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Government Interventions

National mission on natural language translation

Why in news?

The Ministry of Electronics and IT will soon place before the Union Cabinet a ₹450 crore proposal for Natural Language Translation.

About the news

  • It is one of the key missions identified by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

About Mission

  • The national mission on natural language translation aims to make science and technology accessible to all by facilitating access to teaching and researching material bilingually in English and in one’s native Indian language.
  • To achieve this, the government plans to leverage a combination of machine translation and human translation.


  • Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) is an overarching body for assessment, creation and
  • implementation of major scientific, technology and innovation interventions for India.
  • It is a nine member body which has replaced the two Scientific Advisory Committees (SAC) for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
  • It is expected to act as a high level advisory body to several ministries and execute mission-oriented programmes.
  • The PM-STIAC will be chaired by the government’s Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA).
  • PM STIAC facilitates the PSA’s Office to assess the status in specific science and technology domains and advise the Prime Minister accordingly.

Difference with SAC

  • Unlike in the earlier SACs, secretaries of various scientific ministries such as education, environment and health would be ‘special invitees’ to the council meetings.
  • This is so that members are allowed free discussions outside the comfort zone of officials.
  • While industry representatives were present in greater numbers in the earlier SACs, PM-STIAC has a single industry member, given the government’s call to industry is to increase jobs via entrepreneurship.

Nine national missions announced under PM-STIAC

  1. Natural Language Translation
  2. Quantum Frontier
  3. Artificial Intelligence
  4. National Biodiversity Mission
  5. Electric Vehicles
  6. Bioscience for Human Health
  7. Waste to Wealth
  8. Deep Ocean Exploration
  9. AGNIi (Accelerating Growth for New India's Innovations (Taking technologies to commercialisation)

Why in news?

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) says it would require more funds for digital literacy programme to train around six-crore people in rural areas under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA).

About the scheme

  • PMGDISHA is the scheme to make six crore persons in rural areas, across states/UTs, digitally literate, reaching to around 40% of rural households by covering one member from every eligible household by 31st march, 2019.
  • It envisages making one individual digitally literate in every rural household.
  • The scheme would empower the citizens in rural areas by training them to operate computer or digital access devices and hence enable them to use the information technology and related applications.
  • The PMGDISHA was started in February 2017 with an outlay of ₹2,351.38 crore.
  • The PMGDISHA is an extension of National Digital Literacy Mission and Digital Saksharta Abhiyan between 2014 and 2016 in which 53.67 lakh persons were certified.
  • The implementing agency for the PMGDISHA is Common Service Centre e-Governance Services India (CSC-SPV).
  • The target is digital literacy training on IT and applications including digital payments.

Eligibility criteria

  • Nominated digitally illiterate person from every eligible rural household.
  • Age: 14 to 60 years

Why in news?

Government endeavours to increase penetration of FASTag substantially and moving towards 100% cashless.

About FASTags

  • FASTags are cards launched by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to allow cashless payment of toll fee and facilitate near non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas.
  • It employs RFID technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid account linked to it.
  • It is affixed on the windscreen of vehicle and enables the commuter to drive through toll plazas, without stopping.
  • The tag on windshield will be read by readers fitted in dedicated Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) lanes of toll plazas after vehicles passes through toll plazas.
  • Customer will receive SMS alerts on his registered mobile numbers for all the transactions done in his tag account.
  • FASTag has a validity of 5 years and after purchasing it, one only need to recharge/ top up the FASTag as per requirement.
Khelo India programme

Why in news?

The Khelo India scheme under Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has been running successfully across the country since it was launched.

About the programme

  • The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
  • It is organized by Ministry of sports and youth affairs.
  • Under it, talented players are identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by High-Powered Committed and each selected player is provided annual financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakh for 8 years.
  • It is expected to help scout young talent from the schools in various disciplines and groom them as future champions.
  • It is a merger of following schemes
  1. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan(RGKA)
  2. Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS)
  3. National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS)
  • The revamped programme for period 2017-18 to 2019-20 aims to impact entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, talent identification, community sports, coaching, competition structure and sports economy.
  • It includes
  • Pan Indian Sports Scholarship Scheme
  • Sports Universities
  • National Physical Fitness Drive
  • To accomplish the objectives, Khelo India programme has been divided into 12 verticals, namely
Swachhata Pakhwada

Why in News?

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and institutions under it observed Swachhta Pakhwada (cleanliness fortnight) from 1st June to 15th June 2019.

About Swachhata Pakhwada

  • Swachhata Pakhwada is a campaign with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on cleanliness by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.
  • It was launched in April 2016.
  • An annual calendar is pre-circulated among the Ministries to help them plan for the Pakhwada activities.
  • The Ministries observing Swachhata Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhata Samiksha.
  • For the Pakhwada fortnight, observing ministries are considered as Swachhata Ministries and are expected to bring qualitative Swachhata improvements in their jurisdictions.
Newspace India Limited

Why in news?

Isro's new commercial arm NewSpace India has been incorporated on 06th March 2019.

About Newspace India Limited

  • It is a new company under the department of space to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation.
  • NSIL was incorporated on March 6 2019, for commercially utilising research and development activities carried out by ISRO in the area of space.
  • It has an authorised share capital of Rs 100 crore and initial paid up capital of Rs 10 crore.


  • NSIL's main objective is to scale up industry participation in Indian space programmes.
  • It will be to act as a mediator or link between ISRO and the industry, and facilitate the transfer of ISRO technologies to private companies.
  • It will be based in Bangalore.
  • It is Department of Space (DoS)’s second commercial entity after Antrix.

NSIL functions

  • Small Satellite technology transfer to industry, wherein NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-license it to industries.
  • Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector.
  • Productionisation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry.
  • Productionisation and marketing of Space based products and services, including launch and application.
  • Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent units of DOS.
  • Marketing spin-off technologies and products/services, both in India and abroad.

About Antrix

  • Antrix is the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix) is incorporated on 1992 under the Companies Act, 1956.
  • It was set up in September 1992 to market the products and services of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • It is a wholly Government of India owned Company under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS).
  • In the year 2008, the Company was awarded ‘MINIRATNA’ status.
  • Antrix promotes and commercially markets the products and services emanating from the Indian Space Programme.

Current Affair Capsules

Vespersaurus paranaensis
  • It is a desert-based carnivorous dinosaur that used claws to capture small prey 90 million years ago, which has been unearthed in southern Brazil.
  • The Vespersaurus was a theropod, a group of two-footed, meat-eating dinosaurs that included the better known Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor.
Sindhu Darshan
  • It is a festival of India held every year on full moon day (on Guru Purnima) in June and is held at Leh, in Ladakh District of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • The Sindhu Darshan Festival is a celebration of River Sindhu to endorse the Indus River (Sindhu River) as an icon of the communal harmony and unity of India.

Map Aided Programme     

Ramsar Sites of Himachal Pradesh
  • Pong Dam Lake
  • Chandertal Wetland
  • Renuka Wetland

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. In the South Atlantic and South-Eastern Pacific regions in tropical latitudes, cyclone does not originate. What is the reason?
  2. Sea surface temperature are low
  3. Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone seldom occurs
  4. Coriolis force is too weak
  5. Absence of land in those regions