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Daily PIB Analysis For UPSC/IAS | Download PDF

Date: 28 March 2019
  • Bharatmala Project is the second largest highways construction project in the country since NHDP, under which almost 50,000 km or highway roads were targeted across the country.
  • It includes development of Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors and Feeder Routes, National Corridor Efficiency Improvement, Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal and Port connectivity roads and Green-field expressways. Highlights:
  • Improvement in efficiency of existing corridors through development of Multimodal Logistics Parks and elimination of choke point
  • Enhance focus on improving connectivity in North East and leveraging synergies with Inland Waterways
  • Emphasis on use of technology & scientific planning for Project Preparation and Asset Monitoring
  • Delegation of powers to expedite project delivery – Phase I to complete by 2022
  • Improving connectivity in the North
  • Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) are a system of alternate schools for gifted students in India. They are run by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, New Delhi, an autonomous organization under the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. JNVs are fully residential and co-educational schools affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, with classes from VI to XII standard.
  • JNVs are specifically tasked with finding talented children in rural areas of India and providing them with an education equivalent to the best residential school system, without regard to their families' socio-economic condition.
  • The Navodaya Vidyalaya system is a unique experiment unparalleled in the annals of school education in India and elsewhere. Its significance lies in the selection of talented rural children as the target group and the attempt to provide them with quality education comparable to the best in a residential school system. Such children are found in all sections of society, and in all areas including the most backward.
  • JNVs exist all over India, with the exception of Tamil Nadu, where anti Hindi movements were widespread during past times. There are approximately 598 JNVs across India as of 2015-16 academic year
  • MCA21 is an e-Governance initiative of Ministry of Company Affairs (MCA), Government of India that enables an easy and secure access of the MCA services to the corporate entities, professionals and citizens of India.


  • The MCA21 application is designed to fully automate all processes related to the proactive enforcement and compliance of the legal requirements under the Companies Act, 1956, New Companies Act, 2013 and Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008. This will help the business community to meet their statutory obligations.
  • The MCA21 application offers the following :

1.Enables the business community to register a company and file statutory documents quickly and easily.

2.Provides easy access of public documents

3.Helps faster and effective resolution of public grievances

4.Helps registration and verification of charges easily

5.Ensures proactive and effective compliance with relevant laws and corporate governance

6.Enables the MCA employees to deliver best of breed services

  • The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 is an Act of Parliament of India enacted in 2003 to prohibit advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India.
  • This Act was enacted by the Parliament to give effect to the Resolution passed by the 39th World Health Assembly, urging the member states to implement measures to provide non-smokers protection from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.


â–ª The Act prohibits smoking of tobacco in public places, except in special smoking zones in hotels, restaurants and airports and open spaces. Places where smoking is restricted include auditoriums, movie theatres, hospitals, public transport (aircraft, buses, school's, trains, metros, monorails, taxis,) and their related facilities (airports, bus stands/stations, railway stations), restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs, amusement centres, offices (government and private), libraries, courts, post offices, markets, shopping malls, canteens, refreshment rooms, banquet halls, discothèques, coffee houses, educational institutions and parks.

â–ª Smoking is allowed on roads, inside one's home or vehicle. The meaning of open space has been extended to mean such spaces which is visited by public, and includes open auditorium, stadium, bus stand.

â–ª Advertisement of tobacco products including cigarettes is prohibited. No person shall participate in advertisement of tobacco product, or allow a medium of publication to be used for advertisement of tobacco products. No person shall sell video-film of such advertisement, distribute leaflets, documents, or give space for erection of advertisement of tobacco products. However, restricted advertisement is allowed on packages of tobacco products, entrances of places where tobacco products are sold. Surrogate advertisement is prohibited as well under the Act.

â–ª Tobacco products cannot be sold to person below the age of 18 years, and in places within 100 metres radius from the outer boundary of an institution of education, which includes school colleges and institutions of higher learning established or recognized by an appropriate authority.

  • Tobacco products must be sold, supplied or distributed in a package which shall contain an appropriate pictorial warning, its nicotine and tar contents. Cigarette packets are required to carry pictorial warnings of a skull or scorpion or certain prescribed pictorial warnings along with the text SMOKING KILLS and TOBACCO CAUSES MOUTH CANCER in both Hindi and English.
  • The Act also gives power to any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector or any officer of State Food or Drug Administration or any other officer, holding the equivalent rank being not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police for search and seizure of premises where tobacco products are produced, stored or sold, if he suspects that the provision of the Act has been violated.
  • A person who manufactures tobacco products and fails to adhere to the norm related to warnings on packages on first conviction shall be punished with up to 2 years in imprisonment or with fine which can extend to Rs. 5000, in case of subsequent conviction shall be punished with up to 5 years in imprisonment or with fine which can extend to Rs. 10000.
  • A fine up to Rs. 200 can be imposed for smoking in public place, selling tobacco products to minors, or selling tobacco products within a radius of 100 metres from any educational institution.
  • A person who advertises tobacco products shall on first conviction shall be punished with up to 2 years in imprisonment or with fine which can extend to Rs. 1000, in case of subsequent conviction shall be punished with up to 5 years in imprisonment or with fine which can extend to Rs. 5000.
  • The Act repealed The Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975
  • The owner/manager/in-charge of a public place must display a board containing the warning "No Smoking Area - Smoking here is an offence " in appropriate manner at the entrance and inside the premises. In place where tobacco products are sold must display appropriate messages like "Tobacco Causes Cancer" and "Sales of tobacco products to a person under the age of eighteen years is a punishable offence".
  • Report on the Committee for Rationalization & Optimisation of SSCs
  1. Sector Skill Council (SSCs) are industry led and industry governed bodies which have been mandated to-ensure that skill development efforts being made by all the stake holders are in accordance with the actual needs of the industry and develop National Occupational Standards/Competency Standards and Qualification Packs (QPs).
  2. Presently, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has approved formation of 40 SSCs in different Secors.
  3. In order to ensure convergence and optimal functioning of SSCs as per mandate given under the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, it was decided to constitute a Committee to review the functioning of the SSCs and provide a roadmap for their harmonious growth so as to ensure effective development of the skilling ecosystem.
  4. It is in this background that the Government of India, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship vide its Order dated 18th May 2016 constituted a Review Committee for Rationalisation and Optimization of the Functioning of the Sector Skill Councils under Chairmanship of Sh. Sharada Prasad, Former DG, DGET, M/o LO&E, Government of India.

â–ª Saksham (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav) is an annual flagship event of Petroleum   Conservation Research Association (PCRA) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural   Gas, Govt. of India , with active involvement of the Oil & Gas PSUs along with other   stakeholders like State Governments, for creating focused attention on fuel conservation   through

â–ª People centric activities and

â–ª To sensitize the masses about the conservation and efficient use of petroleum products     leading to better health and environment.

About PCRA (established in 1978)–

  • Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is a registered society set up under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India.
  • As a non-profit organization, PCRA is a national government agency engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of economy.

UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO)

â–ª India announced a capacity building programme UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO) on Nanosatellites development through a combination of theoretical coursework and hands-on training on Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) in June 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United nation conference UNISPACE+50.

â–ª U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) being the lead centre of ISRO for satellite building has designed the basic structure of this programme with equal emphasis on theoretical and practical exposure.

â–ª The primary objective of the programme is to provide theoretical course on Satellite technology, comprehensive course on Nanosatellite realization and hands-on training to assemble, integrate and test a low cost, modular Nanosatellite.

â–ª The programme is scheduled to be conducted in three batches. The programme was formally inaugurated by Dr Jitendra Singh, Honorable Minister of State(Space) on 17thJanuary, 2019 at URSC, Bengaluru.

â–ª Dr K.Sivan, Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS, Shri P Kunhikrishnan,Director, URSC,Shri Indra Mani Pandey, Additional Secretary, D&ISA, MEA and Shri PJVKS Prakasha Rao, Chairman, Organising Committee were present during the Inaugural function.

â–ª The Course proceedings in the form of Booklet and CD were released during the programme. The first batch of the above programme is scheduled during 15th January – 15th March 2019.

â–ª 30 participants from 17 different countries are participating in this programme. Two more batches are planned subsequently during October 2019 & October 2020.



  • Cabinet approves five year’s extension of Biomedical Research Career Programme
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the continuation of the Biomedical Research Career Programme (BRCP), and Wellcome Trust (WT) / DBT India Alliance beyond its initial 10- year term (2008-09 to 2018-19) to a new five year phase (2019-20 to 2023- 24) with Department of Biotechnology (DBT) increasing its commitment to two times that of WT.
  • The total financial implication will be Rs. 1092 crore with DBT and WT contributing Rs.728 crore and Rs.364 crore respectively.
  • Over its 10 years of funding in a 1:1partnership, the Programme has fulfilled its objectives of building and nurturing talent of highest global standards in cutting-edge biomedical research in India, which has led to important scientific breakthroughs and applications to meet societal needs.
  • BRCP has made it attractive for high quality Indian scientists working abroad to return to India, and has increased the number of locations geographically within India where world-class biomedical research is undertaken.
  • In the extending phase, the Programme would continue to build this capacity as also strengthen clinical research and work towards addressing important health challenges for India. Continuation of the Programme with increased stake from the Government of India is important to bring about these returns.
  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Croatia in the field of tourism
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Croatia in the field of tourism.
  • The MoU in the field of Tourism will help the two parties in creating an institutional mechanism for enhancing cooperation in the tourism sector.
  • The MoU has been signed on 26 March, 2019 during the visit of President of India to Croatia.
  • Cabinet apprised about MoU on Antarctic cooperation between India and Argentine
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, was apprised about an MoU signed in February, 2019 between India and Argentine on Antarctic cooperation.
  • The MoU will help scientific cooperation on projects in the fields of Earth sciences, as well as those related to the protection and conservation of the natural environment of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans.

Salient Features:

â–ª Scientific co-operation on projects in the fields of -inter alia- Earth sciences and life sciences, as well as those related to the protection and conservation of the natural environment of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans;

â–ª The exchange of scientific and bibliographical information related to the study of Antarctica, its environment and dependent and associated ecosystems;

â–ª Exploring opportunities for exchanges of scientists;

â–ª Participation of scientists and technical experts of the national Antarctic programme of one country in the national Antarctic programme of the other, if so required;

â–ª Joint scientific conferences and workshops; hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of major polar forum meetings, where feasible.

â–ª Joint scientific publications;

â–ª Training of scientific personnel;

â–ª Almost 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice and the continent has the cleanest air in the world.

â–ª Politically, Antarctica’s status remains neutral, and it is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, which established Antarctica as a region of peace and cooperation.

â–ªDakshin Gangotri was the first Indian scientific research base station established in Antarctica, as a part of the Indian Antarctic Program. Located at a distance of 2,500 kilometres from the South Pole, it was established during the third Indian expedition to Antarctica in 1983/84. This was the first time an Indian team spent a winter in Antarctica to carry out scientific work.

â–ª Maitri is India’s second permanent research station in Antarctica. It was built and finished in 1989, shortly before the first station Dakshin Gangotri was buried in ice and abandoned in 1990/91.

â–ª Maitri is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis.

â–ª India also built a freshwater lake around Maitri known as Lake Priyadarshini. The research station is only 5 km away from the Russian Novolazarevskaya Station and is equipped to carry out research in various disciplines, such as biology, earth sciences, glaciology, atmospheric sciences, meteorology, cold region engineering, communication, human physiology, and medicine