GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions, Education
- The Ministry of Education is celebrating ShikshakParv from 5th to 17th
- It recognizes theteachers’ contributions and aims to take New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 a step forward.
- The Prime Minister also launched many key initiatives in the education sector on the occasion.
Initiatives launched by PM:
1. Vidyanjali 2.0 Portal:
- It was launched to facilitate education volunteers, donors and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) contributors for school development.
- Vidyanjali Scheme is one of the innovative schemes that focus towards the improvement of literacy by offering volunteer teachers in government schools. It was launched in 2017.
2. Indian Sign Language Dictionary:
- It was launched for the Children and persons with hearing impairments. It has 10,000 words in it.
3. School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAA):
- SQAA is a quality initiative proposed by CBSE.
- It aims to give global parameters of attainment as standards in schools affiliated to it.
- It would address the deficiency of the absence of a common scientific framework for dimensions like curricula, pedagogy, assessment, infrastructure, inclusive practices, and governance process.
4. NISHTHA for NIPUN Bharat:
- National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) is a capacity building programme for improving the quality of school education through integrated teacher training.
- NIPUN (National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy) Bharat Scheme aims to create an enabling environment to ensure universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy, so that every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy by the end of Grade 3, by 2026-27.
5. Talking Books:
- These are audiobooks for the visually impaired.
Merchants, companies can’t store data from Jan 1: RBI
GS 3: Economy
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed that no entity or merchant, except card issuers and card networks, should store card details or card-on-file (CoF)from January 1, 2022.
- RBI has extended tokenisation of CoF by card issuers.
- With effect from January 1, 2022, no entity in the card transaction or payment chain, other than the card issuers and card networks, should store the actual card data.
- Any such data stored previously will be purged.
- RBI has permitted card issuers to offer card tokenisation services as token service providers (TSPs).
- The facility of tokenisation will be offered by the TSPs only for the cards issued by or affiliated to them.
- It refers to replacement of actual card details with an alternate code called the “token”.
- It will be unique for a combination of card, token requestor and device.
- It reduces the frauds that occur by sharing card details like card number and CVV.
- The token is used to perform card transactions in contactless mode at point-of-sale terminals, quick response and code payments.
Card-on-File (CoF) Transaction:
- It is a transaction where a cardholder has authorised a merchant to store the cardholder’s Mastercard or Visa payment details.
- The cardholder then authorises that same merchant to bill the cardholder’s stored Mastercard or Visa account.
- E-commerce companies and airlines and supermarket chains normally store card details in their system.
13th BRICS SUMMIT
GS 2: International bodies
- Indian Prime Minister will chair the 13th BRICS Summit on 9 September 2021 in virtual format as part of India’s ongoing Chairship of BRICS in 2021.
- Theme: ‘BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus’.
- India had outlined four priority areas for its Chairship.
- Reform of the Multilateral System,
- Counter Terrorism,
- Using Digital and Technological Tools for achieving SDGs and
- Enhancing People to People exchanges.
- This is the second time Prime Minister Modi will be chairing the BRICS Summit. Earlier he had chaired the Goa Summit in 2016.
GS 3: Economy
- India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)and LIC Housing Finance Ltd (LICHFL) recently announced a strategic partnership for providing home loan products to over 4.5 crore customers of IPPB.
- Processing, and disbursement for all home loans will be handled by LICHFL with IPPB responsible for sourcing.
- The alliance with LICHFL is part of IPPB’s strategy to expand its range of products and services, and to cater to the banking and financial needs of diverse customers, especially unbanked and underserved, across the country.
- Currently, IPPB is distributing various general and life insurance products through partnerships with leading insurance companies, and credit products is a natural extension for the customers at the last mile.
- GrihaVarishtha is designed for:
- Retired or serving employees of PSU insurers.
- Central/State government, railways, defence, banks etc. entitled to pension under Defined Benefit Pension Scheme.
- Age of the borrower at entry of the loan can be up to 65 years.
- Loan tenure is till the attainment of 80 years of age or maximum up to 30 years, whichever is earlier.
Female Labour Force Participation
GS 3: Indian Economy & Related Issues
- The recent Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Report(April-June 2020) has indicated the reversal of the falling share of agriculture and a decisive turnaround in declining female participation.
Based on the “usual principal status” and the “subsidiary status” approach following trends were observed:
- Surge in Female Labour Force Participation Rate
- Much of this increase is in the most sub-optimal category of unpaid family workers.
- Rise in Employment in Agriculture
- In 2019-20, there has been an increase in the percentage of those reported to be working in the sector (45.6%).
- This comes after decades of a progressive fall that signalled movement to high productivity jobs outside.
- Agriculture constitutes about 16% of the GDP
- The rise in agriculture, too, is mostly in this category- those working in household enterprises without drawing wages.
- Decline in Manufacturing Employmentand construction in the latest survey.
- Signs of Distress before Pandemic
- GDP had slowed down, demand had declined and manufacturing was not expanding even before the pandemic.
- Household distress precipitated by the steady fall in GDP growth rates over the past years.
- Farm labour surge to a “hard lockdown” in urban areas due to Pandemic during April-June 2020.
- The Twin Balance Sheet problem affected growth after 2011-12.
- With the inability of the construction sector to absorb and slowdown in the manufacturing sector, workers got pushed back into agriculture.
- Demand-side constraints, viz., that women’s participation is falling due unavailability of steady gainful employment.
- Women are likely to be displaced from employment by male workers, especially when there are negative economic shocks e.g.demonetisation or the pandemic.
- Industries that employ women haven’t done well.
- Unlike Bangladesh, we did not have labour intensive manufacturing.
- Even though rising education levels have been seen among females, there aren’t enough good jobs for them.
Reform financial powers of armed forces
GS 3: Economy
- Defence ministry released the order on Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services (DFPDS), 2021, which:
- Aims to empower field formations;
- Focus on operational preparedness;
- Promote ease of doing business and
- Enhance jointness among the Services.
- It aims to enhance the delegation of revenue procurement powers for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
- The armed forces acquire capital assets according to the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, which was introduced in September 2020.
- Along with buying equipment from Indian or international players, DAP 2020 had also introduced a chapter on leasing of equipment for a limited time.
- Hiring for shorter-durations, under the new powers, will allow the forces to plug immediate gaps.
- The last DFPDS was released in 2016.
- The DFPDS 2021 has guidelines on the Schedules of powers for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS).
- Under the new financial powers delegated, the ministry mentioned that a general enhancement of up to two times has been approved for the Competent Financial Authorities (CFA).
- The Vice Chiefs of the services will get a 10% increase in the financial powers delegated to them, with a ceiling of Rs 500 crore.
- The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff and the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, will also get financial powers aligned with the vice chiefs.
- In certain schedules this enhancement at field formations is in the range of up to 5-10 times on account of operational requirements.
- Under the new rules, critical equipment, like air-to-air refuellers for the Air Force, can be hired for short periods as compared to buying them or a long-term lease, which is not only considerably expensive, but also takes a long time.
- The Vice Chief of the Air Force will have powers capped at Rs 200 crore, commanders will have powers till Rs 100 crore for such hiring.
- Along with introducing the concept of short-term hiring of equipment, financial powers have also been delegated to new officers among the services, depending on requirements.
- The Navy powers for replenishment of Disaster Management Bricks have been delegated to Command Level for immediate response to Natural Disasters/HADR Operations.
- The ministry mentioned that new CFAs have also been added, which include the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Master General Sustenance, ADG (Procurement)/DG Air Operations/DG Naval Operations, among other in the service headquarters, and in the field formations on account of reorganisation, restructuring or functional requirements.
- The ministry mentioned that the Emergency Financial Powers have been given to field formation below the Command levels as well, which were available at the Vice Chief or Commander level officers till now.
Benefits of DFPDS, 2021
- It would result in quicker decision making at all levels leading to better planning and operational preparedness of the Services in a quicker time frame and optimum utilisation of resources.
- Aims to empower Field Commanders and below to procure equipment/war-like stores in a speedy manner for urgent operational necessities and meeting essential sustenance requirements.
- It will strengthen the security infrastructure of the country.
- It will overcome procedural delays.
- It will bring about greater decentralisation and operational efficiency.