18 April 2017

PM launches projects related to SAUNI Yojana

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation, Phase-1 (Link 2) of the SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) Yojana, at Botad. Also laid the Foundation Stone of Phase 2 (Link 2) of the SAUNI Yojana. The project envisages to channel the floodwater, which otherwise overflows the Narmada dam during monsoon and drains into the sea.

SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) Yojana

  • Project launched to divert one MAFt excess over flowing flood water of Narmada allocated to Saurashtra Region.
  • The excess over flowing flood water of Narmada will be distributed to 115 reservoirs of eleven districts of Saurashtra through total 1126 km long four link pipelines benefitting 10,22,589 acre land. These links are
  • Link: 1 From Machhu-II dam of Morbi district to Sani Dam of Jamanagar District
  • Link: 2 Limbdi Bhogavo-II Dam of Surendranagar District to Raidi Dam of Amreli District
  • Link: 3 From Dholidhaja Dam of Surendranagar District to Venu-I Dam of Rajkot District
  • Link: 4 From Limbdi Bhogavo-II Dam of Surendranagar District to Hiran-II Irrigation scheme of Junagadh
  • Under Sauni yojana, work of about 230 Km length of pipeline works are commenced since March 2014 and are under progress.

Source : Pib

GS III : different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

NDMA to conduct mock exercise on forest fire

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will conduct its first-ever mock exercise on forest fire in Uttarakhand April 20, 2017. The mock exercise will be part of a three-day event.

Key Fact 

  • To help improve the preparedness and response mechanism in the event of a forest fire.
  • The mock exercise will be conducted on the principle of Incident Response System (IRS), which identifies stakeholders and clearly attributes roles and responsibilities to each one of them.
  • It will enhance preparedness and ensure a swift response by reducing confusion and chaos.
  • It will help in filling gaps, ensuring better communication and improving coordination among various stakeholder agencies.
  • Also generate awareness among the local population about the Do’s and Don’ts to be followed to prevent and respond to a forest fire.
  • Senior officials from all the important departments such as the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), forest, health, police, firefighting, Civil Defense, transport, electricity, public relations, etc. will participate in the exercise.

Forest fire and Vulnerability

  • The total forest cover of the country as per State of Forest Report 2003 is 678,333 km², which constitutes 20.64 percent of the geographic area of the country
  • Along with various factors, forest fires are a major cause of degradation of Indian forests.
  • According to a Forest Survey of India Report, about 50 percent of forest areas in the country are fire prone ranging from 50 percent in some states to 90 percent in the others.
  • About 6 percent of the forests are prone to severe fire damage.
  • The available forest fire statistics are not reliable because they under estimate fire numbers and area burned.
  • The reason behind this is attributed to the fear of accountability.
  • Forest Survey of India in a country-wide study in 1995 estimated that about 1.45 million hectares of forest are affected by fire annually.

Need for such Management/excercise

  • Loss of timber, loss of bio-diversity, loss of wildlife habitat, global warming, soil erosion, loss of fuelwood and fodder, damage to water and other natural resources, loss of natural regeneration.
  • Estimated average tangible annual loss due to forest fires in country is Rs.440 crore (US$ 100 millions approximately)
  • Health problems leading to diseases
  • Loss of livelihood for tribal people and the rural poor, as approximately 300 million people are directly dependent upon collection of non-timber forest products from forest areas for their livelihood.

Source : Pib, Fire Situation in India, Disaster Management – Agritech

GS III : Disaster and disaster management

Portal and Mobile App of RUSA

Launched the unique portal and mobile app of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a body under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Portal and App

  • The portal is a one-stop for States’ Higher Education Plans, decision of the States’Higher Education Councils and details of the resources under this scheme.
  • Also, the gallery is a rich repository of the projects initiated under RUSA.
  • The mobile application will ensure that all projects under RUSA are tracked 24×7.

About Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)

  • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS),
  • Providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.
  • The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category States, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories)
  • The funding would flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions.
  • The funding to states would be made on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, which would describe each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.

Objective of RUSA

  • Improve the overall quality of state institutions.
  • Usher transformative reforms in the state higher education system.
  • Ensure reforms in the affiliation, academic and examination systems.
  • Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions.
  • Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in unserved & underserved areas.
  • Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes; promote inclusion of women, minorities, and differently abled persons.

Besides MHRD launched the Fund and Reform Tracker developed by Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).

  • It will monitor RUSA projects from the minute they are sanctioned and track their progress till their final completion.
  • The Reform Tracker will be a sort of a report card of states with details of their higher education policies, plans and best practices.
  • These have largely been reflected in their commitment given to the central government.

Source : Pib, mhrd

GS III : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Training programme for Elected Women representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats

A comprehensive module for capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats and a training program for Trainers of women panchayat leaders across the country was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. Starting with Jharkhand, similar training programs will be organised in different states throughout the country

Current issue with EWS

  • 33% reservation for women in the panchayat bodies, the EWRs continue to remain ineffective.
  • They do not have appropriate knowledge and skill to administer the village.
  • The show continues to be run by their husbands.
  • The schemes implemented wre not reaching the grassroot level due to the inadequate skill among the EWS.
  • Safety of women, education of the girl child, health of women, creation of assets under MGNREGA, immunization and ensuring nutrition through lakhs of Anganwadis of the country have become important issues at the grassroots level
  • The women representatives can play a pivotal role in effective delivery.
  • There are currently around 13 lakhs EWRs in panchayats across the nation.

Objectives of Training

  • The training program seeks to empower EWRs of panchayats by enhancing their capacity, capability and skill in governance and administration of villages.
  • To ensure that they take up the responsibility of all the tasks entrusted upon them on being elected.
  • Training representatives at the grassroots level in various areas like engineering (building of roads, drains, latrines etc.), finance, social development, education, health, and environment among others.

Training Process

  • The module has been prepared by the National Commission for Women of the WCD Ministry in collaboration with TISS.
  • The module contains training guidelines, timeline, implementation guidelines, training schedules and monitoring and evaluation.
  • The training will be participatory with group discussions, brainstorming lectures, demonstrations, field visits, case studies, games, exercise, role play, small workshops and individual assignments.
  • The module discusses various topics like ‘What is an ideal Panchayat’, composition of the Gram Panchayat, development schemes and programmes, resources of panchayats and their utilization, laws for protection of the vulnerable sections among others.

Source : Pib

GS I : Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies

Zika virus vaccine 100% efficient in animal trials

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s ‘killed Zika virus vaccine’ using an African strain has shown 100% efficacy against mortality and disease in animal studies. A ‘killed virus vaccine’ or ‘inactivated vaccine’ contains virus that has been grown in culture and then killed using physical or chemical processes.

About the Study

  • The vaccine was found to confer 100% protection against infection caused by an Asian Zika virus strain as well as by the African Zika virus strain.
  • All the animals that were not vaccinated died eight days after infection by the African strain and 12 days after infection by the Asian strain.
  • While all the animals that received the vaccine exhibited undetectable viral load, the amount of virus present in animals that did not receive the vaccine peaked four days after being infected with either the African or Asian Zika virus strain.
  • The vaccine was developed using the African strain of the virus.

About Zika

  • A member of the virus family Flaviviridae.
  • It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus.
  • Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.
  • Zika virus is related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses.
  • Since the 1950s, it has been known to occur within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia.
  • From 2007 to 2016, the virus spread eastward, across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas, leading to the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic.
  • The infection, known as Zika fever or Zika virus disease, often causes no or only mild symptoms, similar to a very mild form of dengue fever.
  • While there is no specific treatment, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and rest may help with the symptoms.
  • As of 2016, the illness cannot be prevented by medications or vaccines.
  • Zika can spread from a pregnant woman to her baby.
  • This can result in microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects and Zika infections in adults may result rarely in Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Ultralight device can be charged with movement

Scientists have developed a light-weight, paper-based device that can harvest energy from body movements to power sensors and watches.

Key Facts


  • Scientists have developed a light-weight, paper-based device that can harvest energy from body movements to power sensors and watches.
  • An ultra-light, rhombic paper-cut design a few inches long and covered it with different materials to turn it into a power unit.
  • The four outer sides, made of gold- and graphite-coated sand paper, comprised the devices energy-storing supercapacitor element.
  • The inner surfaces, made of paper and coated in gold and a fluorinated ethylene propylene film, comprised the triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) energy harvester.
  • Pressing and releasing it over just a few minutes charged the device to 1 volt, which was enough to power a remote control, temperature sensor or a watch.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Channakeshava temple turns 900

Historic Channakeshava temple in Belur — a masterpiece of Hoysala architecture — has turned 900 this year.

Channakeshava Temple

  • The Channakeshava temple was built between 1106 and 1117.
  • It was commissioned by Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana.
  • The temple is regarded as architecture in the typical Hoysala style.
  • It commemorates the king’s victory in 1104 and after winning a war in 1104, Vishnuvardhana took up construction of the temple, and according to an inscription, the temple was ready by March 1117.
  • Belur, along with Halebid, is proposed as a UNESCO heritage site.
  • Belur is 40 kilometres from Hassan city.

Hoysala style

  • Style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India.
  • Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura
  • A negligible Indo-Aryan influence while the impact of Southern Indian style is more distinct.

About Vishnuvardhana

  • Vishnuvardhana (1108–1152 CE) was a king of the Hoysala Empire in what is today the modern state of Karnataka, India.
  • He ascended the Hoysala throne after the death of his elder brother Veera Ballala I in c.1108.
  • He was a follower of Jainism and known as Bitti Deva, he came under the influence of the Hindu philosopher Ramanujacharya, converted to Hindu Vaishnavism and took the name “Vishnuvardhana”.
  • Vishnuvardhana took the first steps in creating an independent Hoysala Empire in South India through a series of battles against his overlord, the Western Chalukya King Vikramaditya VI, and the Chola Empire to the south.

Source : The Hindu, Wikipedia

GS I : Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times


Download as PDF : 18 April 2017

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