PRASAD Project

In News

  • Recently, the President inaugurated PRASAD project at the tourism facilitation centre in the pilgrim town of Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.
    • The President also had an interactive session with the Chenchu tribe

About PRASAD scheme

  • The full form of the PRASAD scheme is ‘Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive’. 
  • The scheme was launched in the year 2014-2015.
  • It comes under the Ministry of Tourism. 
  • Aim:
    • This scheme focuses on developing and identifying pilgrimage sites across India for enriching the religious tourism experience.
    • It aims to integrate pilgrimage destinations in a prioritised, planned and sustainable manner to provide a complete religious tourism experience. 
  • Funding:
    • The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to state governments under the Prasad scheme to promote tourism at pilgrim sites. 
    • The Central Government will cover 100% of the costs under this program. 
    • For improved sustainability, it also includes a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • Cities Identified Under PRASAD Scheme: 
    • Amritsar (Punjab).
    • Kedarnath (Uttarakhand).
    • Mathura (Uttar Pradesh).
    • Ajmer (Rajasthan).
    • Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
    • Gaya (Bihar).
    • Kamakhya (Assam).
    • Dwaraka (Gujarat).
    • Puri (Odisha).
    • Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh).
    • Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu).
    • Velankanni (Tamil Nadu).
Chenchu tribeIt is a Dravidian tribe.It is designated as Scheduled Tribe in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha.Many Chenchus live in the sparse and deciduous Nallamala forest of Andhra Pradesh. They are an aboriginal tribe whose traditional way of life has been based on hunting and gathering.

Significance of the PRASAD scheme 

  • Promoting religious tourism: The growth of domestic tourism hugely depends on pilgrimage tourism.
    • The scheme paves the way for the development and promotion of religious tourism in India.
  • Job creation: to reap advantage of pilgrimage tourism’s multiplier and direct effects on job creation and economic development.
  • Development: In the development of pilgrimage locations, it will adhere to the pro-poor tourist philosophy and community-based development.
  • Making use of public resources and skills.
  • Infrastructure: It will develop world-class infrastructure in religious places to sustainably increase tourism appeal.
  • Knowledge: It will increase local community knowledge of the relevance of tourism to them in terms of improved living conditions, increased sources of income, and overall region development.
  • It will develop livelihood in the specified areas, promote local culture, arts, food, handicrafts, and so on. 
Other Government initiativesSwadesh Darshan Scheme:It is a Central Sector scheme launched in 2014-15 by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.It aims at integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits.This scheme is envisioned to synergise with other schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc. with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation, the driving force for economic growth, building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realise its potential.Adopt a Heritage:This project is envisioned to fulfill the objective to provide an enhanced tourism experience to all travellers. It aims at ensuring quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. These organizations would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative. Iconic Tourist Sites initiativeIt aims at overall development from the tourism point of view in and around these sites which includes roads and infrastructure, hotels and lodges, connectivity and access.Sites:Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh)Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra)Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar (Delhi)Colva (Goa)Amer Fort (Rajasthan)Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat)Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh)Hampi (Karnataka)Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu)Kaziranga (Assam)Kumarakom (Kerala)Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar)Konark Sun Temple (Odisha)Kevadia (Gujarat) Golconda Fort (Telangana).Dekho apna DeshIt is a webinar series.The purpose of starting the webinar series was to maintain a dialogue and introduce the citizens to the history, culture, cuisine, heritage, architecture, etc.

Bomb Cyclone

In News

  • Recently, an intense blizzard or snowstorm is wreaking havoc across the United States and Canada.
    • Forecasters have termed the blizzard as different from the usual weather events and called it a “bomb cyclone.” 

More about the news

  • Location:
    • The scope of the storm has been nearly “unprecedented”, stretching from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico
  • Situation led by the blizzard/ bomb cyclone:
    • About 60% of the US population faced some sort of winter weather advisory or warning, and temperatures plummeted drastically below normal in major areas of the country.
    • More than 30 people confirmed dead so far in the US, and four people dead in Canada after a road accident on an icy path.

More about the Bomb Cyclone

  • Formation:
    • Storms can form when a mass of low-pressure air meets a high-pressure mass. The air flows from high pressure to low, creating winds.
      • The current bomb cyclone in the US happened when warm air from the gulf of Mexico collided with the cold arctic air
    • What makes it a bomb cyclone? Or Bombogenesis.
      • What defines a bomb cyclone is how rapidly the pressure drops in the low-pressure mass by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. 
      • This quickly increases the pressure difference, or gradient, between the two air masses, making the winds stronger. 
      • This process of rapid intensification has a name: bombogenesis.
  • Direction & continuation of the current cyclone:
    • As the winds blow, the rotation of the Earth creates a cyclonic effect.
      • The direction is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (when viewed from above).
    • As the area where the two air masses meet moves northward and eastward, conditions for bombogenesis should continue moving as well.
  • Outcomes of the Cyclone:
    • While this kind of storm is not exceedingly rare, this one is very strong, with high winds that are bringing heavy snow or rain to many areas.
    • Air pressure dropped to at least 962 millibars, while elsewhere it was as high as 1,047 millibars which is a really sharp gradient.
    • This has led to the development of extreme storm conditions near the core of the low-pressure system, with particularly harsh conditions.
  • Predictions of dissipation:
    • Forecasts have called for above-average temperatures across most of the country next week.
    • But as the Arctic air spreads over most of the country it will eventually warm, reducing the pressure difference. The storm will dissipate. 
  • Precautions:
    • US National Weather Service has warned people against travelling. 
      • It said such cold conditions can easily cause frostbite, and in cases of longer exposure, hypothermia and death.
    • Those who will be travelling by road will need to exercise particular caution, as visibility will be affected.
    • Those indoors have also been told to maintain safety precautions, such as charging electronic devices and keeping torches ready.
      • Apart from wearing the appropriate layers of clothing, it was also advised that those working outside keep taking breaks to avoid exertion or health issues.
  • May become frequent phenomenon:
    • Climate campaigners say global warming is likely to make bomb cyclones more frequent and intense.
More about a CycloneAbout:A cyclone is any low-pressure area with winds spiralling inwards and is caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area It is distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulationPattern of circulation:The air circulates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere.Formation of Cyclones:Before cloud formation, water takes up heat from the atmosphere to change into vapour. When water vapour changes back to liquid form as raindrops, this heat is released to the atmosphere. The heat released to the atmosphere warms the air around. The air tends to rise and causes a drop in pressure. More air rushes to the centre of the storm. This cycle is repeated. The chain of events ends with the formation of a very low-pressure system with very high-speed winds revolving around it. It is this weather condition that is called a cyclone. Intensity & strength of cyclone:The amount of pressure drop in the center and the rate at which it increases outwards gives the intensity of the cyclones and the strength of winds. Eye: The centre of a cyclone is a calm area. It is called the eye of the storm. The diameter of the eye varies from 10 to 30 km. It is a region free of clouds and has light winds.High-speed winds: Around this calm and clear eye, there is a cloud region of about 150 km in size. In this region there are high-speed winds (150–250 km/h) and thick clouds with heavy rain. Away from this region the wind speed gradually decreases.A large cyclone is a violently rotating mass of air in the atmosphere, 10 to 15 km high. Types of Cyclones:Tropical Cyclone: Cyclones that develop in the regions between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer are called tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are large-scale weather systems developing over tropical or subtropical waters, where they get organised into surface wind circulation.Extra tropical Cyclone (also called Temperate Cyclone): They occur in temperate zones and high latitude regions. In contrast with tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones produce rapid changes in temperature and dew point along broad lines, called weather fronts, about the center of the cyclone.

National AVGC-Extended Reality Mission

In News

  • The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) Task Force has recently called for a National AVGC-XR Mission.

More about the report recommendations

  • The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force report has been submitted to the government for consideration.
  • Draft national and State policies for the promotion of the sector have also been submitted by the Task Force.
  • Report envisages the creation of a budgetary outlay for integrated promotion & growth of the AVGC sector
  • “Create in India” campaign: Among the recommendations of the Task Force are a “Create in India” campaign.
    • Campaign will have an exclusive focus on following:
      • Content creation; 
      • An international AVGC platform aimed at attracting foreign direct investment, 
      • Co-production treaties and innovation in collaboration with international counterparts; 
      • National and regional centres of excellence for skill development; and 
      • Leveraging National Education Policy to develop creative thinking at school level. 
  • Ministry of Education may advise NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) to create books focusing on subjects relevant to AVGC.
  • There is a need to augment skilling initiatives and enhance industry participation for training purposes and to ensure employment opportunities.
  • Memorandum of Cooperation may be signed between India and other developed global AVGC markets — U.S., Japan, South Korea, Germany, for providing internships (six months to a year) to Indian AVGC professionals.
  • The report has also recommended: 
    • Establishment of AVGC accelerators and innovation hubs in academic institutions; 
    • Democratising AVGC technologies by promoting subscription-based pricing models for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), 
    • Start-ups and institutions; 
    • Indigenous technology development through incentive schemes and Intellectual Property creation; and 
    • Setting up a dedicated production fund for domestic content creation from across India to promote the country’s culture and heritage globally.
  • Inclusive growth & chid rights: 
    • Report noted that there should be special incentives for women entrepreneurs in the sector and promotion of local children’s channels for raising awareness on the rich culture and history of India among children and youth. 
    • It also suggested the establishment of a framework to ensure protection of child rights in the digital world.

About the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) Sector

  • About:
    • India’s media and entertainment sector has long been asking for some kind of legitimacy for the gaming and related industries.
    • Growth:
      • The AVGC sectors, and especially the gaming industry has been witnessing healthy growth over the past seven years 
      • It is hoped that with proper impetus, could soon become a world leader. 
    • Skills:
      • The content creation part of gaming required high skills and the government wanted to focus on that through the task force. 
      • India could become the content creation factory of the world in the sector.
  • Economic potential:
    • According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), India has the potential to capture 5% ($40 billion) of the global market share by the year 2025, with an annual growth of around 25-30% and creating over 1,60,000 new jobs annually.
    • Employment:
      • According to industry experts, the Indian market which currently employs about 1.85 lakh AVGC professionals, can witness a growth of 14-16% in the next decade.

Significance of National AVGC-Extended Reality Mission

  • Mission is expected to accomplish the following
    • Boosting employment opportunities; 
    • Helping in the promotion and market development activities to extend global reach of Indian industry; 
    • Enhancing exports and recommend incentives to attract foreign direct investment in the sector. 
  • Opening doors for further employment:
    • There is a huge scope of employment for the youth in the gaming industry, Esports/Video Games is a versatile industry and there is a huge scope for professional gamers as well as other jobs like casters, commentators, and other support staff appointed by the esports tournaments like producers, editors, analysts, product managers, game testers, referees, production crew members, event managers, social media managers, etc.
  • Need of Regulations:
    • A progressive tax regime, predictable regulatory framework and supportive funding policies will allow the industry to compete on the world stage. 
  • Skilling & rural potential:
    • There is a need to introduce children to the skills related to the sector at an early age in schools. 
    • Rural India provides a fertile ground for talent in this sector. 
  • Role of 5G:
    • 5G can further promote the latest innovations and mass adoption of technologies like cloud gaming in the country.

Way Ahead

  • With a renewed focus on the AVGC sector, blended financing for deep tech and IT, hardware and electronics manufacturing combined with deployment of 5G and affordable internet in underserved areas, it is clear that the government is committed to take the Indian startup ecosystem to the next level.

National Retail Trade Policy

In News

  • Recently, The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has sought the views of 16 departments and ministries on its draft national retail trade policy.
    • It is aimed at the overall development of all formats of the sector.

About National Retail Trade Policy

  • Data: 
    • India is the world’s fifth-largest global destination in the retail space.
  • Body:
    • The policy has been envisioned by DPIIT to formulate the national retail policy to promote the growth of domestic trade.
  • Aim:
    • It focuses on formulating strategies to provide a globally competitive and sustainable environment for overall development of retail trade through targeted efforts.
  • The objectives of the policy includes:
    • Ensuring easy and quick access to affordable credit.
    • Facilitating modernization and digitization of retail trade by promoting modern technology and superior infrastructural support.
    • Development of physical infrastructure across the distribution chain.
    • Promotion of skill development and to improve labour productivity.
    • Providing an effective consultative and grievance redressal mechanism for the sector. 

Major Challenges in this sector

  • Unorganised market:
    • India’s market for retail trade is largely unorganised.
  • High complexities:
    • A number of laws, compounded by state-level variations in implementation, create immense complexity for retailers, especially those with a pan-Indian footprint. 
    • This makes it imperative for retailers to ensure a comprehensive pan-India policy is in place.
  • Long procedures:
    • If we want to set up a store in organized retail, we probably need approvals from 40 different authorities. 
    • There could be a single window clearance.
    • States like Telangana have actually adopted it but it needs to be adopted across the country. 

Significance of the policy 

  • Promote ease of doing business:
    • This policy will streamline the retail trade and promote ease of doing business in the retail trade sector. 
  • E-commerce:
    • It will promote e-commerce all over the country.
  • Employment generation:
    • It will leverage retail trade as a tool for socio-economic development of the country.
    • A cohesive national retail policy can help generate 30 lakh more jobs by 2024. 
  • Skill development:
    • It will encourage skill development and create more employment opportunities for all sections of society involved in retail trade.
  • Infrastructure: 
    • It will identify and address existing infrastructure gaps affecting the retail trade industry.
  • Investments:
    • It will accelerate investment flow to underdeveloped regions across the country.
    • The retail industry is likely to see 10 per cent annual growth to reach about USD 2 trillion by 2032
  • Beneficial to all sellers:
    • It will bring about a level-playing field for small sellers by providing them access to credit as well as help large, organized retailers with quicker approvals.
  • Women empowerment:
    • The retail industry is one of India’s largest employers of women which comprise around 25-30 percent of the total workforce.

Way Forward

  • DPIIT is also working on formulating a national e-commerce policy to promote the growth of the online retail sector in the country.
  • A new industrial policy is also on the pipeline which will be the third industrial policy after the first in 1956 and the second in 1991. 
  • A cohesive retail policy built on the pillars of simplification, standardization, and digitalization will pave the way for significant growth and accelerate a short-term economic recovery

Losar Festival

In News

  • Recently, the Prime Minister of India extended his greetings on the occasion of Losar.

Losar Festival

  • About:
    • One of the most significant celebrations in the Tibetan calendar
    • It begins on the day of a new moon that marks the first day of the first month on the Tibetan calendar.
    • Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days.
  • Meaning: 
    • The term ‘Losar’ means New year in the Tibetan language. ‘Lo’ means year and ‘Sar’ means new.
  • Ancient Roots:
    • Losar predates the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet and has its roots in a winter incense-burning custom of the Bon religion
  • Celebrated At:
    • Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, India
    • In India- Ladakh, Kinnaur, Spiti, Sikkim
Bon Religion Also known as Yungdrung Bon It is a Tibetan religious tradition with many similarities to Tibetan Buddhism and also many unique features.Bon initially developed in the tenth and eleventh centuries.Bon remains a significant minority religion in Tibet (especially in eastern Tibet) and in the surrounding Himalayan regions.

Madan Mohan Malviya


  • The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya on his Jayanti. 

Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya

  • About:
    • He was born in Allahabad and took early education under the ‘pathshala’ system, and was proficient in Sanskrit.
    • In 1879, he graduated from the Muir Central College (today’s Allahabad University) and started working as a teacher at a local high school.
    • He joined the Indian National Congress at its Calcutta session in 1886  
    • He rose up the ranks, and became president four times — in 1909 (Lahore), in 1918 (Delhi), in 1930 (Delhi), and in 1932 (Calcutta). 
    • Malaviya was part of the Congress for almost 50 years.
    • Malaviya was one of the early leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha and helped found it in 1906. 
    • He was given the title of ‘Mahamana’ by Rabindranath Tagore and the second President of India, Dr S. Radhakrishnan gave him the status of a ‘Karmayogi’.
  • Contributions:
    • He was a scholar and thinker who worked towards spreading education among citizens and supported the nationalisation of railways.
    • He helped establish the Hindu Mahasabha (“Great Society of Hindus”) in 1906, which brought diverse local Hindu nationalist movements together.
    • He is known for founding the Banaras Hindu University in 1916 and for becoming one of the torchbearers of the freedom struggle acting as a bridge between the Moderates and the Extremists in the Congress.
    • In the freedom struggle, Malaviya was midway between the Liberals and the Nationalists, the Moderates and the Extremists.
    • In 1930, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience Movement, he participated in it and courted arrest.
    • Awards awarded: In 2014, he was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.
    • In 2016, the Indian Railways started the Varanasi-New Delhi Mahamana Express in the leader’s honour.


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