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Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

Why in news?

Construction of 2.51 lakh more houses in 10 States under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) (Urban) was sanctioned, taking the total number of houses approved under the scheme since it started in 2015 to 83.62 lakh.

About PMAY (Urban)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Programme was launched to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers.
  • The programme was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), in Mission mode envisioning provision of Housing for All by 2022.
  • The mission addresses this initiative through following programme verticals
  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource.
  • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit
  • linked subsidy.
  • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors.
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.
  • The mission is being implemented during 2015-2022.
  • Mission will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.

Slum Definition

  • A slum is defined as a compact area of at least 300 people or about 60 - 70 households of poorly built congested tenements in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities.


  • Beneficiaries include economically weaker section (EWS), low-income groups (LIGs) and Middle Income Groups (MIGs).
  • The annual income cap is up to Rs 3 lakh for EWS, Rs 3-6 lakh for LIG and Rs 6 -18 lakhs for MIG.
  • EWS category of beneficiaries is eligible for assistance in all four verticals of the Missions whereas LIG and MIG categories are eligible under only Credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) component of the Mission.
Van Dhan Scheme

Why in news?

A workshop to flag the 100 days’ plan for implementation of the Van Dhan Scheme was organised by TRIFED of Ministry of Tribal Affiars in New Delhi.

About the scheme

  • The Van Dhan Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED that seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
  • It aims at economic development of tribals involved in collection of Minor Foorest Produces (MFPs) by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide them sustainable livelihood.
  • It was launched on 14th April, 2018.
  • The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
  • At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.
  • Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.

More about the scheme

  • Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted.
  • The establishment of "Van Dhan Vikas Kendra" is for providing skill up
  • gradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.
  • They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle.
  • Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States.
  • Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED.
  • The stock after primary processing shall be supplied by these SHGs to the State Implementing Agencies or direct tie up for supply to corporate secondary processor.
  • For creation of secondary level value addition facility at district level and tertiary level value addition facility at State level, Big Corporates shall be involved under PPP mode.

About Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

  • Minor Forest Produce, is defined by the FRA as “all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.”
  • Tribals have the right to procure and sell these products.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Why in news?

The Ministry of Women and Child development has commissioned the mapping of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) through National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) which was conducted by the Childline India Foundation with help of NGO partners.


  • It is the apex child rights body which emphasizes the principle of universality and inviolability of child rights and recognizes the tone of urgency in all the child related policies of the country.
  • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • It was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
  • The commission works under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child development.
  • The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
  • It also has responsibilities under POCSO Act, 2012 and RTE Act, 2009.
  • It is the responsibility of NCPCR to establish Children’s Courts for speedy trial of offences against children or of violation of child rights and get State governments and UT administrations to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for every Children’s Court
  • It can inquire into complaints and take suo‐motu notice of matters relating child right violations.: Vulnerable Sections

Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 is the widely accepted UN instrument ratified by most of the developed as well as developing countries, including India.
  • The Convention prescribes standards to be followed by all State parties in securing the best interest of the child and outlines the fundamental rights of children.
  • Countries that ratify the Convention agree to be legally bound by its provisions.
  • The UNCRC has 54 Articles each of which entails a different type of right such as:
  • Survival rights
  • Developmental rights
  • Protection rights
  • Participation rights
The Resilient Kerala Program

Why in news?

The Government of India, the Government of Kerala and the World Bank signed a Loan Agreement of USD 250 million for the First Resilient Kerala Program.

About the program

  • It is a program to enhance the State's resilience against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.
  • The Resilient Kerala Program will focus on strengthening the State's institutional and financial capacity to protect the assets and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups through an inclusive and participatory approach.
  • The 2018 floods and landslides in Kerala led to severe impact on property, infrastructure, and lives and livelihoods of people.
  • The Program represents the First ‘State Partnership’ of the World Bank in India.
  • It is the First of two Development Policy Operations aiming to mainstream disaster and climate resilience into critical infrastructure and services.
  • The new program is part of the Government of India’s support to Kerala’s ‘Rebuild Kerala Development Programme’ aimed at building a green and resilient Kerala.
Start Up India

Why in news?

The Indian start-up ecosystem is still evolving and has not yet achieved its full potential due to certain deterrents that require quick resolution to drive the growth of start-ups in India.

About Startup India

  • Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country.
  • This will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
  • The Government through this initiative aims to empower Startups to grow through innovation and design.
  • Start-up India initiative launched on 16thJanuary 2016, consists of 19 Action Points that act as a guiding document for the initiative.
  • The action plan of this initiative, is based on the following three pillars:
  1. Simplification and Handholding.
  2. Funding Support and Incentives.
  3. Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation
  • Rural India's version of Startup India was named the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Swaniyojan Yojana.

What qualifies as a startup?

  • Period of existence and operations should not be exceeding 10 years from the Date of Incorporation.
  • Incorporated as a Private Limited Company, a Registered Partnership Firm or a Limited Liability Partnership.
  • Should have an annual turnover not exceeding Rs. 100 crore for any of the financial years since its Incorporation.
  • Entity should not have been formed by splitting up or reconstructing an already existing business.
  • Should work towards development or improvement of a product, process or service and/or have scalable business model with high potential for creation of wealth & employment.

Highlights of the action plan

Simplification and Handholding

  1. Compliance Regime based on Self-Certification
  2. Startup India Hub
  3. Rolling-out of Mobile App and Portal
  4. Legal Support and Fast-tracking Patent Examination at Lower Costs
  5. Relaxed Norms of Public Procurement for Startups
  6. Faster Exit for Startups

Funding Support and Incentives

  1. Providing Funding Support through a Fund of Funds with a Corpus of INR 10,000 crore
  2. Credit Guarantee Fund for Startups
  3. Tax Exemption on Capital Gains
  4. Tax Exemption to Startups for 3 years

Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation

  1. Organizing Startup Fests for Showcasing Innovation and Providing a Collaboration Platform
  2. Launch of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) with Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) Program
  3. Harnessing Private Sector Expertise for Incubator Setup
  4. Building Innovation Centres at National Institutes
  5. Promoting Startups in the Biotechnology Sector
  6. Launching of Innovation Focused Programs for Students
  7. Annual Incubator Grand Challenge

Science and Technology

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

Why in news?


NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a new planet, the tiniest of its finds so far, named L 98-59b.

About TESS

  • The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a space telescope for NASA's Explorers program, designed to search for exoplanets using the transit method.
  • The primary mission objective for TESS is to survey the brightest stars near the Earth for transiting exoplanets over a two-year period.
  • One of TESS’s goals is to build a catalogue of small, rocky planets on short orbits around very bright, nearby stars for atmospheric study.
  • It aims to discover a number of planets whose atmospheric compositions, which hold potential clues to the presence of life.
  • It was launched in April 2018 on Falcon 9, SpaceX.
  • The spacecraft will be looking for a phenomenon known as a transit, where a planet passes in front of its star, causing a periodic and regular dip in the star’s brightness.

Comparison with Other Missions

  • Kepler mission launched in 2009 has discovered more than 4,500 potential planets and confirmed exoplanets.
  • After mechanical failure in 2013, it started to survey other areas of the sky for exoplanets, called the K2 mission, helping to gain insight about supernovae and black holes.
  • Kepler space telescope has ended its planet spotting mission.
  • TESS will concentrate on stars less than 300 light years away and 30 to 100 times brighter than Kepler telescope.
  • TESS will survey an area 400 times larger than what Kepler observed.
  • The properties of such identified planets will be probed by NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and other missions.

Current Affair Capsules

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO)
  • The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is the apex body of Indian export promotion organizations.
  • It was set up jointly by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and private trade and industry in the year 1965.
Dragon fly
  • Nasa to send 'Dragonfly' drone to Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
  • This will be the first time Nasa will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet.

Map Aided Programme     



  • Cotton is a Kharif Crop and grows in tropical and subtropical areas.
  • Soil Type : Optimum soil for cotton is the Black soils of Deccan and Malwa plateau.
  • Cotton requires modest rainfall and in India, it is one of the predominant rainfed crops.
  • Cotton requires uniformly high temperature (21°C to 30°C).
  • It grows in areas having at least 210 frost free days in a year.
  • Also grows well in alluvial soils of the Satluj-Ganga plain and red and laterite soils of the peninsular region.
  • Main cotton producing states are Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Punjab etc

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. Which one of the following pairs of States of India indicates the eastern most and western most State?

(a) Assam and Rajasthan

(b) Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan

(c) Assam and Gujarat

(d) Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat

  • ANSWER (d)