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23 May, 2020

54 Min Read

Pili Yesa

GS-I : Art and Culture Festivals

Pili Yesa

  • Pili Yesa in Tulu "Tiger Masque" is a folk dance unique in coastal Karnataka.
  • Huli Vesha or Pili Yesais a folk dance famous in coastal Karnataka performed during Navratri to honour the Goddess Durga whose favoured animal is the tiger.
  • It was originated in Udupi District of Karnataka and initially performed during the Krishna Janmashtami/Mosarukudike and Ganesha Chaturthi at Mangalore, Udupi, Moodabidri, Kundapur and many other places in Tulu Nadu.
  • There are four types of huli vesha. The various colours used in it are white, orange, yellow and black. These colours are painted all over the body of the artiste along with the stripes.
  • Typically, young males form troops of five to ten members or more, which will have three to five males painted and costumed to look like tigers, and a band called thaase in Tulu with two or three drummers.
  • During Navratri, these troops will be roaming the streets of their towns, with the accompanying drum beats of their bands. They stop at homes and businesses or on the roadsides to perform for about ten minutes after which they collect some money from the people who have observed their performance.

Source: PIB

US pull out of Open Skies treaty

GS-II : International Relations

US pull out of Open Skies treaty

Part of: GS-II- International Treaties and Convections (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

The United States announced its intention to withdraw from the 35-nation Open Skies treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, the Trump administration's latest move to pull the country out of a major global treaty.

Important Points

  • The administration said Russia has repeatedly violated the pact's terms. Senior officials said the pullout will formally take place in six months, based on the treaty's withdrawal terms.
  • NATO allies and other countries such as Ukraine have pressed Washington to remain in the treaty, and Trump's decision could aggravate tensions within the alliance.
  • The administration also pulled the United States out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia last year


The Open Skies treaty, proposed by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002. The idea is to let member nations make surveillance flights over each other's countries to build trust. It allows each state-party to carry out short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the others' territories to collect data on military forces and activities.

The Open Skies Treaty is part of a broad web of arms control agreements meant to ensure stability and predictability on the European continent and reduce the risk of misunderstandings that could spiral into conflict by ensuring transparency.

Note: India is not a member of this treaty.

Reason of withdrawal

  • The U.S officials cited a years-long effort by Russia to violate the terms, such as by restricting U.S. overflights of Russia neighbour Georgia and its military enclave in Kaliningrad.
  • In addition, they said Russia has been using its own overflights of American and European territory to identify critical U.S. infrastructure for potential attack in a time of war.

Some experts worry that a U.S. exit from the treaty, which will halt Russian overflights of the United States, could prompt Moscow's withdrawal, which would end overflights of Russia by the remaining members, weakening European security at a time that Russian-backed separatists are holding parts of Ukraine and Georgia.
Mr Trump’s decision deepens doubts about whether Washington will seek to extend the 2010 New START accord, which imposes the last remaining limits on U.S. and Russian deployments of strategic nuclear arms to no more than 1,550 each. It expires in February.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly called for China to join the United States and Russia in talks on an arms control accord to replace New START. China, estimated to have about 300 nuclear weapons, has repeatedly rejected Mr. Trump's proposal.

The 35 state parties to the Open Skies treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Hindu analysis: USA withdraw from essential treaties

On August 2 2019, the US formally quits the US-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Concluded in 1987, it had obliged the two countries to eliminate all ground-based missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 km, an objective achieved by 1991.

What is about to change?

  • At risk is the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed in 2010 and due to lapse in February 2021.
  • It has a provision for a 5-year extension but Mr. Trump has labelled it a bad deal negotiated by the Barack Obama administration.
  • In May 2019, Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) declared that Russia had not adhered with the provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
  • The provision is the nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the CTBT-imposed zero-yield standard.
  • The CTBT has not entered into force but the US is a signatory and Russia has signed and ratified it.
  • Taken together, these ominous pointers indicate the beginning of a new nuclear arms race.

What happened in the 1980s?

  • The decade of the 1980s saw heightened Cold War tensions.
  • Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan (1979) provided the US an opportunity to fund a jihad with the help of Pakistan.
  • President Ronald Reagan called the USSR an evil empire and launched his space war initiative.
  • Soviet deployments in Europe of SS-20 missiles were matched by the US with Pershing II and cruise missiles.

What are the Cold War talks about?

  • In 1985, the two countries entered into arms control negotiations on three tracks. They are,
    1. Strategic weapons with ranges of over 5,500 km, leading to the START agreement in 199
    2. Intermediate-range missiles, of particular concern to the Europeans, and this led to the INF Treaty in 1987.
    3. Nuclear and Space Talks was intended to address Soviet concerns regarding the US’s Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) but this did not yield any concrete outcome.

What was the effect of INF Treaty?

  • Under the INF Treaty, no nuclear warheads were dismantled and similar range air-launched and sea-launched missiles were not constrained.
  • Since it was a bilateral agreement, the treaty did not restrict other countries, but this hardly mattered as it was an age of bipolarity and the US-USSR nuclear equation was the only one that counted.
  • By 1991, the INF had been implemented. The USSR destroyed a total of 1,846 missiles and the US did the same with 846 missiles.
  • Associated production facilities were also closed down.
  • In keeping with Reagan’s motto of ‘trust but verify’, the INF Treaty was the first pact to include intensive verification measures.
  • With the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the USSR in end-1991, the arms race was over.
  • The US was investing in missile defence and conventional global precision strike capabilities to expand its technological lead.
  • Some of these were blurring the nuclear-conventional divide.

What happened when US withdrew from ABM?

  • In 2001, US announced its unilateral withdrawal from the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972. The INF Treaty had been under threat for some time.
  • As Russia began production, formal allegations of violation of the INF Treaty were raised by the Obama administration in 2014.
  • Russia believes that nuclear stability began getting upset since the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.
  • As the US used its technological lead to gain advantage, Russia became more dependent on its offensive nuclear arsenal and began its modernisation and diversification.
  • The US 2017 National Security Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review says,
    1. Russia as a ‘disruptive power’ pushing for a re-ordering of security and economic structures in Europe and West Asia in its favour.
    2. For the first time, China was identified as a strategic competitor in the Indo-Pacific region in the near-term and displacement of the US to achieve global pre-eminence in the future.
  • With the geopolitical shift to the Indo-Pacific, the US believes that the INF Treaty was putting it at a disadvantage compared to China which is rapidly modernising and currently has 95% of its ballistic and cruise missile inventory in the INF range.
  • Against this political backdrop, the demise of the agreement was a foregone conclusion.

Is there any future for New START?

  • New START 2011 was a successor to the START framework 1991, limited both sides to 700 strategic launchers and 1,550 operational warheads.
  • It lapses in February 2021 unless extended for a 5-year period.
  • Mr. Trump has indicated that a decision on the agreement will be taken in January 2021, after the 2020 election.
  • Given his dislike for it, if he is re-elected, it is clear that the New START will also meet the fate of the INF Treaty.
  • This means that, for the first time since 1972, when the Strategic Arms Limitation Act (SALT) I concluded, strategic arsenals from the US and Russia will not be constrained by any arms control agreement.

Why is the testing of low-yield weapon done?

  • The 2018 NPR envisaged development of new nuclear weapons, including low-yield weapons.
  • The Nevada test site (silent since 1992) is being readied to resume testing with a six-month notice.
  • DIA’s director pointed fingers at Russian violations and also declared that China’s preparing to operate its test site year-round in a development that speaks directly to China’s goals for its nuclear force.
  • He suggested that China can’t achieve such progress without activities inconsistent with the CTBT.
  • Since the CTBT requires ratification by US, China, Iran, Israel and Egypt and adherence by India, Pakistan and North Korea, it is unlikely to ever enter into force.
  • Continuation of testing by the US would effectively ensure its demise. A new nuclear arms race could just be the beginning.
  • Unlike the bipolar equation of the Cold War, this time it will be complicated because of multiple countries being involved.
  • Technological changes are bringing cyber and space domains into contention.
  • All these raise the risks of escalation and could even strain the most important achievement of nuclear arms control — the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons that has stood since 1945.

Source: Arms control

“Sweet Revolution” as a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

“Sweet Revolution” as a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

Government is promoting Beekeeping as part of its aim to double farmers’ income.

The Government has allocated Rs.500 crore towards Beekeeping under the Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan.

India is among the world’s top five honey producers. Compared to 2005-06 honey production has risen by 242% and exports shot by 265%.

Beekeeping will be an important factor in achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2024.

National Bee Board has created four modules to impart training as part of the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) and 30 lakh farmers have been trained in beekeeping. They are also being financially supported by the Government.

The Minister said the Government is implementing the recommendations of the Committee (Bibek Debroy) to promote beekeeping.

Government has launched ‘Honey Mission’ as part of ‘Sweet Revolution’ which has four components. Even small and marginal farmers can adopt beekeeping since investment is low and returns high.

Issues before beekeepers

  1. promotion of scientific beekeeping,
  2. quality assurance,
  3. minimum support price,
  4. transport of bee colonies,
  5. processing, packaging, branding, testing, organic certification of honey and different beehive products were discussed.

Successful beekeepers and entrepreneurs from Kashmir, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh shared their experiences and suggested ways forward to bring about the Sweet Revolution.

Beekeeping Development Committee

Bibek Debroy led beekeeping development committee under the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has made recommendations to enhance the contribution of the beekeeping sector for achieving the target of doubling of farmer incomes by 2022.

The committee was set up to identify ways of advancing beekeeping in India that can help in improving:

  • Agricultural productivity.
  • Enhancing employment generation.
  • Augmenting nutritional security.
  • Sustaining biodiversity.

Key Recommendations

  • Institutionalize the National Bee Board and rename it as the Honey and Pollinators Board of India under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare as it will help in advancing beekeeping through multiple mechanisms such as:
  • Setting up of new integrated bee development centers and strengthening the existing ones.
  • Creating a honey price stabilization fund.
  • Collection of data on important aspects of apiculture.
  • Simplifying procedures and specify clear standards for ease of exporting honey and other bee products.
  • Beekeeping should not be restricted to honey and wax only instead marketing of bee products such as pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom can contribute to the income of Indian farmers.
  • Recognize honeybees as inputs to agriculture and consider landless beekeepers as farmers.
  • Training and development of beekeepers should be provided by state governments.
  • National and regional infrastructure should be developed for storage, processing, and marketing of honey and other bee products.
  • Plantation of bee-friendly flora at appropriate places and engaging women self-help groups in managing such plantations.
  • Recognition of apiculture as a subject for advanced research under the aegis of Indian Council for Agricultural Research.

Honey Bee Industry in India

  • As per the Food and Agricultural Organization database, Indian ranked eighth in 2017-18 in the world in terms of honey production while China stood first.
  • India has a potential of about 200 million bee colonies as against 3.4 million bee colonies today.
  • Increasing the number of bee colonies will not only increase the production of bee-related products but will boost overall agricultural and horticultural productivity.

National Bee Board (NBB)

  • Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) registered National Bee Board as a society under the societies registration Act, 1860 in 2000.
  • National Bee Board (NBB)was reconstituted (with the secretary as chairman) in June 2006.
  • The main objective of the National Bee Board (NBB) is the overall development of beekeeping by promoting scientific beekeeping in India to increase the productivity of crops through pollination and increase the honey production for increasing the income of the Beekeepers/ Farmers.
  • Presently NBB is implementing National horticulture mission (NHM) and Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan State (HMNEM).

Source: PIB

RBI slashes the lending rates

GS-III : Economic Issues RBI

RBI slashes the lending rates


The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the six-member Monetary Policy Committee voted 5:1 in favour of 40 bps cut in interest rate. The RBI Governor said, measures announced can be divided into four categories-to improve functioning of markets, to support exports and imports, to ease financial stress by giving relief on debt servicing and better access to working capital and to ease financial constraints faced by State Governments.

Important Points

  • Speaking about impact of COVID-19, RBI GOVERNOR said , the GDP growth in 2020-21 goes in negative territory.
  • The headline inflation may remain firm in first half of year; ease in the second half, falling below 4 per cent in Q3/Q4 of financial year 20-21.
  • Granting relief to people the RBI extended moratorium on loan repayments by three more months in view of COVID-19 starting from 1st of June to 31st of August, 2020.
  • The RBI has announced to extend 15,000 crore rupee line of credit to EXIM Bank.
  • It has relaxed rules governing withdrawal from Consolidated Sinking Fund (CSF) while at the same time, ensuring depletion of fund balance is done prudently.
  • It will enable states to meet about 45 per cent of redemption of their market borrowings which are due in 2020-21.

The RBI Governor said private consumption has seen biggest blow due to COVID-19 outbreak, following investment demand has halted big time impacting the government revenues severely due to slowdown in economic activity. The inflation outlook is highly uncertain with elevated level of inflation in pulses being worrisome and therefore requires review of import duties. The Group Exposure Limit of banks is being increased from 25 to 30 per cent of eligible capital base for enabling the corporates to meet their funding requirements from banks. The increased limit will be applicable up to 30th June, 2021.

Monetary Policy Committee

Usually, the MPC meets six times a year. But, in FY20, it had an extra meeting in view of the pandemic and the urgent need to assess the current and evolving macroeconomic situation.

About MPC:

The RBI has a government-constituted Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which is tasked with framing monetary policy using tools like the repo rate, reverse repo rate, bank rate, cash reserve ratio (CRR).

It has been instituted by the Central Government of India under Section 45ZB of the RBI Act that was amended in 1934.


The MPC is entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the different policy rates including MSF, Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate, and Liquidity Adjustment Facility.

Composition of MPC:

  1. The committee will have six members. Of the six members, the government will nominate three. No government official will be nominated to the MPC. (PT question)
  2. The other three members would be from the RBI with the governor being the ex-officio chairperson. Deputy governor of RBI in charge of the monetary policy will be a member, as also an executive director of the central bank.

Selection and term of members:

Selection: The government nominees to the MPC will be selected by a Search-cum-Selection Committee under Cabinet Secretary with RBI Governor and Economic Affairs Secretary and three experts in the field of economics or banking or finance or monetary policy as its members.

Term: Members of the MPC will be appointed for a period of four years and shall not be eligible for reappointment.

How decisions are made?

Decisions will be taken by majority vote with each member having a vote.

RBI governor’s role: The RBI Governor will chair the committee. The governor, however, will not enjoy a veto power to overrule the other panel members, but will have a casting vote in case of a tie.

What is RBI Monetary Policy?

The term ‘Monetary Policy’ is the Reserve Bank of India’s policy pertaining to the deployment of monetary resources under its control for the purpose of achieving GDP growth and lowering the inflation rate.

The Reserve Bank of India Act 1934 empowers the RBI to make the monetary policy.

What the Monetary Policy intends to achieve?

As per the suggestions made by Chakravarty Committee, aspects such as price stability, economic growth, equity, social justice, and encouraging the growth of new financial enterprises are some crucial roles connected to the monetary policy of India.

  1. While the Government of India tries to accelerate the GDP growth rate of India, the RBI keeps trying to bring down the rate of inflation within a sustainable limit.
  2. In order to achieve its main objectives, the Monetary Policy Committee determines the ideal policy interest rate that will help achieve the inflation target in front of the country.

Monetary Policy Instruments and how they are managed?

Monetary policy instruments are of two types namely qualitative instruments and quantitative instruments.

The list of quantitative instruments includes Open Market Operations, Bank Rate, Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate, Cash Reserve Ratio, Statutory Liquidity Ratio, Marginal standing facility and Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF).

Qualitative Instruments refer to direct action, change in the margin money and moral suasion.

Consolidated Sinking Fund and Guarantee Redemption Fund of State Governments

State Governments are maintaining the Consolidated Sinking Fund (CSF) and the Guarantee Redemption Funds (GRF) with the Reserve Bank as buffers for repayment of their liabilities. Currently, State Governments can avail of Special Drawing Facility (SDF) from the Reserve Bank against the collateral of the funds in CSF and GRF. The rate of interest charged is 100 bps below the Repo Rate at which Ways and Means Advances are extended to the State Governments. In order to further incentivise adequate maintenance of these funds by the State Governments and to encourage them to increase the corpus of these funds, it has been decided to lower the rate of interest on SDF from 100 bps below the Repo Rate to 200 bps below the Repo Rate.

What Is a Sinking Fund?

A sinking fund is a fund containing money set aside or saved to pay off a debt or bond. A company that issues debt will need to pay that debt off in the future, and the sinking fund helps to soften the hardship of a large outlay of revenue. A sinking fund is established so the company can contribute to the fund in the years leading up to the bond's maturity.

Source: TH

NTPC in pact with ONGC to set up Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy Business


NTPC in pact with ONGC to set up Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy Business

  • NTPC Ltd., the PSU under Ministry of Power and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), the PSU under Ministry of Petroleum &Natural Gas, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy business.
  • The MoU will enable both companies to accelerate their footprint in Renewable Energy.
  • As per the MoU, NTPC and ONGC will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India and overseas.
  • They shall also explore opportunities in the fields of sustainability, storage, E-mobility and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) compliant projects.

NTPC achievements in generation of Renewable Energy

  • NTPC presently has 920 MW of installed Renewable power projects in its portfolio and about 2300 MW of RE projects under construction.
  • With this tie-up, NTPC would accelerate its RE capacity addition program and also expand its footprint in offshore wind and overseas Renewable Energy projects.
  • This will help India's largest power generator achieve its ambitious target of 32 GW of Renewable Energy Projects by 2032.

ONGC achievements in generation of Renewable Energy

  • ONGC has a renewable portfolio of 176 MW comprising of 153 MW wind power and 23 MW of solar.
  • This development will enhance the presence of ONGC in the Renewable Power business and enable its ambition to add 10 GW of renewable power to its portfolio by 2040.

Source: PIB

RBI announces 9 measures for strengthening the Economy

GS-III : Economic Issues Banking

RBI announces nine additional measures for strengthening the Economy

Essay lines :"It is when the horizon is the darkest and human reason is beaten down to the ground that faith shines brightest and comes to our rescue."

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das drew hope and inspiration from the 1929 statement of the Father of the Nation, as he announced yet another set of nine measures to smoothen the flow of finance and preserve financial stability in the turbulent and uncertain times ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic

The RBI Governor stated that we must have faith in India’s resilience and capacity to overcome all odds.

Repo rate reduced by 40 basis points

  • The Governor has announced a reduction in major policy rates, in order to revive growth and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target. The repo rate has been reduced by 40 basis points from 4.4% to 4.0%.
  • The Marginal Standing Facility rate and the Bank rate have been reduced from 4.65% to 4.25%.
  • The reverse repo rate has been reduced from 3.75% to 3.35%.
  • The risks to inflation are likely to be short-lived, the Monetary Policy Committee believes that it is essential now to instil confidence and ease financial conditions further. This will facilitate the flow of funds at affordable rates and rekindle investment impulses.

Shri Das also announced a set of regulatory and developmental measures which he said complement the reduction in the policy rate and also strengthen each other.

Goals of the measures being announced are:

  1. to keep the financial system and financial markets sound, liquid and smoothly functioning
  2. to ensure access to finance to all, especially those that tend to get excluded by financial markets
  3. to preserve financial stability

Measures to Improve the Functioning of Markets

  1. Refinance Facility to SIDBI extended for another 90 days. RBI had, on April 17, 2020, announced a special refinance facility of ?15,000 crore to SIDBI at RBI’s policy repo rate for a period of 90 days. This facility has now been extended by another 90 days.
  2. Relaxation of Rules for Foreign Portfolio Investment under Voluntary Retention Route

Voluntary Retention Route

The VRR is an investment window provided by RBI to Foreign Portfolio Investors, which provides easier rules in return for a commitment to make higher investments.

The rules stipulate that at least 75% of the allotted investment limit be invested within three months; considering the difficulties being faced by investors and their custodians, the time limit has now been revised to six months.

Measures to Support Exports and Imports

  1. Exporters can now Avail Bank Loans for Higher Period

The maximum permissible period of pre-shipment and post-shipment export credit sanctioned by banks to exporters has been increased from the existing one year to 15 months, for disbursements made up to July 31, 2020.

  1. Loan facility to EXIM Bank

The Governor has announced a line of credit of ?15,000 crore to the EXIM Bank, for financing, facilitating and promoting India’s foreign trade.

The loan facility has been given for a period of 90 days, with a provision to extend it by one year. The loan is being given in order to enable the bank to meet its foreign currency resource requirements, especially in availing a US dollar swap facility.

  1. More time for Importers to Pay for Imports

The time period for import payments against normal imports (i.e. excluding import of gold/diamonds and precious stones/jewellery) into India has been extended from six months to twelve months from the date of shipment. This will be applicable for imports made on or before July 31, 2020.

Measures to Ease Financial Stress

  1. Extension of Regulatory Measures by another 3 Months

These measures will now be applicable for a total period of six months (i.e. from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020). The aforesaid regulatory measures are: (a) 3-month moratorium on term loan instalments; (b) 3-month deferment of interest on working capital facilities; (c) easing of working capital financing requirements by reducing margins or reassessment of working capital cycle; (d) exemption from being classified as ‘defaulter’ in supervisory reporting and reporting to credit information companies; (e) extension of resolution timelines for stressed assets; and (f) asset classification standstill by excluding the moratorium period of 3 months, etc. by lending institutions.

  1. Provision to convert Interest on Working Capital into Interest Term Loan

Lending institutions have been allowed to convert the accumulated interest on working capital facilities over the total deferment period of 6 months (i.e. March 1, 2020 up to August 31, 2020) into a funded interest term loan, to be fully repaid during the course of the current financial year, ending March 31, 2021.

  1. Increase of Group Exposure Limit to Increase Fund Flow to Corporates

The maximum credit which banks can extend to a particular corporate group has been increased from 25% to 30% of the bank’s eligible capital base.

The increased limit will be applicable up to June 30, 2021.

Measures to ease financial constraints faced by State Governments

  • States allowed to borrow more from Consolidated Sinking Fund

Consolidated Sinking Fund

The Consolidated Sinking Fund is being maintained by state governments as a buffer for repayment of their liabilities.

Assessment of Economy

  • Presenting an assessment of the global economy, the Governor said that the macroeconomic and financial conditions are austere by all counts. He stated that the global economy is headed inexorably into a recession.
  • The top 6 industrialised states that account for about 60 per cent of industrial output are largely in red or orange zones.
  • Demand has collapsed, production has come down, taking a toll on fiscal revenues. Private consumption has been dealt a severe blow.
  • The Governor said that agriculture and allied activities have provided a beacon of hope, amidst this encircling gloom.
  • A ray of hope also comes from the forecast of a normal southwest monsoon in 2020 by the India Meteorological Department.
  • The Governor recalled that based on the incomplete data made available, food inflation, which had come down from its January 2020 peak for the second successive month in March, suddenly reversed and increased to 8.6% in April as supply disruptions took their toll, despite the current reduction in demand.
  • India’s merchandise exports and imports suffered their worst slump in the last 30 years as COVID-19 paralysed world production and demand.
  • The elevated level of pulses inflation is worrisome, and warrants timely and swift supply management interventions, including a reappraisal of import duties.

Source: PIB

The IMD via UMANG App


The IMD via UMANG App

  • The UMANG mobile app (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is a Government of India all-in-one single, unified, secure, multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-lingual, multi-service mobile app, powered by a robust back-end platform providing access to high impact services of various organizations (Central and State).
  • Prime Minister of India launched the UMANG App in 2017 to bring major government services on a single mobile app, with a larger goal to make the government accessible on the mobile phone of our citizens.
  • About 660 services from 127 departments & 25 states and about 180 utility bill payment services are live and more are in pipeline.
  • UMANG user base has crossed 2.1 Crore including Android, iOS, Web and KaiOS.
  • Citizens can also access their Digilocker from UMANG and give their feedback after availing any service through Rapid Assessment System (RAS) which has been integrated with UMANG.
  • MeitY has taken various initiatives in recent past to ease of lives of citizens by facilitating online delivery of Government services.


To further enhance the initiatives of Digital India Programme, MeitY has brought the India Meteorological Department (IMD) services on the “UMANG App”.

The following 7 services hosted on http://mausam.imd.gov.in web site of IMD have been on-boarded on UMANG Mobile application:

1. Current Weather -Current temperature, humidity, wind speed, direction for 150 cities updated 8 times a day. Information on sunrise/ sunset and moonrise/ moonset is also given.

2. Nowcast- Three hourly warnings of localized weather phenomena and their intensity issued for about 800 stations, and districts of India by State Meteorological Centers of IMD. In case of severe weather, its impact also is included in the warning.

3. City Forecast – Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions around 450 cities in India are given.

4. Rainfall Information- All India district Rainfall information daily, weekly, monthly and cumulative series are available.

5. Tourism Forecast- Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions of around 100 Tourist cities in India are provided.

6. Warnings- The alert issued to warn citizens of approaching dangerous weather. It is colour coded in Red, Orange and Yellow are the alert levels with Red as the most severe category. Issued twice a day for all districts for the coming five days.

7. Cyclone- Cyclone warnings and alerts provides the track of cyclonic storms along with likely time and point of crossing of coast. Impact based warnings, area/district wise, are issued so that appropriate preparation including evacuation of vulnerable areas can be done.

Source: PIB

‘ReSTART’ policy


‘ReSTART’ policy

  • Factoring the hardships faced by the MSMEs during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Andhra Pradesh government has come up with a ?1,110-crore ‘ReSTART’ policy boost.
  • This is to provide some relief at a time when the economy has come to a standstill, severely affecting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands dependent on MSME sector.
  • In Andhra Pradesh alone, around one lakh MSMEs provide employment to more than 10 lakh people.
  • The ReSTART package includes the payment of all sanctioned but outstanding incentives to MSME units, waiver of three months fixed demand charges, deferment of power minimum demand charges for three months for large and mega units, and working capital loans along with preferential market access.
  • The ReSTART Policy will include the release of ?905 crore of pending incentives to MSME units in two months, waive fixed demand charges towards power for a period of three months from April 20 to June 20 for MSMEs (?188 crore) and provide ?200-crore working capital loans by creating a fund to meet their liquidity crisis

Source: TH

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Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Context As part of the economic response to COVID-19, the Government of India has launched a pro-poor scheme “Pradhan Mnatri Garib Kalyan Package” (PMGKP), Under this scheme, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is providing free of cost LPG cylinders

MHRD has ensured safe shifting of stranded students of  Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas

MHRD has ensured safe shifting of stranded students of  Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas Context Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' informed that Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti has, on 15th May, 2020, successfully completed the exercise of shifting

Agappe Chitra Magna

Agappe Chitra Magna Agappe Chitra Magna is a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit for use during testing for detection of COVID-19. The RNA extraction kit was developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, an Institute of Nation

A double disaster: On a cyclone amid the coronavirus

A double disaster: On a cyclone amid the coronavirus Cyclone Amphan The trail of death and devastation that Cyclone Amphan has left in West Bengal and Odisha demonstrates, once again, the fragile state of eastern coastal States during the storm season. At least 72 people are dead in Bengal

IIT Guwahati discovers new ways to prevent memory loss due to Alzheimer

IIT Guwahati discovers new ways to prevent memory loss due to Alzheimer Context Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has worked on out-of-the-box ideas that can help prevent or reduce short-term memory losses associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They studied th

Alternative dwarfing genes in wheat can eliminate rice crop residue burning

Alternative dwarfing genes in wheat can eliminate rice crop residue burning In India, close to twenty-three million tonnes of leftover rice residues are annually burnt by farmers to get rid of the straw and prepare their fields for sowing wheat, which is the next crop, resulting in air polluti

21 May,2020
Bomb Cyclone

Bomb Cyclone It’s a weather term that applies to a massive winter storm that struck off the U.S. Southeast, the storm has dumped freak snow in this region. This storm will usually stay out to sea and blow with high winds gusts exceeding 100 kmph. Bomb cyclones draw air from Polar Regions

Milk under price stabilisation fund

Milk under price stabilisation fund To create additional domestic demand for milk the agriculture ministry has sought inclusion of the milk under the Price Stabilisation Fund scheme. If milk is included in the Price Stabilisation Fund, it would enable states to distribute milk through the public

National Tobacco Control Policy

National Tobacco Control Policy Union government is planning to propose a policy for enforcing various provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products. As of now Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003),

Indigenous Cryogenic Engine

Indigenous Cryogenic Engine A Cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages. Specific impulse (a measure of the efficiency) achievable with cryogenic propellants

Tabby's star

Tabby's star Tabby’s star is the “most mysterious star in the universe” as it kept dimming and brightening irregularly, following no pattern. Officially called KIC 8462852, the star is 1,000 light years away from the Earth and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun. There was

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) The IPCC is an international body for the assessment of climate change, it was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific,


Cryosphere Cryosphere refers to the frozen part of the earth surface. It might be comprised of snow, river and lake ice, sea ice, glaciers, ice shelves and ice sheets, and frozen grounds. This region plays a major role in the Earth’s climate system through its impact on the surface energy b

Ozone Depletion

Ozone Depletion The scientists have observed for the first time that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion. There has been an international ban on chlorine-containing human made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Measurement show that this

No Development Zone

No Development Zone The River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016 provides that the bank of River Ganga, its tributaries or the active flood area of them shall be construction free zone. It also prohibits construction of any structure for residential or commerc

Zojila Tunnel

Zojila Tunnel It is an upcoming project in J&K which aims at providing all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh. The project has been approved on the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode. It holds strategic and socio-economic significance, given the fact that

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