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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 July 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 July 2018


Paper 1:

Topic: Art and Culture.

National Culture Fund

What to study?

  • For Prelims: NCF- key features.
  • For Mains: India cultural Heritage- Significance and the need for promotion, protection and preservation.


Context: As per the latest data, about Rs. 904.80 Lakhs has been received as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) under NCF for development Works at Historic Monuments in last 3 yrs.


About National Culture Fund (NCF):

National Culture Fund (NCF) was set up as a Trust under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890 in November 1996 by the Government, with a view to mobilize extra resources through Public Private Partnerships.

  • The National Culture Fund is managed and administered by a council headed by Hon’ble Culture Minister to decide the policies and an Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Culture to actualize those policies.
  • The Fund aims at inviting the participation of the corporate sector, non-government organizations, private/public sector as well as individuals in the task of promoting, protecting and preserving India’s cultural heritage.
  • All the projects undertaken by the NCF are completed within a specified period, in accordance with an MoU signed by NCF with the concerned donor organization.
  • The donations/contributions to NCF are eligible for 100% tax deduction under the Income Tax Act, 1961 subject to the limits and conditions prescribed in the said Section and relevant Rules.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Art and Culture- literature.


National mission for manuscripts (NMM)


What to study?

  • For Prelims: NMM- objectives.
  • For Mains: Need for Protection of Manuscripts.


Context: National mission for manuscripts (NMM) has digitized 283 lakh pages of 2.96 lakh manuscripts till date.


About National mission for manuscripts (NMM):

In 2003, National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM), a Mission mode Project, was launched by the Ministry of Culture for documentation, conservation, preservation and digitization of manuscripts.

The manuscripts documented and digitized by the NMM will be made available to researcher and scholars through a Trusted Digital Repository.  

The ultimate object of the Mission is to establish a Digital Manuscripts Repository at IGNCA in which researchers and scholars can view and consult the manuscripts to understand our past in its totality.


What are Manuscripts?

A manuscript is a handwritten composition on paper, bark, cloth, metal, palm leaf or any other material dating back at least seventy-five years that has significant scientific, historical or aesthetic value. Lithographs and printed volumes are not manuscripts.

  • Manuscripts are found in hundreds of different languages and scripts. Often, one language is written in a number of different scripts. For example, Sanskrit is written in Oriya script, Grantha script, Devanagari script and many other scripts.
  • Manuscripts are distinct from historical records such as epigraphs on rocks, firmans, revenue records which provide direct information on events or processes in history. Manuscripts have knowledge content.



India possesses an estimate of ten million manuscripts, probably the largest collection in the world. These cover a variety of themes, textures and aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies, illuminations and illustrations.


Sources: pib.


Topic: Women related issues.


Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana



What to study?

  • For Prelims: Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana- key features.
  • For Mains: Significance of the scheme and other initiatives for promoting the welfare of girl child.


Context: By amending Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules, 2016, the Union Government has reduced minimum yearly deposit required under popular girl child savings scheme, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000 earlier. This has been lowered to enable more people to enjoy benefits of this scheme.


What is it?

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is a small deposit scheme for the girl child launched as a part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.


Key features:

  • It is currently 8.1 per cent and provides income-tax benefit under section 80 C of the Income Tax Act,1961. Even the returns are tax free in the scheme.
  • A Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened any time after the birth of a girl till she turns 10, with a minimum deposit of Rs 250 (Earlier it was Rs 1,000). In subsequent years, a minimum of Rs 250 and a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh can be deposited during the ongoing financial year.
  • The account can be opened in any post office or authorised branches of commercial banks.
  • The account will remain operative for 21 years from the date of its opening or till the marriage of the girl after she turns 18.
  • To meet the requirement of her higher education expenses, partial withdrawal of 50% of the balance is allowed after she turns 18.


About BBBP:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015. The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.
  • The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.


Sources: the hindu.



Paper 2:

Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


Aspirational Districts


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Aspirational District Programme- key features.
  • For Mains: Significance of the scheme and the need for holistic development of backward districts.


Context: A Statement of Intent (SoI) was recently signed between NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation to collaborate in Aspirational Districts Programme.

For this programme, the NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation are collaborating to improve indicators in education, health & nutrition, financial inclusion and skill development, agriculture and water resources and basic infrastructure in Aspirational Districts of India.


About Aspirational Districts Programme:

Launched in January this year, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aims to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.

The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.

With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.


Focus of the programme:

To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy. Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.


Significance of the scheme:

If these districts are transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in the internal security environment of the country. If Prabhari officers can bring convergence in the development efforts of different Ministries and state Governments and the schemes specially launched by Home Ministry in these districts, it would serve as a great opportunity to ensure rapid development in the country.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


NCTE amendment Bill passed


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Features of NCTE Bill.
  • For Mains: Importance of teachers’ education.


Context: The Lok Sabha has passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill to grant retrospective recognition to Central/State institutions that are conducting teacher education courses without NCTE approval.

This has been done as a one-time measure to ensure that the future of students studying in these institutions is not jeopardised.


Key Features of Bill:

Retrospective recognition of certain teacher education institutions:  The Bill seeks to grant retrospective recognition to institutions that have been notified by central government, funded by Central Government or State/UT government and but do not have recognition under the parent Act. Besides, these institutions must have offered teacher education courses on or after establishment of NCTE until academic year 2017-2018.

Retrospective permission to start new courses:  The Bill grants retrospective permission these institutions to start new course or training in teacher education to institutions.


About National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE):

  • It is statutory body of Central Government set up under NCTE Act, 1993 in 1995 to formally oversee standards, procedures and processes in Indian education system.
  • NCTE plans and co-ordinates the development of teacher education system throughout the country (for both central as well as state governments).
  • It also ensures the maintenance of norms and standards in the teacher education system. Its headquarters are in New Delhi.
  • This council functions for the central as well as state governments on all matter with regard to the Teacher Education.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017


What to study?

  • For Prelims and Mains: Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017- key features and significance.


Context: Lok Sabha has passed Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to reduce the number of cheque dishonour cases pending in courts.

  • The bill amends Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 to primarily address issues of dishonor of cheques and deal with unnecessary delay in disposal of such cases.
  • The Act defines promissory notes, bills of exchange, and cheques. It also specifies penalties for bouncing of cheques, and other violations with respect to such negotiable instruments.


Key Features of Bill:

Interim compensation: The Bill inserts new Section 143 A in parent Act to allow court trying offence related to cheque bouncing to direct drawer (person who writes cheque) to pay interim compensation to complainant. This compensation may be paid under certain circumstances, including where drawer pleads not guilty of accusation. It will not exceed 20% of cheque amount and will be paid by drawer within 60 days of trial court’s order to pay such compensation.

Deposit in case of appeal: The Bill inserts another new Section 148-A in the parent act specifying that if drawer convicted in cheque bouncing case files appeal, appellate court may direct him to deposit minimum of 20% of fine or compensation awarded by trial court during conviction. This amount will be in addition to any interim compensation paid by drawer during earlier trial proceedings.

Returning interim compensation: In case drawer is acquitted during trial or by appellate court, then court will direct complainant to return interim compensation (or deposit in case of an appeal case), along with interest. This amount will be repaid within 60 days of court’s order.


What is a negotiable instrument?

It refers to any legal documents like cheques, promissory notes, bill of exchange etc which promises to pay bearer or holder of instrument or person whose name is written on instrument specific amount of money either on demand or after specified time i.e. on some future date.

The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 defines promissory notes, bills of exchange and cheques. It also specifies penalties for bouncing of cheques and other violations with respect to such negotiable instruments.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Shekatkar committee


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Shekatkar committee and important recommendations made.
  • For Mains: Defence reforms- need, necessary reforms.


Context: The government recently reviewed the implementation of ambitious reform initiative for the Indian Army based on recommendations of a committee headed by Lt Gen (retd) DB Shekatkar.

Shekatkar Committee was tasked with suggesting steps to enhance combat capability of the armed forces.


Measures as recommended by the Committee and taken up for implementation include:

  • Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
  • Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
  • Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
  • Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
  • Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
  • Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
  • Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.


Sources: pib.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.


Border Haats

What to study:

  • For Prelims: What are Border Haats, Operational Border Haats.
  • For Mains: Need for Border Haats, their significance for people and the participating countries.


Context: First meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats was recently held in Agartala, Tripura.

In the meeting both sides noted the positive impact of Border Haats on the livelihoods of the people living in areas adjoining the Haats. Extensive discussions were held on issues related to review of operations of the four functional Border Haats.


What are Border Haats?

They are market places organised by the two countries one day each week. It is not only a market for buying daily commodities but also a reunion spot for families living on both sides.


Aim: The border haats aim at promoting the wellbeing of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries, by establishing traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets.


Operational Border Haats between India and Bangladesh:

Currently, four border haats are operational along the India-Bangladesh border. Two border haats are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat and two are located in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.


How it functions?

The trade at border haats is permitted to be carried out in Indian Rupees/Bangladesh Taka and on a barter basis, and data of such trade is maintained by the Haat Management Committee of the respective border haat.


The Following commodities are traded in the Border Haats:

  • Vegetables, food items, fruits, spices.
  • Minor Forest produce eg bamboo, bamboo grass and broom sticks, excluding timber.
  • Products of Cottage Industries like Gamcha, Lungi etc.
  • Small Agriculture household implements eg dao, plough, axe, spade, chisel etc.
  • Garments, melamine products, processed food items, fruit juice, toiletries, cosmetics, plastic products, aluminium products, cookeries.


Proposed border Haats:

In addition to the four functional border haats, the government of India and the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh have approved six more border haats: two in Tripura at Palbasti and Kamalpur and four in Meghalaya at Bholaganj, Nalikata, Shibbari and Ryngku.


Sources: pib.


Facts for Prelims:

Iran becomes India’s No. 2 oil supplier:

Context: Iran was the second-biggest oil supplier to Indian state refiners between April and June. India is now Iran’s top oil client after China.


‘Tribal Atlas of Odisha’:

Context: Odisha Government has unveiled first-ever ‘Tribal Atlas of Odisha’, a compilation of demographic and cultural information of the tribal population in the state. This book will help provide comprehensive data on tribal population.

  • It is claimed to be first-of-its-kind tribal compilation in the country. The book was published by SC and ST Research and Training Institute in collaboration with Academy of Tribal Language and Culture (ATLC).
  • Background: As per Census 2011, Odisha has the second highest tribal population in the country after Madhya Pradesh.