Current Affairs (19th March 2021)
Go Electric Campaign
- Ministry of Power, Government of India, launched “Go Electric” Campaign on 19 February, 2021 with the objective of creating awareness among masses on benefits of adopting Electric Vehicles and Electric Cooking appliances such as Induction cook hobs, Electric pressure cooker etc.
- This initiative is intended to encourage consumers to switch over to Electric Vehicles and Electric Cooking in place of currently used conventional modes and appliances, thereby, reducing dependency of the country on imported fuel.
- The “Go Electric” Campaign is aimed at promoting adoption of Energy Efficient Electric Vehicles and Electric Cooking appliances and is expected to help the country to achieve energy transition as well as low carbon economic growth in the future.
- These technologies being energy efficient are expected to scale down mobility and cooking related emissions, securing cleaner and greener future.
- The share of renewables in the energy mix is expected to increase due to integration of more renewable based power generation.
- Benefits of adopting these electricity based technologies shall be completely realized by enhancing share of renewables in the Grid.
US India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative
- Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum’s U.S. India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative has been launched on 17 March 2021.
- It is an initiative by Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), a bilateral organization funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Governments of India, and the U.S. Department of States.
- Department of Science & Technology emphasised the necessity to scale up the S&T relationship between India and the United States to solve problems of both countries and overcome barriers for growth at the launch of the USIAI Initiative.
- Indo-US relationship in the field of S&T is very old collaborations have resulted in great benefits for both the countries.
- India needs to further scale it up in various fields, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play a major role in the future.
- Research, technology in artificial intelligence is being promoted and implemented in the country through a network of 25 technology hubs working as a triple helix set up under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).
- Focuses on AI cooperation in critical areas that are priorities for both countries.
- Serve as a platform to discuss opportunities, challenges, and barriers for bilateral AI R&D collaboration, enable AI innovation, help share ideas for developing an AI workforce, and recommend modes and mechanisms for catalyzing partnerships.
- Provide an opportunity for key stakeholder groups to share experiences, identify new R&D areas and opportunities that would benefit from synergistic activities, discuss the emerging AI landscape, and address the challenges of developing an AI workforce.
Van Dhan Vikas Yojana
- Manipur has emerged as the Champion state where the Van Dhan programme has emerged as a major source of employment for the local tribals.
- With an active cooperation and participation of the state government at every level, the Van Dhan Kendras in the state of Manipur have turned out to be a model enterprise for the rest of the country.
- The Van Dhan Vikas Yojana is a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras to facilitate creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes.
- One major scheme that has contributed to increasing employment and income generation among the tribal population is the Van Dhan tribal start-ups programme, a component of the The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme.
- Since its inception as the nodal agency working in the area of tribal upliftment, TRIFED has been implementing several programmes and initiatives.
- The focus of these initiatives is to make India self-reliant under the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, with the motto, Go Vocal for Local Go Tribal – Mera Van Mera Dhan Mera Udyam.
- Since the time that the programme was launched in the State in October 2019, 100 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras have been established.
- These constitute 1500 SHGs and are benefitting 30,000 tribal entrepreneurs, who are involved in collection, processing, value adding, packaging and marketing of value added products from Minor Forest produce.
“DEHKO APNA DESH” and “FIT INDIA”
- Ministry of Tourism organised an event “1000 BAR DEKHO- NORTH EAST DEKHO” under the tag line of “DEHKO APNA DESH” and “FIT INDIA” from 7 March to 18 March 2021.
- The Ministry of Tourism places special emphasis on the development and promotion of tourism in the North Eastern Region (NER).
- It carries out regular promotional campaigns and events to showcase the unique tourism products and sights of this beautiful region to the potential travellers under Dekho Apna Desh initiative.
- The Ministry has launched campaigns to promote tourism to the North Eastern Region on various platforms in Digital, Print and Social Media.
- Since April 2020, under Dekho Apna Desh campaign, the Ministry is conducting webinars on various tourism products including NER and some of the webinars were dedicated to North East Region.
- The Ministry has also been organising International Tourism Mart (ITM) which is an annual event organised in the North Eastern region with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international Market.
Zero Waste Solutions
- CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur conducted a three-day residential training programme on “Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management: Zero Waste Solutions” from March 16, 2020 till 18 March 2021 where 25 participants including students and officials from Urban Water Supply & Sanitation Services Advisory Network (host organization: Pragati Bio And Renewable Energy), Bihar participated.
- CSIR-CMERI is working hard to develop the indigenous technologies. The Institute is also giving its efforts for the awareness of these technologies amongst the masses through skill development programmes and improving the knowledge.
- Our country produces huge quantities of waste annually which occupies a large volume of limited land, and contributes to severe contamination and environmental pollution.
- With the gradual growth of the population the problem is getting worse. To tackle the situation scientifically, the Institute has designed & developed a unique technology for integrated Municipal Solid Waste management.
- The developed system includes mechanized segregation of municipal solid waste, practicing the contactless operation and disposal of every type of bio-degradable waste including garden waste and non-biodegradable polymer waste.
- The daily waste generated from the residential campus is being processed in an environment friendly way to achieve a ZERO landfill residential campus.
- This kind of decentralized municipal solid waste disposal system is very useful in breaking the chain to prevent the pathogens including spread of Covid-19 virus through solid waste management route.
- Moreover, the developed system is easy to operate and maintain and self-sustainable in terms of operational energy requirement.
- CSIR-CMERI will always be supporting the MSMEs in every manner possible.
Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021
- The RajyaSabha passed the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 which will increase the limit of foreign investment allowed in Indian insurance companies.
- The Bill provides to increase the foreign direct investment limit from existing 49 percent to 74 percent.
- It also has a provision for removal of restrictions on ownership and control of the insurance companies.
- A higher FDI limit of 74 per cent is not a compulsion for every insurance company, as it sets only an upper limit.
- Increasing the limit doesn’t mean automatic foreign investment to that level to all companies, and each and every company will decide the limit of investment.
- The hike in foreign investment will help meet growing capital requirements of insurance companies as they are facing liquidity pressure.
- The move will help in deep penetration of insurance cover into the country and will also ensure insurance inclusion.
- The Bill has been brought after extensive consultation with IRDA and it has all necessary provisions to safeguard insurers’ interest.
Boost innovation, entrepreneurship
- Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, and Amazon Web Services announced new initiatives to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
- This will be done by empowering school students with cloud computing skills, and enabling entrepreneurs to build innovative education technology solutions on the cloud.
- A Statement of Intent was signed between NITI Aayog and Amazon Internet Services Private Limited, which undertakes the resale and marketing of Amazon Web Services Cloud services in India.
- Atal Innovation Mission will leverage Amazon Web Services Educate, which is Amazon’s global program that provides resources for students and educators to accelerate cloud-related learning.
- This program will introduce the fundamentals of cloud computing such as cloud storage, virtual compute power, web hosting, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual reality, to students at more than 7000 Atal Tinkering Labs.
- It will equip the talented youth of the country with digital and web-based tools that can enhance their creative and innovative capabilities.