Union Labour and Employment Ministry has notified the Pradhan Mantri Laghu
Vyapari Maan-dhan Yojana 2019. It is a pension scheme for retailers and
pension scheme assures a minimum monthly pension of ₹3000 per month to
small shopkeepers, retail traders and the self-employed people after
attaining the age of 60 years once they have contributed to the scheme
every month from the time of enrolment and till that age.
the Government of India will make matching contribution in the
scheme is available to all small shopkeepers and self-employed persons as
well as the retail traders with Goods and Services tax (GST) turnover
below Rs. 1.5 crore and age between 18-40 years.
be eligible, the applicants should not be covered under the National
Pension Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and the Employees’
Provident Fund or be an Income Tax assessee.
scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except
Aadhaar and bank account.
persons can enrol themselves through Common Service Centres (CSC) spread
across the country
to scientists, Milky Way was shaped in its present form as a result of
collision with another smaller galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus, 10 billion
study has been based on data from the Gaia space observatory- a space
observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA). Gaia seeks to map the
positions of more than 1 billion stars to the highest precision
merger of the Milky Way and Gaia-Enceladus increased Milky Way’s mass by
about a quarter and triggered a period of accelerated star formation which
lasted for 2 to 4 billion years.
of all types began to form relatively soon after the Big Bang explosion.
The Big Bang explosion marked the beginning of the universe some 13.8
billion years ago.
the galaxies were relatively smaller that time and subsequent galactic
mergers have given galaxies their present configuration.
scaly-foot snail or Sea Pangolin is the first marine species to be
assessed as officially endangered due to the potential threat of deep sea
scaly foot snail is found at three hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean,
east of Madagascar. The three vents include Longqi vent field, Kairei vent
field and the Solitaire vent
International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as
‘Endangered’ in the Red List.
mining is the process which involves extracting submerged minerals and
resources from the sea floor, either by dredging sand or lifting material
in any other manner.
International Seabed Authority, an autonomous international organization
established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea, is currently formulating guidelines on how to conduct sea-bed mining.
are growing concerns among environmentalists that seabed mining would harm
marine organisms, disrupt marine ecosystem, thereby impact the rich
biodiversity of oceans
Central had set up New Space India Limited (NSIL) in March 2019. It is a
Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under the administrative control
of Department of Space (DOS).
NSIL has been set up to meet the increasing demands of Indian space
programmes and to commercially exploit the emerging global space market.
main functions of NSIL are: a) Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch
Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector, b) production of
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry, c)
production and marketing of Space based products and services, including
launch and application, d) Transfer of technology developed by ISRO
Centres and constituent units of DOS and e) Marketing spin-off
technologies and products/services, both in India and abroad.
is the second commercial entity of the Department of Space (DoS) after
Antrix Corporation Limited which was set up in 1992 to market the products
and services of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2, Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO) is now focussing on launching the Aditya L-1 mission.
Aditya L-1 mission is a satellite designed to study the sun. It will be
India’s first satellite to do so.
mission is aimed at studying the Sun from a halo orbit around the
Sun-Earth Lagrangian point 1, henceforth the name Aditya-L1
Aditya L-1 mission will study the Sun’s corona -the outer layer.
major objectives of the mission are: a) Realization and launch of a
satellite in a Halo orbit around L1, b) Understanding solar upper
atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics, c) Study of chromospheric
and coronal heating and d) Observe the in-situ particle and plasma
environment to provide data for the study of particle dynamics from the
points are the positions in the orbits of two large celestial bodies,
where the smaller object or satellite will be affected by the combined
gravitational pull of the two large bodies (e.g. the Sun and the Earth).
are 5 such points out of which, only at L1, the gravitational attraction
of one of the larger bodies is cancelled by the other.
recent political crisis in Karnataka has demonstrated the ways in which
the anti-defection law can be used and abused.
anti-defection law is contained in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
The 10th Schedule was inserted to the Constitution through
the 52nd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1985. The
anti-defection law is based on the recommendations of the Y B Chavan
amendment by which the Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution did
3 things: it made legislators liable to be penalised for their conduct
both inside and outside (speeches etc.) the legislature, b) it protected
legislators from disqualification in cases where there was a split (with
1/3rd of members splitting) or merger (with 2/3rds of members merging) of
a legislature party with another political party and c) it made the
Presiding Officer of the concerned legislature the sole arbiter of
purpose of the anti-defection law is to curb political defection by the
legislators. The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. It
lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds
are two grounds on which a member of a legislature can be disqualified: a)
if he/she voluntarily gives up the membership of his/her party and b) if a
legislator votes in the House against the direction of his/her party and
his/her action is not condoned by his party.
2003 the anti-defection law was amended to delete the one-third split
provision which offered protection to defectors was deleted.
anti-defection law has had its loopholes and has been abused. For example,
the n law does not specify a timeframe for Speakers to decide on defection
proceedings. When the politics demanded, Speakers were either quick to
pass judgment on defection proceedings or delayed acting on them for years
Sabha has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2019.
Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967 providing
special procedures to deal with terrorist activities and individuals and
groups that foster terrorism in India.
the Act,the central government may designate an organisation as a
terrorist organisation if it (a)commits or participates in acts of
terrorism, (b)prepares for terrorism (c) promotes terrorism or (d) is
otherwise involved in terrorism.The bill additionally empowers the
government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same
the Act,an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval
of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be
connected with terrorism.
Bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the
National Investigation Agency(NIA),the approval of the Director General of
NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
the Act,investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of
Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.The
Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA of the rank of
Inspector or above to investigate cases.
Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of
any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.The Bill adds another
treaty to the list.This is the International Convention for Suppression of
Acts of Nuclear Terrorism(2005).
Union Cabinet has approved the merger of National Institute of Miners
Health(NIMH) with ICMR-National Institute of Occupational Health(NIOH).
merger will prove beneficial to both the Institutes in terms of enhanced
expertise in the field of occupational health besides the efficient
management of public money.
have welcomed the move as NIMH dedicated to miners health will now officially
come under the Ministry of Health and Family welfare.
Institute of Miners’ Health(NIMH) is an autonomous Institute
under Ministry of Mines,Government of India.It was set up by the in 1990
and was registered as a Society under the Karnataka Societies Registration
conducts applied research in occupational health and hygiene and
specializes in providing technical support services to mining and mineral
The NIOH is
the premier institute under the aegis of the Indian Council of Medical
Research(ICMR) under the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health
and Family Welfare.It was established in 1966 by the government of
objectives of NIOH is to support the national policy makers for adopting
an appropriate policy in the field of occupational health which includes
occupational medicine and occupational hygiene.
Minister for Rural Development has informed Lok Sabha about the Rashtriya
mission is known as Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural
mission aims to organize the rural poor women into Self Help Groups (SHGs)
and continuously nurture and support them to take economic activities till
they attain appreciable increase in income over a period of time to
improve their quality of life and come out of abject poverty.
from this,DAY-NRLM also facilitates credit mobilisation for SHGs in the
form of bank loans.In order to reduce the effective cost of bank credit to
women SHGs,DAY-NRLM is providing interest subvention to SHGs on loans from
banks from financial year 2013-14.
Sub-schemes under DAY-NRLM includes Rural Self Employment Training
Institutes(RSETIs) which enables a trainee to take bank credit
and start his/her own Micro-enterprise.
Village Entrepreneurship Programme(SVEP) which facilitates the
rural poor for setting up of micro Enterprises.
Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY) which facilitates transport
facilities in the rural areas which in turn will provide self employment
opportunities to the rural poor.
of State for Home Affairs has informed Lok sabha about the steps taken by
the government to combat terror financing and circulation of fake Indian
Currency in the country.
minister has said that the government has strengthened the provisions in
the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967 by criminalizing the
production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian
terror funding and Fake Currency(TFFC) cell has been constituted in
National Investigation Agency (NIA) to conduct focused investigation of
terror funding and fake currency cases.
government has also created FICN Coordination Group (FCORD) to
share intelligence information among the security agencies of the
states/centre to counter the problem of circulation of fake currency
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between India and
Bangladesh to prevent and counter smuggling and circulation of fake
at the international borders has been strengthened by using (a)new
surveillance technology (b)deploying additional manpower for round the
clock surveillance (c)establishing observation posts along the
international border (d)erection of border fencing and (e)intensive
has released a white paper titled “China’s National Defence in the New
Era”.The paper has touched upon various aspects of its military development
comparing with India, US, Russia and other countries.
Chinese military has said that it is striving to promote security and
stability along the India-China border and has created favourable
conditions to resolve the Doklam standoff in 2017.
Doklam standoff began when Indian troops objected to the China building a
road close to the narrow Chicken Neck corridor connecting with the
North-Eastern states in an area also claimed by Bhutan.
standoff which led to severe disruption of relations between the two
countries was finally resolved after China stopped the road construction,
following which India withdrew its troops.
white paper has also highlighted the intensification of competition
between the two million strong Chinese military with that of its
counterparts in India,US,Russia and other countries.
white paper also noted that the international military competition is
undergoing historic changes.New and high-tech military technologies based
on IT are developing rapidly.
white paper also sought to play down heavy military expenditure, saying
that China is spending less on defence budgets in terms of GDP in
comparison to India,US and other countries.
to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),China is
the second-largest spender of defence in the world.It increased its
military expenditure by 5% to USD 250 billion in 2018 against India’s USD
66.5 billion.The US which is the largest spender of defence had spent USD
649 billion in 2018.
parties have asked the government to send seven Bills in Rajya Sabha to
Parliamentary Standing Committee or Select Committees for scrutiny.
decision was taken as eleven of the 22 Bills introduced in the ongoing
session of Parliament have been passed without any scrutiny by
parliamentary standing committees.
committees are established to study and deal with various matters
that cannot be directly handled by the legislature due to their
volume.They also monitor the functioning of the executive branch.
Parliamentary committees are of two kinds.The Standing committees are
elected or appointed periodically and they work on a continuous basis.
the other hand,Ad hoc or select committees are created on a temporary
basis as the need arises and they are dissolved after they complete the
task assigned to them.
committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of
Parliament members) and Article 118(on Parliament’s authority to make
rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).
Committee reports are usually exhaustive and provide authentic information
on matters related to governance.The bills that are referred to committees
are returned to the House with significant value addition. Parliament is
not bound by the recommendations of committees.
Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is celebrating the 159th Income Tax Day which
is also called as Aaykar Diwas.
Tax was introduced for the first time in India by Sir James Wilson on 24th
July,1860 to compensate for the losses incurred by the British regime
during the first war of independence against British Rule.
event will include release of departmental publications, e-journal,
publicity kit for outreach programmes among other things.
has also launched a “Kardaata e-Sahyog Abhiyan” which will
endeavour to assist and support taxpayers and other stakeholders in
enabling them to e-file their returns and discharge other tax related
a statutory authority that functions under the Central Board of Revenue
Act,1963.It is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of
provides inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is
also responsible for the administration of direct tax laws through the
Income Tax Department.
to the government data,Gujarat has emerged as the state with the most
rooftop solar panels installed.
has installed rooftop solar power capacity of 261 MW against 1,700 MW for
all of India.Gujarat is followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in terms of
installed rooftop capacity.
government has also provided financial assistance and incentives under
the Grid Connected Rooftop Solar programme.
Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme aims to achieve a cumulative
capacity of 40,000 MW from rooftop solar projects by 2022. The program
encourages installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic power generation
plant for self-consumption as well as supply/sale of electricity to the
programme will have substantial environmental impact in terms of savings
of CO2 emission.
programme will also have direct employment potential.Besides increasing
self-employment it is likely to generate employment opportunity equivalent
to 9.39 lakh job years for skilled and unskilled workers.
Indian government has set a growth target of installation of 175 GW
aggregate capacity of renewable energy by 2022.Out of total 175 GW, target
of 100 GW has been set for Solar Power.
in Bangladesh have developed a method to convert Jute fibre into low-cost
biodegradable cellulose sheets named as Sonali.
can be used as wrapping material and carrying bag.The physical qualities
of the invented jute fibre and plastic are quite similar.
Eco-friendly jute poly bags made up of Sonali can also be used in garments
and food packaging work and they are not harmful for human health.
main challenge in the large scale adoption of Sonali sheet is the
relatively high cost of production which is almost double that of
polythene.But,the production on a large scale is expected to bring down
new India-UK bilateral pilot scheme known as “UKEIRI Mobility
Programme:Study in India” has been launched.
scheme aims to support Britain’s universities to collaborate with Indian
partners in order to send UK students to India during their studies.
program is an initiative of Universities UK International (UUKi) and
British Council India.
program will also support the internationalisation of Indian higher
education through the diversification of the student body and the
consolidation of inter-institutional partnerships
program will try to generate upto 200 opportunities for undergraduate
students at UK universities to visit India by March 2021.Under the
program,priority will be given to the students who are from
Minister has announced in the Budget that it plans to raise a portion of
its gross borrowing from overseas markets using sovereign bonds.
bond or sovereign bond is a form of debt that the government undertakes
wherein it issues bonds with the promise to pay periodic interest payments
and also repay the entire face value of the bond on the maturity date.
current controversy relates to India’s sovereign bonds that will be
floated in foreign countries and will be denominated in foreign
currencies.In other words,both the initial loan amount and the final
payment will be in either US dollars or some other comparable currency.
would differentiate these proposed bonds from either government securities
wherein the Indian government raises loans within India and in Indian
rupee or Masala bonds wherein Indian entities and not the government
raises money overseas in rupee terms.
difference between issuing a bond denominated in rupees and issuing it in
a foreign currency such as US dollars is the incidence of exchange rate
the loan is in terms of dollars and the rupee weakens against the dollar
during the bond’s tenure,the government would have to return more rupees
to pay back the same amount of dollars.However,if the initial loan is
denominated in rupee terms,then the negative fallout would be on the
Indian Government is borrowing from overseas markets as Indian
government’s domestic borrowing is crowding out private investment and
preventing interest rates from falling even when inflation has cooled off
and the RBI is cutting policy rates.
less than 5%,India’s sovereign external debt to GDP is among the lowest
globally.In other words,there is scope for the Indian government to raise
funds this way without worrying too much about the possible negative
sovereign bond issue will also provide a yield curve a benchmark for
Indian corporates who wish to raise loans in foreign markets.This will
help Indian businesses that have increasingly looked towards foreign
economies to borrow money.
Lok Sabha has passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Bill, 2019.
bill provides for a comprehensive mechanism to ban unregulated deposit
schemes and to protect the interests of depositors.
bill has amended three legislations namely (a)Reserve Bank of India
Act,1934 (b)Securities and Exchange Board of India Act,1992 and
(c)Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act,2002.
bill defines regulated deposits as all deposit-taking schemes which are
overseen and regulated by regulators like (a)Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
(b)Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (c)Ministry of Corporate
Affairs and (d)state and union territory governments.
the other hand,deposit-taking scheme is defined as unregulated if it is
not registered with the regulators listed in the Bill.
bill completely bans the promoting,operating,issuing advertisements or
accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme.
Bill define three types of offences:(a)running of Unregulated Deposit
Schemes (b)fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes and (c)wrongful
inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.
bill also provides for severe punishment and heavy fines to act as a
deterrent.It also has a provision for repayment of deposits in cases where
such schemes manage to raise deposits illegally.
bill provides clear cut timelines for attachment of property and
reimbursement to depositors.It also provides for designation of Courts to
oversee repayment of depositors and to try offenses under the bill.
bill also provides for the creation of an online central database for
collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the