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Monthly DNA

08 Jul, 2020

55 Min Read

China's Security Law on Hong Kong

GS-II : International Relations International revolts

China's Security Law on Hong Kong


Recently, several countries have proposed measures to protect Hong Kong residents fleeing potential political persecution from China's new National Security Law. China’s new security law criminalizes what it deems secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country.

Taiwan’s Response:

It has opened the Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchange Office in order to help facilitate asylum for people fleeing Hong Kong. Taiwan was the first state which pledged to support Hong Kong residents seeking asylum, in May 2020.
China also claims Taiwan to be part of China and threatens to use force to take over the island. China has proposed to Taiwan that it follow the “one country, two systems” model to unite with China. But the Taiwanese reject any idea of uniting with mainland China.

United Kingdom’s Response:

It has described the security law as a clear and serious violation of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration under which it handed back its colony to China in 1997. Under the Joint Declaration, China had promised to maintain Hong Kong’s capitalist and more open political system for 50 years under "one country, two systems".

Since the handover, Hong Kong residents have accused China of overstepping its authority. The Umbrella Movement was a series of protests in 2014 that called for more transparent elections for the city’s chief executive. In 2019 protests erupted in Hong Kong over a proposed bill to allow extradition to mainland China.

It has decided to offer British citizenship to around three million residents of Hong Kong. It is also rethinking its provisional decision to allow Huawei (China’s Company) to be involved in the development of Britain's 5G infrastructure.

Other Country’s Response

  • The USA has passed a Bipartisan Bill to sanction Chinese officials who violate Hong Kong's freedoms. It is also planning to bring the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, which would open up a route for asylum for Hong Kong’s frontline activists in immediate danger.
  • Australia is considering offering Hong Kong residents temporary protection visas that will allow refugees to live in the country for up to three years.
  • Japan said that it is seriously concerned about China’s decision toward Hong Kong.
  • India has been keeping a close watch on recent developments in Hong Kong.

Chinese Reaction to Global Response:

  • It has been said that the security law issue is purely China's internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere.
  • It has condemned the UK’s citizenship offer to Hong Kongers and warned the UK of serious consequences.
  • It considers all residents living in Hong Kong, including those with British National Overseas passports, as Chinese nationals.
  • It has been said that the UK's U-turn on its Huawei decision would damage the UK's image as an open, business-friendly environment.
  • It has accused Taiwan administration of nurturing a separatist plot in Hong Kong and warned for a military response.

New Security Law in Hong Kong

  • Basic Law allows Hong Kong to enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, barring matters of defence and foreign affairs.
  • Under Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong has to enact a national security law “to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.”
  • Article 23 aims at preserving national security but it will also allow China’s national security organs to formally operate and set up institutions in Hong Kong.
  • Basic law makes it clear that only Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) can make and repeal laws.
  • Beijing wants LegCo to pass the new legislation as soon as possible because it is afraid that if LegCo comes under the control of democrats after elections later in 2020, it will be hard to implement the legislation.
  • Democrats are against this law as it curbs the autonomy of Hong Kong as SAR.
  • However, Beijing can bypass LegCo if it chooses to and make the national security law applicable to Hong Kong by inserting this legislation in Annex III of the Basic Law.
  • Under Article 18 of Basic Law, national laws can be applied in Hong Kong if they are placed in Annex III, and must be confined to defence, foreign affairs and matters outside the limits of autonomy of the region.
  • Once listed in Annex III, national laws can be enforced in the city by way of promulgation (automatically being put into effect) or by legislating locally in the SAR.

Basic Law

  • Hong Kong was formerly a British colony and was handed over to mainland China in 1997, becoming one of its Special Administrative Regions (SAR).
  • It is governed by a mini-constitution called the Basic Law, which affirms the principle of “one country, two systems”.
  • The constitutional document is a product of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, under which China promised to honour Hong Kong’s liberal policies, system of governance, independent judiciary, and individual freedoms for a period of 50 years from 1997.


  • Since 1997, Hong Kong residents have protested many times to protect their Basic Law freedoms.
  • In 2003, the first major pro-democracy protest took place when the Hong Kong government first tried to enact the national security law.
  • In 2014, over one lakh city residents took part in the Umbrella Revolution to protest against China’s denial of democratic reforms.
  • In 2019, the largest protest till now, took place against a proposed extradition law, and continued with pro-democracy marches even after the legislation was withdrawn.
  • Impact of the Protests:
    • The protests were seen as an affront by mainland China after which the government started adopting a more hardline approach to foreign policy and internal security issues.
    • The Hong Kong unrest also impacted Taiwan which led to the victory of the Democratic Progressive Party, which openly opposes joining China. China considers the island states as its own but Taiwan opposes the view.


  • The draft law has been criticised by democratic parties in Hong Kong as it undermines the “one country, two systems” model that gives the SAR a high degree of autonomy.
  • Hong Kong’s freedoms will be compromised as the law could effectively bring the city under full control of mainland China.
  • The new law would ban seditious activities that target mainland Chinese rule, as well as punish external interference in Hong Kong affairs. This will lead to the revival of the protests.

Source: IE

MGNREGA and annual work limit

GS-III : Economic Issues Unemployment

MGNREGA and annual work limit



The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, earlier known as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was passed on 7th September 2005 to augment employment generation and social security in India. It covers all districts of India except the ones with 100% urban population.

Key objectives:

  1. Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
  2. Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening the livelihood base of rural poor.
  3. Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
  4. Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
  5. Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.

The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:

  1. Must be Citizen of India to seek NREGA benefits.
  2. Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
  3. The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
  4. Applicant must volunteer for unskilled labour.

Key facts related to the scheme:

  1. The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
  2. Individual beneficiary oriented works can be taken up on the cards of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small or marginal farmers or beneficiaries of land reforms or beneficiaries under the Indira Awaas Yojana of the Government of India.
  3. Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
  4. Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
  5. Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
  6. The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
  7. It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

Role of Gram Sabha:

  1. It determines the order of priority of works in the meetings of the Gram Sabha keeping in view potential of the local area, its needs, local resources.
  2. Monitor the execution of works within the GP.

Roles of Gram Panchayat:

  1. Receiving applications for registration
  2. Verifying registration applications
  3. Registering households
  4. Issuing Job Cards (JCs)
  5. Receiving applications for work
  6. Issuing dated receipts for these applications for work
  7. Allotting work within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought in the case of an advance application.
  8. Identification and planning of works, developing shelf of projects including determination of the order of their priority.

Responsibilities of State Government in MGNREGA:

  1. Frame Rules on matters pertaining to State responsibilities under Section 32 of the Act ii) Develop and notify the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for the State.
  2. Set up the State Employment Guarantee Council (SEGC).
  3. Set up a State level MGNREGA implementation agency/ mission with adequate number of high calibre professionals.
  4. Set up a State level MGNREGA social audit agency/directorate with adequate number of people with knowledge on MGNREGA processes and demonstrated commitment to social audit.
  5. Establish and operate a State Employment Guarantee Fund (SEGF).


According to the central scheme database of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA), at least 1.4 lakh poor rural households have completed their quota of 100 days of work for the first three months of the year. Therefore, they will not be eligible for further benefits under the rural employment guarantee scheme for the rest of the year.

Related Data:

  • Overall, 23 lakh households have already completed 60 days of work.
  • Another seven lakh households have completed 80 days and are on the verge of running out of work.
  • With almost 60,000 households which have completed 100 days of work, Chhattisgarh has the highest rate among States, followed by Andhra Pradesh with almost 24,500 households in this category.
  • However, Andhra Pradesh maintains its own database showing that 8.6% of all beneficiary households in the State have already completed 100 days of work.

Related Issues:

  • Impact of Covid-19 pandemic: Due to Covid-19, the nationwide lockdown has resulted in thousands of unemployed migrant workers returning to their villages and now dependent on MGNREGA wages.
  • Increase in Demand for Work: The demand for MGNREGA work almost doubled in June as there is no other work available for many people.
  • Construction sector, which usually absorbs a large number of workers, has also collapsed.
  • Monsoon Season: In many areas, monsoon is the hungry season and many people are desperate for work and dependent on MGNREGA wages.
  • It is also expected that in December the situation would be worse especially for women, elderly and disabled and tribals when agriculture work is over and there will be no work from MGNREGA.


  • Expansion of the Scheme: The MGNREGA scheme contains a provision for an expansion of the scheme to allow for 150 days of work per household for districts affected by drought or other natural disaster.
  • Given that Covid-19 was declared a national disaster, this provision may be implemented immediately across the country.
  • Change in limit: The limit should be imposed per adult individual rather than per household.
  • Increase in Wage: There is a demand for an increase to 200 days per individual at a daily wage rate of ?600. The current wage rate of Rs. 200 per day does not even match up to minimum wage rates in most States.
  • Farming: Getting employment from the Agriculture and farms is an option which can be provided to the migrants.Eg. Migrants workers being deployed in the Litchi farms of Bihar.

Government Initiatives: It was announced in March that the workers under the MGNREGA would get a hike of Rs. 2000 each on an average. Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was started to provide employment to migrant labourers who returned home during the lockdown. The scheme covers six states — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha. It has as a provision to grant 125 days of employment to migrants.


Gram panchayats need to be provided with adequate resources, powers, and responsibilities to sanction works, provide work on demand, and authorise wage payments to tackle the crisis of the migrant workers. MGNREGA has come to the nation’s aid in combating growing poverty. Even programmes like Swacchh Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana are being merged to leverage its utility, reach and value.

Therefore, it needs an urgent extension for those who have already completed the work limits. Initiatives must be taken to impart skills in the workers so that they can take alternative livelihoods during such situations.

Source: TH

Indian Railways & Renewable Energy


Indian Railways & Renewable Energy


The Indian Railways has decided to be self-reliant for its energy needs by utilizing its vacant lands for Renewable Energy (RE) projects. It will utilize solar energy for meeting its traction (action of drawing or pulling something over a surface) power requirements.


  • In January 2020, it was announced that the entire network of the Indian Railways will run on electricity by 2024 and become a net-zero emission network by 2030.
  • Indian Railways is adopting an innovative concept of installation of solar projects along operational railway lines. This will help in:
    Preventing encroachment.

Enhancing the speed and safety of trains.

Reduction of infrastructure costs due to direct injection of solar power into the traction network.

  • Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) is working continuously to further proliferate the use of solar energy on mega-scale.
  • With these mega initiatives, Indian Railways is leading India’s fight against climate challenge and is taking significant steps towards meeting its ambitious goal of being a net-zero carbon emissions organisation and meeting India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) targets.
  • This would also help in making Indian Railways a complete ‘Green mode’ of transportation and ‘Atmanirbhar (energy self-sufficient transport organisation)’.


  • Energy procurement from various solar projects like 3 MWp solar plant set up at Modern Coach Factory (MCF) Raebareli (Uttar Pradesh).
  • About 100 MWp rooftop solar systems on various stations and buildings of Railways.
  • A project of 1.7 MWp near Bina Traction Sub Station, Bina (Madhya Pradesh) connected directly to Overhead Traction System (OTS) will be commissioned shortly.
    This is the first of its kind project in the world authorised by Indian Railways in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). BHEL is one of the seven Maharatna companies. The project was undertaken by BHEL under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
  • It involves the adoption of innovative technology for converting Direct Current (DC) to single-phase Alternating Current (AC) for feeding directly to Railway’s overhead traction system.
  • It can produce approximately 25 lakh units of energy annually and will save around Rs. 1.37 crore for Railways every year.
  • Overhead Traction System
  • Traction system causes the propulsion of a vehicle in which tractive or driving force is obtained from various devices such as diesel engine drives, steam engine drives, electric motors, etc.
  • When this power supply is drawn from an overhead line system, it is called an Overhead Traction System.

Railway Energy Management Company Limited

  • It was incorporated on 16th August 2013 under the Companies Act 1956 as a joint venture company of Ministry of Railways.
  • Objective: To tap the business potential in the energy sector including green energy, power trading etc. by setting up renewable energy wind power projects, etc.

Source: PIB

New National Logistics Law

GS-III : Economic Issues Logistic

New National Logistics Law

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is considering replacing the Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993 (MMTG) with a National Logistics Efficiency and Advancement Predictability and Safety Act (NLEAPS). MMTG provides for the regulation of multimodal transportation of goods from any place in India to any place outside India.

Multimodal transportation refers to a combination of more than one mode of movement, such as rail, road or sea, for end-to-end delivery of goods. It was introduced to facilitate the exporters and give them a sense of security in transporting their goods.

  • Aim:
    NLEAPS aims to streamline the logistics ecosystem in the country, with a view to promote growth of the sector.
  • Modernise and formalise the logistics services and promote digitisation in the sector, which is key for the smooth movement of goods.
  • To reduce the logistics cost from the present 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to less than 10% of GDP.

Reason Behind New Law:

  • The new law tends to define various participants of the logistics sector and create a light regulatory ecosystem.
  • There is no clear definition of the logistics sector in the MMTG.
  • The logistics sector with a market size of USD 160 billion is complex, with more than 20 government agencies, 40 partnering agencies, 37 export promotion councils, 500 certifications and 10,000 commodities.

Effective implementation of the Act would help provide an impetus to trade, enhance export competitiveness, and improve India’s ranking in the Logistics Performance Index and Ease of Doing Business.

Logistics Performance Index (PT)

The Logistics Performance Index (LPI), developed by the World Bank Group, is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.

The logistics performance (LPI) is the weighted average of the country's scores on the six key dimensions:

    • Efficiency of the clearance process (i.e., speed, simplicity and predictability of formalities) by border control agencies, including customs.
    • Quality of trade and transport related infrastructure (e.g., ports, railroads, roads, information technology).
    • Ease of arranging competitively priced shipments.
    • Competence and quality of logistics services (e.g., transport operators, customs brokers).
    • Ability to track and trace consignments.
    • Timeliness of shipments in reaching destinations within the scheduled or expected delivery time.

**India ranked 44th on the LPI in 2018.

Source: PIB

Performance Assessment of Highways

GS-III : Economic Issues Infrastructure

Performance Assessment of Highways


Recently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to undertake performance assessment and ranking of the highways in the country. The assessment activity majorly intended to improve the quality of roads in the country.

Parameters for Assessment:

  • The criteria for the assessment have been broadly categorised in three main heads namely, Highway Efficiency (45%), Highway Safety (35%) and User Services (20%).
  • Additionally, important parameters like operating speed, time taken at toll plaza, road signages, road markings, accident rate,illumination, availability of Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), functionality of structures, cleanliness, plantation, wayside amenities and customer satisfaction will also be considered while conducting the assessment.
  • Apart from overall ranking of all the corridors, separate ranking for Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) and Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) projects will also be done.
  • BOT is a conventional PPP model in which a private partner is responsible to design, build, operate (during the contracted period) and transfer back the facility to the public sector.
  • In the case of HAM, the central government bears 40% of the project cost and the remaining amount is arranged by the developer.
  • Under the EPC model, the cost is completely borne by the government. The ranking of the corridors will be dynamic and the operators will get the opportunity to improve upon their ranking by improving the services on that corridor.


  • The score obtained by each Corridor in each of the parameters will provide feedback and corrective recourse for higher standards of operation, better safety and user experience to improve existing highways.
  • It will also help in identifying and filling gaps of design, standards, practices, guidelines and contract agreements for other NHAI projects.
  • The ranking for BOT, HAM and EPC projects is expected to bring out operational efficiency and ensure high quality maintenance of roads.
  • On the basis of outcome of the assessment, the authority will undertake a comprehensive analysis and decide on the level of intervention required to enhance the overall service quality.

National Highway Authority of India

  • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was set up under NHAI Act, 1988.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • It has been entrusted with the National Highways Development Project, along with other minor projects for development, maintenance and management. National Highways Development Project (NHDP) is a project to upgrade, rehabilitate and widen major highways in India to a higher standard. The project was started in 1998.
  • NHAI maintains the National Highways network to global standards and cost effective manner and promotes economic well being and quality of life of the people.


National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) was launched in 1998 with the objective of developing roads of international standards which facilitate smooth flow of traffic. It envisages creation of roads with enhanced safety features, better riding surface, grade separator and other salient features. National Highways constitute only 2% of the total road length in the country but carry 40% of the total traffic.

NHDP is being implemented by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), an organisation under the aegis of Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways. The programme is being implemented in the following seven phases;

  • Phase I: Phase I consists of Golden Quadrilateral network comprising a total length of 5,846 km which connects the four major cities of Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai & Kolkata and 981 km of North-South and East-West corridor .NS-EW corridor connects Srinagar in the north to Kanyakumari in the south and Silchar in the east to Porbandar in the west. Phase I also includes improving connectivity to ports.
  • Phase II: Phase II covers 6,161 km of the NS-EW corridor (The total NS-EW corridor consists of 7,142 km) and 486 km of other NHs.
  • Phase III: Four-laning of 12,109 km of high density national highways connecting state capitals and places of economic, commercial and tourist importance.
  • Phase IV: Upgradation of 20,000 km of single-lane roads to two-lane standards with paved shoulders.
  • Phase V: Six-laning of 6,500 km of four-laned highways.
  • Phase VI: Construction of 1,000 km of expressways connecting major commercial and industrial townships.
  • Phase VII: Construction of ring roads, by-passes, underpasses, flyovers, etc. comprising 700 km of road network.

Source: PIB

World Bank's Support to India

GS-III : Economic Issues MSME

World Bank's Support to India


World Bank

  • With 189 member countries, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership which consists of five development institutions.
  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) provides loans, credits, and grants.
  • International Development Association (IDA) provides low- or no-interest loans to low-income countries.
  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC) provides investment, advice, and asset management to companies and governments.
  • The Multilateral Guarantee Agency (MIGA) insures lenders and investors against political risk such as war.
  • The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) settles investment-disputes between investors and countries. India is not a member of ICSID.


Recently, the World Bank (WB) and the Government of India has signed the USD 750 million agreement for an Emergency Response Programme for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Emergency Response Programmes are dedicated towards enhancing the resilience of communities and livelihoods in order to address fragility, poverty and vulnerability to conflict and disaster.

Financial Support:

  • The USD 750 million loans which is being granted from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD - a part of the WB group), has a maturity of 19 years including a 5-year grace period.
  • The WB groups and its private sector arm – the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will support the government’s initiatives to protect the MSME sector which is severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • The covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the MSME sector leading to loss of livelihoods and employment.
  • Earlier, the World Bank committed to supporting India’s emergency Covid-19 response, including the new MSME project with USD 2.75 billion.
    The first USD 1 billion emergency support was announced in April 2020 for immediate support to India’s health sector.
  • Another USD 1 billion projects was approved in May to increase cash transfers and food benefits to the poor and vulnerable, including a more consolidated delivery platform – accessible to both rural and urban populations.


  • Unlocking Liquidity: Considering the current uncertainties, lenders remain concerned about borrowers’ ability to repay – resulting in a limited flow of credit.
  • Therefore, the program will support the government's efforts to channel liquidity to the MSME sector by de-risking lending from banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to MSMEs through a range of instruments, including credit guarantees.
  • Strengthening NBFCs and SFBs: The programme will address the urgent and varied needs of the MSMEs by improving the funding capacity of key market-oriented channels of credit, such as the NBFCs and Small Finance Bank (SFBs). This will support the government's refinance facility for NBFCs. In parallel, the IFC would provide direct support to SFBs through loans and equity.
  • Enabling Financial Innovations: Currently, only about 8% of MSMEs are served by formal credit channels. The program will incentivize and mainstream the use of fintech and digital financial services in MSME lending and payments.

Way forward

The MSME sector is central to India’s growth and job creation and will be key to the pace of India’s economic recovery, post-Covid-19. The financial support by the World Bank is a part of reforms that are needed to propel the MSME sector over time. The Indian government has announced Rs.3-lakh crore collateral-free assistance or sovereign credit guarantee under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

However, the immediate need is to ensure that the liquidity infused into the system by the government is accessed by MSMEs. Equally important is to strengthen the overall financing ecosystem for MSMEs.

Source: PIB

National Career Service

GS-III : Economic Issues Employment

National Career Service (PT)

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has started offering free online career skills training through its National Career Service (NCS) project for job-seekers registered with it.

  • The training will assist the learners in enhancing personality development with modules on corporate etiquette, improving interpersonal skills, making impactful presentations including other necessary soft skills demanded by the industry today.
  • The training module is available in Hindi and English on the NCS portal.
  • The course has been launched in partnership with TCSiON ( a unit of Tata Consultancy Services).


    • It is a Five Year Mission Mode Project launched by the Prime Minister on 20th July 2015.
    • It is within the umbrella of the e-governance plan.
    • It is a one-stop solution that provides a wide array of employment and career-related services to the citizens of India.

Implemented By: Directorate General of Employment, Ministry of Labour & Employment.

Three Pillars: The NCS project reaches out to the people of this country through its three essential pillars i.e.

    • a well-designed ICT based portal which is an NCS portal,
    • Country-wide set up of Model Career Centers and
    • Interlinkage with all the states through employment exchanges.
  • Services Provided:
    • The digital centralized portal provides a wide range of career-related services including job search, job matching, rich career content, career counselling, information on Job Fairs, services of local service providers like drivers, plumbers, etc. for households and various other services.
    • This portal also facilitates the registration of Job Seekers, Employers, Skill Providers, Career Counsellors, Local Service Providers (LSPs), Career Centers, Placement Organisations, Households (for availing the services of the LSP’s) and Government Department.
  • Registration on the Portal:
    • NCS does not charge any fees for registration on the portal and its services.
    • About 1 crore job seekers and 54,000 employers are registered on the portal.

Source: PIB

SATAT Initiative

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Biodiversity & Environment

SATAT Initiative

Context: Indian Oil, NTPC and SDMC have signed an MoU to develop a waste-to-energy facility at Delhi's Okhla landfill site using gasification technology.

About the SATAT initiative:

  • The initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative To Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
  • Compressed Bio-Gas plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs.

How it work?

  • CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative.
  • The entrepreneurs would be able to separately market the other by-products from these plants, including bio-manure, carbon dioxide, etc., to enhance returns on investment.
  • This initiative is expected to generate direct employment for 75,000 people and produce 50 million tonnes of bio-manure for crops.


  • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution.
  • The additional revenue source for farmers. 3. Boost entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment.
  • Support national commitments in achieving climate change goals.
  • Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil.
  • Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations.

Source: PIB

Ambarnaya river

GS-I : Human Geography Current mapping upsc

Ambarnaya river

  • It is located in the Arctic Ocean near Siberia

  • The Ambarnaya River, into which the oil has been discharged, is part of a network that flows into the environmentally sensitive Arctic Ocean.
  • The state-owned TASS news agency reported that the emergency measures were announced within Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region, located in the vast and sparsely populated Siberian peninsula.

How did the leak happen?

  • The thermoelectric power plant at Norilsk is built on permafrost, which has weakened over the years owing to climate change.
  • The power plant is located near the Region’s Norilsk city, around 3000 km northeast of Moscow.
  • This caused the pillars that supported the plant’s fuel tank to sink.
  • Around 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil was released into the Ambarnaya river, which has since drifted 12 km on its surface.

Source: TH


GS-I : Art and Culture Religion


  • Donyi-Polo (also Donyi-Poloism) is the designation given to the indigenous religion, of animistic and shamanic type, of the Tani and other Tibeto-Burman peoples of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in North-eastern India.
  • The name "Donyi-Polo" means "Sun-Moon", and was chosen for the religion in the process of its revitalisation and institutionalisation started in the 1970s in response to inroads made by Christianity and the possibility of absorption into Hinduism.

Source: TH

Nagarahole National Park: Man Animal Conflict


Nagarahole National Park: Man Animal Conflict

Recently, the Karnataka Forest Department has decided to put in place a traffic monitoring mechanism along the roads adjacent to Nagarahole National Park.

Time-stamped Card System: The forest department will introduce a time-stamped card system for vehicles passing through the roads, adjacent to Nagarahole National Park, which have high traffic density 24x7.

  • It is also known as ‘Rajiv Gandhi National Park.
  • It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and was upgraded into a national park in 1988. It was declared as the 37th Tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1999.
  • The Park lies in the Western Ghats and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
  • The Nagarahole River flows through the park, which joins the Kabini River which also is a boundary between Nagarahole and Bandipur National Park.
  • Flora: The vegetation consists mainly of moist deciduous forests with predominating trees of teak and rosewood.
  • Fauna: Asian elephants, chital (spotted deer), Indian mouse deer, gaur, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, grey langur, bonnet macaque, Asian wild dog, leopard, tiger, sloth bear among others.

Source: TH

Kaziranga National Park: Floods


Kaziranga National Park: Floods

According to Kaziranga National Park authorities around 80% of its area has been inundated due to floods. Location: It is located in the State of Assam and covers 42,996 Hectares (ha). It is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain over Mikir and Rengama hills.

It was declared a National Park in 1974. It has been declared a tiger reserve since 2006. It has a total tiger reserve area of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.

International Status: It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. It is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

Species Found: It is the home of the world's most one-horned rhinos. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the highest density of one-horned rhinos in the world and the second highest number of Rhinos in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.

Much of the focus of conservation efforts in Kaziranga is focused on the 'big four' species— Rhino, Elephant, Royal Bengal tiger and Asiatic water buffalo. The 2018 census yielded 2,413 rhinos and approximately 1,100 elephants.

As per the figures of tiger census conducted in 2014, Kaziranga had an estimated 103 tigers, the third highest population in India after Jim Corbett National Park (215) in Uttarakhand and Bandipur National Park (120) in Karnataka. Kaziranga is also home to 9 of the 14 species of primates found in the Indian subcontinent.

The National Highway 37 passes through the park area.

The park also has more than 250 seasonal water bodies, besides the Diphlu River running through it.

Other national parks in Assam are:

    • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park,
    • Manas National Park,
    • Nameri National Park,
    • Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park.

Source: PIB

Expat Quota Bill Approved in Kuwait

GS-II : International Relations

Expat Quota Bill Approved in Kuwait

Recently, the legal and legislative committee of Kuwait’s National Assembly approved the draft ex-pat (expatriate) quota bill. According to the bill, Indians should not exceed 15% of the population and if it is enacted into law, over 8 lakh Indians could be forced out of Kuwait. Kuwait is a country located in the Persian Gulf region.

  • The draft expat quota bill has been deemed constitutional and will be transferred to the respective committee so that a comprehensive plan is created.
  • Lawmakers and government officials including the Prime Minister of Kuwait have been calling to reduce the number of ex-pats from 70% to 30% of the population.
  • The draft law will impose a cap on the number of ex-pats and gradually reduce them by almost 5% on a yearly basis.

Data Analysis:

  • In Kuwait, expats account for 3 million out of the total population of 4.3 million.
  • Indians constitute the largest expat community in Kuwait, totalling 1.45 million.
  • About 28,000 Indians work in various government jobs like nurses, engineers in national oil companies and as scientists.
  • Majority of Indians (around 5 lakh) work in the private sector.
  • There are about 1.16 lakh dependents out of which about 60,000 are students studying in various Indian schools in the country.

India’s Perspective

  • The Indian community in Kuwait has always played an important factor in bilateral ties.
  • Indians are present in all segments of society in Kuwait and are largely considered disciplined, hardworking and law-abiding.
  • Kuwait is a top source of remittances for India. In 2018, India received nearly USD 4.8 billion from Kuwait as remittances.
  • The Indian embassy has been closely following developments related to the proposed legislation. However, India has so far not made any statement on the issue.

Source: IE

G4 Virus


G4 Virus


Recently, scientists have identified a new strain of Swine Flu (H1N1) virus namely, G4 EA H1N1. It has started infecting Chinese pigs and also has the potential of triggering a pandemic.

Risk Involved:

G4 EA H1N (also known as G4) replicates efficiently in human airway paths and so far, has infected a few people without actually making them ill.

Thus, greater vigilance in monitoring people is needed because humans have no inbuilt immunity against this new strain of the virus, much like SARS-CoV-2.

Regional Disease Surveillance:

  • Most countries have their own disease surveillance mechanisms in place to monitor and track emerging diseases. It helps to evaluate the risk of a particular pathogen on the community, based on the cases occurring, and warn of potential risks from that pathogen.
  • India has the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) to strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory-based and IT-enabled disease surveillance systems for epidemic-prone diseases to monitor disease trends.
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in assistance from the World Bank, in 2004.
  • Closely studying a pathogen yield valuable information on the transmission, and behaviour of the organism.

Global Level Surveillance:

  • Countrywise alerts need to be shared on the global network so that other nations at equal risk might be warned before the outbreak hits their shores.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN)(pt) is one of the initiatives which makes scientific predictions based on global data about diseases.
  • GOARN is a global technical partnership aimed to engage the resources of technical agencies beyond the United Nations for rapid identification, confirmation and response to public health emergencies of international importance.
  • It currently comprises over 250 technical institutions and networks (and their members) across the globe including medical and surveillance initiatives, regional technical networks, networks of laboratories, United Nations organizations (e.g. UNICEF, UNHCR), etc.
  • GOARN’s regional office for South East Asia Region is located in New Delhi, India.

The main objective of the network is to provide technical support to the WHO Member States experiencing a human health emergency due to various threats including disease outbreaks, food safety, chemical toxins, zoonosis, natural and manmade disasters etc.

Source: IE

Mahajobs Portal

GS-III : Economic Issues Employment

Mahajobs Portal

The Maharashtra Government has launched a portal named ‘Mahajobs’ for job seekers and employers, owing to the economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aim: To make local manpower available to companies and employment opportunities to workers.


The job seekers and providers/industrial units can register themselves on the Portal. The Portal has identified 17 sectors including engineering, logistics, and chemicals, and provides for selecting jobs across 950 trades mainly for local youth who would need to produce domicile certificates.

There would be regular reviews of the jobs provided. There would be a study on the kind of problems faced by employers as well as youth seeking employment.

Developed by: Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).

Corresponding Initiative at the National Level: National Career Service Project, implemented by the Ministry of Labour & Employment, works towards bridging the gap between job seekers and employers.

Source: TH

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