21, September 2017


  • The 6th edition of VASTRA i.e. “VASTRA – An International Textile and Apparel Fair 2017” (VASTRA – 2017) is scheduled during 21st to 24th September, 2017 at Jaipur Exhibition & Convention Centre, Sitapura Industrial Area, Jaipur, India.
  • Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Ltd. (RIICO) is the organiser and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is the co-organiser of the fair.
  • VASTRA, an all-encompassing trade fair and conference on Textiles and Apparel, presents a fusion of the finest and the latest in textile products – from fibre to fashion, services and technology.

Cabinet approves Extension of time period of the Scheme “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (Sll J&K)


Udaan is a Special Industry Initiative for Jammu & Kashmir in the nature of partnership between the corporates of India and Ministry of Home Affairs and implemented by National Skill Development Corporation.

The programme aims to provide skills training and enhance the employability of unemployed youth of J&K. The Scheme covers graduates, post graduates and three-year engineering diploma holders. It has two objectives:

  • To provide an exposure to the unemployed graduates to the best of Corporate India;
  • To provide Corporate India, an exposure to the rich talent pool available in the State.

Kayakalp– an initiative for Award to Public Health Facilities


The e-NAM National Market Place scheme to ensure farmers get the right price for their produce —these are all reflections of this approach.

  • National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • This e-marketing platform is expected to help farmers in facilitating better price discovery through efficient, transparent and competitive marketing platform; better marketing of agricultural produce; reducing wastages; and getting market related information and with access to large number of buyers from within and outside the State through transparent auction processes.

National Conference on Agriculture for Rabi Campaign – 2017-18

  • The aim of the Government is to increase coverage under irrigation, development of organic farming, distribution of Soil Health Card to all farmers, risk coverage particularly of non-loanee farmers, the strengthening of e-NAM, promotion of horticulture, dairy / animal husbandry / fisheries and other allied sectors.
  • The new initiatives of the government like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Soil Health Scheme, Neem Coated Urea and E-national Agriculture Market Schemes will surely help in achieving the goal of doubling the income of farmers’ by 2022.

1.Cabinet approves Revamped Khelo India Programme

Source: PIB

This programme strives to promote “Sports for All” as well as “Sports for Excellence.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the revamped Khelo India programme.

  • This marks a watershed moment in the history of Indian sports, as the Programme aims at mainstreaming sport as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development.
  • The revamped Khelo India Programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy.

Salient features:

Some of the salient features of the Programme include:

  • An unprecedented Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme, which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines.
  • Each athlete selected under the scheme shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5.00 lakh for 8 consecutive years.
  • This is the first time ever that a long-term athlete development pathway would be made available to gifted and talented youngsters to excel in competitive sports and will create a pool of highly competitive athletes who can compete to win at the world stage.
  • The Programme aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sports persons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
  • The Programme also aims at creating an active population with healthy life-style.
  • The Programme would cover about 200 million children in the age group of 10-18 under a massive national physical fitness drive, which will not only measure the physical fitness of all children in the age group, but also support their fitness related activities.

2.New Heights in Biotechnology – DBT announces three High-investment, High Outcome Thrusts for the North East Region – (Ministry of Science and Technology)

Source: PIB

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science & Technology,  has taken many steps to brings about a paradigm shift in biotechnology in the country’s North-East Region (NER).

  • Eyeing an inclusive growth, DBT has announced a series of new programs and missions to turn this into a reality.
  • DBT has established a dedicated ‘North Eastern Region Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC)’, with an annual investment of Rs. 180 crores, to evolve, implement and foster biotechnology research in the north east states.

They are,

  1. Phyto-Pharma Plant Mission: This is a Rs 50 crore Mission aimed at conservation and cultivation of endangered and threatened endemic medicinal plants, and discovery of new botanical drugs for unmet medical needs using the rich traditional ethno-botanical knowledge and biodiversity of these states and at the same time also improve availability of authentic and quality botanical raw material on sustainable basis for a boom in the phyto-pharmaceutical industry.

DBT has announced launch of the Phyto-pharmaceutical Mission in NER with three major objectives:

  • Captive cultivation of selected medicinal plants of NER, which have great demand to ensure supply of authentic and quality botanical raw material to the user industries in the country.
  • Development of technology packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts for export markets.
  • Production of safe and efficacious phytopharmaceuticals from medicinal plants of NER for unmet medical needs using modern scientific tools and following global standards.
  1. Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) on the Brahmaputra River, a major ecology hotspot, in NER, in collaboration with DONER, B4 will establish a large barge on the river with a well-equipped laboratory for analysis of all components of the entire ecosystem of the river and surroundings.
  • The B4 will link to all the local research institutions along the river, as well as national and international laboratories.
  • B4 will have capability to analyse soil, water, environment, plant and animal life, human health and agriculture and an  equal component that involves local citizens in the experimental process of science in data generation and management.
  1. Frugal microscopy through the Foldscope: a frugal microscope assembled from simple components, including a sheet of paper and a lens, is acting as a tool connecting students and science from the region, with the rest of the country.

Skilling Human Resources:

  • Twinning R&D Programme: DBT has initiated 480 R&D twinning programs that link institutes in NER with those across the country.
  • To create an environment of training and research in medial biotechnology, DBT has supported Medical Diagnostic facilities at 11 medical colleges in NER with an investment of Rs. 40.00 crores
  • At school levels, DBT has launched the ‘Biotechnology Labs in Senior Secondary schools (BLiSS) programme’, a first of its kind in India, for schools where biotechnology labs have been set up at 88 Senior Secondary Schools from NER with an investment of Rs. 2.20 crores.
  • To provide these students with access to world-class journals and publications, the DBT e-Library consortium (DeLCON) has been launched in partnership with 18 institutions of NER, which provides access to more than 900 high impact e-journals.
  • DBT’s ‘Overseas Associateship for North East Region’ has seen 208 scientists from NER being trained overseas with Rs. 5.25 crore invested every year to support this programme.

(DBT’s BLiSS program for teachers inculcating interest in science among NER students)

3.India to conduct the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ from October 10-13


The First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, 2017 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

  • This Exercise will be a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries.

BIMSTEC- Member Countries:

  • Delegates from all seven nations of the ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC) grouping, – namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, representatives from Embassies/High Commissions of BIMSTEC nations in Delhi, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and Senior Officers from the Nodal Ministries are participating in the event.

Key facts:

  • At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.
  • The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response.
  • It will help create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries.
  • The exercise will help strengthen the effective utilization of the Search & Rescue Teams for Disaster Relief & Emergency Response, including Emergency Rapid Assessment Teams and Management of mass casualties especially in situations involving breakdown of infrastructure and communication.

India and other Member Countries:

  • India has been at the forefront of DRR efforts by hosting the South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx) and the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR).
  • India has also offered its expertise and capabilities in DRR such as the South Asia satellite, GSAT-9, and the Tsunami Early Warning Centre to other countries.
  • Disaster Management was one of the important Agenda items the BIMSTEC leaders deliberated upon during the Goa BRICS Summit in October last year where BIMSTEC leaders were the Special Invitees.
  • The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people, constituting around 22% of the global population with a combined GDP of US $2.7 trillion economy.
  • Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in the South Asian Region (SAR), prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, avalanches and drought.

Way ahead:

  • At the end of the four-day Exercise, a publication will be brought out on the outcomes and recommendations of the Joint/Common Exercise and include Agreement among BIMSTEC Nations on regional cooperation for Disaster Management and Emergency Response.
  • This would be presented to the BIMSTEC Leaders at the Summit to be hosted by Nepal in October/November, 2017.

4.61st IAEA General Conference – Vienna, Austria

Source: PIB

Director General Highlights IAEA Programmes

Maintaining high-quality programmes and delivering concrete results for Member States are the key to the IAEA’s success in contributing towards international development, peace and security, Director General Yukiya Amano said in Vienna.

  • Increased awareness of its unique role in transferring nuclear technology to developing countries, its nuclear verification activities, and its work supporting countries in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in energy, food and agriculture, industry, water management and health

Nuclear verification

  • Since the last General Conference, the IAEA has continued to verify and monitor Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • “Iran is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” Mr Amano told delegates. “The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented.”
  • Concern over the nuclear programme of North Korea (DPRK) and called upon the country to comply fully with its obligations under all relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the IAEA.

Nuclear safety and security

  • All IAEA nuclear safety requirements now incorporate lessons from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011, ensuring that these are part of global safety practice, he said.
  • Mr Amano reminded delegates of the importance of safety and security in all uses of nuclear technology, whether for power or non-power purposes.
  • “They are national responsibilities,” he said, “but the IAEA plays the central role in ensuring effective international cooperation.”

India’s Achievements:

  • India has always given primacy to IAEA’s role in the promotion of peaceful uses of atomic energy, both in the area of nuclear power and nuclear applications, while maintaining due support in IAEA’s role in safeguards.
  • This year completed 7 decades of our independence. 70th year of Indian independence has also been an year of exceptional achievements for us in the area of nuclear power, heavy water, nuclear fuel and associated material, uranium mining and milling, rare earth, radio isotopes and cancer care. All our research facilities, including synchrotron, cyclotron and reactors achieved their highest ever performance.

5.G4 countries seek early reform of United Nations Security Council

Source: Indian Express

  • Foreign Ministers of G4 countries, including India, have called for an “early reform” of the UN Security Council and expansion of its permanent and non-permanent members.
  • At a meeting at United Nations on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly Sessions of the United Nations, the ministers of G4 countries – Brazil, Germany, India and Japan – asserted that such a reform was essential to make the most powerful wing of the UN more representative and effective, reflecting the ground realities of the 21st century.
  • The four countries called for an “early reform” of the UN Security Council and enhanced role for developing countries as major contributors to the UN and improvement of working methods in order to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representatives.

6.India joins quantum computing race

Source: The Hindu

DST to fund development of machines that run faster than traditional computers

  • Keen to tap into the next big advance in computing technology, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is planning to fund a project to develop quantum computers.
  • A quantum computer, still largely a theoretical entity, employs the principles of quantum mechanics to store information in ‘qubits’ instead of the typical ‘bits’ of 1 and 0.
  • Qubits work faster because of the way such circuits are designed, and their promise is that they can do intensive number-crunching tasks much more efficiently than the fastest comparable computers.

7.Peer-to-peer lending platforms are NBFCs

Source: The Hindu

  • Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms will be treated as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and thus regulated by the RBI
  • P2P lending is a form of crowd-funding used to raise loans which are paid back with interest. It can be defined as the use of an online platform that matches lenders with borrowers in order to provide unsecured loans.
  • As per the RBI, the business of a P2P lending platform is defined as the service of loan facilitation, via online medium or otherwise, to “the participants who have entered into an arrangement with that platform to lend on it or to avail of loan facilitation services provided by it.”

8.ONGC discovers oil in Arabian sea

Source: The Hindu

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has made a significant oil discovery to the west of its prime Mumbai High fields in the Arabian sea.

Key facts:

  • The discovery in the well WO-24-3 is estimated to hold an in-place reserve of about 20 million tonnes. Mumbai High, India’s biggest oil field, currently produces 205,000 barrels of oil per day (just over 10 million tonnes per annum) and the new find would add to that production in less than two years time.
  • In all, nine objects or zones were tested and all of them were found to be hydrocarbon bearing. The last object tested flowed 3,300 barrels of oil.
  • ONGC is carrying out a further appraisal of the discovery and has intimated upstream regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons.
  • “This is a mid-sized discovery but a significant one,” the official said.
  • The new find, which comes almost 50 years after ONGC began production in Mumbai High, will help the company maintain production levels from the basin for a longer time than currently estimated.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)

  • ONGC is multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • It is Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under administrative control of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • It is India’s largest oil and gas explora tion and production company. It produces around 77% of India’s crude oil (equivalent to around 30% of the country’s total demand) and around 62% of its natural gas.

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