9 PM Current Affairs Brief – November 23rd, 2019

Microsoft launches framework to facilitate digital transformation of schools

News:Microsoft has launched its ‘K-12 Education Transformation Framework’ to facilitate comprehensive digital transformation of schools in India.


About the K-12 Education Transformation Framework:

  • The framework is aimed at facilitating comprehensive digital transformation of schools in India.
  • It will provide efficient tools to achieve the ambitious change many schools seek and to thoughtfully integrate technology in powerful and productive ways.
  • The framework is a flexible platform based on the latest research and input from hundreds of academics, experts, and policymakers.
  • It comprises of four pillars namely (a)leadership and policy, (b)modern teaching and learning (c)intelligent environments and (d)technology blueprint.
  • The framework will organise a series of workshops to help school principals initiate their journey of digital transformation based on these four pillars.
  • Further,this framework model has already been adopted by education leaders in more than 50 countries to help plan their learning strategies.

Arundhati Scheme: Assam Govt to gift 10 gm of gold to every bride

News:Assam Government has announced the launch of ‘Arundhati Swarna Yojana’.


About Arundhati Swarna scheme:

  • The scheme is aimed to strengthen women empowerment and reduce child marriage.
  • Under this scheme,state government will give each beneficiary bride fixed amount to buy 10 grams(one tola) of gold during her marriage if the marriage is registered.
  • The state government will not give the gold directly to beneficiary bride but will provide Rs.30,000 to purchase 10 gms of gold.The scheme will commence from January 1,2020.

Eligibility for the scheme:

  • The annual income of the bride’s family must be less than Rs. 5 lakh.
  • Minimum age should be 18 years and 21 years for the bride and bridegroom respectively.
  • Bride should have minimum education of 10th standard. However, this requirement of minimum educational qualification criteria is not required for tribes and workers of tea gardens.
  • Family has to register their marriage under the Special Marriage (Assam) Rules, 1954.

Central Road and Infrastructure Fund

News:Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has informed Lok Sabha about the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund.


About Central Road and Infrastructure Fund:

  • The Central Road and Infrastructure Fund which was earlier known as Central Road Fund(CRF) was established under the Central Road Fund Act,2000
  • The fund is basically a cess imposed along with excise duty on petrol and diesel.
  • The cess revenue was accrued to the CRF which was uniquely created and out of this major road projects were financed ever since its launch.
  • The administrative control of Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) is under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),finance Ministry.
  • Earlier, it was under the domain of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Additional information:

About the Central Road Fund Amendment act,2018:

  • In Budget 2018,Government had amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000 and had renamed the Central Road Fund as Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF).
  • The main purpose of the amendment is to use the proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects including waterways, railway infrastructure, social infrastructure among others.

About Cess:

  • A cess is a tax that is levied by the government to raise funds for a specific purpose.
  • The Cess is not a permanent source of revenue for the government and it is discontinued when the purpose levying it is fulfilled.

Integrated Skill Development Scheme in the Textile Sector

News:Recently,a meeting was organised under Samarth-Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles sector(SCBTS) to familiarize the stakeholders about the scheme and its guidelines.


About Samarth-Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles sector(SCBTS):

  • Samarth is a skill development scheme under the Union Ministry of Textiles.
  • The scheme aims to provide skill development to the youth for gainful and sustainable employment in the textile sector covering entire value chain of textiles excluding spinning and weaving.

Objectives of the scheme:

  • To provide demand driven, placement oriented National Skills Qualifications Framework(NSQF) compliant skilling programmes.
  • To promote skilling and skill upgradation in the traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute.
  • To enable provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self employment to all sections of the society across the country.

Target:The Scheme targets to train 10 lakh persons (9 lakhs in organised & 1 lakh in traditional sector).

Implementation:The skilling programmes would be implemented through following Implementing Agencies:

  • Textile Industry.
  • Institutions/Organization of the Ministry of Textile/State Governments having training infrastructure and placement tie-ups with textile industry.
  • Reputed training institutions/ NGOs/ Societies/ Trusts/ Organizations/ Companies /Startups / Entrepreneurs active in textile sector having placement tie-ups with textile industry.

Additional information:

About NSQF:

  • National Skills Qualifications Framework(NSQF) is a quality assurance framework which organizes qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude.
  • These levels are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.

Enrollment of Persons with Disabilities under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)

News:Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has informed Lok Sabha that there are certain incentives to encourage participation of Persons with Disabilities(PwD) under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).


About Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY):

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship(MSDE).
  • The scheme was launched in the year 2015.It is implemented by National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC).
  • The objective of this Scheme is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
  • The scheme aims to cover 10 million youth during the period 2016 -2020.

Components of the scheme:

  • Short Term Training: Training as per National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) is provided to those who are either school/college dropouts or unemployed.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):An individual with a certain set of skills or with prior learning experience is assessed and certified under RPL with grade according to the NSQF.
  • Special Projects: This component ensures training in special areas and premises of government bodies and corporate. It aims to encourage training in vulnerable and marginalized groups of society.
  • Training Partners(TPs):They are mandated to organize Kaushal and Rozgar Melas every six months, thus providing placement assistance to certified ones.
  • Monitoring:To ensure that high standards of quality are maintained by training centres,NSDC and empaneled inspection agencies shall use various methodologies such as self audit reporting, call validations among others.

Additional information:

About NSDC:

  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a not-for-profit public limited company incorporated in 2008 under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956
  • The Government of India through Ministry of Skills Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) holds 49% of the share capital of NSDC while the private sector has the balance 51% of the share capital.
  • The overall objective of NSDC is to create training capacity in the country, fund vocational training initiatives and create a market ecosystem for skill development.

Bougainville: Will it become the world’s next country?

News:Bougainville which is a part of Papua New Guinea is about to vote on independence.And,if the people votes for independence,Bougainville could become the world’s next country.


About Bougainville:

  • Bougainville is currently an autonomous province of Papua New Guinea- one of the most populous Pacific island states.It forms part of the Solomon Islands archipelago.
  • The Bougainville islands was named after an 18th Century French explorer and became part of a German colony, German New Guinea, at the end of the 19th Century.
  • During World War One, Australia took control and remained in charge until 1975 (with a brief period of Japanese control during World War Two).
  • However,when Papua New Guinea was granted independence in 1975, Bougainville became a province even though there was little enthusiasm for it.

Why independence?

  • The desire of Bougainvillean people for independence is rooted in the historic plunder of the resource-rich island that has large deposits of copper and the unequal distribution of wealth that followed.
  • Between 1988-1998,political factions in Bougainville were involved in an armed conflict with the government of Papua New Guinea, in an attempt to force Papua New Guinea to divest control of the resource-rich island.
  • In 2001,a peace agreement was signed between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea Government.
  • The referendum was one of the provisions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

GDP slump will hit $5 tn target, warns NITI Aayog

News:According to NITI Aayog,the road to a $5 trillion economy by 2025 is beset with many speed-breakers.


NITI Aayog on $5 trillion economy by 2025:

  • Niti Aayog said that the nominal GDP growth which is a measure of growth without accounting for inflation has to be at least 12.4% on average if the target of $5 trillion economy by 2025 has to be reached.
  • However,the current rate was a mere 8% in the first quarter of the current financial year.
  • The domestic investment and consumption which are the only dependable drivers for revival of the economy has slowed down due to real estate sector.
  • The slowdown in the domestic market is also because of limited availability of capital with the banks which are tied down due to high non-performing assets in heavy industry and infrastructure.
  • In the power sector, there is a high cross-subsidisation in favour of residential tariff leading to very high industrial tariffs.The electric power transmission and distribution(T&D) losses in India stand at 19%, higher than that of Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Additional information:

About NITI Aayog:

  • The NITI Aayog was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1,2015.
  • It is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India providing both directional and policy inputs.It had replaced planning commission as the premier think tank.
  • The NITI Aayog has been mandated with fostering cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.

Last nails in the coffin of British rule’: Remembering Lala Lajpat Rai on his death anniversary

News:Recently,November 17 was observed as the death anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai,the firebrand Indian nationalist leader affectionately called ‘Punjab Kesari’.


About Lala Lajpat Rai:

  • Lala Lajpat Rai was born at Dhudike near Ludhiana in Punjab in 1865.He studied law at the Government College, Lahore.
  • Early in life,he became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati,the founder of the Arya Samaj and went on to become one of the society’s leaders.
  • In 1885, he established the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore and remained a committed educationist throughout his life.He also helped in the founding of the Punjab National Bank.
  • In 1881,he joined the Indian National Congress.Further,Rai, Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal (called Lal-Bal-Pal) advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and mass agitation in the aftermath of the controversial Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon.
  • In 1917,he founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York City.
  • In 1920,he was elected President of the Indian National Congress during its Special Session in Kolkata in 1920 which saw the launch of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement.
  • In 1928, he opposed the Simon Commission,a British-appointed group of lawmakers arrived in India to study the implementation of the Government of India Act, 1919 (the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms).
  • He was severely lathi-charged during a protest against Simon Commission in Lahore on October 30,1928.He died a few days later.
  • He also wrote extensively in English and Urdu.His important works include (a)‘The Arya Samaj’ (b)‘Young India’ (c)‘England’s Debt to India’, (d)‘Evolution of Japan’ (e)‘India’s Will to Freedom’ (f)‘Message of the Bhagwat Gita’ (g)‘Political Future of India’ (h)‘Problem of National Education in India’ (I)‘The Depressed Glasses’ and the (j)travelogue ‘United States of America’.
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