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Daily Newsletter | TPS 20 Daily Current Affairs | 17th March 2020



Main Topics

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

Why in news?

The information about the scheme and its performance was given by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

More about the scheme:

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is flagship programme of Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) that aims to enrich Rural India.
  • The scheme aims to link higher education institutions with set of at least five villages, so that they can contribute to economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
  • Under this scheme, higher education institutions will participate in development activities, particularly in rural areas.
  • It aims to create virtuous cycle between society and inclusive university system, with latter providing knowledge base, best practices for emerging livelihoods and upgrade capabilities of both public and private sectors.
  • The second edition (Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0) was launched in April, 2018.
  • The scheme is extended to all educational institutes; however under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0
  • Participating institutes are selected based on the fulfillment of certain criteria.

The main objectives of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) are:

  • To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in identifying development issues in rural areas and finding sustainable solutions for the same.
  • Identify & select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of technologies, or devise implementation method for innovative solutions, as required by the people.
  • To allow HEIs to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government programmes.
Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)

Why in news?

The information about SATAT initiative was mentioned in the report given by the Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas in the Lok Sabha.

More about the initiative:

  • SATAT is an initiative aimed at setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and makes it available in the market for use in automotive fuels by inviting Expression of Interest from potential entrepreneurs.
  • The initiative was launched in 2018 by the Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in association with Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
  • Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs.
  • CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative.


  • Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.
  • After purification, it is compressed and called Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG), which has pure methane content of over 95%.
  • Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential.
  • With calorific value and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel.
  • Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.
Sundarbans National Park

Why in news?

Tiger kills crab-catcher in Bengal’s Sundarbans National Park.

Sundarbans National Park:

  • It is a tiger and biosphere reserve located in the Sunderbans delta in the state of West Bengal (India). 
  • The park was established as a national park in 1984.
  • It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
  • The Sunderban Wetland was listed as the 27th Ramsar site in India since 2019.
  • It stretches from River Hooghly in West Bengal, India, all the way to River Baleswar in Bangladesh.

Ramsar Convention:

  • Ramsar Convention, is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
  • It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.
  • The convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in
Excise Duty

Why in news?

Excise duty on petrol and diesel hiked by Rs 3 a litre.

Excise duty:

  • Excise duty refers to the taxes levied on the manufacture of goods within the country, as opposed to custom duty that is levied on goods coming from outside the country.
  • The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is responsible for collecting excise duty.
  • The rates of Central Excise Duty are defined by the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.
  • The Central Excise Act majorly provides the definitions related to excise while the Central Excise Tariff Act includes an elaborate schedule of excisable goods and the tariffs on them. 

There are three types of excise duties in India:

  • Basic Excise Duty (Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT): This type of excise duty is imposed on goods classified under the first schedule of the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.
  • Additional Excise Duty: This duty is levied on goods listed in Schedule 1 of the given act.
  • Special Excise Duty- This kind of duty is levied on special goods specified under the Second Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.

What is the difference between excise duty and GST?

  • The difference between excise duty and other indirect taxes is that excise duty is levied on the manufacture of goods and at the time of removal of goods from the factory, while GST or sales tax or VAT are levied on the supply of goods and services.

Note: In July 2017 the Centre introduced GST that subsumed a number of indirect taxes including excise duty. This means excise duty, technically, does not exist in India except on a few items such as liquor and petroleum.

  • For the items and services outside the purview of GST, excise duty is a form of indirect tax which is generally collected by a retailer or an intermediary from its consumers and then paid to the government.

Current Affairs Capsules

Herd Immunity
  • Herd immunity is achieved through vaccinations and also gaining immunity.
  • When a considerably bigger population is vaccinated, those that are not vaccinated also gain immunity.
  • Even in epidemics, over the period of time, when the majority of population gain immunity against the disease, the level of its transmitting reduces.
  • The Ministry of Shipping launched a roll on-roll off cum passenger ferry service, called ‘ROPAX’, between Mumbai and Mandwa (Maharashtra).
  • ROPAX service is a water transport service project under Eastern Waterfront Development.