24, October 2017

1.Gram Samridhi Evam Swacchata Pakhwada

Source: PIB

An initiative of the Ministry of Rural Development, GoI along with with Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, in partnership with the State and Local Governments

  • It is an effort to prepare the Gram Panchayat Development Plan through extensive community participation especially of women and youth.
  • The recommendations of this plan will be given top most priority in finalization of Annual Action Plan across schemes and programmes of various Ministries and Departments.

Purpose of the Campaign

To Involve the Panchayati Raj institutions to:

  • Engage the community in building clean, green villages,
  • Gram Sabhas
  • Generate awareness about different Government schemes
  • Plan for sustainable livelihood options in the villages.
  • Baseline ranking of 50,000 GPs to be taken up in Mission Antyodaya.

Activities/Programs- Swachata Pakhwada

  1. General activities- in all Gram Panchayats
  • Sanitation drive
  • Gram Sabhas
    1. MGNREGA Action Plan
    2. Krishi Sabhas
  • GPDP review and planning
  • General Awareness of Government Programs
  • Enrollment for universal entitlements
  1. Specific Activities
  • To be taken up in Gram Panchayats identified for Mission Antyodaya

More Details: http://rural.nic.in/sites/default/files/6thSeptJSskills_0.pdf

2.India’s first Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra for skilling in Smart Cities inaugurated

Source: PIB

The main aim behind the move is to bring momentum in skilling through collaborative efforts.

  • The Centre is emphasizing on the commitment of the Union Government to support skilling in smart cities.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), an executive arm of Skill Development Ministry, has collaborated with New Delhi Municipal Council Smart City Limited for the following:

  • To extend cooperation for setting up of PMKK Centres for Smart Cities
  • To provide skill training for unemployed youth through its short-term training (STT) module
  • Contribute to the capacity building of municipal employees through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program.

More about the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra:

  • The newly inaugurated Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra leverages NDMC infrastructure for skilling initiatives
  • Located at Mandir Marg, New Delhi, the NDMC-PMKK Centre for Skilling in Smart Cities is an exemplary heritage building of approx. 30,000 sq.ft., with a capacity of skilling 4,000 youth annually
  • Catering to healthcare and solar energy sectors, the centre will be managed by one of NSDCs affiliated training partners — Orion Edutech, which has an impeccable record of training nearly 3 lakh candidates through its network of over 275 skill development centres across the country.

NSDC – Skilling India

  • NSDC is committed to bridging the skill gap by partnering with institutes of repute in order to give youth a solid foundation for success.
  • The National Skill Development Corporation ( NSDC ) is a one-of-its-kind, Public Private Partnership ( PPP) model in India, under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship ( MSDE ).
  • It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions. A not-for-profit company set up by the Ministry of Finance, under Section 25 of the Companies Act, it has an equity base of Rs.10 crore, of which the Government of India holds for 49%, while the private sector has the balance 51%.


  • To contribute significantly to the overall target of skilling up of people in India, mainly by fostering private sector initiatives in skill development programmes and to provide funding.

More Details: https://www.nsdcindia.org/New/nsdc-profile

3.India’s Space mission to Moon ‘Chandrayaan- II’ in 2018

Source: PIB

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, has said that India’s Space Mission to Moon, “Chandrayaan-II”, will take place in 2018, most likely in the first quarter of the year.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to deploy a rover on the lunar surface in the Chandrayaan-2 mission.

Chandranyyan 2

  • The Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
  • After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.
  • The six-wheeled Rover will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.
  • The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil. Collection of soil and rock sediments is not planned in this mission.
  • ISRO is working towards the launch of Chandrayaan-2 during the first quarter of 2018.

Key facts:

  • It is planned to be launched as a composite stack into the Earth Parking Orbit (EPO) of 170 X 18,500 km by GSLV-Mk II. The Orbiter carries the combined stack up to moon till the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI). The combined stack is then inserted into a lunar orbit of 100 km x 100 km. The Lander is separated from the Orbiter in this orbit.
  • During 2010, it was agreed that Russian Space Agency ROSCOSMOS would be responsible for lunar Lander and ISRO will be responsible for Orbiter and Rover as well as Launch by GSLV. Later, due to a shift in the programmatic alignment of this mission, it was decided that the Lunar Lander development would be done by ISRO and Chandrayaan-2 will be totally an Indian mission.
  • Chandrayaan 1 which the spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.

4.UN to vote on extending Syria gas attacks probe

Source: Indian Express

The United Nations Security Council will vote to extend an international investigation of chemical weapons attacks in Syria — a measure that could be vetoed by Russia.

  • The United States requested a vote on a draft resolution it presented last week that would allow the joint UN-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel to continue for another year its work of identifying who is behind toxic gas attacks in Syria’s six-year war.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. As of today OPCW has 192 Member States, who are working together to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.


The OPCW Member States share the collective goal of preventing chemistry from ever again being used for warfare, thereby strengthening international security. To this end, the Convention contains four key provisions:

  • destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW;
  • monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging;
  • providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats; and
  • fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry

OPCW Mission Statement

  • The mission of the OPCW is to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in order to achieve the OPCW’s vision of a world that is free of chemical weapons and of the threat of their use, and in which cooperation in chemistry for peaceful purposes for all is fostered.
  • In doing this, our ultimate aim is to contribute to international security and stability, to general and complete disarmament, and to global economic development.
  • To this end, the Secretariat proposes policies for the implementation of the CWC to the Member States of the OPCW, and develops and delivers programmes with and for them.

These programmes have four broad aims:

  • To ensure a credible and transparent regime for verifying the destruction of chemical weapons and to prevent their re-emergence, while protecting legitimate national security and proprietary interests;
  • To provide protection and assistance against chemical weapons;
  • To encourage international cooperation in peaceful uses of chemistry; and
  • To bring about universal membership of the OPCW by facilitating international cooperation and national capacity building.


5.Navika Sagar Parikrama – Tarini Enters Fremantle

Source: PIB

INSV Tarini entered Fremantle (Australia) port during it’s maiden voyage to circumnavigate the globe.

  • This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.

Key facts:

  • The indigenously-built INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel, which was inducted in the Indian Navy earlier this year, and showcases the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum.
  • The expedition titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential.
  • It also aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
  • The expedition has been aptly titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, aimed at promoting women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.
  • The expedition would inspire the youth of our nation to develop an understanding of the sea and instill a spirit of adventure and camaraderie.

INS Mhadevi

  • INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei.
  • The first Indian Solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Capt Dilip Donde, SC (Retd) from 19 Aug 09 to 19 May 10 onboard the Indian built vessel, INSV Mhadei.
  • The first Indian non-stop solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Cdr Abhilash Tomy, KC from 01 Nov 12 to 31 Mar 13.

INSV Tarini:

  • INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel, which has been built indigenously, and was inducted in the Indian Navy earlier this year
  • The vessel has sailed approximately 8,000 Nm till date. Navika Sagar Parikrama would be covered in five legs with stop-overs at four ports (same ports as Capt Dilip Donde) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary.

Additional aims of the Expedition are as follows:-

  • Nari Shakti– In consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential, the expedition aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the worldplatform. This would also help to discard the societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of participation by women in challenging environment.
  • Environment and Climate Change – Sailing encourages the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources which affects the life of women. The expedition thereby aims at harnessing the energy to optimise the livelihood of the women onboard.
  • Make in India – The voyage also aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.
  • Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave Data Observation – The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.
  • Marine Pollution – The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
  • Interaction with Local PIOs – Since the expedition aims to promote Ocean Sailing and the spirit of adventure, the crew would interact extensively with the local PIOs at the various port halts.

6.Comments sought on draft guidelines for groundwater extraction

Source: PIB

The Central Groundwater Authority (CGWA) has sent Draft guidelines for “issuance of NOC” for ground water withdrawal and draft “Public Notice” to the Chief Secretaries of all the State and Administrators of Union Territories for their comments within 60 days.

Reasons for coming up with draft guidelines

  • Due to the increasing number of litigations in the National Green Tribunal, various branches of Tribunal are directing CGWA to ensure that the groundwater withdrawal in the country should be in accordance with law.
  • These guidelines will ensure a uniform regulatory framework across the country so that the discriminatory practices in regulation are either mitigated or minimized.

The major revisions in the guidelines are

  • Pan India coverage,
  • Decentralization of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) issuing authorities, dispensing with the provisions relating to submission of artificial recharge proposals and construction of artificial recharge structures by project proponents
  • Introduction of a water conservation fee in lieu of recharge mechanism;
  • Funds raised through the water conservation fee to be used by States for effective groundwater management.

Central Grounder Water Authority

  • The CGWA constituted by Government of India under Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 has been regulating groundwater development and management in the country. The authority has been granting NOC for withdrawal of ground water by industries/infrastructure/mining projects.

7.Ministry of Railways may ask Finance Ministry to fund its share towards Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK)

Source: The Hindu

With earnings deficit, the Ministry of Railways may find it difficult to contribute its share towards Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK)

Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK)

  • Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Rosh (RRSK) is a dedicated fund for critical safety-related works.
  • In Budget 2017-18, Ministry had announced the setting up a special safety fund with a corpus of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore over a period of five years. Finance Ministry would contribute Rs. 15,000 crore annually towards the fund, the Ministry of Railways would fund the balance Rs. 5,000 crore every year.
  • Finance Ministry advised the Ministry of Railways to prioritise deploying RRSK funds on areas that reduce chances of human error and ensure training of safety staff.


  • Safety measures taken on Indian Railways is a continuous process which envisage accident prevention and mitigation directed towards continuous reduction in risk level to its customers.
  • This is done by adopting new technologies and bringing improvement in asset reliability to reduce human dependency. For example- Train Protection Warning System (TPWS)/ Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to prevent accident due to over speeding and passing signal at danger etc. RRSK funding is essential for carrying such safety works

8.Centre eases norms for sewage plants

Source: The Hindu

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has relaxed standards for upcoming sewage treatment plants (STP), including those to come up on extremely polluted stretches of the Ganga.


  • One of the prongs of the government’s ₹20,000 crore push to clean the river was a 2015-proposal to have higher standards for STPs. That is, they would have to ensure that the biochemical oxygen demand (Bod) — a marker for organic pollutants — in the treated water had to be no more than 10 mg/litre. Existing laws permit BoD up to 30 mg/litre.
  • However, a notification by the Union Environment Ministry this month has junked the 10 mg/litre target.
  • It says that STPs coming up after June 2019 — except in major State capitals and metropolitan cities — need only conform to 30 mg/litre of BoD.


  • BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) it represents the quantity of oxygen which is consumed in the course of aerobic processes of decomposition of organic materials, caused by microorganisms.
  • The BOD therefore provides information on the biologically-convertible proportion of the organic content of a sample of water. This leads to the consideration of these materials in terms of their susceptibility to oxidation by the use of oxygen. BOD is stated in mg/l of oxygen and is usually measured within a period of 5 days (BOD5).

What Is Biological Oxygen Demand And How Does It Affect Water Quality?


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