as the target.
  • The Airport at Jagdalpur in the heart of Maoist core area will be operational very soon.
  • Phase-II of Installation of Mobile Towers is being initiated after incorporating the experiences and problems of Phase-I.
  • Minister of Railways informed that line Hajipur-Sagauli, Giridih-Koderma, Deoghar-Sultanganj is nearing completion.

Need for the Doctrine:

  • There are 10 LWE affected states- Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. As many as 12,000 citizens had lost their lives in Maoist violence over the last two decades. Of these, 2,700 were jawans of security forces and 9,300 were innocent common people.
  • Our Government has taken various steps with this objective, so that the confidence in our Government has grown in the minds of the tribals and others living in the LWE affected areas. They are coming forward to avail the benefits of Government Schemes.

  1. India unanimously elected to head UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme

Source: PIB

India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world, after 10 years. UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.

  • Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu will chair the four day meeting of the 58 member Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Shri Naidu will preside over the deliberations of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat for the next two years. Since the UN-Habitat came into being in 1978, It is only the third time that India has been  elected to lead this important organization after 2007 and 1988.

Governing the council:

  • As an inter-governmental policy making and decision making body, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat seeks to promote integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among all countries on human settlement issue.
  • The theme of the 26th Meeting of the Governing Council to be chaired by Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu from today is “Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda” with focus on inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future and planning and  financing sustainable urbanization and integrated human settlements. The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador last year.
  • Addressing the Governing Council of UN-Habitat, Shri Naidu has stressed on the need to reorient urban planning and execution strategies to ensure dignity of living and sufficient means of living for people in the context of rapid urbanization, particularly, in developing countries.
  • Shri Naidu elaborated on the integrated, inclusive and sustainable urban development model of India through various new missions like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. He said these missions are addressing deficits in different kinds of infrastructure including affordable housing in a convergence mode.

Shri Naidu also to chair Bureau meeting of Asia Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing & UD

UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme:

UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

  • The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976.
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
  • The mandate of UN-Habitat derives from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.


  • Cities are facing unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. There has been a phenomenal shift towards urbanization, with 6 out of every 10 people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by 2030.
  • In many places around the world, the effects can already be felt: lack of proper housing and growth of slums, inadequate and out-dated infrastructure – be it roads, public transport, water, sanitation, or electricity – escalating poverty and unemployment, safety and crime problems, pollution and health issues, as well as poorly managed natural or man-made disasters and other catastrophes due to the effects of climate change.
  • Mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization need to change in order for the growth of cities and urban areas to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind. UN-Habitat, the United Nations programme for human settlements, is at the helm of that change, assuming a natural leadership and catalytic role in urban matters.

  1. CoBRA to ‘bite’ Naxals; 2,000 commandos to enter Sukma soon

Source: Indian Express

Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, or CoBRA Commandos as they are better known, were raised by the central government under CRPF to act as a special guerrilla combat wing. Each CoBRA company has about 100 personnel each.


  • Sukma and its adjoining areas have witnessed some of the deadliest ambushes on security forces recently like the one where 25 CRPF men were killed in the Burkapal area of the district on April 24.
  • 12 CRPF men were similarly killed by Naxals on March 11 in Sukma.
  • A top official privy to the development said the paramilitary has prepared a blueprint to mobilise at least 20 to 25 companies of the CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) from their present locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh to the Bastar region that has some of the worst Maoist violence-hit districts of the central state.

About CoBRA

The CoBRA Battalion was raised in 2009 by the central government under CRPF to act as a special guerrilla combat wing for tackling violence perpetrated by Naxalites as well as insurgents in the northeast.

  • The CoBRA does operations based only on intelligence inputs and has been raised as a team of highly-trained commandos who neutralise the enemy and destroy their hideouts with minimal collateral damage.
  • The CoBRA teams will specifically be used to increase the kill ratio of the forces and deliver heavy blows to the Naxals TCOC campaign.
  • The Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) is launched by Maoists every year in the summer to kill security forces personnel and loot their weapons by catching them off guard when they are either out on a long patrol in the blistering sun or are deployed in these hard terrain areas for protection tasks like road construction and others.
  • At present, 44 CoBRA teams (of the total 154) are deployed in Chhattisgarh for these operations and all of them are in the Bastar region comprising the districts of Sukma, Dantewada and others.

  1. Centre to tap MGNREGA funds to revive ancient rivers

Source: The Hindu

The Centre plans to tap rural employment guarantee funds to recharge remnants of ancient rivers — including the mythical Saraswati — in a bid to boost groundwater reserves.

Background- Paleo-channels

  • Palaeo-channels are old rivers that have dried up and filled with sediment. Last October, a committee of hydrologists, geologists and archaeologists — as part of study commissioned by the Water Resources Ministry — reported evidence on the course of the Saraswati, mentioned in the Rigveda and Hindu mythology.


  • S. Valdiya, who led the team, concluded that the Sutlej river “represented the western branch of the Saraswati.


Saraswati River:

The river passed through Haryana, Rajasthan and North Gujarat.

  • It also flowed through Pakistan before meeting Western Sea through Rann of Kutch and was approximately 4,000 km in length.
  • One-third of the river stretch fell in present-day Pakistan. The longer, two-third stretch measuring nearly 3000 km in length fell in India.
  • The river had two branches: western and eastern. The Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST”, which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the western branch of the ancient river.
  • On the other hand, Markanda and Sarsuti represented the western branch of Saraswati, known as Tons-Yamuna.
  • The confluence of the branches was near Shatrana, 25 km south of Patiala. And suddenly, it flows crossing the dessert (Rann of Kutch) and meet gulf of western sea.

  1. NBT to host book fairs in panchayats

Source: The Hindu

The National Book Trust (NBT), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, is planning to host book fairs at the panchayat level to encourage the reading habit in villages.

The NBT is set to launch an ambitious scheme called the Panchayat Pustak Mela (Panchayat Book Fair), whose aim would be to organise regular book fairs in rural areas across the country.

Rural connect

  • The NBT recently brought out eight books in dialects used in the Bastar region of the state, in Devnagri script. In other words, it already has a body of literature that is likely to connect with the rural audience of the region.
  • “At a time when the State faces a serious militancy threat, books — especially ones that are close to the people of the region, and inspirational works on national themes – can help align the adivasis there with the mainstream,” the official said, when asked about plans to kick-start the process from Chhattisgarh.

The books on display would showcase the lives of freedom fighters and “heroes”, as the aim is to instil a sense of pride among rural youth. Children’s books would also be on display. The NBT will also request the State governments to provide libraries at the panchayat level.


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