Anganwadi Centres (AWCs)
A total of 14 lakh AWCs have been sanctioned to various States/UTs across the country which consists of about 1.36 lakh AWCs located in the urban areas. As on 01.06.2018, 13.63 lakh AWCs (rural and urban) are operational.
As per the data captured through the ICDS Monitoring Information System, about 24.3% AWCs out of 13.63 lakh operational AWCs (rural and urban) are running in rented buildings.
About Anganwadi Centres (AWCs):
Anganwadi is a type of rural mother and child care centre in India. They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
They provide a package of six services–supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education– to women and children.
Challenges faced by AWCs?
About a third of total 13.6 lakh anganwadi centres have neither toilets nor drinking water facilities.
Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS):
ICDS is one of the flagship initiatives of Govt. of India that is being implemented in the state by WCD Dept.
World Health Organisation has released the progress report on potential health impact from increased sanitation coverage through the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G).
Highlights of the report:
About SBM- Gramin:
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Gramin, launched on October 2, 2014 is the largest behaviour change campaign ever attempted in the field of sanitation in the world.
Aim: It aims to build an ODF (Open Defecation Free) and Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
Focus: SBM-Gramin mainly focuses on ensuring the use of toilets, besides their construction. The States and their implementing agencies will be given incentives for meeting performance standards: reducing open defecation, sustaining their open defecation-free status and improving solid and liquid waste management in rural areas.
Significance of the scheme:
In Rural India, this would mean improving the levels of cleanliness through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.
Source: The Hindu
As part of its digital initiative, Karnataka Bank has integrated its education loan scheme/s with Vidya Lakshmi Portal of Government of India.
About Vidyalakshmi Portal:
Vidya Lakshmi is a first of its kind portal for students seeking Education Loan.
Source: The Hindu
National Sports University Bill, 2018
Lok Sabha has passed National Sports University Bill, 2018 to set up the country’s first National Sports University in Imphal, Manipur that will provide sports education, research and coaching.
The Bill replaces National Sports University Ordinance, 2018 promulgated by President in May 2018 to protect interests of students who already have been enrolled in National Sports University.
Highlights of the Bill:
Establishment of the University: The Bill establishes a National Sports University located in Manipur. It will promote sports education in the areas of: (i) sports sciences, (ii) sports technology, (iii) sports management, and (iv) sports coaching. It will function as a national training centre for select sports disciplines. It may also establish campuses and study centres in other parts of the country. The University will be empowered to grant degrees, diplomas and certificates.
Objectives: The key objectives of the University are: (i) research, development and dissemination of knowledge in physical education and sports sciences, (ii) strengthening physical education and sports training programmes, (iii) generating knowledge capabilities, skills and competence at various levels, and (iv) training talented athletes to help them to evolve into international level athletes.
Authorities of the University: The Bill provides for several authorities under the University. These include: Court, Executive Council, Academic and Activity Council, Board of Sports Studies etc.
Role the central government: The central government will review and inspect the functioning of the University. The Executive Council may take action based on the inspection report. If it fails to take action to the satisfaction of the central government, it will have to comply with the directions issued by the central government. Further, the central government may annul any proceeding of the University which is not in line with the Act.
Funding: The University will be required to maintain a fund which will be credited with the funds that it receives from the central government, state government, and fees and money received from any other sources (grants and gifts). All funds of the University will be invested as decided by the Board on the recommendation of the Finance Committee.
Significance of the move:
Setting up of National Sports University in Manipur will result in giving an opportunity for youth of country in general and of North Eastern States in particular for pursuing courses such as B.PEd, MPEd, Diploma / certificate courses in coaching, physiotherapy, fitness, sports management, sports journalism, etc.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has achieved the 5 crore mark. Lok Sabha Speaker Smt Sumitra Mahajan handed over 5 croreth LPG connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to Smt Takrdiran of Delhi in the Parliament House.
Through PMUY, initially, 5 crore BPL households were targeted for providing deposit free LPG connections to BPL households by 31st March,2019. In a record time of 28 months for its launch, PMUY achieved the initial target of providing 5 crores LPG connection to BPL households.
In the current year, considering the huge success of the Scheme, target was revised to 8 crores with budgetary allocation of Rs 12,800 crore.
About the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana aims to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
Identification of households: Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Some of the objectives of the scheme are:
What makes LPG adoption necessary?
A large section of Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking. A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.
According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.
Significance of the project:
PMUY has been a revolutionary initiative that has transformed the lives of more than 3.57 crore households spanning across the length and breadth of the country. The initiative is in line with Governments aim to eradicate energy poverty, thereby promoting economic empowerment.
The PMUY is a bold and much-needed initiative, but it should be recognised that this is just a first step. The real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas. Truly smokeless kitchens can be realized only if the government follows up with measures that go beyond connections to actual usage of LPG. This may require concerted efforts cutting across Ministries beyond petroleum and natural gas and including those of health, rural development and women and child welfare.
Social media hub plan dropped
The Centre has withdrawn a proposal to have hubs to monitor social media traffic and trends. The decision comes after the court had questioned the proposal in a hearing on July 13, saying this may transform the country into a surveillance state.
Concerns over the Social media hub:
It was alleged that though the stated aim of the project was to enable the government to understand the impact of social media campaigns on welfare schemes and improve the reach of such campaigns, the project had two aspects — “mass surveillance apparatus that aims at collecting and analysing huge volumes of data, and profiling people based on that” and “utilising this data to predict the mood of people online and issue responses, including those targeted at individuals or groups”.
The social media analytical tool is expected to ‘listen’ to conversations on all major digital channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, as well as blogs and news channels. Therefore, it was contended that “such intrusive action on the part of the government, is not only without the authority of law, but also infringes fundamental right to freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.” The move was also violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21.
About Social media communication hub:
The hub proposes to monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even email) handles at the very local level in multiple languages to carry out “sentiment analysis”, track down the influence-making social media users and to categorise the conversations on social media into positive, negative and neutral sections.
It also aimed to track real time the way social media receives news on government’s schemes and announcements and also political events.
Usage of this information:
This information would help the government in formulating policies, schemes or rectify any flaws in their implementation at the ground level so that the ultimate beneficiary who is the common man is benefited and has a direct way to communicate any complaints regarding the same to the Government.
Social media managers:
As per the proposal, the project is meant to strengthen the social media division and recruit social media managers to be deployed in 712 districts of the country. Each district will have one social media manager who will be entrusted with the tasks of keeping a close eye on the regional and local media, collecting data of regional media and of local events, providing content for social media and supporting media units at the regional level for social media publicity.
Role of social media managers:
These social media managers will also monitor local editions of newspapers, local cable channels, local audio channels (FM) and key local social media handles for important local developments. They will make a daily analysis report incorporating local sentiments to be sent to region head in the PIB as well as the media hub (command centre).
Source: The Hindu
Strategic Investment Fund under NIIF
As on date, three funds have been established by the Government under the NIIF platform and registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative Investment Funds and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund II (‘Strategic Fund’) is one of those three funds.
The other two funds are National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (or Master Fund) and NIIF Fund of Funds – I.
About Strategic Fund:
Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua gets GI tag
The famous Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh has now got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. GI registration is valid up to a period of around five years till February 7, 2022.
About GI tag:
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
Significance of a GI tag:
Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
Provisions in this regard:
Source: The Hindu
Akshay Venkatesh, a renowned Indian-Australian mathematician, is one of four winners of mathematics’ prestigious Fields medal, known as the Nobel prize for math. He has won the Fields Medal for his profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics.
About Fields Medal:
West Nile Virus
Purchasing Managers’ Index – Service
Bandipur National Park