Enhanced Access and Service Excellence (EASE 3.0)
Why in news?
Finance Minister launches Ease 3.0 for tech-enabled banking.
Enhanced Access and Service Excellence (EASE 3.0):
- The main aim of EASE 3.0 is to provide advanced solutions that will make the public sector banking smart and technology-enabled.
- By this the initiative intends to achieve ease of banking for customers.
- Digitalising the experience at public sector bank branches is also on the cards under EASE 3.0.
EASE 3.0 reforms agenda include facilities like:
- Palm Banking for “End-to-end digital delivery of financial service”.
- “Banking on Go” via EASE banking outlets at frequently visited spots like malls, stations, complexes and campuses.
- EASE is an Enhanced Access & Service Excellenceindex which ranks state-owned banks on several parameters to assess their performance and provide inputs for improvement.
Note- in EASE 2.0, the government had proposed pushing liquidity in the public sector banks, reconstituting the management committee and possible mergers among the ideal partners in the Indian banking sector.
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020
Why in news?
Cabinet approves Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020.
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020:
- To provide effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy.
Key features of the Bill:
- Bill allow any “willing woman” to act as a surrogate instead of “near relative” as proposed earlier.
- As per the revised bill, widows and divorcees will also be allowed to opt for surrogacy.
- The insurance cover for a surrogate mother should be increased to 36 months from 16 months.
- The Bill proposes that only Indian couples, with both partners being of Indian origin, can opt for surrogacy in the country.
- Bill included deleting the definition of “infertility” as the inability to conceive after five years of unprotected intercourse on the ground that it was too long a period for a couple to wait for a child.
- The Bill also proposes to regulate surrogacy by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Board and appropriate authorities in states and Union Territories respectively.
Why in news?
Centre is moving ahead with its plan to develop the site as a tourist hub and set up a museum.
More about the news
- Finance Minister announced the government’s plan to fund five on-site museums, including the under-construction museum initiated by the Haryana government at Rakhigarhi in her Budget speech 2020.
- Other four sites includeHastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, Sivasagar in Assam, Dholavira in Gujarat and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu.
- The site of Rakhigarhi is one of the five known biggest townships of Harappan civilization on Indian sub-continent.
- Other four are Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Ganveriwala in Pakistan and Dholavira (Gujarat) in India
- Five interconnected mounds spread in a huge area form the Rakhigarhi unique site.
- Two mounds, out of five, were thickly populated.
- This site was excavated by Shri Amarendra Nath of Archeological Survey of India.
Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) or Harappan Civilization
- It was flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, in contemporary Pakistan and Western India.
- In 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were unearthed.
- In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world.
National Technical Textiles Mission
Why in news?
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at an total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.
More about the mission
- The aim of the mission is to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.
- The Mission will be implemented for four years from 2020-2021 and will have four components.
- The first component will focus on research and development and innovation and will have an outlay of ₹1,000 crore.
- The research will be at, fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.
- Research activities will also focus on development of indigenous machinery and process equipment.
- The second component will be for promotion and development of market for technical textiles.
- The third component will focus on export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach from the ₹14,000 crore now to ₹20,000 crore by 2021-2022 and ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends.
- An export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up.
- Fourth component will be on education, training and skill development.
- The Mission will promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas.
- Technical Textiles are futuristic and nice segment of textiles and are manufactured for non-aesthetic purposes, where function is the primary criterion.
- It include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles (e.g., implants), geotextiles (reinforcement of embankments), agro textiles (textiles for crop protection), and protective clothing (e.g., heat and radiation protection for fire fighter clothing, molten metal protection for welders, stab protection and bulletproof vests, and spacesuits).
- The Indian technical textiles segment is estimated at $16 billion which is approximately 6% of the $250 billion global technical textiles market.
- The penetration level of technical textiles in India varies between 5% and 10% against the level of 30% to 70% in developed countries.
- The Mission will aim at taking domestic market size to $40 billion to $50 billion by 2024.
Why in news?
Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan met Chief Minister, Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik, along with H.E. Ambassador of Japan to India, Mr. Satoshi Suzuki, in Bhubaneswar. Avenues for collaboration, particularly in the steel sector were discussed.
- Government of India is keen to have Japan to be partner country in Mission Purvodaya envisioned by Hon. Prime Minister to ensure development of Eastern India.
- Mission Purvodaya in steel sector envisions to create an integrated steel hub in Eastern India.
- More than 75% of India’s envisioned incremental steel capacity will come from eastern India, with Odisha alone crossing 100 MTPA.
- Japanese technological expertise, investments will further strengthen the steel sector in Odisha and drive socio-economic growth.
- With abundance of raw materials, strategic geographical location and strong and developing connectivity, Odisha is well poised to be the heart of this eastern steel hub.
- In Odisha, Kalinga nagar will be developed as the epicentre of Mission Purvodaya.
- Working together with the Odisha Govt. central ministries and industry, Steel Ministry aims to make Kalinganagar, a vibrant hotspot of global steel industry.
Biofuel from Cyanobacteria
Why in news?
The biofuel sector could get a boost, with researchers at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) developing a method to improve the growth rate and sugar content of a marine microorganism called Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002.
What is the significance of the study?
- Most biotechnological processes, including biofuel production, are dependent on the availability of low-cost and sustainable supply of sugars and a nitrogen source.
- The sugars typically come from plants. Plants utilize light energy through the process of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into biological components such as sugars, proteins and lipids.
- However, some bacteria, such as the cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae), too can perform photosynthesis and produce sugar by fixing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- The yield of sugars from cyanobacteria could potentially be much higher than that of land-based crops.
- Further, unlike plant-based sugars, cyanobacterial biomass provides a nitrogen source in the form of proteins.
- Cyanobacteria are found in both fresh and marine waters.
- However, there is a need to significantly improve their growth rates and sugar content in order to improve the economic feasibility of marine cyanobacteria-based sugar production.
What is the result?
- A team from International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnologyhas achieved this. They have successfully engineered a marine cyanobacterium called Synechococcus PCC 7002 which showed a higher growth rate and sugar (glycogen) content.
- When grown on air, the growth was doubled and the glycogen content of the cells increased by about 50%.
- Department of Biotechnology sponsored the research. The scientists have published a report on their work in journal `Biotechnology for Biofuels’. (Vigyan Samachar)
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana
Why in news?
32 projects sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY). Projects to leverage an investment worth 406 crore rupees.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana
- PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana is a central sector scheme aiming to create modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
- The main objective of this Scheme is creation of processing and preservation capacities and modernisation of existing food processing units with a view to increasing the level of processing, value addition leading to reduction of wastage.
- The food sector has emerged as a high-growth and high-profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry as it is said to have Compound Annual Growth Rate(CAGR) of approximately 8 percent over the last five years.
- The projects approved are running across quadrilaterals of the country covering over 100 agro-climatic zones. The Processed food market is expected to grow to $ 543 bn by 2020 from $ 322 bn in 2016, at a CAGR of 14.6%.
- MoFPI is implementing PMKSY and the period of implementation is 2016-20 with a total outlay of Rs 6,000 crore.
- The PMKSY has seven component schemes.
- Mega Food Parks
- Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure
- Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters
- Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages
- Creation/Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities
- Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure
- Human Resources and Institutions.
- International Conference on Standardisation of Diagnosis and Terminologies in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Systems of Medicine recently concluded in New Delhi.
- The conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of AYUSH and the WHO.
- It adopted the “New Delhi Declaration on Collection and Classification of Traditional Medicine (TM) Diagnostic Data”.
- Offshore Patrol Vessel-6 “VAJRA” is launched at Chennai
- OPV-6 is truly state of the art platform which will enhance the capabilities of Indian Coast Guard in terms of Operation, Surveillance, Search & Rescue.
- The ship would be utilized for day and night patrol/surveillance along with anti-terrorist/ anti-smuggling operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as Coastal Security.