Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 16,2021

Govt launches PMKVY 3.0 to empower youth with new-age skills to boost employability

News: The government of India has launched the third phase of its flagship skilling scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0).


    • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana(PMKVY): It is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) launched in 2015 and implemented by National Skill Development Corporation(NSDC).
    • Objective: To enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
    • Under the scheme, Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
    • Training and Assessment fees are completely paid by the Government

PMKVY 2.0 (2016-20)

  • PMKVY 2.0: After the successful implementation of pilot PMKVY (2015-16), PMKVY 2.0 was launched by scaling up both in terms of Sector and Geography and by greater alignment with other missions of the government of India like Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat.
  • Objectives:
    • Enable and mobilize a large number of youths to take up industry designed quality skill training, become employable and earn their livelihood.
    • Increase productivity of the existing workforce, and align skill training with the actual needs of the country.
    • Encourage standardisation of the Certification process and put in place the foundation for creating a registry of skills.
    • To benefit 10 million youth over a period of four years (2016- 2020).


  • Objective: It envisages to train around 8 lakh candidates over the scheme period of 2020-2021.
  • Key Features:
    • This phase is designed towards making skill development more demand-driven and decentralised in its approach with a focus on digital technology, Industry 4.0 skills and COVID-related skills.
    • District Skill Committees(DSCs) under the guidance of State Skill Development Missions(SSDM) shall play a key role in addressing the skill gap and assessing demand at the district level.
    • It will encourage healthy competition between states. This is achieved by increasing the allocation to those states that perform better.
    • It will also be a propagator of vocational education at an early level for youth to capitalize on industry-linked opportunities.

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After U.S. departure, Russia also withdraws from Open Skies Treaty

News: Russia has announced that it was pulling out of the Open Skies treaty saying that the pact had been seriously compromised by the withdrawal of the United States.


    • Open Skies Treaty: The treaty was signed in 1992 and came into effect in 2002.
    • Aim: To build confidence among members through mutual openness thus reducing the chances of accidental war.
    • Key Features of the Treaty:
      • Under the treaty, a member state can spy on any part of the host nation, with the latter’s consent. A country can undertake aerial imaging over the host state after giving notice 72 hours before and sharing its exact flight path 24 hours before.
      • The information gathered such as troop movements, military exercises and missile deployments has to be shared with all member states.
      • Only approved imaging equipment is permitted on the surveillance flights and officials from the host state can also stay on board throughout the planned journey.
  • Signatories: Currently, the treaty has 34 party states. India is not a member of this treaty.
  • Treaty Implementation: The Open Skies Consultative Commission (OSCC), composed of representatives of all states-parties is responsible for the implementation of the Open Skies Treaty.

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Lumpy skin disease in cattle worries livestock farmers

News: The Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) has been detected in Indian bovines in the State of Tamil Nadu.


    • Lumpy Skin Disease: It is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae, also known as the Neethling virus.
    • Vector: Blood-feeding insects such as mosquitos and flies act as mechanical vectors to spread the disease. The outbreak of the disease is associated with high temperature and high humidity.
    • Origin: Lumpy skin disease was first seen as an epidemic in Zambia in 1929. In India, the case was first reported from Odisha in August 2019 and currently, it has spread to 15 states within just 16 months.
    • Symptoms: The disease is characterized by fever, enlarged superficial lymph nodes and multiple nodules on the skin and mucous membranes. Infected cattle also may develop edematous swelling in their limbs and exhibit lameness.
    • Mortality Rate: Morbidity varies between 2 and 45% and the mortality rate is usually less than 10%.
    • Treatment: There is no treatment for the virus, so prevention by vaccination is the most effective means of control.
    • Implications: The virus has important economic implications since affected animals tend to have permanent damage to their skin, lowering the commercial value of their hide.

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Only discoms are allowed to install solar plants under Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme: Centre

News: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has cautioned consumers against rooftop solar companies that are claiming to be authorised vendors for the implementation of the Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme. The scheme is being implemented only by power distribution companies(DISCOMS).


    • Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme(Phase-II): The scheme aims to generate solar power by installing solar panels on the roof of the houses.
    • Objective: To achieve the cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar(RTS) Projects by the year 2022.
    • Subsidy: Under this scheme, the Ministry is providing 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW and 20% subsidy beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW.
    • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented in the state only by DISCOMs.The DISCOMs have empaneled vendors through the bidding process and have decided rates for setting up a rooftop solar plant.
    • Condition: Subsidy will be available for the residential sector only and for availing the benefit of subsidy, indigenously manufactured PV Modules and Cells are to be used.
    • Incentives to Discoms: Performance-based incentives are provided to DISCOMs based on Rooftop Solar capacity achieved in a financial year over and above the base capacity i.e. cumulative capacity achieved at the end of previous financial year.

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Trade with China shrank in 2020, deficit at five-year low

News: According to the data from China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC), India’s trade with China declined in 2020 to the lowest level since 2017, with the trade deficit narrowing to a five-year low as India imported far fewer goods from China.


Source: The Hindu

 Data Related to Trade between India and China:

    • Bilateral Trade: The bilateral trade between India and China has decreased by 5.6% to $87.6 billion in 2020.
    • Imports and Exports: India’s imports from China shrank by 10.8% to $66.7 billion marking the lowest level of inbound shipments since 2016. However, India’s exports to China have jumped 16% crossing the $20 billion mark for the first time to a record high of $20.86 billion.
    • Trade Deficit: The trade deficit which shows the difference between exports and imports shrank to $45.8 billion, the lowest level since 2015.
    • What were the goods traded between India and China? There was no immediate break-up of the data for 2020. India’s biggest import in 2019 was electrical machinery and equipment worth $20.17 billion. Other major imports in 2019 were organic chemicals ($8.39 billion) and fertilizers ($1.67 billion) while India’s top exports were iron ore, organic chemicals, cotton, and unfinished diamonds.
    • Significance: The drop in India’s imports from China was largely due to a slowdown in the domestic demand in the wake of the pandemic. Hence, this makes it difficult to determine whether 2020 is an exception or marks a turn away from the recent pattern of India’s trade with China.

Data Related to China’s Trade with Other Countries

  • Positive foreign Trade growth: China was the world’s only major economy to have registered positive growth in foreign trade in goods.
  • ASEAN and EU: Exports to the ASEAN bloc, China’s largest trading partner in 2020 with bilateral trade amounting to $684 billion rose 6.7% while exports to the EU, China’s second-largest trading partner also rose 6.7% as total trade reached $649 billion.
  • US: In 2020, the trade between China and US was up 8.3% to $586 billion with China’s exports rising 7.9% to reach a record $451 billion.
    • The trade surplus with the U.S expanded to $317 billion in 2020, compared with the $288 billion at the end of 2017 underlining the limited impact of the tariff measures, trade war and pandemic.

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Union Minister inaugurates the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’

News: Union Minister of Commerce has inaugurated the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’.


    • Prarambh: Startup India International Summit: The summit has been organized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    • The summit is organized as a follow-up to the announcement made by the Indian Prime Minister at the 4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Nepal in 2018. During the occasion, India committed to host the BIMSTEC Startup Conclave.
    • The focus of the Summit: Enhancing multilateral cooperation and engagement with countries from around the globe to collectively develop and strengthen the startup ecosystems.
    • Significance: With participation from over 25 countries and more than 200 global speakers, the Summit is the largest Startup India International Summit organized by the Government of India since the launch of the Startup India Initiative.

Additional Facts:

    • Startup India Initiative: It was launched in 2016 with the objective of supporting entrepreneurs, building a robust startup ecosystem and transforming India into a country of job creators instead of job seekers.
    • Managed by: The programs under the initiative are managed by a dedicated Startup India Team which reports to the Department for Industrial Policy and Promotion (DPIIT).
    • Key Pillars: The Key Pillars of Support for Startups under the Startup India Initiative are:
      • Simplification and Handholding: Easier compliance, easier exit process for failed startups, legal support, fast-tracking of patent applications and a website to reduce information asymmetry.
      • Funding & Incentives: Exemptions on Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax for eligible startups; a fund of funds to infuse more capital into the startup ecosystem and a credit guarantee scheme.
      • Incubation & Industry-Academia Partnerships: Creation of numerous incubators and innovation labs, events, competitions and grants.

Further Reading on BIMSTEC: http://bit.ly/3qpVuLJ

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One Nation One Ration Card system reform – Tamil Nadu becomes the 11th State to complete the reform

News: Tamil Nadu has become the 11th State in the country to successfully undertake the “One Nation One Ration Card system” reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.


    • One Nation One Ration Card(ONORC) System: It is an important citizen-centric reform. Its implementation ensures the availability of ration to beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
    • Features: To ensure seamless inter-state portability of a ration card, Aadhar seeding of all ration cards as well as biometric authentication of beneficiaries through automation of all Fair Price Shops (FPSs) with the installation of electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices are essential under the system.

Benefits of One Nation One Ration Card:

    • Empowers migrant Population: It empowers the migratory population who frequently change their place of dwelling as migrant beneficiaries can get their entitled quota of food grains from any electronic point of sale(e-PoS) enabled fair Price Shops of their choice anywhere in the country.
    • Better Targeting: The reform enables the States in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ineligible card-holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage.

Are there any benefits given by the Centre for the implementation of the ONORC System?

  • To meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had in May 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2% of their Gross State Domestic Product(GSDP).
  • Half of this borrowing limit i.e 1% of GSDP has linked to undertaking citizen-centric reforms by the States.
    • The four citizen-centric areas for reforms identified by the Department of Expenditure were (a) Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, (b) Ease of doing business reform, (c) Urban Local body/ utility reforms and (d) Power Sector reforms.
  • Therefore, an additional borrowing limit of 0.25% of the GSDP is allowed to the States only on completion of both of the following actions: 1) Aadhar Seeding of all the ration cards and beneficiaries in the State and 2) Automation of all the FPSs in the State.

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