Dharamshala Declaration 2022

In News

  • Recently, the ‘Dharamshala Declaration 2022’ was released at a three-day national conference on tourism.

More about the news

  • The Centre unveiled an ambitious plan for the tourism sector in the National Conference.
    • Recovery of tourism to the pre-pandemic level by 2024, 
    • $250 billion contribution to the GDP by 2030, and 
    • India will be a world leader in tourism by 2047. 
  • The Dharamshala Declaration:
    • It includes a long-term revenue goal of $1 trillion by 2047, when the country turns 100.
  • Tourism Clubs:
    • The Union Tourism and Culture Minister called on states to start work on “a war footing” by establishing tourism clubs.
      • The proposal is to work on making Yuva Tourism clubs at district and mandal levels.
      • Private players can also be involved in special cases, besides utilisation of the PM Gati Shakti initiative.
  • State-specific plans:
    • Jammu & Kashmir:
      • J&K, saw 1.42 crore tourists, including 11,000 foreigners, this year till August. 
      • The focus now is on promoting destinations beyond Srinagar and Gulmarg (75 off-beat sites have already been selected), 
      • It also plans a renewed push for projecting the Valley as an ideal filming destination.
      • Incentives are announced for films where more than 50 percent shoot is done in the UT.
    • West Bengal:
      • Besides getting medical tourists, the state is also focussing on cultural tourism.
      • With Durga Puja getting a place on UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, the state is attracting foreign travelers for the puja processions.
    • Tamil Nadu:
      • Tamil Nadu pitched itself as a destination for medical tourism, with the state getting 40 percent of all medical tourists coming to India. 
      • Chennai, Vellore and Coimbatore get the maximum number of such visitors from countries in the Middle East, the UK, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
    • Recovery to the pre-pandemic level:
      • Tourism in most states will recover to the pre-pandemic level by mid-2024, especially once foreign travellers start arriving, the numbers are already up in J&K, Uttarakhand and Goa.
  • Foreign tourists:
    • In terms of foreign tourist arrivals, the Gulf countries, the UK, the US and Germany remain the top source markets. “The trend hasn’t changed, even as the numbers have come down.
    • On this front, the Centre announced that several visa reforms will be undertaken, while immigration will also be made more visitor-friendly.

Tourism Sector in India

  • Role & importance:
    • The tourism sector contributes significantly to the Indian as well as the world economy.
    • Tourism is an integral pillar of the Make in India programme.
    • In India, the travel and tourism sector is one of the largest employers, employing nearly 12.75% (including both direct and indirect employment) of employment share in 2018-19.
    • Tourism tends to encourage the development of multiple-use infrastructure.
      • For Example, hotels, resorts & restaurants, transport infrastructure (aviation, roads, shipping & railways) and healthcare facilities.
  • Opportunities: 
    • India has over 200 beaches38 UNESCO World Heritage sites and 668 protected areas that can attract significant tourism activity.
    • India’s ranking in the 2021 Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) is 54
      • TTCI is published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
    • By 2028Tourism & Hospitality is forecasted to earn $50.9 bn as visitor exports compared to $28.9 bn earned in 2018.
    • By 2029, Travel & Tourism will account for nearly 53 million jobs as compared to the 43 million jobs directly in 2018 (8.1% of total employment)
    • By 2030, India is expected to be among the top 5 business travel markets.
    • Further, the domains of medical tourism, eco-tourism, gem & jewellery market, religious tourism and other such niche areas may see a boom.
  • Key areas:
    • India’s gems and jewellery and handicrafts: They are quite popular among tourists. 
    • Medical Tourism: India is emerging as the most preferred destination for Medical Tourism. 
    • The availability of world-class medical facilities with top class doctors, personalized nursing care, offering specialized treatments at a cost 1/4th that of developed countries.
    • Landscape: The country landscape possesses a gracious natural beauty, and can cater to almost every type of traveller whether they are seeking adventure, wellness, culture and heritage or cuisines.
    • Labour Force: The availability of a huge labour force both skilled and unskilled can act as a catalyst due to the service-based nature of the tourism industry.
Government initiatives to boost tourism sector in India:Swadesh Darshan Scheme:Launched by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) Central Sector Scheme Aim: Integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country in 2014-15.National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme:Launched in 2015 Focus on identifying and developing pilgrim sites across the country to promote religious tourism.‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’:Announced in  2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. Aim: To enhance the bonding between the states and strengthen the unity and integrity of India.It showcases the rich heritage, culture, customs and traditions of the paired states.Through student exchange programs, it enables people to have a better understanding and appreciate the diversity of the nation.Dekho Apna Desh initiative:Organises webinars, quiz, pledge, discussions to keep people connected with the stakeholders and to encourage citizens to travel within the country.Adopt Heritage Project:Launched in 2017 as a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments.It envisages the development and maintenance of tourist amenities at heritage sites and making them tourist-friendly.Destination North East-2020It is an annual event of the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region.The event highlights various potentials like eco-tourism, culture, heritage and business of the North East Region.Gati Shakti Master PlanIt is a project for developing ‘holistic infrastructure’.It will incorporate the infrastructure schemes of various Ministries and State Governments like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN etc. Economic Zones like textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, industrial corridors, fishing clusters, agri zones will be covered to improve connectivity & make Indian businesses more competitive. 

WHO Global Evidence Review on Health and Migration

In News

  • The fourth report of the WHO Global Evidence Review on Health and Migration was recently released.

Report Highlights

  • Antimicrobial resistance in Refugees and migrant population:
    • Refugees and migrant populations are particularly vulnerable to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) due to poor access to healthcare in the backdrop of an increased probability of infections, according to the report.
    • The healthcare needs of these populations are heterogenous and depend heavily on host countries’ capacity, noted the report.
  • Issue:
    • More than 1.27 million people across the world die every year due to AMR.
    • International refugees and migrant populations have seen an increase throughout this century, accounting for 281 million, or about 3.5 percent of the global population, in 2020.
  • Causes highlighted in the report:
    • Primary cause:
      • While AMR is ultimately inevitableprolonged drug use will make the body resistant to it. 
      • The progression has been accelerated by years of misuse and overuse. But this is not the only indicator on the rise.
    • Migrants specific cause:
      • “The conditions under which refugees and migrants leave their countries of origin and transit to their destination countries may lead to increased infections, as well as to disruptions and barriers to healthcare access,” the report noted.
    • Other causes acting as key barriers:
      • Long waiting times to consult a doctor, limited capacity of health services, 
      • High healthcare costs, 
      • Inappropriate prescription of antibiotics and 
      • Lack of translated materials or interpretation services 
      • These are the key barriers to accessing and using antibiotics across the world, the analysis revealed. 
      • This has triggered many to resort to unsafe means to meet their healthcare needs.
  • Evidence:
    • The evidence is assessed based on the literature available on four key indicators — 
      • Access, 
      • Appropriate use, 
      • Barriers to access and use and 
      • Interventions to improve access and use. 
      • However, data for the first two remain scarce, coming in largely from high-income countries and practically non-existent for low and middle-income countries.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)According to WHO, Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.Factors Causing AMR in IndiaAntibiotic Consumption: Inappropriate consumption of broad-spectrum (last resort) antibiotics is high because of changing prescription practice in the healthcare system due to the non-availability of a narrow spectrum of antibiotics.Social Factor: Inappropriate antibiotic use among the general public likeSelf-medication to avoid the financial burden.Doctors may perceive that they are compelled to give antibiotics as patients come with a preconceived idea of quick relief.Nexus between doctors and pharmaceutical companies put pressure on doctors and pharmacists to prescribe new antibiotics.Antibiotics Consumption in Food-Animals: Use of antibiotics as growth promoters in food animals and poultry is a common practice and later it evolves in the food chain.Poor Sanitation: A large proportion of sewage is disposed of untreated into receiving water bodies, leading to gross contamination of rivers with antibiotic residues, antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Challenges Posed by AMR

  • Antibiotic resistance is emerging as a threat to the successful treatment of infectious diseases, organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy and major surgeries.
  • The issue of AMR causes out-of-pocket expenditure on health care, especially on medicines. The use of high-order drugs or second-line expensive antibiotics pushes treatment costs high.
  • Neonates and the elderly both are prone to infections and are vulnerable.

India’s Initiative

  • Doctor’s prescription:
    • To prevent the Over the counter sales of antibiotics, the central drug standard control organisation (CDSO) prohibits medical stores from selling 24 key antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.
  • India’s Red Line campaign: 
    • It demands that prescription-only antibiotics be marked with a red line, to discourage the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics– is a step forward.
  • National Health Policy, 2017:
    • The policy terms antimicrobial resistance as one of the key healthcare issues and prioritises the development of guidelines regarding antibiotic use and check on restricting the growth of antibiotics.
  • The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) 2017:
    • The action plan has assigned coordinated tasks to multiple government agencies involving health, education, environment, and livestock to change prescription practices and consumer behaviour and to scale up infection control and antimicrobial surveillance.
  • Limiting antibiotics in food products:
    • FSSAI has set certain guidelines limiting the antibiotics in food products such as fish and honey.

Way ahead

  • Till now, there are two major possible solutions to combat the AMR menace:
    • Discovery of new drugs, before the emergence of resistance in germs; and prudent use of available antibiotics.
      • The discovery of a new drug is an expensive and unpredictable process, the estimated cost for developing a new antibiotic exceeds $1 billion.
    • The second solution is the best possible solution i.e. to use the available antibiotics carefully to ensure their efficacy for as long as possible.
  • Maintaining the ability to treat serious infections requires a balance between equitable access to and appropriate use of existing and new antimicrobial medicines for all.

Stubble Burning

In News

  • The Delhi government will opt for spraying a bio-decomposer in paddy fields to control the stubble burning and reduce air pollution during winter.

More about the News

  • The bio-decomposer will be sprayed on 5,000 acres of land in Punjab on a trial basis.
    • The bio-decomposer is a microbial solution which can turn paddy straw into manure in 15-20 days.
  • The massive amount of smoke and toxic gases released by stubble burning  causes health problems, ranging from eye and breathing troubles to more serious illnesses. 

Stubble Burning

  • Stubble burning is the practice of intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble that remains after grains, such as rice and wheat, have been harvested. 
  • The technique was widespread until the 1990s, when governments increasingly restricted its use.
  • Stubble burning in northern India has long been a major cause of air pollution, but efforts to stop it fail every year.
  • Every year, when winter sets in, Delhi’s air pollution peaks with the air quality index (AQI) often plunging to the ‘severe’ and ‘hazardous’ categories. 

Impact of Stubble Burning

  • Stubble burning in northern India has long been a major cause of air pollution.
  • The pollution makes people more vulnerable to infection and slows their recovery post infection.
  • Burning husk on the ground destroys the nutrients in the soil, making it less fertile.
  • Heat generated by stubble burning penetrates into the soil, leading to the loss of moisture and useful microbes.

Alternatives to Stubble Burning

  • One such method is using a Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) machine, which can uproot the stubble and also sow seeds in the area cleared. The stubble can then be used as mulch for the field.
  • Another possible alternative is the Pusa bio-decomposer, developed by the scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, which turns crop residue to manure in 15-20 days by accelerating the decomposition process.
  • In-situ treatment of stubble: Providing equipment to farmers to mix the stubble back into the soil, so that they do not have to burn it.
  • Ex-situ treatment: Under this, some companies have started collecting stubble for their use, but we need more action on this front.
  • Changing cropping pattern: It is the deeper and more fundamental solution.
  • Subsidise crops other than paddy, the source of most stubble burning. Policy and money should incentivise farmers in the region to plant more fruits and vegetables. 

Way Ahead

  • Small and marginal farmers need support for adoption of in-situ strategies, to mulch the straw into the soil and not burn it.
  • Imposing a fine is not going to work in our socio-economic conditions for curbing stubble burning. We need to focus on alternative solutions.

Prompt Corrective Action Framework

In News

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removed the Central Bank of India from its Prompt Corrective Action Framework (PCAF).

Key Points

  • Background: 
    • The RBI had imposed the PCA norms on the Central Bank of India in June 2017 due to its high net NPA and negative return of assets (RoA).
    • This is the last bank which has been removed from the PCA norms by the RBI.
  • Reason of Removal: 
    • The Bank showed improvement in various financial ratios, including minimum regulatory capital and net non-performing assets (NNPAs).
    • The bank has provided a written commitment that it would comply with the norms of minimum regulatory capital, net NPA and leverage ratio on an ongoing basis.

Prompt Corrective Action Framework (PCAF)

  • About:
    • The RBI’s PCA Framework was introduced in 2002 as a structured early intervention mechanism along the lines of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s PCA framework.
    • It is a supervisory tool and is imposed when a bank breaches certain regulatory thresholds on capital to risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR), net NPAs and return on assets (RoA).
    • It refers to the central bank’s watch list of weak banks.
  • Objectives: 
    • To enable Supervisory intervention at the appropriate time and require the Supervised Entity to initiate and implement remedial measures in a timely manner, so as to restore its financial health.
    • Intended to act as a tool for effective market discipline.
    • PCA entails curbs on high-risk lending, setting aside more money on provisions and restrictions on management salary.
  • Application: 
    • The PCA Framework would apply to all banks operating in India including foreign banks operating through branches or subsidiaries based on breach of risk thresholds of identified indicators.
  • Assessment: 
    • A bank will generally be placed under the PCA framework based on the Audited Annual Financial Results and the ongoing Supervisory Assessment made by RBI.
  • Time Period: 
    • RBI may impose PCA on any bank during the course of a year (including migration from one threshold to another) in case the circumstances warrant.
  • Banks under this framework: 
    • RBI had placed 11 state-run banks under PCA framework after they breached the risk thresholds: 
      • Allahabad Bank, 
      • United Bank, 
      • Corporation Bank, 
      • IDBI Bank, 
      • Uco Bank, 
      • Bank of India, 
      • Central Bank of India, 
      • Indian Overseas Bank, 
      • Oriental Bank of Commerce, 
      • Dena Bank and 
      • Bank of Maharashtra.
    • Of the 11 lenders, five PSBs were placed under PCA restrictions in the quarter ended June 2017; another five in the quarter ended December 2017 and one PSB in the quarter ended March 2018.
    • The first two banks are out of PCA, while the Central Bank of India is still under the watch of the RBI.  

Corrective actions under PCA

  • When a bank is placed under PCA, one or more of the following corrective actions may be prescribed:
    • Restriction on dividend distribution/remittance of profits.
    • Promoters/shareholders to infuse equity and reduction in leverage;
    • Restriction on issue of guarantees or taking on other contingent liabilities on behalf of group companies (only for CICs)
    • Restriction on branch expansion; domestic and/or overseas
    • Appropriate restrictions on capital expenditure, other than for technological upgradation within Board approved limits
    • Appropriate restrictions on capital expenditure, other than for technological upgradation within Board approved limits
    • Restrictions/reduction in variable operating costs


  • Maintains capital: As most bank activities are funded by deposits that need to be repaid, it is imperative that a bank carries a sufficient amount of capital to continue its activities.
  • Alert mechanism and a regulator: PCA is intended to help alert the regulator as well as investors and depositors if a bank is heading for trouble.
  • Checks NPA: It aims to check the problem of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector.
  • Rectify the bank’s mistakes: The aim of PCA is to rectify the bank’s mistakes before they attain crisis proportions.
  • Regulation: RBI will regulate loan disbursals/ credit by PCA banks to unrated borrowers or those with high risks; however, it will not place a complete ban on the bank’s lending.
  • Restoring the financial health of a bank: Basically, PCA helps RBI in restoring the financial health of a bank by monitoring key performance indicators of banks and taking corrective measures on the same.
  • Strengthening the financial core of the institution: It may also stop banks from entering new lines of businesses, thereby strengthening the financial core of the institution.


  • Lack of Capital: The PCA banks have been starving for funds for a long time because of inadequate capital as government finances are too tight. These banks are not in a position to raise capital on their own.
  • Need of Provisioning: These banks need higher provisioning from profits to provide for any future losses before kick-starting any fresh loans.
  • Avoid Relaxation: Any relaxation of the PCA framework at this stage will derail the process, which may have longer-term negative implications.


  • The PCA framework for banks enables supervisory intervention and also acts as a tool for effective market discipline.

Draft Indian Nutrition Rating (INR)

In News

  • Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s apex food regulator, has released a draft notification for front-of-pack labelling.

Key Points

  • Front-of-pack Labelling: 
    • This draft notification caters to front-of-pack labelling to discourage consumers from buying packaged food high in sugar, salt, and fat.
  • Indian Nutrition Rating (INR): 
    • The regulation will require pre-packaged food to carry a star graphic, ranging from ½ to 5, next to the brand name.
    • The unhealthiest food items carry a ½-star rating and the healthiest carry a 5-star rating.
  • Criteria for Scoring:
    • Contribution of energy 
    • Content of saturated fat, sugar, sodium, fruit and vegetables (FV), nuts, legumes, and millets (NLM), dietary fibre, and protein per 100 gm of solid or 100 ml liquid foods. 
    • Solid food with a score of more than 25 will be given 0.5 stars, and those with a score less than minus 11 (-11) will get 5 stars.
  • Similar to the star-rating system for Energy Efficiency:
    • The system will be similar to the one that is being used by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency for assessing the energy efficiency in electrical devices.
  • Exempted Products: 
    • Food such as milk and milk products, whey, butter oil, ghee, vegetable oil and fat, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, fresh and frozen meat, egg, fish, flour, and sweeteners will not have to display the star rating. 
    • Carbonated beverages without any energy or sugar will also not be eligible for declaring the rating, according to the notification.
  • Procedure for Companies: 
    • Although not mandatory, the notification stated that food businesses may add interpretive information next to the star-rating logo, giving details of energy, sugar, saturated fat, and salt content. 
    • To generate the star-rating logo for the product, food businesses have to submit nutritional profiles of the products concerned on FSSAI’s FoSCoS (Food Safety Compliance System) portal.
  • Global Experience: 
    • There was a change in consumption pattern in several Latin American countries that implemented such warning labels.
    • Chile reported a 24% drop in sugary drink consumption. 
    • A meta-analysis of 100 studies published last year indicated that nutrient warning labels are more effective than traffic lights and nutri-score labels.

Significance of Nutrition Rating

  • Caution for Customers: A warning symbol on foods high in sugar, salt, and fat are more likely to discourage people from consuming them. The consumer needs to be cautioned about junk foods through ‘warning’ labels.
  • Healthy Choice: Warning signs educate consumers about harmful ingredients present in a food product and help them make healthy choices. 
  • Educating Consumers: It will educate consumers about the nutrition profile of the food they are consuming.
  • Informed Decision: Warning signs give a repetitive educational message so that even for domestic cooking or buying street food that warning bell goes off. 
Front of Package Labelling (FoPL) systemThe rating will be the first such in India, a country burdened with lifestyle diseases.Aim: Guiding consumers to opt for healthy food.It rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from half a star to five stars. The decision was based on an Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad study commissioned by the FSSAI. Front-of-pack labelling on packaged foods was first recommended by the FSSAI-led committee formed in 2013. 

Social Stock Exchange

In News

  • Recently, the Capital markets regulator SEBI came out with a detailed framework for social stock exchange.


  • The idea of SSE was first floated by the Finance Minister in her Budget speech for the financial year 2019-20.
  • With business impacted due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown, SEBI constituted a panel on social stock exchanges which recommended direct listing of non-profit organisations (NPOs) through the issuance of bonds and a range of funding mechanisms in a report submitted to the market regulator.

What is an SSE?

  • An SSE allows the listing of non-profit or non-government organisations on stock exchanges, providing them with an alternative fund-raising structure. 
  • It may be listed on BSE or NSE. 
  • Countries like the UK, Canada and Brazil have SSEs.
  • The fund-raising is proposed through several instruments such as zero-coupon-zero-principal bonds, social venture funds and mutual funds.

What is the size of the market?

  • India has over 31 lakh NPOs more than double the number of schools and 250 times the number of government hospitals which amount to one NPO for 400 Indians.

Objectives of SSEs

  • A Social Stock Exchange may be helpful in rebuilding the livelihoods of people who are affected during pandemics like COVID-19.
  • The SSEs will aim at unlocking large pools of social capital, and encourage blended finance structures, so that conventional capital can partner with social capital to address the urgent challenges of COVID-19.

Tax benefits

  • Investors will get Section 80G benefits which allow all investments in securities/instruments of NPOs listed on SSE to be tax deductible.
  • Investment by companies will be considered as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Recent Guidelines/ Framework

  • A Separate segment 
    • SSE will be a separate segment of the existing stock exchanges.
  • Eligibility
    • Social enterprises eligible to participate in the SSE will be entities NPOs and for-profit social enterprises having social intent and impact as their primary goal.
  • Non Eligibility
    • Corporate foundations, political or religious organisations or activities, professional or trade associations, infrastructure and housing companies, except affordable housing will not be eligible to be identified as a social enterprise.
  • Minimum requirements for Not-for-Profit Organisation 
    • NPO needs to be registered as a charitable trust and should be registered for at least three years, must have spent at least Rs 50 lakh annually in the past financial year and should have received a funding of at least Rs 10 lakh in the past financial year.
    • Disclosure requirements for NPOs raising funds through the issuance of zero-coupon zero principal instruments and put in place annual disclosure requirements that need to be made by NPOs on such exchanges.
  • Registration of NPO
    • The entities must be registered in India as a “charitable trust registered under the public trust statute of the relevant state” or under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, or incorporated as a company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. 
  • Statement of utilisation 
    • Listed NPO will have to submit a statement of utilisation of funds to SSE, as mandated under SEBI’s rules within 45 days from the end of quarter.
  • Annual Impact Report (AIR)
    • SEBI has asked social enterprises raising funds using SSE to disclose the Annual Impact Report (AIR) within 90 days from the end of the financial year.
      • It will Capture the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the social impact generated by the entity and where applicable, the impact that is generated by the project or solution for which funds have been raised on SSE. 

Significance of the move 

  • Social objectives: Such intent should be demonstrated through its focus on eligible social objectives for the underserved or less privileged populations or regions.
  • Social activity: The social enterprises will have to engage in a social activity out of 16 broad activities listed by the regulator.
    • It includes eradicating hunger, poverty, malnutrition and inequality; promoting healthcare, supporting education, employability and livelihoods; gender equality empowerment of women and LGBTQIA+ communities; and supporting incubators of social enterprise.

International Year of Millets 2023

In News

  • The United Nations General Assembly has declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millet.


  • 2018: It was in 2018 that the government of India decided to mark the National Year of Millets. 
  • Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture is the nodal agency and the Indian Institute of Millets Research has been made the nodal institute for the celebration of the International Year of Millets.
  • India pitched the proposal to the United Nations for declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
    • With the support of 72 other countries, India’s initiative to promote millet was recognized and the United Nations General Assembly has recently declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO): the aim for 2023 is to increase awareness about millet in food security and nutrition. And also to encourage investments in research and development for the same.
  • Aim of the International Year of Millets:
    • Elevate awareness of the contribution of millet to food security and nutrition.
    • Inspire stakeholders on improving sustainable production and quality of millets.
    • Draw focus on enhanced investment in research and development and extension services to achieve the other two aims.
Facts/ Data on Millets India is the largest producer of millet in the world. It Accounts for 20 % of global production and 80 % of Asia’s production.It is a common term to categorise small-seeded grasses that are often termed Nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals and includes sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet and Kodo millet, among others.Global Distribution of MilletsIndia, Nigeria and China are the largest producers of millets in the world, accounting for more than 55% of the global production.For many years, India was a major producer of millets. However, in recent years, millet production has increased dramatically in Africa.

Significance of millets

  • Short time and poor soil: The crop does not require much water and gets ready in a short time. Millets do not require high-quality soil to grow and hence can easily cater to the needs of the growing population.
  • Superfood: Millets are called the super grain because of their high nutritional value.
  • High in fibre: According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) millets are high in dietary fibre.
  • Other contents: millet contains 7-12 % protein, 2-5 % fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre.
  • Alleviating malnutrition: Due to their high density of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and dietary fibre, millets are also excellent grains to alleviate malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency.
  • COVID-19: The nutritional value of millets makes it even more relevant globally in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Millets can also help in tackling health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten-free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
  • It can provide nutritional security and protect against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
  • It will also be critical for climate change measures in drylands and important for smallholder and marginal farmers.

Concerns /Challenges

  • The awareness of the benefits of millets is still low and this is the reason for the lesser number of players working on value-added millet products in India.
  • The main reasons behind the decline are low remuneration, lack of input subsidies and price incentives, subsidised supply of fine cereals through the public distribution system (PDS) and change in consumer preferences and lower demand 
  • The lower demand also means limited supply and higher prices. 
  • In the absence of proper market linkages for forest and agricultural produce, millet consumption is restricted to rural haats, bazaars, tourist spots and festivals. 

Steps taken towards promoting millets 

  • The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) has ordered all its offices to introduce and promote millets in their canteens and in meetings.
  • Millet Startup Innovation Challenge: Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the MyGov platform has launched various competitions to raise awareness of the benefits of millets.
    • This initiative encourages young minds to offer technological/ business solutions to the existing problems in the millets ecosystem.
  • POSHAN Mission Abhiyan: The government also notified millets as nutri-cereals and included them under the POSHAN Mission Abhiyan.
  • Mann ki Baat: PM had also highlighted the benefits of Millets to both farmers and consumers in one of the editions of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’.
  • National Nutri Cereals Convention 4.0: The objective of the convention is to bring together all the stakeholders from Nutri Cereals Industry, from producers to processors to consumers, as well as academicians, researchers, and policymakers.

Asia-pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD)


  • India’s Presidency of the prestigious Asia-pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) has been extended for one more year.

More about the News

  • The 47th AIBD Annual Gathering / 20th AIBD General Conference and Associated Meetings held in New Delhi recently.
  • All the participating countries and member broadcasters pledged to work together for a sustainable broadcasting environment, latest technology know-how, finest content creation, and various co-operative activities.

Asia-pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD)

  • About:
    • The Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) was established in 1977 under the auspices of UNESCO.
    • It is a unique regional inter-governmental organisation servicing countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in the field of electronic media development.
      • UN-ESCAP is one of the five regional committees under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The organization was formed to enhance the economic activity in Asia and the Far East and to boost economic relations between the region and other areas of the world. 
  • Objectives:
    • The AIBD is mandated to achieve a vibrant and cohesive electronic media environment in the Asia-Pacific region through policy and resource development.
    • Provide a window for regional policy makers to access information to worldwide mass media policy formulation and regulations and vice versa.
    • To establish inter-regional links and cooperation for media and communications development.
  • Secretariat: 
    • Located in Kuala Lumpur and is hosted by the Government of Malaysia.
  • Members:
    • AIBD currently has 26 countries as complete members represented by 43 organizations and 52 affiliate members.

Solar Energy Corporation of India


  • The 11th Foundation Day Celebration of Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) was observed recently.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI)

  • About:
    • Solar Energy Corporation of India ltd” (SECI) is a CPSU under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), set up on 20th Sept, 2011.
  • Vision:
    • To build ‘Green India’ through harnessing abundant solar radiation and to achieve energy security for the country.
  • Objective:
    • It was set up to facilitate the implementation of National Solar Mission (NSM) and achievement of targets set therein. It is the only CPSU dedicated to the solar energy sector.
    • It is engaged in promotion and development of various renewable energy resources, especially solar energy, trading of power, R&D etc.
  • Extended Mandate:
    • The mandate of the company has also been broadened to cover the entire renewable energy domain.
    • The company is also responsible for implementation of a number of government schemes, major ones being the VGF schemes for large-scale grid-connected projects under JNNSM, solar park scheme and grid-connected solar rooftop scheme, along with a host of other specialised schemes such as defence scheme, canal-top scheme, Indo-Pak border scheme etc..


  • The SCALE (Skill Certification Assessment for Leather Employees) app was launched recently.

About the App

  • Developed by the Leather Sector Skill Council.
    • The Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to meet the demand for skilled workforce in the leather industry in India.
    • LSSC was set up in 2012 as one of the key sector skill councils approved by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
  • The App will provide a one-stop solution for the skilling, learning, assessment, and employment needs of the leather industry.
  • It will allow people from all age groups interested in leather craft to access online live streamed classes from the state-of-the-art studio at its office.


  • This will boost the efforts to strengthen the leather skilling ecosystem.
  • It will help inch closer to fulfilling our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of making ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ the ‘Skill Capital of the World’.

Enforcement Directorate

In News 

  • In the eight years from 2014, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has investigated 121 prominent politicians and has arrested, questioned, raided, or filed FIRs against 115 major Opposition leaders.

About Enforcement Directorate 

  • It  is a multi-disciplinary organisation mandated with investigation of economic crimes and violations of foreign exchange laws. 
  • The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed in the Department of Economic Affairs for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (FERA ’47)
  • Functions: The statutory functions of the Directorate include enforcement of following Acts:
    • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA): ED has been given the responsibility to enforce the provisions of the PMLA by conducting investigation to trace the assets derived from proceeds of crime, to provisionally attach the property and to ensure prosecution of the offenders and confiscation of the property by the Special court.
    • The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA): ED has been given the responsibility to conduct investigation into suspected contraventions of foreign exchange laws and regulations, to adjudicate and impose penalties on those adjudged to have contravened the law.
  • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA): It is a law whereby the Directorate is mandated to attach the properties of the fugitive economic offenders who have escaped from India warranting arrest and provide for the confiscation of their properties to the Central Government.
  • Sponsoring agency under COFEPOSA: Under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA), this Directorate is empowered to sponsor cases of preventive detention with regard to contraventions of FEMA.

e-SIM Technology

In News 

The eSIM (or embedded SIM) is quickly becoming mainstream due  to fitness-oriented smartwatches and smartphones.

What is an eSIM?

  • An eSIM is an embedded SIM, essentially the same hardware of a regular SIM card chip, but now a permanently embedded part of the motherboard of a watch or smartphone.
  • eSIMs were first established a decade ago in 2012, but despite their futuristic use-cases, have not completely made physical SIMs obsolete yet. 

Advantages of eSIMs

  • Convenience: It will also save a trip to a telecom store/ service centre when you visit a different state or country where you may want to switch to another operator. 
  • Security: When a  phone with a physical SIM card is lost or stolen ,the SIM card can be used in  illegal activities .
    • An eSIM prevents this, as there is no physical element to pull out and use in another device.
  • One less opening on your phone: Having an eSIM also means there is one less opening on the frame of your phone, in theory, which should reduce the likelihood of elements like dust and water entering the phone from yet another slot. 

Disadvantages of eSIMs

  • Emergencies: Traditional SIMs  can be quickly pulled out of the affected/Damaged  phone and into another backup device or secondary phone.
    • It is not possible  with eSIMs..
  • Unusable in countries with no eSIM support: It can not be used in a country where the telecom operators simply don’t support the technology yet. 
    • Support only available in premium phones: In India, eSIM support is currently available on more expensive devices like the Apple iPhones, Google Pixel series etc 

Railway Protection Force (RPF)

In News 

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) celebrated its 38th Raising Day on 20th September 2022

About Railway Protection Force 

  • It was constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1957 for providing security to Railway property.
  •  Subsequently, the force was empowered to enquire, arrest and prosecute the offenders involved in unlawful possession of railway property in 1966. 
  • Over the years, it was felt that the force needed to be given the status of “An Armed Force of the Union” and finally the status was bestowed upon the force on 20th September 1985 by amending the RPF Act by the Parliament. 
  • Therefore, 20th September is celebrated every year as the Raising Day of RPF by members of the force and their families. 
The Raising DayIt is an important milestone in the growth of a force and celebrated with festive spirit by members of the force where they share their happiness with the public and reaffirm their commitment to serve them and work for the overall public good.Earlier the Raising day was celebrated by organising parades and other functions at the zonal, divisional and battalion levels. However, from this year it has been decided to organise only one parade at the central level to symbolise the national character of the force. 

Long Range Radio (LoRa)

In News

  • Recently, the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has developed a new low cost financial network to take banking to remote areas.

About Long Range Radio (LoRa)

  • LoRa technology is a wireless modulation technique in the physical layer, allowing long-range communication using chirp spread spectrum.
  • LoRa technology uses dedicated radios, which are not usually present in end-user devices, limiting interferences from other devices.
  • LoRa is ideal for applications that transmit small chunks of data with low bit rates.
  • It is a new dedicated low cost financial network that can be used privately by banks to send encrypted texts to conduct financial transactions.

Saturn’s Mysterious rings & Extreme tilt

In News

  • Recently, according to a new study, a pre-existing moon named ‘Chrysalis’ likely left Saturn with its bright rings and extreme tilt.
    • Chrysalis likely orbited Saturn for several billion years. Roughly 160 million years ago, Chrysalis became unstable and came too close to its planet. This encounter likely pushed the moon away or destroyed it. 

About the recent research 

  • Four planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus are known to have rings.
    • Saturn’s rings composed of water ice particles ranging from microns to tens of metres in size are the brightest.
  • Tilt: Saturn has a tilt of 26.73 degrees, Earth 23.45 degrees and Jupiter 3 degrees.
    • Saturn is unlikely to have had a tilt during its formation stages, the researchers said.
    • Currently, gas giants Neptune, Uranus and Saturn have a substantial tilt suggesting that this feature did not arise during the formation stages. 
      • Jupiter, also a gas giant, is the only exception.
  • Saturn got its tilt due to gravitational interactions with its neighbour Neptune according to a well-known theory.
    • But the new study argues that Saturn is no longer under Neptune’s gravitational influence.
    • Titan, which is Saturn’s largest satellite, may have been responsible, suggested observations from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004-2017.
      • Titan’s fast migration caused the planet to tilt further, reducing Neptune’s gravitational influence on Saturn.
SaturnSaturn is the second largest planet of the solar system in mass and size and the sixth nearest planet in distance to the Sun.Saturn has an overall hazy yellow-brown appearance.Saturn’s atmosphere is composed mostly of molecular hydrogen and helium.Saturn has 83 moons with confirmed orbits that are not embedded in its rings.The moons of Saturn are numerous and diverse, ranging from tiny moonlets only tens of metres across to enormous Titan, which is larger than the planet Mercury.


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