INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
THE CONTEXT: Minister for Labour and Employment launched DigiSaksham – a digital skills programme to enhance the employability of youth by imparting digital skills that are required in an increasingly technology-driven era.
ABOUT DIGISAKSHAM INITIATIVE
- This joint initiative with Microsoft India is an extension of the Government’s ongoing programs to support the youth from rural and semi-urban areas.
- Through the DigiSaksham initiative, free of cost training in digital skills including basic skills as well as advanced computing will be provided to more than 3 lakh youths in the first year.
- The Jobseekers can access the training through National Career Service (NCS) Portal (ncs.gov.in). The initiative gives priority to the job-seekers of semi-urban areas belonging to disadvantaged communities, including those who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. SAGE PROJECT
THE CONTEXT: ‘Senior care Ageing Growth Engine’ (SAGE) project to support India’s elderly.
- Govt of India has created the Senior Citizen Welfare Fund in 2016 to fund activities that would bring significant change in the lives of the elderly in India.
- The Fund is expected to use Rs. 9,000 Cr of unclaimed deposits in the EPF and other public funds. The Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana is funded through this.
- In order to utilise this fund, Govt has constituted (7) Eminent Expert groups addressing the areas of livelihood, employment, health, nutrition, silver economy, capacity building and research. The Expert Group on the silver economy has recommended bringing out a scheme to promote private enterprises that bring out innovation in products and processes for the benefit of the elders. Based on their recommendations, the Senior Aging Growth Engine (SAGE) has been designed.
- SAGE to select, support and create a ‘one-stop access’ of elderly care products and services
- SAGE is aimed at promoting private enterprises to bring out innovation in products to benefit elders
3. SACRED PORTAL
THE CONTEXT: Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity (SACRED) Portal is an IT portal to be developed to bring the employment seeker senior citizens and employment providers on one platform.
ABOUT SACRED PORTAL
- The aim is to devise ways to ensure Senior Citizens live healthy, happy, empowered, dignified and self-reliant life.
- 10 Cr would be provided for funding for the platform development along with a maintenance grant of Rs. 2 Cr per year for 5 years.
4. NEW EXPERIENCE STUDIO
THE CONTEXT: The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), the Government of India’s national policy think tank, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Intel have come together to establish a new experience studio at the NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center (CIC).
- Located in NITI Aayog’s New Delhi premises, the studio will be a hub for collaboration and experimentation to enable problem-solving and innovation between government stakeholders, startups, enterprises, and industry domain experts.
- The studio will help showcase the potential of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/ VR), blockchain, and robotics to accelerate their application in public sector use cases.
- The studio will encourage open innovation and serve as a hub for government, healthcare, education, and nonprofit startups from India to showcase their solutions. It will also provide startups with an option to access the necessary support to enhance and scale their solutions.
- NITI Aayog will also leverage the studio to demonstrate the application of geospatial, AR/VR, drone, and IoT solutions in verticals such as healthcare, agriculture, and smart infrastructure.
- Major homegrown industry leaders in respective fields of technology and research – like MapMyIndia in geospatial solutions, Raphe mPhibr Pvt. Ltd. in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and the Centre for Advanced Research in Imaging, Neuroscience and Genomics (CARING), which delivers AI in healthcare – and global leaders like DassaultSystemesare demonstrating their solutions at the studio.
- Start-ups like Vizara Technologies and Agatsa Software Private Ltd will be showcasing their innovative products. Startups will also be encouraged to participate actively in the studio through hackathons, grand challenges, and other capacity-building initiatives, in collaboration with the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Atal Incubation Centres (AIC).
5. INDIA’S CORE SECTOR GROWS 11.6 PER CENT IN AUGUST
THE CONTEXT: According to the data released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India’s Index of Eight Core Industries saw an 11.6 per cent rise to 133.5 in the month of August.
- The overall core sector growth during August last year was at -6.9 per cent.
- Coal production during the month of August increased by 20.6 per cent year-on-year, while petroleum refinery production rose 9.1 per cent and electricity generation climbed 15.3 per cent on-year, the commerce ministry data showed.
- This apart, steel production increased by 5.1 per cent in August, while cement production rose 36.3 per cent.
6. ORDNANCE FACTORY BOARD DISMANTLED
THE CONTEXT: The 220-year-old Ordnance Factory Board will be dissolved on October 1, and its units will be corporatised under seven PSUs.
- The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) comprising the Indian Ordnance Factories, is an organization under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.
- Headquartered in Kolkata, it is a conglomerate of 41 factories, 9 training institutes, 4 regional controllers of safety, and 3 regional marketing centres.
- The OFB manufactures supplies, ammunition, and weapons that are used by the armed forces, police forces, and paramilitary forces. The products include military-grade and civilian arms and ammunition, chemicals for missile systems, explosives, propellants, armoured vehicles, parachutes, optical and electronic devices, troop clothing, support equipment, and general store items for the armed forces.
- In May 2020, the Centre decided on the corporatization of OFB and dismantle the conglomerate into smaller companies for better autonomy, efficiency, and accountability in ordnance supplies.
- In the process of the corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will be restructured into 7 Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs).
- Approximately 70,000 employees, assets, and operations of the conglomerate will be transferred to these 7 DPSUs. These 7 DPSUs will be 100 per cent state-owned. Currently, the OFB has a turnover of approximately Rs 19,000 crores.
7. INDIA HAS THE HIGHEST FINTECH ADOPTION RATE IN THE WORLD
THE CONTEXT: The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles has said India is poised to become one of the largest digital markets in the world. Addressing the 2nd Global Fintech Fest-2021. At 87%, India has the highest FinTech adoption rate in the world against the global average of 64%.
- India is poised to become one of the largest digital markets in the world.
- UPI banking interface recorded the highest ever, over 3.6 Bn transactions, last month.
- More than 2 trillion transactions were processed using Aadhar last year.
- India’s fintech industry came to the rescue of people during the lockdown and 2nd wave of Covid, promoting contactless banking.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
8. NASA’S LUCY MISSION TO PROBE TROJAN ASTEROIDS
THE CONTEXT: NASA is poised to send its first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids to glean new insights into the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago.
- The probe, called Lucy after an ancient fossil that provided insights into the evolution of human species, will launch on October 16 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
- Its mission is to investigate the group of rocky bodies circling the Sun in two swarms, one preceding Jupiter in its orbital path and the other trailing behind it.
- After receiving boosts from Earth’s gravity, Lucy will embark on a 12-year journey to eight different asteroids — one in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter and then seven Trojans.
- The researchers who discovered Lucy the fossil in Ethiopia in 1974 named her after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” which they were playing loudly at the expedition camp.
THE 17TH INDIA-AUSTRALIA JOINT MINISTERIAL COMMISSION
THE CONTEXT: India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food, and Public Distribution and Textiles, and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Government of Australia, have formally launched the resumption of negotiations on the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
- Both Ministers discussed a range of issues during the 17th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission.
- Key issues included the expeditious negotiation of a bilateral CECA, resolution of tax-related issues faced by Indian software firms in Australia, ensuring increased two-way trade and the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO scheduled to be held at the end of this year.
- Both India and Australia reaffirmed commitment to conclude a CECA, including to reach an interim agreement by December 2021 to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services, and to conclude the negotiations on a full CECA by the end of 2022.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q. Recently in news, the SAGE project is related to?
d) Old age
ANSWER FOR SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS (REFER TO RELEVANT ARTICLE)
- Statement 1 is incorrect: Two options are available: a user can permanently delete or temporarily deactivate her health ID. On deletion, the unique health ID will be permanently deleted, along with all demographic details. On deactivation, the beneficiary will lose access to all ABDM applications only for the period of deactivation. Until she reactivates her health ID, she will not be able to share the ID at any health facility or share health records over the ABDM network.
- Statement 1 is correct: Currently, ABDM supports health ID creation via mobile or Aadhaar. For health ID creation through mobile or Aadhaar, the beneficiary will be asked to share details on name, year of birth, gender, address, mobile number/Aadhaar. Is Aadhaar is not mandatory. One can use one’s mobile number for registration, without Aadhaar.
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