Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

In News

  • Recently, the Prime Minister of India paid tributes to Maulana Azad on his birth anniversary.

Key Points

  • Born: November 11, 1888
  • Place of Birth: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • Association: Indian National Congress
  • Movement: Indian Nationalist Movement
  • Political Ideology: Liberalism; right-winged; Egalitarian
  • Publications: Ghubar-e-Khatir (1942-1946); India Wins Freedom (1978);
  • Passed Away: February 22, 1958

Political Career

  • Early Revolutionary Activities:
    • In Egypt, Azad came into contact with the followers of Mustafa Kemal Pasha who were publishing a weekly from Cairo. 
    • In Turkey, Maulana Azad met the leaders of the Young Turks Movement. 
    • After his return to India from an extensive visit of Egypt, Turkey, Syria and France, Azad met prominent Hindu revolutionaries Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and Shyam Sundar Chakraborty. 
    • They helped in developing radical political views and he began to participate in the Indian nationalist movement. 
    • Azad fiercely criticized the Muslim politicians who were more inclined towards the communal issues without focusing on the national interest. 
    • He also rejected the theories of communal separatism advocated by the All India Muslim League.
  • Publications: 
    • Azad, inspired by the passion of Indian as well as foreign revolutionary leaders, started publishing a weekly called “Al-Hilal” in 1912.
      • The weekly was a platform to attack the policies of the British Government and highlight the problems faced by the common Indians. 
      • The paper became so popular that its circulation figures went up to 26,000 copies. 
      • The unique message of patriotism and nationalism blended with religious commitment gained its acceptance among the masses. 
      • But these developments disturbed the British Government and in 1914, the British Government put a ban on the weekly. 
    • Unfazed by the move, Maulana Azad, a few months later, launched a new weekly, called “Al-Balagh”. Failing to put a prohibition on the writings of Maulana Azad, the British Government then finally decided to deport him off Calcutta in 1916. 

Pre-Independence Activities

  • As an activist demanding the reinstatement of the Caliph in Istanbul, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad came onboard with the Khilafat movement during 1920. 
  • He became involved with the Indian freedom struggle through the Non-cooperation movement initiated by Gandhi, of which the Khilafat issue was a big part of.
    • Although initially skeptical of Gandhi’s proposal to launch an intensified drive against the British Raj demanding independence, he later joined the efforts. 
  • He wholeheartedly advocated the principles of the non-cooperation movement and in the process became drawn to Gandhi and his philosophy.
    • He worked closely with Vallabhbahi Patel and Dr. Rajendra Prasad
  • On August 9, 1942, Maulana Azad was arrested along with most of the Congress leadership.
    • Their incarceration lasted for four years and they were released in 1946. 
    • During that time, the idea of an independent India had solidified and Maulana headed the Constituent Assembly Elections within Congress as well as led the negotiations with the British Cabinet mission to discuss the terms of independence. 
    • He vehemently opposed the idea of partition based on religion and was deeply hurt when the idea went forward to give rise to Pakistan.

Post-Independence Activities

  • During the violence that erupted following partition of India, Maulana Azad assured to take up the responsibility for the security of Muslims in India
  • Towards this, Azad toured the violence-affected regions of borders of Bengal, Assam, Punjab. 
  • He helped in establishing the refugee camps and ensured uninterrupted supply of food and other basic materials. 
  • It was reported that in the crucial Cabinet meetings both Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Azad clashed over the security measures in Delhi and the Punjab.
  • The role and contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad could not be overlooked.
    • He was appointed as India’s first Minister for Education and inducted in the Constituent Assembly to draft India’s constitution. 
    • Under Maulana Azad’s tenure, a number of measures were undertaken to promote primary and secondary educationscientific education, establishment of universities and promotion of avenues of research and higher studies.

Association with the Indian National Congress

  • While extending his support to Mahatma Gandhi and the non-cooperation movement, Maulana Azad joined the Indian National Congress in January 1920. 
  • He presided over the special session of Congress in September 1923 and was said to be the youngest man elected as the President of the Congress.
  • Maulana Azad emerged as an important national leader of the Indian National Congress Party. 
  • He also served as a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and in the offices of general secretary and president on numerous occasions. 
  • In 1928, Maulana Azad endorsed the Nehru Report, formulated by Motilal Nehru.
    • Interestingly, the Motilal Nehru Report was severely criticized by a number of Muslim personalities involved with the freedom movement. 
    • As opposed to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Azad also advocated for the ending of separate electorates based on religion and called for a single nation committed to secularism. In 1930, Maulana Azad was arrested for violation of the salt laws as part of Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha


  • Maulana was a firm believer in the co-existence of religions. 
  • His dream was that of a unified independent India where Hindu and Muslims co-habited peacefully. 
  • Although this vision of Azad was shattered post partition of India, he remained a believer. 
  • He was the founder of the Jamia Milia Islamia Institution in Delhi along with fellow khilafat leaders which has blossomed into a renowned University today. 
  • His birthday, November 11, is celebrated as National Education Day in India.


  • On February 22, 1958 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, one of the foremost leaders of the Indian freedom struggle passed away. 
  • For his invaluable contribution to the nation, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian honor, the ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1992.

Aadhaar Rules Amended

In News

  • Recently, the government has amended Aadhaar regulations. The Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations have been updated to reflect the changes. 

What is Aadhaar? 

  • A 12-digit unique identity for every Indian individual, including children and infants
  • Enables identification for every resident Indian.
  • Establishes uniqueness of every individual on the basis of demographic and biometric information.
  • It is a voluntary service that every resident can avail irrespective of present documentation.
  • Each individual will be given a single unique Aadhaar ID number.
  • Aadhaar will provide a universal identity infrastructure which can be used by any identity-based application (like ration card, passport, etc.)

About the new regulations

  • Updating the documents
    • As per the regulations earlier, residents who were older than 15 years at the time of enrollment were recommended to update their biometric data every 10 years.
      • The process of updating documents is not mandatory. 
  • Ensuring accuracy
    • This process will help in ensuring the accuracy of information in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).
  • Demographic information 
    • The amendment of the Aadhaar regulation is limited to updating demographic information and does not involve biometric data such as fingerprints. 
Data/ Facts134 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued till date. Around 1000 government schemes – 650 from state governments and 315 from central government use Aadhaar authentication services to avoid deduplication and removal of ghost beneficiaries.Aadhaar enrolment of adult citizens is nearing 100 per cent. 

Issues with Aadhar

  •  Aadhaar act allows cancellation of Aadhaar number for any reason by the government and citizens have no recourse.
  • A Centralized database is a concern because once it is compromised everyone is at risk.
  • There is no ID or address verification and there is no means of identifying fakes.
  • There is no data protection law in place in India.
  • Enrollment software hacks allowed foreign nationals to create Aadhaar numbers thus creating a national security risk.
  • UIDAI does not have a monitoring mechanism but only an audit mechanism.
  • Data goes to third parties vulnerability increases due to that.

Significance of Aadhar

  • Eliminate the leakages: Increasing the accuracy of Aadhaar information is likely to help the government eliminate the leakage of benefit transfers from various schemes.  
  • Jhan Dhan Yojana: Aadhaar Card is used as the major document of proof when opening a bank account under the Pradhan Mantri Jhan Dhan Yojana in the nation.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer: Aadhar Card linked bank accounts will get their set of LPG Subsidy directly accredited in the bank account.
  • Monthly Pension and Provident Fund: a person needs to link their Aadhaar Card to their respective pension account and provident fund.
  • Passport and Voter ID: Aadhaar Card will relieve you of the lengthy procedure while obtaining Passport.
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) & AadharAadhaar Act & Establishment of UIDAI:The UIDAI is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (“Aadhaar Act 2016”) by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). Need of UIDAI:UIDAI was created to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as “Aadhaar”, to all residents of India. The UID had to be -Robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and Verifiable and authenticable in an easy, cost-effective way. Under the Aadhaar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for:Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle,Developing the policy, procedure, and system for issuing Aadhaar numbers to individuals and Perform authentication and the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals.
Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR)It is a central database that stores and manages identity information for individuals and organizations.It is used to authenticate and authorize individuals and organizations for access to government services and information.CIDR also supports the issuance of electronic identity cards and the management of identity information.

Strengthening Governance of Market Infrastructure Institutions

In News

  • Recently, the SEBI Committee was constituted for ‘Strengthening governance of market infrastructure institutions (MIIs)’

More about the news

  • The SEBI Committee has proposed stricter regulations for enhancing the accountability and transparency of MIIs like stock exchanges, depositories and clearing houses.
  • The committee has mooted measures for:
    • Strengthening the role played by the governing board and committees of MIIs, 
    • Reviewing the requirements related to appointment and role & responsibility of directors on the board and key managerial persons (KMPs) and 
    • Developing effective metrics for monitoring various aspects of their functioning.
  • The committee also proposed:
    • Reviewing the policy on safekeeping and sharing of information held by MIIs, 
    • Revisiting the code of conduct and code of ethics for directors of the governing board and KMPs and 
    • Activities and governance of investee companies of MIIs.
  • Functions of MIIs:
    • It said the functions of MIIs should be categorized into three verticals:
      • Critical operations, 
      • Regulatory, compliance and risk management and 
      • Other functions include business development. 
      • The KMPs heading the functions under the first two verticals should be at par in hierarchy with the KMPs heading the third vertical, the report said.
  • Independence:
    • To ensure greater independence of the Board of the MII, at least two-third members of the Board of the MII should comprise public interest directors (PIDs)
  • Roles and responsibilities: 
    • The roles and responsibilities of all directors should be clearly outlined, especially their responsibilities towards regulatory, compliance and risk management functions.
  • Periodic evaluation:
    • The panel said periodic review through an internal as well as external mechanism, should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the MIIs in discharging their core and critical functions.
      • Accordingly, the MIIs, as an entity, should internally evaluate its own performance on an annual basis and engage an external agency for evaluating its performance once in every three years.

More about the MIIs

  • What are the MIIs?
    • Stock exchanges, depositories and clearing houses are all Market Infrastructure Institutions and constitute a key part of the nation’s vital economic infrastructure. 
  • Meaning of ‘market infrastructure’?
    • A panel set up under the chairmanship of former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan — to examine issues arising from the ownership and governance of MIIs — in its 2010 report said:
      • The term ‘infrastructure’ would mean the basic, underlying framework or features of a system
      • The term ‘market infrastructure’ denotes such fundamental facilities and systems serving this market. 
  • Purpose of securities /capital market:
    • The primary purpose of the securities /capital market is to enable allocation/reallocation of capital/financial resources.
    • Such movement helped optimal use of money in the economy and fostered economic development. 
    • Well-functioning MIIs, constitute “the nucleus of (the) capital allocation system”, are indispensable for economic growth and have a net positive effect on society like any other infrastructure institution
  • Specific institutions in India that qualify as MIIs:
    • Among stock exchanges:
      • The SEBI lists seven, including the BSE, the NSE, the Multi Commodity Exchange of India and the Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India. 
    • There are two depositories:
      • Charged with the safekeeping of securities and enabling their trading and transfer — that are tagged MIIs: 
        • The Central Depository Services Ltd. and the National Securities Depository Ltd.
    • Clearing houses:
      • The regulator also lists seven clearing houses including the Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing Corporation.
        • Clearing houses, for their part, help validate and finalise securities trades and ensure that both buyers and sellers honour their obligations.

Why are MIIs considered to be systemically important?

  • Size & growth of the infrastructure: 
    • MIIs are systemically important in India is clear from the phenomenal growth of these institutions in terms of market capitalization of listed companies, capital raised and the number of investor accounts with brokers and depositories and the value of assets held in the depositories’ account.
    • Unlike typical financial institutions, the number of stock exchanges, depositories and clearing corporations in an economy is limited due to the nature of its business, although they cater to the entire marketplace.
  • Criticality:
    • Any failure of such an MII could lead to even bigger cataclysmic collapses that may result in an overall economic downfall that could potentially extend beyond the boundaries of the securities market and the country.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)About:SEBI is a statutory body established on April 12, 1992 in accordance with the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.Initially SEBI was a non statutory body without any statutory power.It became autonomous and given statutory powers by SEBI Act 1992.Aim: To protect the interests of investors in securities and to promote the development of, and regulate the securities market.It is the regulator of the securities and commodity market in India owned by the Government of India.Powers & Functions:It is a quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial body which can draft regulations, conduct inquiries, pass rulings and impose penalties.To promote the development and hassle-free functioning of the securities market.To regulate the business operations of the securities market.To prohibit fraudulent and unfair trade practices within the securities market and related to it.By Securities Laws (Amendment) Act, 2014, SEBI is now able to regulate any money pooling scheme worth Rs. 100 cr. or more and attach assets in cases of non-compliance.

Soil Carbon Sequestration

In News

  • Recently the International Crops Research Institute for The Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has published a modelling study.

More about the news

  • About the study:
    • The study revealed how the right combination of fertilizer, biochar, and irrigation could potentially increase soil carbon by as much as 300 percent and help mitigate climate change.
      • The modelling study found that biochar increased carbon value in the soil by 130-300 percent over 30 years with little difference in yield. 
      • It also found that the optimal use of fertilizers increased the carbon and output by up to 30 percent.
  • Regions under the study:
    • The modelling study was conducted in five districts of Maharashtra (Jalna, Dhule, Ahmednagar, Amravati, and Yavatmal) and eight districts of Odisha (Angul, Bolangir, Deogarh, Dhenkenal, Kalahandi, Kendujhar, Nuapada, and Sundegarh).
      • They have a predominantly semi-arid climate with annual rainfall between 600 millimetres and 1,100 mm. 
  • Crops under the study:
    • Important crops such as cotton, sorghum, soybean, chickpea, pigeon pea and millet were studied in the region. 
  • Study of traditional & modern practices:
    • In addition, soil sampling and analysis of long-term experiments on improved versus traditional farmer practices and tillage and residue management practices were also conducted. 
    • The researchers also evaluated improved management practices such as biochar, need-based fertiliser, and irrigation.


  • Contribution of agriculture in the fight against climate crisis:
    • Food systems account for nearly one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
      • In 2015, food-system emissions amounted to 18 Gt CO2 equivalent per year globally, representing 34 percent of total GHG emissions.
    • An agriculture modelling study can help bolster the fight against climate crisis by helping capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing it in soil.
    • So, Agriculture is said to be one of the major factors affecting climate change. However, it can also be a part of the solution. 
  • Contribution of sample study:
    • This soil carbon sequestration over 30 years in the sample 13 districts of Maharashtra & Odisha may significantly contribute to combating global climate change.
  • Income to farmers:
    • Carbon sequestering can provide an additional source of income for the farmers.
  • Aligned with SDGs:
    • The study is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13: Climate Action) which is on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • Model for the policymakers:
    • The study may help policymakers, government, and civil society to implement strategies that incentivise farmers to manage their soils in ways to sequester more carbon.
Basic termsSoil carbon It is critical for crop yield and climate adaptation or mitigation measures, which are heavily reduced by both intensive agriculture and indiscriminate use of chemicals leading to increased carbon emissions.Biochar It is a charcoal-like substance that burns organic material (biomass) from agricultural and forestry wastes in a controlled process called pyrolysis. Although it looks much like ordinary charcoal, biochar has safely reduced contamination and stored carbon. Carbon sequestration About:It is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.Natural process:Carbon dioxide (CO2) is naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, and physical processes. These changes can be accelerated through changes in land use and agricultural practices, such as converting crop land into land for non-crop fast growing plants. Artificial processes:Artificial processes have been devised to produce similar effects, including large-scale, artificial capture and sequestration of industrially produced CO2 using subsurface saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, aging oil fields, or other carbon sinks, bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, biochar, enhanced weathering, direct air capture and water capture when combined with storage. Biosequestration: It is the capture and storage of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by continual or enhanced biological processes. This form of carbon sequestration occurs through increased rates of photosynthesis via land-use practices such as reforestation and sustainable forest management.

Other Government efforts

  • The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill:
    • Apart from the other stated objectives, the bill aims to establish Carbon Markets in India.
      • The Bill empowers the central government to specify a carbon credit trading scheme.
      • The proposed amendments aims to encourage the development of a carbon market by laying the framework for issuance of carbon credits against deployment of clean technology. 
      • Investment in clean technology will help corporations in greening their business profiles and the attached carbon credits will provide an additional revenue stream. 
      • Hence, the proposed amendments seek to address a prominent gap in the climate change narrative with respect to involvement of the private sector.
  • Panchamrit strategy: 
    • Hon. PM Narendra Modi’s Panchamrit strategy was announced at the COP 26 in Glasgow conference into enhanced climate targets.
      • India will increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatt (GW) by 2030.
      • It will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030.
      • The total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes from now through 2030.
      • The carbon intensity of its economy will be brought down to less than 45 percent.
      • India will achieve its target of net zero by 2070.
    • India also recently updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) on the lines of this strategy.
MridaA new gaming app, ‘Mrida’, has been launched to promote behavioural change among farmers. Apart from English, the app will be released in Marathi and Odiya to reach a larger population of farmers in the two states.

E-waste (management) Rules 2022

In News

  • The government recently notified E-waste (management) rules 2022 that will come into force from 1 April 2023.

Major Highlights of E-waste (management) rules 2022

  • Application:
    • It will apply to every manufacturer, producer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler involved in manufacturing, sale, transfer, purchase, refurbishing, dismantling, recycling and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment. 
    • The rule is applicable to all electrical devices and radiotherapy equipment, nuclear medicine equipment and accessories, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), electric toys, air conditioners, microwaves, tablets, washing machine, refrigerator and iPad among others.
  • Restrictions:
    • The government has restricted the use of hazardous substances in manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) following deaths due to exposure to radioactive material.
      • It mandates the reduction of the use of lead, mercury, cadmium among others in the manufacturing of electronic equipment.
  • Reuse and recycling:
    • Manufacturers shall use the technology or methods so as to make the end product recyclable and shall ensure that components or parts made by different manufacturers are compatible with each other so as to reduce the quantity of e-waste.
  • Strict monitoring:
    • The Central Pollution Control Board shall conduct random sampling of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market to monitor and verify the compliance of reduction of hazardous substances provisions.
      • If a product does not comply with the e-waste management rules, the manufacturer will have to withdraw all samples from the market. 
  • Extended Producer Responsibility Certificates:
    • Draft rules aim to incentivise registered electronic waste recyclers by introducing EPR or Extended Producer Responsibility certificates (which was not part of 2016 Rules).
  • E-waste exchange facilities:
    • The EPR requires producers to set up e-waste exchange facilities to facilitate collection and recycling, and assign specific responsibility to bulk consumers of electronic products for safe disposal.
  • Imports:
    • Imports or placement in the market for new electrical and electronic equipment shall be permitted only for those which are compliant with provisions laid down by the government. 
  • Disposal:
    • It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to collect e-waste generated during manufacture and to ensure its recycling or disposal.
      • However, the rule does not apply to waste batteries, packaging plastics, micro enterprises and radio-active waste, as covered under the provisions of the law. 
E-Waste in India/ Data and Facts C:\Users\WELCOME\Desktop\bl13May_DF_Ewaste.jpgOnly 22.7 per cent of the e-waste out of the total 10, 14,961.21 tonnes generated in 2019-20 in India was collected, dismantled, and recycled or disposed off. This e-waste is composed of 21 types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) notified Under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.The E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 extend the responsibility to producers to manage a system of e-waste collection, storage, transportation, and environmentally sound dismantling and recycling through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) authorisation.The rules also promote and encourage the establishment of an efficient e-waste collection mechanism.India is the world’s third largest generator of e-waste after China and the US, according to the UN Global E-Waste Monitor Report. Maharashtra generates the most e-waste among all the Indian states. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, and Haryana are among the States that have a bigger capacity to dismantle and recycle e-waste.E-waste typically does not feature in the list of municipal solid waste and therefore it is not a direct mandate for the cities to collect, transport, and manage them. 

Major Issues related to E-waste in India

  • Health issues: The metal in e-waste includes mercury, lead, cadmium, polybrominated flame retardants, barium and lithium, all of which are hazardous to human health.
    • Toxins’ harmful health impact on humans includes damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and skeletal system.
  • Global ecosystem
    • Improper e-waste disposal is highly hazardous to the global ecosystem. 
  • Volume of E-waste generated: India stands fifth in e-waste generation producing around 1.7 lakhs metric tonnes per annum.
  • Involvement of Child Labor: In India, about 4.5 lakh child laborers in the age group of 10-14 are observed to be engaged in various E-waste activities and that too without adequate protection and safeguards in various yards and recycling workshops.
  • Ineffective Legislation: There is absence of any public information on most SPCBs/PCC websites. Even the basic E-waste Rules and guidelines have not been uploaded.
  • Lack of infrastructure: There is a huge gap between present recycling and collection facilities and the quantum of E-waste that is being generated.
  • Lack of incentive schemes: No clear guidelines are there for the unorganized sector to handle E-waste. Also no incentives are mentioned to lure people engaged to adopt a formal path for handling E-waste.
  • E-waste imports: 80 percent of E-waste in developed countries meant for recycling is sent to developing countries such as India, China, Ghana and Nigeria.
Existing laws relating to e wasteTran’s boundary movement of e-waste covered under the Basel convention.India ratified the convention in 1992. Waste importers exploit such gaps as listed in the convention.Hazardous Waste Amended Rules, 2003The Rule is inadequate to handle generation, transportation and disposal of this complex waste.Regulators are unable to monitor and regulate the informal sector.

Way forward/ Suggestions 

  • Recycling: To reduce the dangerous impacts of e-waste, it is critical to e-cycle goods effectively so they can be recycled, refurbished, resold, or repurposed.
  • Domestic legal framework to address these gaps in import of E Waste. 
  • Need to address safe disposal of domestic waste.
  • Attract investment in this sector.
  • Link up activities of the informal sector with the formal sector.
  • Promote adequate ESM technologies for recycling.
  • Incorporate precautionary principles and polluter pays.
  • Impart training to generators on e-waste handling.
  • Awareness program on recycling.
  • Fix duties and responsibilities to recyclers.
  • Tax incentives for scrap dealers.
  • Reward and reprimand schemes for performance and non-compliance of e-waste management. 

Transport 4 All Challenge

In News

  • Recently, the Minister Housing and Urban Affairs launched the Transport 4 All Challenge Stage-2.

About Transport 4 All Challenge

  • It is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.
  • Aim:
    • To bring together cities, citizens, and startups to develop solutions that improve public transport to better serve the needs of all citizens.
    • Focuses on digital innovation and invites cities, citizens, and innovators to join hands to develop contextual digital solutions to improve formal as well as informal public transport to better serve the mobility needs of all citizens.
  • Three Stages of the Challenge
    • The Transport4All through Digital Innovation Challenge comprises three stages:
    • Stage I PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION: Cities, with the support of NGOs, identify key recurring problems that citizens and public transport operators face
    • Stage II SOLUTION GENERATION: Startups develop prototypes of solutions to improve public transport with inputs from cities and NGOs
    • Stage III PILOT TESTING: Cities engage Startups for large-scale pilots and refine the solutions based on citizen feedback
  • Significance:
    • Solutions developed as part of the Challenge aim to integrate formal and informal modes of public transport wherever possible and desirable. 
    • Solutions that demonstrate the ability to meet the needs of citizens—those living in cities with different contexts—would be piloted in selected cities across the country.

National Pension System (NPS)

In News 

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said ,The money in the National Pension Scheme (NPS) belongs to the people and as per law, can’t go back to state governments.

National Pension System (NPS)

  • It is being administered and regulated by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) set up under PFRDA Act, 2013.
  • It is a market linked, defined contribution product. 
  • Under NPS, a unique Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) is generated and maintained by the Central Recordkeeping Agency (CRA) for individual subscribers.
  • On exit/retirement/superannuation, a minimum of 40% of the corpus is mandatorily utilised to procure a pension for life by purchasing an annuity from a life insurance company and the balance corpus is paid as lumpsum.
  • Features : It is mandatorily applicable on Central Government employees (except Armed Forces) recruited on or after 01.01.2004.
    • Subsequently, all State Governments excluding West Bengal have also adopted NPS for their employees. 
    •  Companies can adopt NPS for their employees with contribution rates as per the employment conditions.
    •  The All Citizens Model of the NPS allows all citizens of India aged between 18 – 65 years to join NPS on a voluntary basis.


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